World’s problems put ours in new light

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, October 17, 2009

Americans often act like we are the most stressed out people in the world.

We worry about everything.

We stress out about money and physical appearance and what other people think about us.

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Often times we get way too worked up over silly things like sports teams, not getting an A on a test or who likes who.

But in many countries across the world men, women and children worry about something far more important: whether or not they will be able to eat today or not.

Put in that context I can’t help but think that our worries pale in comparison.

A recent report, the 2009 Global Hunger Index, showed that hunger and malnutrition is on the rise in 29 countries.

The report is published each year by the international humanitarian agency Concern Worldwide, the German NGO Welt Hunger Hilfe, and the International Food Policy Research Institute.

In 2009, 1.02 billion people are undernourished, an increase of 100 million over last year, according to this report.

The hardest hit areas are in Africa and Asia.

But something this report won’t show is that this isn’t just a problem half a world away. There are many Americans who are malnourished or undernourished.

We have many problems in this world but somehow hunger seems to be the forgotten epidemic, replaced by sexier headlines of swine flue, wars and natural disaster.

The world needs to work together to begin developing global, long-term solutions that will allow all human beings — regardless of what country in which the live — to not worry about where their next meal is going to come from.

But this needs to be done with educational and developmental projects that create self-sustaining solutions that allow these countries to stand on their own.

What is the old chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

We need to be teaching more than giving to ensure billions of people have longer lifetimes.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at