American Society For Nutrition



Excellence in Nutrition Research and Practice
Posted on 11/30/2009 at 09:49:30 PM by Student Blogger
By: Bobban S.

After reading my blogs, some of my friends told me they are too serious and suggested that I write something fun. Well, it seems that years of academic credits and scientific literature survey made me too ‘serious sciencey'! Serious or not serious, I am glad that I was able to share some of my thoughts with the vibrant ASN community.

Recently my focus shifted towards policy issues and I happened to read a very recent report on climate change on agriculture and food production from International Food Policy Research Institute. The study found that calorie availability in 2050 will not only be lower in the no-climate change scenario, it will actually decline relative to the 2000 levels throughout the developing world, exponentially increasing the child malnutrition levels (1). And in an emission mediated climate-change scenario the things will be much more exacerbated.


I happened to think, whether a subsistence farmer somewhere in Africa or Asia would know about the intricacies of climate change and why they cannot rely anymore on their little farmland. Who was and is responsible for this? Over the last century, the industrialized energy-intensive nations emitted huge amount of greenhouse gas which mediated the human-induced climate change.

It's no time for blaming each other. However, the wealthy nations who were more responsible in emission-related climate changes should realize their greater commitments and take meaningful initiatives to feed the poor.

The wealth is accrued in a handful of millionaires and they can bring huge changes in the health and development of world's poor. I have been thinking about the generosity of Bill and Melinda Gates and their Gates Foundation to bring a meaningful development in the developing countries. They fund enormous amounts of their personal wealth as grants to develop technologies for practical solutions (to develop cheap vaccines for malaria, HIV, to improve nutritional status of pregnant women etc) for poor communities in developing and underdeveloped nations. They also provide educational opportunities for US as well as citizens of their developing countries. Their vision and mission should be highly applauded as a scientific community. His quote “poor farmers are not the problem to be solved but they are the solution” is a world message. It is also noteworthy, that stimulated by Bill Gates initiatives, other rich people such as billionaire investor, Warren Buffet, have also joined the vision and mission of Gates Foundation. It is sure that collectively they can bring many practical changes in poor people's health (such as improved nutrition, disease control etc) and well being.

There is no doubt that, our generation are witnesses of some of the massive challenges of mankind; most important of that is the man-mediated climate change, and the predicted ruin of planet's agricultural land (which in turn contributes to food scarcity). Sustainable solution to all this is vital for the future of human beings. I wish, in the coming decades, governments and non-governmental institutions (such as Gates Foundation) will work together to bring radical changes so that many of these issues can be solved sustainably.
1. Nelson, G.C., et al. 2009.Climate change: Impact on agriculture and costs of adaptation, Food Policy Report.  International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington D.C. September 2009.

1 Comment
Posted Dec 02, 2009 10:39 AM by Eve W.

You are right, the Gates Foundation should be commended for helping reduce poverty and improve nutrition. I think ASN could help as well, through their scientists giving money or time.