It is not news that, in many unfortunate corners of the world, people are going to bed hungry every single night. It is not news that there is a melancholic irony in the fact that many of these people don’t even have a bed to turn into. But there is news pertaining to the gravity of the world hunger situation, and it is among the most concerning situations in the contemporary world.

According to the United Nations (UN), the number of hungry people in the world is up for the first time in over a decade, largely thanks to climate change and continuous violent conflicts. A report, issued September 15th outlined multiple climatic causes with relevance to the new hunger highs. It found that a staggering 815 million people went hungry last year alone, a startling rise from 38 million the previous year. The report pointed to conflict and climate change as contributing factors, but found one more influential than the other.

Even in regions that are more peaceful, “droughts and floods” have repeatedly “seen food security and nutrition deteriorate,” as stated by the UN website. Climate change is the undisputed main issue, and this mammoth rise in world hunger is one of its deepest impacts. Leah Samberg of Scientific American notes that between 1990 and 2015, world hunger was reduced to half its weight thanks to actions from world organizations. But the new report has seen a drastic turn of events, which can be coupled with the tremendous amounts of flooding, forest fires, and droughts of the past two years.

There is significant action needed if the global community is to get back on track. Plenty of organizations - from UNICEF to the World Food Programme - are making steady contributions to the cause. But perhaps the situation has become strenuous to the point where diplomatic action is needed from state leaders, not just international organizations. The time has come for countries to be punished for inadvertently depriving the underdeveloped world of basic human necessities due to their unconscionable use of climate-changing chemicals. Namely, these leaders should be coerced into providing food and refuge for the starving populations of the globe as retribution for their massive carbon footprints.

If 195 countries can admit that climate change is part of today’s reality - as per the Paris Agreements - then they should be open to a plan in which they pay a sum of money, non-perishable food, and refuge supplies as payment for their polluting ways. Of course, the entire reason for state sovereignty is that no one is obliged to contribute anything they do not wish. But if all of these countries can see the problem, then perhaps it is time to throw convention out the window and draw up a new plan of retribution. It is simply not fair that the developed world can have their cake and eat someone else’s, too.

The silver lining in a troubling situation like this is that there are always many ways to improve, and every small effort matters. With so many nations involved in the Paris agreements of 2015, as well as continuously enhancing efforts from the UN and fellow international non-profits, it doesn’t look as though the world is giving up. And with a simple donation to such non-profits or a food bank, or volunteering in your community, any one person can be the change that this world needs. It is due time for everyone to get a slice of the cake.

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