George Kent. Caring About Hunger.
(Sparsnas, Sweden: Irene Publishing, 2016, 199pp)
Questions and concerns about food security are gaining increasing attention at local, national, and international levels. Food security holds that all people at all times; have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food; necessary to lead active and healthy lives. Climate change is expected to change increasingly the way food is grown; and create possible water shortages.
George Kent; who taught political science at the University of Hawaii for many years; has written extensively on hunger and food issies; such as his Global Obligations for the Right to Food (2008); and Ending Hunger Worldwide (2011). Here George Kent makes an eloquent appeal; to the conscience of individuals and communities worldwide; to care about adequate food and to move with an awakened conscience into effective action.
Like Paulo Freire; George Kent places an emphasis on the development of awareness of individuals; to understand their capacity to act creatively. This transformation of consciousness is not just that of separate individuals; but requires community awareness. The community comes to understand; that it can transcend earlier limits; toward new possibilities for a fuller; and richer life individually and collectively.
George Kent uses the term “community” to refer to a face-to-face group of interacting individuals; bound together by a high degree of concern for one another’s welfare. Such a community has a sense of purpose about it. Community consciousness refers to people-in-interaction.
Hunger is a Social Problem.
He sets out his position clearly. “There are no technical obsticales to ending hunger in the world. It depends on how people relate to one another; on demensions such as caring; indifference and exploitation…Analysts may speak about deficits in land availability, water, seeds, knowledge, and trade opportunities; but fail to see that the major problem might be a deficit in caring. They do not appreciate that at its root; hunger is a social problem; heavily influenced by human relationships of caring, indifference, and exploitation. Local shortages are rooted in conflicts of interest; about how the earth’s abundant resources should be used. Hunger persists because lany people don’t care much about others; and many people exploit others…There is no easy way to measure caring; and no easy way to increase it; but at the very least there is a need to examin the role of caring in relation to hunger.
“A caring community is one; in which empowered citizens implement their own pathways; to a sustainable future and build bridges of hope and solidarity. A well functioning community is much more than random collections of people; who happen to live near one another. In strong communities; there is joint efforts toward a shared goal of living well together.”
Food Security and Hunger.
George Kent does not overlook that there are other agencies; national and United Nations; that work on the issue of food security and hunger. He holds that “the proper functions of agencies at the higher levels of governance is to support individuals; and agencies at the local level in the communities; to ensure that the families and neighbors; they care about have their needs fulfilled. Everyone should have the opportunity to live with others in a strong caring community.”
This is a fine guide to developing strong caring communities.
Rene Wadlow; President, Association of World Citizens.