Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

4 posts from August 2006

Pet Peeve

Did you know that in our world today around 2.5 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation and some 1.2 billion people do not have access to an improved source of water? (The source for these statistics comes from the Millennium Campaign.)  Goal Number 7 of the Millennium Development Goals is to ensure environmental sustainability.  One of the targets for this goal is to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.

I don't want to give off the impression that I am the water conservation queen.  After all, I take a shower every day.  I do turn off the water when brushing my teeth and I do have a toilet that uses less water, but I know I waste a lot of water.  Regardless, one of my pet peeves are people/businesses that clean their sidewalks by using water.  It drives me bonkers.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  When I walk to work everyday, I pass a series of restaurants and the employees are outside cleaning off the sidewalks in front of the business.  Instead of using a broom, they use a hose and basically hose down the trash off the sidewalk.  It is such a waste of water.  Have we gotten so lazy in this country that we can't even use a broom and a little bit of muscle?  One of the four leading causes of death among children under the age of five is dehydration.  How can we clean our sidewalks with water when dehydration is a leading cause of death for kids?

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Check out the blog of BFWs super, great New Mexico activist.  Today he asked the campus minister at University of New Mexico to reflect on her experience at U2Charist.  It's worth a read!

Corn in my Coffee Creamer?

My first associations with corn and soybeans are the fields my Granddad rented out near his farmhouse in Michigan.  Every summer when I went to visit my Grandparents we would drive past beautiful fields of corn and soybeans.  It was a little disappointing when I first learned about the excessFat_land amounts of corn and soybeans our country produces.  If you read the book Fat Land, you begin go learn about why things like high fructose corn syrup first were developed - simply put, because our country had so much corn we didn't know what to do with it all.  If you start to read labels on food you find corn syrup and soybean oil in everything.  Case in point, this weekend, I was on a plane and asked for some cream with my hot tea.  While hoping for milk or half and half, I was given the lovely packets of creamer, which in my opinion are disgusting.  I looked at the back to see just what went into the creamer.  The first two ingredients were corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oil.  Isn't that disturbing?  How does a milk based product get turned into corn and soybeans?

Next year, Congress will be debating the Farm Bill.  Issues like subsidies will be hot topics.  If you'd like to read more about some of the issues that may come up in the debates, the Washington Post has some great information as it examined the issues surrounding agricultural subsidies.

Relishing the Rural


Photo by Lee Langstaff

A few weeks ago, my fiance and I spent a Saturday out in a rural area of the county we live near visiting farms.  This area is known as the agricultural reserve for Montgomery County in Maryland.  What's awesome about this area is that it is fairly close to the city and suburbs of DC, but the farms located in this reserve have thrived amidst city sprawl.  I'm a friend of the agricultural reserve because I treasure this open space and successful farming and I'm proud that this area has remained in tact as the precious farm land it is.  On the website that celebrates this reserve, it states,

The Agricultural Reserve has been called "the country's most successful farmland preservation program."

During the Saturday we spent in the agricultural reserve, we visited an animal sanctuary that rescued farm animals that were neglected, abandoned, or unwanted.  You could pet many of them, which is always fun for city folk!  We also visited a farm that had the yummiest blackberries available for picking!  It was a wonderful day and helped me reconnect with the earth and God's creation.  It's also always a good reminder that food doesn't grow in the grocery store! :o)  I'm a huge supporter of buying local produce as much as possible, so I dutifully purchase as much of my food as I can at a local farmers market every Sunday, but it was nice to spend a day visiting the farms that grow the food I eat.

On a different note, but on the rural theme, the Washington Post had an interesting article today on rural poverty in China.  In the last few decades, China has made significant progress against hunger and poverty, but this article is pointing out that while progress has been made, rural areas of China are still experiencing significant amounts of poverty.  This article also illuminates again why women's empowerment is such an important component to development.  The end of the article was a little disturbing for me, but I thought overall it provided an interesting perspective on poverty in China and poverty in rural areas.

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