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World Food Day: A Call For Collective Action to Protect the Planet World Food Day: A Call For Collective Action to Protect the Planet
by Rene Wadlow
2021-10-16 07:58:53
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...“determined to promote the common welfare by furthering separate
and collective action for the purpose of raising levels of nutrition and standards of living”  
Preamble of the  Food and Agriculture Organization Constitution

foo01_40016 October is the U.N.-designated World Food Day.  The date was chosen to mark the creaton of the Food and Agriculture Oranization in 1945 and located in Rome which had been the home of an agriculture institute related to the League of Nations. The Constitution of the Food and Agriculture Organization  states as one of its aims  “contributing towards an expanding world economy and ensuring humanity’s freedom from hunger.”  Freedom from hunger is not simply a technical matter to be solved with better seeds, fertilisers, cultivation practices and marketing.  To achieve freedom from hunger for mankind, there is a need to reduce poverty.  The massive reduction of poverty must draw upon the ideas, skills and energies of whole societies and requires the cooperation of all countries. 

World Citizens have played an important role in efforts to improve agricultural production worldwide and especially to better the conditions of life of rural workers. The World Citizen  Lord Boyd-Orr was the first director of the FAO. An active member of the Association of World Citizens, Josué de Castro was the independent President of the FAO Council in the 1950s when the FAO had an independent Council President.  The World Citizen, Rene Dumont, an agricultural specialist, is largely the “father” of political ecology in France, having been the first Green Party candidate for the French Presidency in 1974.

However, as Lester Brown, the American agricultural specialist says “We are cutting trees faster than they can be regenerated, overgrazing range lands and converting them into deserts, over-pumping aquifers, and draining rivers dry.  On our crop lands, soil erosion exceeds new soil formation, slowly depriving the soil of its inherent fertility. We are taking fish from the ocean faster than they can reproduce.”

To counter these trends, we need awareness and vision, an ethical standard which has the preservation of nature at its heart, and the political leadership to bring about the socio-economic changes needed. The granting of the Nobel Prize for Peace to the World Food Programme this year is a sign of the growing awareness of the need for action on food issues.

There are agricultural techniques which can raise protein efficiency, raise land productivity, improve livestock use and produce second harvests on the same land.  However, unless measures are taken quickly  to reverse the damaging trends, we will see vast numbers of environmental refugees — people abandoning depleted aquifers and exhausted soils and those fleeing advancing deserts and rising seas.

wc00Citizens of the World have stressed that ecologically-sound development cannot be the result only of a plan, but rather of millions of individual actions to protect soil, conserve water, plant trees, use locally grown crops, reduce meat from our diets, protect biological diversity in forest areas, cut down on  the use of cars by increasing public transportation and living closer to one’s work.  We need to encourage wise use of rural areas by diversifying employment in rural areas. We also need to develop ecological awareness through education so that these millions of wise individual decisions can be taken.

Education and vision are required for ecologically-sound political leadership leadership. Thus Citizens of the World  are called upon to provide wise leadership to work to protect the planet, and to encourage ecologically-sound individual and collective action.


Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

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