There are 7 billion people in the world right now. If you make it to the end of this post it will take you a minute, time enough for another 130 more to be added.
The FAO and UN estimate that almost 800 million of these people are malnourished and hungry on a daily basis. Meanwhile over 2,100 million or so wealthy people are overweight or obese — many more in emerging economies are on their way to joining them.
It is an odd juxtaposition. A sixth of the world’s people are too thin and nearly a third are too fat. Go figure.
Recently Conservation International made a series of short films asking us all to make important choices. Do we care enough about nature to keep her sweet? If not we are in the proverbial poop.
So here is a suggestion.
What if the overweight people choose to give half their food to the thin people? Those eating to much would get massive health benefits from eating less, as would the famished who would soon be properly fed.
There are many benefits to this simple plan. The biggest is hastening the demographic transition that Hans Rosling explains is essential to avoid 7 billion becoming 12 billion. The irony of poverty is that birth rates are always high and only slow to replacement rates with wealth creation.
Admittedly death rates would fall too, increasing life expectancy. Keeping people alive means more resource use but it would at least be more evenly distributed.
So would you do it?
Would you volunteer to buy less food and have what you didn’t purchase shipped off to needy folk half way across the globe?