Friday, May 2, 2008

Rising Prices and Global Crisis

Have you purchased flour, rice or bread lately? If you have then you know that prices are going up - way up! Last fall I bought a 5kg (11 lb.) bag of no name whole wheat flour at Superstore for $3.98. In mid April I paid $5.79! The name brands were in the $8-8.50 range. The 100% 454g. whole wheat bread that I have purchased for years at $0.99 rose to $1.19 in February and I paid $1.39 two weeks ago. I am not out of brown rice yet, but I bought a bag this week as I have heard that prices are climbing fast. The price was only 15 cents more for a 900g. package (2 lb.) two months ago.

These and many other staple items are rising in price around the world. Some North American retailers are even limiting quantities on some staple items. The Winnipeg Free Press ran an article earlier this week about the cost of hunger and how this global crisis was effecting food sources and imports/exports to foreign nations. Food riots in Mexico, parts of Russia and West Bengal. Riots and protests in Haiti, Burkina Faso, Egypt and Cameroon. Curtailed exports on rice/wheat in Argentina, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, India, Vietnam, and China. There are line ups for rice in the Philippines and in Australia there has been drought for two years resulting in little wheat for sale.

North America is fairing better so far, but one bad crop year could change that dramatically. Many farmers have switched to growing corn to be used to make ethanol as an alternative fuel source. This is good in theory as we desperately need greener fuel alternatives. However this switch is also starting to create a shortage of grains here as well.

If more people were to get off their collectives butts and walked, biked, car pooled, used public transit or drove hybrid cars, it would go a long way to reducing the need for gas and alternatives. Not to mention that the extra movement of people may actually help some people to loose some excess weight.

Think about it. Eat healthier = loose weight = better energy for movement = less dependency on motorized transport. If you still need transport to and from work, a lighter you is also less wear and tear on the vehicles. Sounds like a win win situation doesn't it?

If you have a garden, why not plant a little extra this spring and donate the extra to a local food bank. Many communities have programs promoting this option. Here in Winnipeg it is called "Grow a Row".

Even if you don't have a garden or still believe that you have no choice but to keep using your gas guzzler vehicle there is always something you can do to help preserve and protect our dwindling resources.

A few months ago I heard about a great web site called It is a site that promotes vocabulary skills for all ages and donates 20 grains of rice for every word that you guess the correct definition for. There are many skill levels and they are automatically adjusted depending on your responses. 20 grains may not seem like much but it doesn't take long to add up. I played for about 10 minutes one day and had almost 1000 grains. There are approximately 250 grains of brown rice in a teaspoon which is equal to 1500 grains in an ounce. Granted that doesn't sound like much but it adds up. There are daily updates on the site. On Wednesday of this week, 233,975.040 grains of rice were donated - that's almost 156,000 cups of rice in ONE DAY! Just over 30 BILLION grains have been donated since the site started on October 7, 2007. That is a phenomenal amount to be donated in such a short time from one little website - but it is only a drop in the bucket of what is needed to help feed the growing number of starving people in the world.

So why not enrich your vocabulary and donate to a worthy cause at the same time. You can play the word game and learn all about how the program works by going to; I have the site listed as one of my favorites in the sidebar near the top of my blog. Bookmark the site. Send the link to all your friends and family. Play often! You might actually learn some new words and improve your vocabulary!


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