13. All states shall accelerate SDG efforts to end poverty and enable all to obtain food and potable water

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Rapporteur: Marianne Larsen

Hunger and Famine

Project Save the World addresses six global threats that may each sharply break from the routine challenges of human experience, with quick catastrophic effects. We do not focus on chronic or intermittent problems that are not existential challenges to humankind or our civilization. Thus, we address famine but not “food insecurity,” or ordinary “hunger” — the shortage of nutrients that have frequently been experienced, probably by the majority of human beings throughout history. However, we recognize that it would be wrong and foolish to ignore “normal” hunger, so our Platform for Survival mentions it briefly in this plank, especially in connection with the current campaign by the United Nations to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Accordingly, we should at least touch upon the challenge feeding the human population in the decades ahead before turning to famine as the main topic of this article.

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John Postman

The most important change we can make in our use of food is to reduce the amount of waste. And in Western societies, a major source of waste is the rule that food containers should state an expiration date, which it should be thrown out. This is ridiculous. People got along fine before that law came into effect. They looked at the food and if it seemed mouldy or yucky, they threw it out. Or they’d smell it or even taste it. Milk products often need to be tasted. But I know lots of people now who look at the… Read more »

Adam Wynne

Globally, between 1 and 2 billion people (20-22% of the world’s total population as of 2020) rely on “mountain water towers” – often interpreted as glacier meltwater – for their drinking and household water. These same water systems additionally have vital roles in natural ecology – supplying water for many ecosystems. These water sources are important in years of drought as they maintain a reservoir source of water even in the event of little to no rainfall. However, climate change is accelerating the rate of glacial melt – putting these whole systems and those reliant on them at risk. If… Read more »

Adam Wynne

“The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) has called for coordination among UN organisations and intergovernmental efforts to develop a proactive drought management strategy to assist all countries to improve and solidify their drought policies.”

More information available here: https://www.businesstoday.in/top-story/un-body-fao-calls-for-better-national-drought-policies/story/378620.html

Adam Wynne

One of my professors this term has mentioned that she does research on the proposed trans-African water pipe line. This project aims to connect four solar-paneled desalination plants to a 1.5 meter diameter pipe running through 11 Sahel (African) nations. It is unclear to me what security this project would have – as the pipeline would be running through some of the most politically unstable regions on the planet (Chad, Eritrea, etc.). What would happen if someone decides to blow-up a section of this pipeline? How much water will be provided to the middle section(s) – the furthest away from… Read more »

Adam Wynne

Additionally – what monitoring policies or procedures will be in place? I do not want to see someone tap into this pipe-line and introduce a bio-weapon, chemical weapon, or poison to the drinking and/or irrigation water of the Sahel.

Adam Wynne

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Have folks considered the trade-off between surface and well-water in various regions? Of concern is the source of drinking water in heavily contaminated areas. Chemical contamination can seep deep into the soil and contaminate wells. However, surface drinking water can be prone to pathogens – such as bacteria, parasites, etc. Several months ago there were a slurry of articles around straws with built in filters – but I question are these certified for a range of contaminants – such as arsenic vs. bacteria vs. parasites, etc.

Adam Wynne

I am alarmed to hear of the repeated green algae blooms in Lake Erie. The algae is toxic and has caused bans on drinking tap water in several regions of the United States (in the vicinity of Lake Erie) in recent years. I have heard several theories as to the origin of these algae blooms. One is that it is a byproduct of agricultural run-off and antiquated drainage systems implemented in the nineteenth century. A large portion of the area south-west of Lake Erie was formerly known as the Great Black Swamp and during colonization, settlers installed drainage pipes in… Read more »

Howard Wells

I saw something recently about harvesting water from fog. They put up textiles which capture the moisture and collect it. They were even talking about using it in the desert. Does anyone know whether there is enough water in dry air to make such a scheme workable?

Beverly Anderson

Howard, the answer is YES! They can get water out of air in the desert too now. Here’s a link about the new technological innovation that makes it possible.

Millions on the brink of starvation
Muna came with her family to live in Balambal IDP camp, Somalia, after they lost almost all their livestock. This small pot of rice she cooks will be the only meal for the day for the whole family of six to share. Photo: Allan Gichigi/Oxfam

Carol Wells

A boy holds a kettle as he walks outside his family’s hut at a camp for people displaced by the war near Sanaa, Yemen September 26, 2016. Famine often leads to conflict, but when the conflict is already them, famine is a form of oppression.


Wayne Roberts

AMAZON DESTRUCTION ACCELERATES 60% TO ONE AND A HALF SOCCER FIELDS EVERY MINUTE (CNN)Amazon deforestation accelerated more than 60% in June over the same period last year, in what environmentalists say is a sign that the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro are starting to take effect. The rate of rainforest destruction had been stable during the first few months of Bolsonaro’s presidency but began to soar in May and June, according to Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research (INPE), a government agency whose satellites also monitor the Amazon. 769.1 square kilometres were lost last month – a stark increase from… Read more »

Metta Spencer

The Sustainable Development Goals have a list of 17 goals that are completely compatible with our list of 25 “planks.” Both agendas will eliminate poverty and solve global warming, if pursued vigorously.