Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hunger Games

Like many people, I am looking forward to the film adaptation of The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins' post-apocalyptic book in which hunger, famine, and food security play starring roles.

While the narrative arc of the book focuses on the life-and-death competition between the teenagers representing the 12 districts in what was once the United States, the effects that food (in)security have had, and continue to have, on these young people is never far from the surface. When sizing up her competitors in the Hunger Games, the book's protagonist Katniss notes

"Almost all of the boys and least half of the girls are bigger than I am, even though many of the tributes [competitors] have never been fed properly. You can see it in their bones, their skin, the hollow look their eyes."

Like much science fiction, The Hunger Games is based on hard truths. Food inequality is a major theme in the book, as it is in our country and our world. So when I ran across a nifty infographic on the equally nifty Food and Tech web site with that same theme I wanted to share it (with permission, of course).

The graphic, which was assembled by the folks at  Public Health Degree, focuses on the issues of Want and Waste. As in The Hunger Games, many people worldwide are wanting for food, while a relative few have more than they need to the point of wastefulness. Here's the intro from Public Health Degree's site that explains the background, including the startling statistics that 1 in 7 people in the world are chronically malnourished and Americans (in the US) waste about 40% of their food.

I think it's a beautiful infographic, packed with accessible information. Importantly, it provides practical steps that individuals can take to address the problems. I love that. Too often, we get stuck and all bummed out about the problems in the world because they can seem so big. But change begins with that first step, and Public Health Degree gives us some baby steps to get started.

The Food Crisis



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