Seaweed as a Food Source

Seaweed as a Food Source - Giant Kelp
Giant Kelp

God has given us a food source that so far humans have been unwilling to tap – seaweed. It is super fast growing, with some species like giant kelp growing 50 centimeters a day. Seaweed doesn’t need land or pesticides and doesn’t have to be watered. Furthermore, it is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. With over 800 million people starving worldwide, one answer might be seaweed as a food source.

Oceans cover roughly two-thirds of our planet, yet they contribute less than three percent of humans’ total food calories. Asian recipes have used seaweed for centuries, and its cultivation is limited mainly to Asia — large areas of the sea could be seaweed farms. There are 12,000 different types of seaweed, and humans have only learned how to cultivate fewer than 30.

Dried seaweed retains its nutrients and has a long shelf life, so it doesn’t have to be refrigerated or frozen. The reluctance to use seaweed as a food source has primarily come from misconceptions about it. Many of us have only seen water plants growing in a freshwater pond and have no idea what ocean-grown seaweed is like. In addition to food and the replacement of environmentally polluting agents, seaweed can be a significant carbon sink, absorbing massive amounts of carbon dioxide.

Seaweed can also be used as a natural fertilizer for land plants and as feed for animals. It can even be a cotton alternative in textiles and, in some cases, as a biodegradable replacement for plastics. Like most human problems, the solution is there, but we aren’t using all of the wealth of resources God has given us. One solution God has provided may be seaweed as a food source and more.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: Opinion article by Vincent Doumeizel on

Hunger and Malnutrition in the World

Hunger and Malnutrition in the World

It is hard to believe that in 2023 hunger and malnutrition are still major issues causing pain and suffering worldwide. As the world population grows, this situation is going to get worse. Those of us who have donated some money to organizations addressing hunger find ourselves on mailing lists that fill our mailboxes with requests for more money with pathetic pictures of starving children. Strangely enough, the primary issue isn’t food shortage but food waste.

Scientific American magazine published a study showing food loss and waste by country. Nigeria had the most significant waste in 2017, with over 3500 million tons of food lost. Nigeria is the source of many of the pictures of starving children and impoverished families, yet it leads the world in the waste and loss of food.

The United States in 2017 had about half as much food wasted or lost as Nigeria did. However, seeing what American restaurants, airlines, and food banks discard is appalling. India is the second-highest country in wasted or lost food, with just under 2500 million tons.

Hunger and malnutrition should not exist because God has given us all the resources we need to feed every man, woman, and child on the planet. Humans have allowed war, greed, selfishness, and mismanagement to cause the suffering we see.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: “Waste Not” in the July/August 2023 issue of Scientific American (page 14)

The Nutritional Value of Oysters

The Nutritional Value of Oysters

We live in an age when worldwide food supplies are limited, and there is incredible food waste in America. However, one food source God has given us is present in all of the world’s oceans. It is the five species of oysters harvested in the United States and many places worldwide. The nutritional value of oysters and their availability makes them an important food source.

Oysters are a keystone species that filter and clean sea water by consuming microorganisms. The average female oyster will produce up to 100,000,000 eggs a year. However, humans’ indiscriminate harvesting of wild oysters has reduced oyster populations in the U.S.A. to only 1% of what they were in the 1800s. In addition to the wild oyster population, these mollusks can be grown in artificial environments anywhere. Artificial tanks can use the runoff from forests, wetlands, and marshes to feed the oysters.

The nutritional value of oysters is well known. According to WebMD, six medium-sized oysters would produce 50 calories, 1 gram of fat, 21 mg of cholesterol, 150 mg of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of protein. For an American on a 2000-calorie diet, this serving would provide 28% of the daily iron needs, 4% of the vitamin C, and 3% of the calcium. Oysters are also an excellent source of vitamin B12, essential for brain health. They are also rich in vitamin D, copper, zinc, and manganese, all micronutrients that may help to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis.

