“Mother Earth – our only home – is under pressure…Without a sustainable environmental base, we will have little hope of attaining our objectives for reducing poverty and hunger and improving health and human well-being.”
-Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, 22 April 2010
Environmental concerns like climate change, deforestation, water scarcity, decreasing biodiversity and soil erosion are global problems. As declared by the United Nations, it is our global responsibility “to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.”
It’s no easy task. According to the latest update on the UN Millennium Development Goals:
- Global carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) have risen to more than 30 billion metric tons per year, a 35 percent increase since the 1990s.
- Biodiversity continues to decline and nearly 17,000 species of plants and animals are currently threatened with extinction.
- Increased agricultural efforts to combat rising food prices demand ever more of already strained improved water sources; the same sources that eight out of ten people in rural areas still lack basic access to.
While we must all deal with the effects of these environmental concerns, people living in conditions of hunger and poverty in the developing world are at the greatest risk. The vast majority of people in hunger and poverty live in rural regions, relying heavily on agriculture, with their well-being closely tied to the natural environment. They are extremely vulnerable to extreme weather like droughts and flooding – exacerbated by climate change – and bear the burden of climate change (because they account for 80 percent of world population) though their carbon footprints are the smallest (World Bank World Development Report 2010).
But progress is being made. At the end of 2010, deforestation rates were gradually decreasing and over seven million hectares of new forest have been grown annually since 2000. The latest World Bank data has shown promising developments in sustainable energy as well. Simple steps such as making efforts to adopt efficient cooking stoves for biomass use have significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions in developing regions and increase the capacity of limited incomes.
Building more resilient communities that can cope with environmental challenges is at the heart of The Hunger Project’s (THP’s) approach.
What We Do
- Promoting sustainable farming practices. At our epicenters in Africa, partners create community farms, where villagers learn composting, intercropping and other methods, like drip irrigation, to improve crop yields, restore soil fertility and make the best use of scarce resources.
- Increasing access to sustainable agricultural technology. The Hunger Project provides training and credit, mobilizing people to adopt sustainable agricultural technology and practices, and encouraging them to demand agricultural extension services from their government.
- Raising awareness of and building capacity to adapt to climate change. In India and Peru, The Hunger Project and its partners hold workshops to build our partners’ capacity to exercise leadership, take steps to reduce their vulnerability and formulate strategies to mitigate climate change risks. At the regional and international level, we also advocate for the conservation of natural resources, the mitigation of the harmful effects of extractive industries, and the recovery and promotion of traditional knowledge and technology that is highly adaptable to changing climate conditions.
- Facilitating reforestation and tree planting campaigns. Throughout our Program Countries, trained Hunger Project village partners establish tree nurseries, which can reforest their communities, control soil erosion, and become entrepreneurial village businesses, supplying families with fruit trees that not only capture carbon, but also provide nutrition and income.