Monday, April 28, 2008

Don't Eat Rice: You May or May Not Be Saving the World

I spend time each day playing the Free Rice game. The Free Rice game is just a vocabularly quiz; for each correct answer a player gives, Free Rice donates 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program to end hunger. The Free Rice game enables me to fight hunger while sitting comfortably on my couch watching cable. Taking daily vocabulary quizzes is one small way to deal with the guilt of having a full refrigerator while a third of the world is starving.

Here's the problem: We're facing a global rice shortage. So, as I improve my vocabulary skills and win rice grains for the masses, where does the rice come from? With that in mind, I've decided to stop buying rice. Maybe by doing so, I'll help make this essential grain more available to those who need it most. Then again, one could accuse me of saying to the world's millions of food-insecure families, "I'll go ahead and eat heartier, tastier foods; you can have my rice." Hunger is complicated.


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