Offrir des calories aussi, c’est sauver des vies | Marc Subilia | TEDxGeneva

November 17, 2019 0 By Ewald Bahringer


Translator: Elisa Lanzi
Reviewer: Ellen Maloney Have you ever been confronted by two conflicting and shocking images
on the Internet or in a magazine? On the one hand, there is too much food, and that adds to what are often
unhealthy food choices, with plenty of between-meal snacks. As a result, the number on the scale creeps up and then there are all sorts of diets
supposedly to to burn the extra calories, diets that can be very expensive. Eating too many calories distorts
the shape of the body, wears out the joints and the heart, and can lead to potentially
life-threatening illnesses. On the other hand, not getting adequate calories
ultimately leads to the deaths of many men,
women and children, through the long and painful
experience of starvation. What can we do? This question already preoccupied me when I was working as a doctor
in different hospitals. Then, years later, when I became a pastor, I was wondering what can be done? Let’s take a closer look. The numbers speak for themselves. Each year, according to recent data, which of course is an estimate, approximately 36 million people
die because of not enough food. And each year, 29 million people die from the
consequences of eating too much. This situation is paradoxical. It is scandalous. What can we do? What some have tried to do is reduce
the amount of excess calories by eating more reasonably and reducing food waste. On the other side, some have tried to
bring aid to those in the greatest need, by making donations. What I am proposing today is another approach, in which
“excess” and “lack” are brought together in an effort to reduce excess, to remedy as far as possible
what is lacking, with the aim of restoring a balance
in which everyone wins. Give the gift of calories for life, take part in the fight
against hunger, and feel better. Save lives without having to pay
a penny more than usual! Concretely, it involves replacing one meal per week, preferably an evening meal, and of giving the amount of money equal
to what you would have spent on this meal to a charity of your choice that is acting effectively to fight hunger and malnutrition. The simple idea of giving up one meal, of limiting ourselves, can make us uncomfortable, but it is also true that when we give a gift to someone,
we don’t feel it damages or frustrates us. Gifts give pleasure to the person
who receives them, but also to the person who gives. Concretely, the night of the week that I go to bed
without having eaten dinner, on an empty stomach which is rumbling in protest, with my belly asking to be fed
and afraid of hunger pangs, I am actually not hungry … I have a craving to eat, and that
is something completely different. And when I have that craving, I think
differently to those who are truly hungry, who will be hungry tomorrow
and in the weeks to come, until they die of hunger. That calls on us to empathize. There is a feeling of “compassion,” of “suffering with” with those who have been
literally condemned to death. The next days? Well, the morning after,
there is already a nice surprise: I am not really very hungry at all. I wake up ready
for the day, body and soul. Afterwards, I become more aware of how I eat. I find I am able to avoid certain habits, such as eating a big bag
of chips in one sitting, while watching a game on TV. Bit by bit, I get out of the trap in which we believe that we can ease the little annoyances, frustrations
and worries of everyday life by stuffing ourselves
with excessive amounts of food. And then I become more aware
of the quality of what I eat. My plate is filled with food
that is precious. I know that it’s not to be taken
for granted, that it’s not automatic. Since the dawn of time, humans have put all
of their energy and strength into making sure they have enough to eat, day after day. The way in which we nourish ourselves, on this planet, says something about our community,
how we live together. Do I eat alone, all by myself? Do I share with others? This is a spiritual question
for each of us. For me, as a Christian,
it is an urgent question. What is the meaning, when we recite the Lord’s Prayer, of the words, “Give us this day
our daily bread”? It’s certainly different from saying
“Give me the bread I need every day”. There is a communal aspect to asking that there be enough food for every member of God’s family. What if we were to believe
that God is counting on us to take care of each other? Do not we risk being crushed
by the extent of these needs? For myself, I put
my trust in Jesus Christ, who can take any little bit
that is given freely and joyously and make it grow and multiply
far beyond our wildest imaginings. I’d also like to add this: if, by giving up one meal per week, you were able to save one person,
or even a whole family, what would keep you from starting today? What a privilege it is to be able
to do something concrete yourself, without relying on government decisions or slow-moving institutions. It only depends on us and we can start immediately. There are people
from all sorts of social situations who take up this proposal, saying, “It’s wonderful to be able to do
something that matters, without having to pay even a penny more than I would otherwise”. And there are people
of all ages, young and old, who tell me how happy
they are to give this gift. Their inner joy keeps them
motivated to continue, week after week. That is what allows them
to keep on over the long term. They have seen that one person’s “loss”
can really be another’s gain! Easing the suffering
of those who are hungry while simultaneously
feeling better yourself, that’s an experience worth having
and sharing with others! And so, I’d like to invite you to give the gift of calories to save lives! (Applause)