Poverty in itself is not is not catastrophic. The people of Bhutan live on about $2 a day, yet they are among the happiest people in the world. When poverty becomes terrible is when that poverty prevents people from purchasing the necessities of life, especially food, water, and shelter. When people are forced by their poverty to watch their children die of malnutrition, from dysentery or other water born diseases, or who freeze to death because of lack of shelter, then that is indeed terrible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pvcbo8uMK4w
But on the other hand if people are able to hunt and grow their own food, to make their own shelters, and are able to drink pure water from the nearby stream, as most indigenous people were able to do until relatively lately, then life is good, even though those people may have absolutely no money. They would be considered in abject poverty by today’s standards yet they could be happy if they worked hard.
But times have changed. People can no longer live off the land. Few own land they can farm or have access to wildlife they can hunt, and few waterways are free of pollutants toxins and disease. There are too many people living on the planet now, there is no free land available for sustenance living, too little wildlife, and their habitat is disappearing. Most people now live in large cities, and in most part the people are dependant on the government of those cities to insure that they have the necessities of life, clean water, sanitation, and access to food, and housing. When a lot of people live together there must be sewage systems, and water delivery systems, or disease will spread through the city. There should be jobs available so people can earn the money to buy food and shelter.
So when we discuss extreme poverty, the most important thing we need to discuss, is how we can see to it that the basic necessities of life are available to all. The key is good governance. In undeveloped areas, they still try to do things as they have for thousands of years. Often that means a tribal government, where the tribal leaders must make certain that everyone has a place in society, tasks to do, and places where they can do it. Some people have to farm, some people fish, hunt, or raise animals, some people weave, some people do specialized things like making tools. The leaders need to make certain that everything works well, that the needs of the community are met, and that the young are taught how to find their niche in the village. People need food, water, housing, education, and good governance to make everything work.
The United States is the most developed of nations and yet we still have one fifth of our children living in poverty. We still have major cities with food deserts, and we still have places like Flint Michigan where safe water is not available. We still have places where half the young people can’t get jobs. How can that be in the richest nation in the world?
Overpopulation has made it more difficult to live the simple lives of the past, but technology has made it possible for almost all of us to live good lives without starving to death. Much of our food has become more nutritious and farming methods have become more efficient so we can provide more food. The Green revolution saved the lives of millions of people. We now know what basic nutrients are necessary to keep people alive and we can provide that to starving people for pennies a day. Will technology continue to provide enough food for a growing population? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lHpCecXPqw
Capitalism has allowed millions of people to rise out of abject poverty, but the factories have also polluted our rivers and added poisons and toxins to the air and land and they have gotten into the food. Are the jobs worth the pollution? There is enough food but capitalism does not allow that food to be distributed evenly. Unfettered capitalism not only creates pollution but it exploits workers. Corporations prefer a large part of the population that are unemployed so they can pick from the best and provide the minimum of wages and safety. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QloMOOG-bbE
How can we change the existing system? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QloMOOG-bbE
The earth will gain an additional two or three billion people. How can we feed them given that water is becoming scarce and farm land is losing its fertility? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhgDpkPgnZM
6 Facts of malnutrition and starvation:
1 in 10 Infants die within the first 12 months of life
1 in 5 children suffer from chronic malnutrition
1 in 10 children suffers from severe malnutrition
50% of children have a calcium, iron and zinc deficiency
75% of South Africans, have inadequate access to food
More than 1 in 5 children are physically stunted due to malnutrition.
Feeding Nine Billion Video 1: Introducing Solutions to the Global Food Crisis by Dr. Evan Fraser 12:21 min. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raSHAqV8K9c
Feeding Nine Billion Video 2: Science, Technology and GMOs 5:39 min. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFDyTz9K9i8
Feeding Nine Billion Video 3: What Policies Can Make Our Food System More Sustainable? 4:54 min. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN0bCJ1M6p8
Feeding Nine Billion Video 6: Climate Change and Food Security 5:00 min. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYq2elstFWQ