Our food shortages are not because God hasn’t provided what we need. Current problems of land use, waste disposal, and nutritional deficiencies would be over if humans decided they have had enough war, greed, selfishness, pride, and arrogance. If we would start wisely using what God has given us and applying what we know, we could end hunger and malnutrition on the planet.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

References: USA Today for April 23, 2023, page 5PE and

Meeting Human Needs

Meeting Human Needs or Loving Money

Yesterday the mail brought an appeal from the 100th organization asking us for money for a cause somewhere in the world. Some are organizations dealing with politics, and others are trying to protect animal life or solve environmental issues. Seventy-four were organizations meeting human needs, including blindness, disease, poverty, birth defects, mental illness, and victims of war. Many organizations meeting human needs have budgets well under a million dollars. They get their money from people like me, who are not wealthy but give what we can. Yet, because there are so many of us, these organizations continue to accomplish their work.

A news item that arrived yesterday was a list of the dollar value of contracts between major league baseball players and their teams. Aaron Judge topped the list with a 360 million-dollar contract. The total for the top three players reached a billion dollars. The top fifteen major league baseball players signed for over sixty million dollars each. We could find similar data for NFL football players or NBA basketball players. The wealth of politicians, the amount paid to movie stars, and the salaries of CEOs in the business world are staggering for those of us who get by on less annual income than some of these people make in an hour.

So how much do the world’s wealthiest people give to organizations meeting human needs? Of course, there are a few cases where the rich support good causes. But considering the lifestyles of most of the rich, we understand why Jesus told His followers, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23-24 CSB).

The Bible tells about rich people who made a positive difference, but overall the message is that the love of money crowds out everything else. “But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10 CSB).

The track record of the very rich is not good. Suicide, alcohol and drug addiction, broken marriages, lost children, and the lack of genuine companionship abound. Meanwhile, the flow of misery from undeveloped countries is accelerating, and the followers of Christ are shipping the food, drilling the water wells, and providing medical help to meet human needs. Our thanks to all who follow the teachings of Jesus and give sacrificially to meet the needs of others.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: USA Today in South Bend Tribune for 3/12/23.

Worldwide Food Shortages

Worldwide Food Shortages

One consequence of many things happening in the world today is that we have worldwide food shortages. In the United States, we complain about the price of food and how much it has risen. Yet, in places like Somalia, there is simply no food available.

COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, rapid population growth, climate change, drought, and escalating conflict have combined to cause starvation and poverty in many places in the world. The United Nations reports that 349 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity, up from 287 million in 2021. In Somalia, the number of people facing “catastrophic” acute food shortages has risen from 5.6 million in December 2022 to a predicted high of 8.3 million by June 2023.

All of this pain and suffering is not something caused by God. The refusal of humans to follow God’s instructions, along with human greed and selfishness, are driving the chaos and pain. However, it does afford opportunities for Christians to provide the food and water that people need. No atheist group is going to address this crisis. We have to be reminded of Christ’s statement in Matthew 25:31 -40 that providing the needy with food, water, clothing, and support is what He expects of His followers. Worldwide food shortages may offer an excellent opportunity to show people everywhere what authentic Christianity means.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Hunger in the World and How Much Food Is Wasted

Hunger in the World and How Much Food Is Wasted

I added up the number of letters I received begging for financial help to address hunger in the world. I received 116 letters in September of 2021. They all displayed pathetic, horrible pictures of starving children, women holding emaciated babies, or men looking at barren fields due to drought or war. It is wonderful that people have set up various organizations to meet the pain and anguish of deprived people worldwide. But, the fact is that all of this shouldn’t be necessary. 

The October 2021 issue of Scientific American contained a report of how much food is wasted. The article reports that 40% of all food produced is lost across the supply chain from farm to table. Each year 2.7 billion metric tons of food are lost—enough to fill 2,860 curbside trash tote bins every second. The article breaks down how much food is wasted in the various food groups, including seafood, meat, dairy and eggs, oilseeds and pulses, roots and tubers, cereals, and fruits and vegetables. 

In addition to not meeting the hunger in the world, a significant amount of water and energy are wasted. We see skeptics complaining that if God existed, He wouldn’t allow this pain. Advocates of population control say the Earth can’t feed all of the people living on it. Some people have advocated eradicating the “unfit” mentally ill or physically incapacitated because they use resources that the “fit” need. 

The fact is that God has blessed the Earth with the ability to produce more food than we can use with our present population. It’s human wastefulness and failure to wisely use God’s blessings that cause the pain and suffering of hunger in the world. Therefore, it is encouraging that various Christian organizations are working to prepare and transport food that would otherwise go to waste. They are also drilling wells and showing people in under-developed countries make better use of the resources available to grow crops and preserve food. 

