Inequality tightens its grip on the most vulnerable – global issues

Every year, 570 million tons of food are wasted at the household level. Global food waste accounts for 8-10% of greenhouse gas emissions. Credit: Claudia Chobanu / IPS
  • from Baher Kamal (Madrid)
  • Inter press service

And please don’t pretend you didn’t know that 20% of all people – those who live in the richest countries – waste about 35% of the food they buy, throwing it in the trash.

Poverty, armed conflict and corruption must also be blamed in poor countries for food waste – albeit on a much smaller scale – due to a lack of adequate storage infrastructure.

In short, 570 million tonnes of food are wasted at the household level each year, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) ‘s Food Waste Index for 2021 report.

This amount of wasted food is enough to feed millions of hungry people.

In addition, global food waste accounts for 8-10% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to UNEP warns.

In the meantime, intensive agricultural industries are dumping huge amounts of food on land and seas, either because they are ‘ugly’ – therefore not good enough to sell – or because they can keep their prices as low as possible.

The triple planetary crisis

Food waste is accelerating the triple global crisis of climate change, loss of nature and biodiversity, and pollution, according to the World Environment Organization.

Just take the case of a huge continent like Africa – 55 countries are home to 1.4 billion people – causing a negligible 2% to 3% of all global greenhouse gas emissionsbut it is the victim of more than 80% of the world’s climate catastrophes.

All of the above, as well as countless other consequences, have a common name: inequality.

Inequality is not just a matter of morality: inequality kills one person … every four seconds.

From billionaires to trillionaires

Add to all the above the fact that as the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the poor, The 10 richest people in the world have multiplied their wealth by trillions.

The numbers are staggeringly staggering: the world’s 10 richest men have more than doubled their fortunes from $ 700 billion to $ 1.5 trillion – at $ 15,000 per second or $ 1.3 billion a day, according to a new Oxfam study. International, IPS journalist Talif Dean reported.

“These phenomenal changes in wealth occurred in the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, in which the incomes of 99 percent of humanity fell and more than 160 million more people were forced into poverty – 60 million more than the figures published by the World bank in 2020

He grabbed it

As this happens, conservative estimates show that 811 million human beings are extremely hungry, close to the abyss of hunger and death.

These millions live in the world’s poorest regions, those who have vast natural resources – oil, essential minerals for giant technologies, private corporations, fertile soils grabbed from big business, etc. – Just don’t eat.

Playing with fire

But there is much more evidence to show how the most vulnerable have been abandoned in one of the worst health crises in decades: the COVID-19 vaccine.

See what World Health OrganizationThe boss of Tedros, Adanom Gebrejesus said May 4, 2022: The best way to save lives, protect health systems and minimize cases of “long-term COVID” is by vaccinating at least 70% of the population in each country – and 100% of the most at-risk groups .

Although more trials have become available, lack of political commitment, operational capacity problems, financial constraints, misinformation and misinformation limit the demand for vaccines, he added, warning that COVID treatment is still often “out of reach” for the poor.

Record profits of producers

While “playing with fire that keeps burning us”, he said that “producers are reporting record profits”.

Tedros Adanom Gebrejesus stressed that “we cannot accept prices that make life-saving treatments accessible to the rich and inaccessible to the poor.”

Acute shortage of food and water

Back to the stunning effects of the climate crisis on those who have contributed the least to it.

In East Africa alone, 25 million people are now facing acute food and water shortages due to the climate crisis, as predicted by the scientific community a few months ago.

The driest conditions

The East African region, and in particular Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya, have been experiencing the driest conditions and hottest temperatures since satellite imagery began, according to the World Environment Agency.

As a result, about 13 million people are currently experiencing acute food and water shortages, and an estimated 25 million will face a similar fate by mid-2022.

Scientists blame climate change for the current crisis in the least part of the world.

“Africa as a whole contributes about two to three percent of global emissions which cause global warming and climate change. “

“However, the continent is suffering from the worst effects of the climate crisis, including rising heat waves, severe droughts and catastrophic cyclones, such as those that have hit Mozambique and Madagascar in recent years.

Things will only get worse

In addition, scientists and experts predict that things will only get worse for Africa if current trends continue.

According to 2022 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change“Key development sectors have already suffered widespread losses and damage due to anthropogenic climate change, including loss of biodiversity, water scarcity, reduced food production, loss of life and reduced economic growth.

“The current drought that has hit East Africa is particularly devastating for small farmers and shepherds beyond the Horn, who are already vulnerable to climate shocks.

“Currently in the Horn of Africa, we are witnessing vulnerable communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change, which are the least able to protect themselves from its impact,” said Susan Gardner, director of UNEP’s Ecosystems Division.


In the case of an East African country: Somalia, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) announced that the drought emergency had worsened to the point where the country was at risk of starvation.

And that about 4.5 million people are affected, of whom nearly 700,000 have been displaced from their homes in search of water, food, pastures and livelihoods.

The UN Relief Network as well informs that:

• About 3.5 million people are in dire need of water assistance, including 1.4 million internally displaced people. Water transportation activities continue, but are insufficient to meet growing needs.

• Schools are closing because children are displaced with their families. At least 420,000 (45% of girls) of the 1.4 million children whose education is disrupted are at risk of dropping out of school due to drought.

• At least 1.8 million people were reached with various forms of assistance in February, but the escalating emergency aid calls for a steady increase in response and flexibility in reprogramming.

Unprecedented impacts

Confirming these facts, International Organization for Migration (IOM) in turn reported that the Horn of Africa is in the grip of the worst drought in decades – drying up landscapes, exacerbating food insecurity and causing increasing displacement.

Approximately 15 million people are severely affected by drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia – approximately 3.5 and 7 million people in each country, respectively.

The unprecedented impacts of many failed rainy seasons threaten to create a humanitarian crisis in the region, “already negatively affected by cumulative shocks, including conflict and insecurity, extreme weather, climate change, desert locusts and negative socio-economic impacts.” “

Now that we remind you of some of the many, severe impacts of inequality, which, even at different levels, is happening in rich, industrialized countries will you take them into account when it comes to voting politicians?

© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter press service

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