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This is Your Brain on Mud...Any Questions?
Ok, maybe not 'brain' per se, but there's something undeniably "internal organ-ish" about the continents and countries in that picture, courtesy of World Mapper, a really neat website that (fake word alert) mishes and mashes the globe as we know it to illustrate a certain subject of interest.
This particular map is "The Wretched Dollar", which "shows the proportion of all people living on less than or equal to US $1 in purchasing power parity a day." (try saying that last bit 5 times fast)
And why that particular map for today's post? (One could lose a whole afternoon checking out different categories/maps. I did. For example, compare the 'Physicians Working' map to the 'Malaria Deaths' map. But wait 'til you've finished this post)
Because Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General for the United Nations, has a profoundly relevant (i.e. required reading) Op-Ed in today's Washington Post: The New Face of Hunger
In it, he takes an urgent topic that we've covered some the past couple weeks - the rising price of food globally and subsequent increase in shortages (a rather oxymoronic phrase, I admit) - and ties that in to the continued need and challenge to achieve Millennium Development Goal #1 (halving the amount of people living on less than $1/day by 2015). He also stresses that even more people are at risk of or already falling into this kind of hunger/poverty, given the new dynamics of the world food economy.
"When people are that poor, and inflation erodes their meager earnings, they generally do one of two things: They buy less food, or they buy cheaper, less nutritious food. The result is the same -- more hunger and less chance of a healthy future."
Nowhere is that as true right now as it is in Haiti, one of the poorest countries on earth. For some there, 'cheaper, less nutritious food' isn't a selection - it's cheaper, less nutritious...MUD. That link will bring you to a story flaring up around areas of the blogosphere and various news outlets recently that details exactly what it sounds like. The Haitian poor are resorting to mud pies to fill their stomachs with something...anything. It's a devastating, direct result of rising food prices and food shortages for those living on less than $1/day.
What can you do? There are a lot of options out there. One of the most viable is making sure that The Global Poverty Act (S. 2433) passes in the Senate and is signed into law. It would make commitment to achieving the first MDG a matter of U.S. policy. Find out how you can take action here to make sure that your senator is a cosponsor (and also pushing for full and increased poverty focused development assistance).
The Congressional Easter Recess is also coming up. Having a Letter to the Editor published or scheduling a visit to your Representative/Senator's office during that time will have a potent effect in helping them see that these are much more than just statistics and impersonal dollar amounts. Contact us if you'd like help/talking points for doing either of those things. Your personal interactions and words show that real people care and are affected.
And that mud is not an option.
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