Many of us are keenly aware of how precarious our food supply is right now, at both the personal and national level. People are losing jobs, and food prices are still high. Conventional agriculture relies on petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides. When the price of oil bounces back up, it will once again be prohibitively expensive to fly and ship food from continent to continent. Way back in 2004, then-Secretary of US Health Tommy Thompson mused, "I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do." Yikes.
It's scary. Even those of us who grow some of our own food and contribute to food banks often feel there's so very little we can do about food security. Well, there is one thing that is truly easy to do that can help alleviate world hunger. Play a word game on your computer.
Free rice is a minimalist website that offers an ongoing vocabulary test. For every word problem you correctly answer, the website will donate 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program. The costs are paid by the sponsors whose ads are remarkably unobtrusive on the gaming page. It costs you nothing but a few minutes of your time to contribute enough grains of rice to help feed a hungry person somewhere in the world. If English vocabulary isn't your strong suit, you can opt for vocabulary testing in another language, or get quizzed on your knowledge of chemistry, art, geography, or math. You may even learn a few things while you're at it.
I don't mean to trivialize hunger. We can't build a world of food security just by playing games on our computers. But it is one little thing we can do, and it's free and educational at the same time. So check out freerice.com and help someone in need, for free.