Overview: Famine

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Author: Yusur al Bahrani

In order to prevent famine and end an existing one, it is crucial to understand what famine is. This introduction will help define famine and identify some of the causes. While famine is a preventable threat to the human population, it will not end if the root causes are not addressed.

According to the www.dictionary.com definition, famine is a “noun” that means: Extreme and general scarcity of food, as in a country or a large geographical area; any extreme and general scarcity; extreme hunger and starvation. This is a broad definition, which could include many countries and geographic areas hit by food insecurities.

However, famine is not a word to be used lightly. Therefore, international organizations have agreed on a scientific frame that would help them identify when to declare a nation to be suffering from famine. According to United Nations, a famine can be declared only when certain measures of mortality, malnutrition, and hunger are met. The measures are:

  1. At least 20 per cent of households in an area face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope.
  2. Acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 per cent.
  3. The death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons.
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Related Videos and Podcasts

58. Famine in Africa
https://youtu.be/2HgDMKVC0Zo
*Daniel Maxwell, Henry J. Leir Professor in Food Security, Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University

57. Gandhi: Justice, Technology
https://youtu.be/yKJC4HpW-h0
• Anand Mazgaonkar, National Alliance for Peoples Movement, Ahmedabad, India
• Carl Kline, Satyagraha Institute
• Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, Nonviolence International

54. Venezuela
https://youtu.be/1YwVqkjzZTY
• Nestor Garrido, Venezuelan journalist
• Yuriria Lanza, Venezuelan IT professional
• Isaac Nahon-Serfaty, professor of Communication, U of Ottawa
• Angel Alvarez, political science professor
• Francisco Wulff, economist

51. Biodiversity and Food
https://youtu.be/b5GStp3_090
• Harriet Friedmann, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Toronto

45: Gandhian Sustainable Development Goals
https://youtu.be/SQbbxLa4N50
• Jill Carr-Harris co- leader of the Jai Japal march from India to Geneva, starting in October 2020.
* Rajagopal, co- leader of the Jai Japal march from India to Geneva, starting in October 2020.

37. The War in Yemen
https://youtu.be/gmfsjC9uyCs
• Qais Ghanem, Retired professor of medicine, Ottawa University
• Paul Maillet, retired Colonel, Canadian Forces, now peacebuilding worker.

22. Famine
https:/youtu.be/r8SpzRzq4kM
• Alex deWaal, Executive Director, World Peace Foundation

13. Yemen
https://youtu.be/rDVwuqIGhsQ
• Yusur Al Bahrani, Journalist living in Yellowknife, Northweat Territories, Canada
• Ahmed Jehaf, Journalist living in Sana’a,

6. Famine and Food Security
https://youtu.be/6z5xPXukBU8
• Haroon Akram-Lodhi, Professor of International Development, Trent University
• Mustafa Koc, Professor of Sociology, Ryerson U

5. Food and Regenerative Farming
https://youtu.be/KlGDsIEEODE
• Lloyd Helferty, Agricultural Engineering Technologist
• Jodi Koberinski, Regeneration International, Climate Smart Food.
• Joanna Santa Barbara, New Zealand Activisy

General reference sources

Dolly, Justin. 2017. “The Cyber Cold War: The Silent, but Persistent Threat to Nation States.” ITPro Portal. April 19, 2017. https://www.itproportal.com/features/the-cyber-cold-war-the-silent-but-persistent-threat-to-nation-states/.
Hopma, Justa. 2017. “Famine Isn’t Just a Result of Conflict—It’s a Cause.” Newsweek, January 25, 2017. www.newsweek.com/food-insecurity-conflict-sudan-famine-548033.
Kostigen, Thomas M. 2015. “Extreme Weather to Cause Extreme Food Shortages, Task Force Finds.” USA Today, August 22, 2015. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/08/21/extreme-weather-cause-extreme-food-shortages-task-force-finds/32104685/.
Loria, Kevin. 2017. “Even a ‘Limited’ Nuclear War Could Trigger Cruel Nuclear Winters and Global Famine.” Business Insider, August 10, 2017. http://www.businessinsider.com/nuclear-explosions-earth-atmosphere-temperature-2017-8.
Mekonnen, Meedan. 2016. “Drought, Famine, and Conflict: A Case from the Horn of Africa.” Beyond Intractibility. September 2016. https://www.beyondintractability.org/casestudy/mekonnen-drought.
O’ Connell, Simon. 2017. “The True Cause of Hunger and Famine? War and Weak Governance.” World Economic Forum. April 28, 2017. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/04/conflict-and-famine-time-for-honesty/.

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Carol Wells

FEED A BEE! You don’t have to be a tree hugger to respect the environment that you live in. For two million years, before the agricultural revolution, humans foraged the land and brought thousands of species of animals to extinction. We can say that millions of years ago we didn’t know better, but now we do. Bees are pollinators, and without them, we wouldn’t be alive. They are responsible for feeding 90% of the world’s population. David Attenborough, the voice behind The Blue Planet and Planet Earth, warns “if bees were to disappear from the face of the Earth, humans… Read more »

Adam Wynne

Are bees sensitive to artificial sweeteners? This may work as an emergency energy boost – but what impacts do artificial and refined sweeteners have on bees vs. the molecules naturally found in nectar?

Adam Wynne

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Adam Wynne

This short documentary offers an interesting perspective on the importance of crop resilience (in this context kumara – a type of sweet potato). Crop resilience is a vital element of famine prevention.

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Author: Ajaka, Nadine
Publication(s): The Atlantic
Date: 19 August 2016
Link: https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/496655/chinese-refugees-saved-the-kumara/

Adam Wynne

For those of you looking for an interesting film to watch, I highly recommend PBS’ Documentary “Seed: The Untold Story.” The documentary discusses how an estimated 94% of vegetable varieties went extinct in the 20th century and the critical importance of preserving seed diversity for human security. It is noted in the documentary that many varieties of vegetables shown in old paintings and photographs have since vanished. There is hope that some seeds have been preserved. Of note is that a loss of seed diversity and increased monoculture planting has opened up a number of avenues for agricultural diseases and… Read more »

Adam Wynne

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Adam Wynne

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Adam Wynne

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Adam Wynne

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Adam Wynne

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Adam Wynne

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Adam Wynne

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Julian Cribb
Adam Wynne

Thanks for the link.

Kelvin Juma

We can protect famine by limiting the growing technology in the world,,the growth of famine is now day resulted from our daily growing technology

Adam Wynne

Kelvin – Can you clarify what you mean by this?