With the Christmas season winding down and the routine of the new year slowly settling in, I thought it would be a good time to introduce some of the issues that ELCA World Hunger will be especially focused upon in 2009. Over the next couple of weeks, I will briefly highlight in four posts each of our focus areas: Food, Fuel, and Finances; Climate Change and Hunger; HIV/AIDS and the Lutheran Malaria Initiative; and Intentional Living: Food Practices. I invite you to offer your own reflections and/or resources you have found particularly helpful in thinking about these topics.
Food, Fuel, and Finances
The three F’s are deeply intertwined and of late extremely volatile. In 2008, the price of many staple foods (such as wheat, rice, and corn) rose globally as much as 130% (http://www.bread.org/). The spike in food prices culminated in riots in about 30 countries. This spike in food prices is related to (among other things) a sharp rise in gas prices, which peaked nationally in June and July at about $4.15 a gallon (http://www.eia.doe.gov/). The rise in gas prices affects the price of food because modern production and distribution of food is heavily dependent upon petroleum. Moreover, in the quest to find alternatives to gasoline, farms previously used to grow food now are used for the production of biofuels. As 2008 drew to a close, global financial markets tumbled as the subprime lending mess reverberated throughout many financial sectors.
Each of these hardships is particularly devastating to those who are poorest. This year we will engage the food, fuel, and finance crises from their perspective, raising awareness and advocating on behalf of those who are most vulnerable.