As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 63

As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 7: Future of Korea, Future of the World
Solution to Poverty and Hunger, pg 230-233

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Solution to Poverty and Hunger

If you are never hungry, you cannot know God. The times when you are hungry are opportunities to be nearest to God. When you are hungry, if you are able to look humbly at each approaching person as if he were a close family member whom you want to help, you are more likely to be fed. In such situations, it is important to maintain a sympathetic heart of goodness.

Hunger is not an issue relegated to less-developed areas of the world. Even in the United States, which enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world, there are millions of people who are undernourished and hungry. When I went to the United States, one of my first projects was to purchase trucks to be used for the distribution of food to the poor.

The situation in impoverished countries is far worse than in the United States. When I look at the world situation, I feel that securing sufficient food supplies is the most pressing problem. Solving the food crisis cannot be put off for even a moment. Even now, some twenty thousand people around the world die of hunger-related causes every day. We cannot afford to be apathetic just because we and our immediate families are not facing hunger. 

Simply distributing food supplies by itself will not resolve hunger. A more fundamental approach to the problem is needed. I am considering two fundamental and concrete methods. The first is to provide ample supplies of food at low cost, and the second is to share technology that people can use to overcome hunger on their own.

The issue of food will present humankind with a very serious crisis in the future. We cannot build a world of peace without first resolving the food issue. Sufficient food supplies for all the world’s population cannot be produced on the limited amount of land area that is currently available. We must look to the oceans for a solution. The oceans hold the key to solving the food crisis of the future. This is the reason I have been pioneering the oceans for the past several decades.

In Alaska, pollock smaller than thirty-eight centimeters long is used for fertilizer. They would make wonderful food, but people don’t know how to prepare them, so they use them just for fertilizer. As recently as twenty or thirty years ago, Koreans could ask Westerners to give us the tail of an ox (a delicacy), and they would let us have it for free. Koreans are fond of food prepared with the bones or the intestines of cows, but some Westerners do not know these are edible.

The same is true with fish. About twenty percent of the world’s fish catch is routinely thrown out. Whenever I see this, I think of the people who are dying of hunger, and I feel pain. Fish is a much more reliable source of protein than beef. How wonderful would it be if we made fish cakes or fish sausages to give to people in impoverished lands!

Once this thought came to me, I started projects to process and store large volumes of fish. It does not do any good to catch large amounts of fish if you cannot handle them properly after the catch. Even the best fish cannot be kept well for more than eight months. Even if they are frozen and placed in refrigeration, air gets in through cracks in the ice, and water escapes. You could pour water on the fish and freeze them again, but by then, the best flavor is already gone, and the fish might as well be thrown out.

We gathered fish that were being thrown out and researched how to turn them into fish powder. We sought to do something that even advanced countries like France and Germany have not done. Fish turned into powder could be transported and stored easily, even in hot and humid climates. Fish powder is ninety-eight percent protein, among the very highest protein content of all food products. For this reason, it can be used to save people from dying of hunger. Fish powder could also be used to make bread. We are still searching for ways to make it available to impoverished countries around the world.

The oceans contain limitless food supplies, but the best method for saving humanity from the food crisis is fish farming. I foresee that there will be buildings similar to the skyscrapers we see in our cities today, devoted to fish farming. By using water pipe systems, we can farm fish in tall buildings or even on the tops of mountains. With fish farming, we can produce more than enough food to feed all the world’s people.

The ocean is a blessing bequeathed to us by God. When I go out on the ocean, I am completely absorbed in fishing. I have caught all kinds of fish in different countries. One reason I fish is so I can teach people who don’t know how to fish. In South America, I spent several months showing local people my fishing methods. I took in tangled fishnets myself and spent three or four hours showing them how to untangle them.

To secure adequate supplies of food at low cost, humankind will need to develop the ocean. This and the great grasslands that are still in their prehistoric state are our final storehouses of wealth. This task, though, will not be easy. It will require us to go to places that are so hot and humid that moving around and working hard with a strong sense of dedication become very difficult. Developing the grasslands in tropical regions cannot be done without a love for humankind that is passionate and dedicated.

Jardim, in Brazil, is just such a place. It is quite difficult to live there. The weather is hot, and bugs that have not even been named yet are continually biting. I lived in that place and made friends with all its various creatures. I walked around barefoot, feeling the red soil of Jardim beneath my feet, looking just like a peasant farmer. When I was at the river catching fish, I looked like the local fishermen.

It is only when the local people look at you and say, “You really are a farmer,” or “You really are a fisherman,” that you are qualified to receive their knowledge and share your own knowledge with them. It is not something that can be done by someone who needs to sleep eight hours a night in a clean and comfortable bed, eat three square meals a day, and take naps under a shady tree.

When we were developing a project in Paraguay, a group of our members and I were living in a small hut in Olimpo, close to the Paraguay River. There was only one toilet, and each morning we had to take turns using it. I would get up each morning at three o'clock, do some exercises, and then go fishing. Because of this, the members who were with me went through some very difficult times. They were not used to cutting bait early in the morning before they were completely awake.

When we took the boat out, we had to cross through a number of other properties in order to reach the mooring site. Unlocking the gates to these properties in pitch darkness was difficult. One morning when the members were fumbling with a lock, unable to open it, I yelled at them, “What are you doing?!” I shouted so loudly and fiercely that I surprised even myself, so I am sure it must have been difficult for them.

But I feel that I cannot afford to waste so much as a single second. I don’t have any time to be idly standing around. I can clearly see a list of all the things I must accomplish before there can be a world of peace, so my heart is always in a hurry.

When I fished there on the river before dawn, the mosquitoes would swarm like a dark cloud. Their stingers were so sharp they would pierce right through a pair of jeans. In the predawn darkness, we could not see the floats on our fishing lines, so we had to attach white plastic bags to them. I could not wait for the sun to come up. I was in too much of a hurry.

I still miss Jardim. I miss everything about it. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the heat of the Jardim air pressing against my face. The minor inconveniences to my body were nothing. Bodily suffering passes quickly. What is important is that this place can one day play a significant role in serving the world. Being in Jardim brought great happiness to my heart.


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