Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
One to watch...
The Hunger Games
MOVIES and literature often try to predict a plausible future for the Earth. Often they wildly miss the mark. Sometimes, there are echoes of truth buried within them.
Think of the George Orwell book (and subsequent movie) 1984. Was Big Brother watching when the year 1984 rolled around? Not so much then, but Google is doing a pretty good job of it now.
Then there's the Stanley Kubrick movie (and Arthur C. Clarke novel) 2001: A Space Odyssey. According to those works, we were supposed to be doing manned missions to Jupiter in 2001. Well, 11 years later, we did drop a pretty impressive rover on Mars, but a manned mission to any planet is years away.
However, there is one movie that seems plausible for some parts of the Earth -- especially after a United Nations report released Thursday revealed the severe drought gripping the U.S. Midwest has sent corn prices soaring by almost 23 per cent.
We're not going to feel much hunger here in the pampered West -- indeed, the opposite is the sad truth.
But Oxfam followed the UN report by saying, "Millions of the world's poorest will face devastation" from the rising prices. It declared the days of cheap food are gone.
Some doomsayers believe prices could rise as much as 25 per cent over the next few years.
But rather than resorting to some sort of Hunger Games to dole out a shrinking supply of food, the West has a simple solution at hand: stop wasting food. A 2004 study by Timothy Jones, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona, found almost half of the food produced in the United States is discarded.
If we use this precious resource more wisely, we won't even feel a 25 per cent price hike -- and Hunger Games can become simply another quaint movie from the past.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 11, 2012 J12
(1 of 23 articles for this week)