Food can do evil in many ways; the most common, the most cruel, is when it is missing. But our satiated societies are disturbed by the evil that makes them sated.
Eleven million people, says the study of The Lancet, die every year in the world to eat what they should not, not eat what they do. And it describes more causes of death but does not count how many die because they do not eat, to dry. Rich citizens worry more and more about what they eat, less about what they do not eat.
The report is likely to have more data than advertised in your ad. But, judging by those who give, the biggest problem of food in the world would be the lack of certain nutrients or the excess of others and, in that list, Rwanda may be better off than the United States of America. Something fails if you think, for example, that the average American has a life expectancy of 81 years and the Rwandan, of 68. And that, in Rwanda, one in three children is malnourished.
The world still does not try one of the few things that would save him from himself: that we all eat enough. For millennia it seemed impossible. Until, three or four decades ago, the most decisive historical event happened that history never recorded: the planet began to be able to feed all its inhabitants. Being able, of course, does not mean doing it. We can produce food for 12,000 million people, experts say. However, in a world where 7,500 million live, there are almost 1,000 million who do not eat what they need every day, and they die of that. And there is no global decision to attack the problem: hunger, now, for us and our rulers, is a problem of others.
I have been asked many times how to solve it; I always answer that the first thing is to want to do it, to decide what is important, what is the most important thing. If millions and millions decide it will be more difficult for governments and international organizations to continue playing dumb. Although we must accept that, to produce enough food for everyone, some of us should eat a little less, maybe a little worse, certainly less pompous, and not waste a third of our food and rethink the entire system of food processing and distribution .
For that, millions and millions should look less at their full navels-their sodium, their omega-3s, their saturated fats-and more the empty stomachs of the others. It is not easy, in the current times.
Martín Caparrós is the author of Hunger (Anagram).