New Internationalist

On To Action

July 1983

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FOOD FIRST [image, unknown] On to action

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What can we do?
If hunger is caused by an unfair system that denies people their right to the land jobs and other resources they need to feed themselves, then hunger can be ended—by the poor themselves gaining their rights.

This discovery is liberating. If hunger is created by people, then it can be ended by people—ordinary people like you and me taking steps within our reach to make that system more fair.

Only you can decide how you can best contribute to that change. Begin by using every opportunity to learn how and why we have reached the point where one quarter of our people are denied the minimum necessities for a decent life, while resources abound to provide for all.

Remember, if we really understand the roots of hunger, we’ll realize that no one act of charity will make a big difference. We need to look at our whole lives, asking how we can be on the side of change rather than just resigning ourselves to the world as it is—a world with hunger.

Here are some ideas where you might start:

1. If you are a student, take a good look at how the problem of hunger is taught in your school. Does it repeat the myths that Sheri fought to break through? You can challenge this. Get your friends to help.

2. Think before you bite into that hamburger. Think about how the food we eat links us to the earth and alt those denied its fruits. We can feel better and waste less if we make decisions based on knowledge instead of advertising.

3. Check out what is going on in your community. Where do hungry people go in your community? Is there an organization lobbying on behalf of the poor? Find a friend who’s interested too and try volunteering your help.

4. As you learn, tell others—your friends and family. Write letters to opinion makers, to the editors of the local papers and television companies. If you can back up your statements with fact, you’ll be taken seriously.

5. Most important, don’t be dragged down by those who say it’s all hopeless—that there’s nothing we can do. Remember the world is changing every day and there is only one way it can change—by our individual decisions to act.

Institute for Food and Development Policy

Readers who would like more information on this subject are recommended to read some of the books upon which this comic was based.

Food first: Beyond the Myth of Scarcity by Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins with Cary Fowler published in North America by Ballentine, £3.95 paper back. Revised edition for the UK, Australia and New Zealand published by Souvenir Press and now available as an Abacus paperback, UK £3.50, Australia $10.95

World Hunger: Ten myths by Frances Moores Lappe and Joseph Collins, $2.95, UK £2.50

What can we do? Food and Hunger: How you can make a difference By William Valentine and Frances More Lappe, $2.95, UK £2.25

Development Debacle: The World Bank in the Philippines by Walden Bello, David Kinely and Elaine Elinson, $6.95, UK £6.40

Availability The Food First paperback is available through most good bookstores. The other three books are available in the UK from Third World Publications (see advertisement opposite) or directly from the Institute for Food and Development Policy, 1885 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA. If ordering from IFDP from within North America please add 15% for postage and handling ($1.00 minimum).


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This feature was published in the July 1983 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 125

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