Friday, September 19, 2014

Seven Billion and Counting

By the time I am 105, there will be nine billion people living on earth.
Nine billion people -- an incredible number -- two billion more than today.
The October issue of National Geographic brought this astounding fact to me. How do you feed nine billion people? 

When we lived in Japan, we attended a gathering for the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation.*  M.S. Swaminathan, the father of the green revolution in India, was the honored guest. He is the scientist most responsible for increasing crop production and encouraging modern farming methods in India. People at the party sat at his feet listening attentively to everything he uttered. I was interested because his foundation supports increasing opportunities for women. Others from India had firsthand experience with the effects of large population on food availability. In a Tweet in 2014, Swaminathan stated, "Future belongs to nations with grain, not guns. Will we see food security for all?"*

M.S.Swaminathan in the center

While we were in Japan, we became friends with a couple who founded Asia Initiatives.* The group provides funding for local bank loans to villages, builds structures in villages that increase community ties, and encourages the education of women. Our small donation along with many others helped to build a village radio station and tower before the tsunami in 2004. Many lives were saved because the station gave warnings of the pending disaster.

 Radio station in operation

Asia Initiatives is one of many groups working outside of the U.S, not just on food and sustainability issues.  There are many more opportunities at home as well. My husband Bill volunteers with Wardrobe for Opportunity,* which provides clothing and job skills workshops for low-income individuals. I've just signed on as a writer coach with WriterCoach Connections* at a Berkeley middle school. Coaches work throughout the district (and Oakland, Richmond, and Albany) as supporters for each middle and high school student with teacher-assigned writing projects. Both of these opportunities require large time commitments, but there are so many small ways we can help someone in need:

A postcard. A hug. Good listening. Food donations. All those touches that uplift anyone.  There are so many people who need help in different ways and so many places to help. Are you one of the seven billion now who can make a difference?

If you work for a group that helps others and would like to share the name/website, email me the information and I will post it on this blog.  Thank you! 

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful you can share your expertise and time with others...


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