Humans and their failed Resource Partitioning

People can hardly refuse temptation of delicious food. Apart from being a mere temptation, food is an essential element for the survival of human being. According to Dr. Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”, the basic “physiological needs” contains air, water, food etc. That’s why Professor Yuan Longping, “Father of Hybrid Rice” is so important to China as well as the whole word; he resolved the biggest problem faced by Chinese and saved thousands of people from famine.

Famine, the word sound so feminine but we can never understand the horror behind it until we have experienced it. Having the ability to get food at a click on our smart phones, one can never realize the pain of a mother in Thar caressing her crying baby to sleep that haven’t had a proper meal in days. According to a study conducted in University of Queensland, over eating today is a bigger problem than lack of food. Dilemma is that wealth and resources are concentrated in the hands of few while the rest of the poor majority starves to death.

In Pakistan, we love to do lavish parties and show off our wealth by the numbers of dishes served at a function. The sight of food being served at a wedding ceremony is extremely amusing but distressing at the same time. It looks like a battlefield; much like a fierce fight among people on whether who gets to fill their plate first.

While conspiring on capturing the table nearest to the food, me and my cousins would divide our responsibilities. One would guard the table while the rest are away getting food. The others would split the tasks of getting different dishes. It wasn’t until recently, when I studied the phenomenon of Resource Partitioning in ecology. It was surprising how our group of cousins was acting so similar to animal species. Resource partitioning is often seen in similar species that occupy the same geographic area. These similar animals avoid competition by using different kinds of food or other resources. If only humans had learned from these animals, there wouldn’t be 9.5 million hungry people in Ethiopia (African News Agency). Our greed has led us to procure as much as we can and become insensible towards the pain and suffering in other countries.

Pakistan produces enough food to feed the entire population but because of food wastage an estimated 6 out of 10 people go to bed hungry. On the Global Hunger Index out of 118 developing countries, Pakistan is ranked at 107 (The News). While wasting food we never ponder upon the effort a farmer has put into preparing his rice and wheat fields. In Pakistan, farmers feed the whole nation but unfortunately they are the least respected and most exploited population in our country. Sugar Mills and Flour Mills owners have become billionaires while a farmer’s situation hasn’t changed. How can there be peace in such an unjust society?

“A hungry people listens not to reason, nor cares for justice, nor is bent by any prayers.”

-SENECA

Early humans were hunters and gatherers. They would hunt just the amount of food needed and gather just the amount of fruits or vegetables required. There were no refrigerators or fridge to stock up stuff inside. The food was respected and cherished. The only way to rectification is our collective consciousness and concern for humanity. One should realize the consequences of one’s

actions. In short, we should think globally and act locally. Let’s vow not to waste food and respect it.

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