Friday (16 October) was World Food Day and it comes as another reminder about the inequality and instability of human society.
Darwin introduced us to the natural process of evolution, where the strong survive and the weak do not. Natural selection is how species develop, grow and evolve; there is no place in nature for those too weak, ill or disabled to survive. That is as true of Homo Sapiens as it is of everything else, but our own evolution has taken us beyond this, at least superficially.
Compassion, a sense of what is right and what is wrong, have taken us down a different path. All the world’s religions tell us the same thing – to care for those in need. So rather than leave the weak to fall by the way side, we are taught to seek out those in our midst who need support and provide for them.
World Food Day is one of those occasions when we are asked to reflect on our own good fortune and do something positive for people we don’t know. A food collection at work brought in a veritable mountain of tinned and packaged goods, all of which will go to a local food bank for distribution to those in our town in greatest need.
For years activities such as this have been focused on Third World needs, but not anymore. It is a sad reflection on today’s society that we are now collecting to help feed and clothe our neighbours. How has it come to this point when citizens of one of the world’s most prosperous nations need to turn to charities just to feed themselves and their families?
It seems that for some the process of natural selection is still very much alive and well! However, now it is not the strong who survive, but the rich. As the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest continues to grow I have to ask, are we making progress, or are we slipping backwards?
On the positive side, while many are struggling with hunger, there are many more who are determined and willing to help. The growing need for Food Banks in a country like the UK may seem like a throwback to another less enlightened era, but it is a reminder that we are, at heart, a caring society. Whilst our “leaders” may not show it, and are only too willing to turn a blind eye to what they are doing to those they seem to feel are not worthy of their compassion, the majority of people do care about others.
We can all do something about world hunger without leaving the comfort of our homes by visiting the website http://www.freerice.com and taking part in their activities. Go on, have a go. It’s fun and will help to feed those in greatest need.