One Big Problem

Mr. Musk,

Looking for a problem to solve with an invention? How about about a problem that affects more than 800 million people in the world, a problem that was the cause of 45% of all child deaths in 2011?

How about solving world hunger?

The main cause: many people in the world still do not have sufficient income to purchase (or land to grow) enough food. However, other cited causes include: harmful economic systems, armed  conflict, environmental overload, discrimination, and powerlessness.

The 1996 World Food Summit set a target to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015 from their number in 1990-92. However, while the number of hungry people in developing regions has fallen by over 200 million (from 991 million to 790.7 million), the goal was 497 million, which means that the target was not reached.

One Israeli inventor has developed a technology that can extend the shelf life of produce by 1,500% while also preventing disease and fungus, useful in countries where the transportation systems are slow and refrigeration is hard to come by. If all food was grown with his technology, he argues about a third of the food grown today which is typically lost to spoilage and disease would actually make it to market. Thus, farmers in poor countries could earn more on all produce they grow and have more to offer to those in their community, or small farms could have extra to sell and earn income.

One organization names many other solutions to world hunger: world hunger2sustainable food, access to credit, food donations, access to education, urban farming, government intervention, and birth control education.


I’m certainly no expert, but there is a plethora of research out there. World hunger is an immense issue with no single solution yet. Still, I’m sure with your expertise, you can brainstorm several inventions (that alter food itself, involve an inexpensive farm-in-a-box for anyone to grow their own food, use unique drones to carry food from one region to the next with regular deliveries, etc.) that will curb this problem and help us reach the World Food Summit goal of at least halving the number of undernourished people in the world.


But hey, if not, then how about a computer that is recharged through each push of a key on the keyboard? Then I wouldn’t have needed to locate and plug in my charger, and use electricity, during this post.


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7 thoughts on “One Big Problem”

  1. It’s interesting that you have chosen to focus on world hunger, which could be solved by society today. The amount the U.S. spends on its military budget is appealing. If even a fraction of it, say 5%, were deferred to food programs we would have significantly less staving children in the world. There are obviously other factors that come into the situation but I truly believe world hunger can be solved. An important question that arises though, is how sustainable are food programs? Do they help local, impoverished communities or do they perpetuate cycles of poverty and unemployment?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do believe that world hunger can be solved in our society today. Currently the US, consumes about 1500 tons of food per capita, which is significantly higher then the rest of the world. A lot of the food “consumed” also just goes to waste. So I think if we find an effective way to allocate food where less food would be thrown away, it can help alleviate some aspects of the world hunger. A lot of it has to do with the varies policies we have set in place that indirectly affect people.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually was considering this same topic for an invention. You list several ideas and inventions that have been proposed and created that would greatly improve world hunger. The problem that I see that needs fixing is enforcing governments to start aiding this problem in a larger way. People are coming up with new, innovative ideas that could truly help with feeding the world (urban farming is actually a really cool invention), but the governments are not listening to these ideas and are pressured by the large food companies to keep the food industry the way it is. This is a totally solvable problem, countries just need to collaborate and pick one of the many solutions and follow through with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like this quote:

    “We have two or three times the amount of food right now that is needed to feed the number of people in the world,” said Joshua Muldavin, a geography professor at Sarah Lawrence College who focuses on food and agricultural instruction.

    We produce enough calories. Just not in the “right” places…


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