Matthew 25:35 shows Christ telling His followers that in the judgment, we will all be commended or condemned partly based on how we met the need of others. “Then shall (Jesus) say to those on his right hand ‘Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink.’” The passage goes on to show people asking when they did those things, and Jesus replied, “Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me” (Verse 40). 

Let each of us support works that address the issue of hunger in the world and the shortage of clean water. That may mean directly supplying those essentials or helping people in undeveloped areas of the world learn how to make better use of what God has given them. 

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Reference: “Massively Reducing Food Waste Could Feed the World” in Scientific American October 2021, pages 77-78.

Food Shortages and Starvation

Food Shortages and Starvation

One of the frustrating parts of the world situation today is the waste of food. Nearly every day, we get letters from relief organizations about hunger and pictures of starving children. The fact is that God has given us a planet that produces more food than we humans can eat. Food shortages and starvation result from mismanagement and failure to use all that God has given us.

The World Resources Institute tells us that 35% of the food produced in North America goes to waste. Most of this waste occurs at the consumption level in our homes and restaurants.

Some farming practices also contribute to the waste problem. In our area, people grow watermelons. When harvest time comes, hundreds of melons are left in the field to rot. The problem is that what sells at the market is melons of a specific size and weight, so melons that don’t meet those criteria are left in the field. Green beans are grown here, and the machines that harvest the beans cut off the plants allowing only one harvest. If allowed to continue to grow, the plants would produce many more beans.

Also, people are not fully using many food resources. We are just beginning to see the use of insects as a food source. Another developing area is aquaculture used for farming fish, as well as shrimp, clams, and lobsters. God has given us adequate food resources, and it is up to us to use them wisely so we can end food shortages and starvation everywhere on the planet.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Challenge of Feeding the Hungry

Challenge of Feeding the Hungry

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many hardships for people of all economic levels, but children have been hit especially hard with child hunger becoming a national problem. Last year in Michigan, over 67,000 children faced hunger. In 2020, that number has increased to almost 118,000. Right now, one in six families in Michigan is struggling to have enough food. The challenge of feeding the hungry is being met, and there is a lesson in who is meeting it.

Feeding America is an organization that gathers and distributes food to relieve hunger in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. They do this by donations of money and food from various companies and relying on volunteer labor.

The Does God Exist? ministry is dedicated to showing evidence that there is a God and that the Bible is His Word. Although the evidence for God’s existence is vast, perhaps more convincing is Christianity’s effect on people’s lives. Recently, the Feeding America truck came to our small congregation, where we unloaded food and distributed it to 103 families that don’t have enough to eat in our area. Our small operation reflected what is happening all over America. In 2019, Feeding America distributed almost 28-million pounds of food.

Our point here is who is meeting the challenge of feeding the hungry? Are atheist and skeptic groups involved? In 2019, volunteers turned three-and-a-half-million pounds of food into almost three-million meals for people in Western Michigan. Who were the volunteers making this possible? Four of the five groups were churches, and the other one was a Kiwanis Club. Feeding America lists agency partners for Michigan, and of the 20 partners listed, 13 were churches.

When churches feud or a minister is involved in a scandal, it frequently becomes front-page news. Atheist magazines like The Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptic publish stories in nearly every issue about a church or religious leader involved in some scam or mismanagement of money. Not making the headlines are the people of faith who meet the challenge of feeding the hungry. They are the ones who manage the food pantries and are the primary workers in programs like Feeding America.

Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them,” and the good being done by churches and people of faith speaks volumes about the effect of Christianity. There is an old saying, “I would rather see a sermon than hear one,” and that is happening all over America in this time of need.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Can We Produce Enough Food?

Can We Produce Enough Food?

Some have said that this is the only command of God that humans have fully obeyed. Whether that is true or not can be debated. There is also debate about whether there is enough food for the enormous population of humans inhabiting this planet. Every day organizations trying to stop the hunger stalking our planet send us heart-breaking pictures of starving people. Did God err in commanding humans to multiply and then not providing enough food? Can we produce enough food for the population with what God has given us?

The February 3, 2020 issue of Time magazine carried a pictorial article about “planet-friendly eating.” The article highlights companies that are producing food from plants and insects. Some of the companies are:

1) Exo sells what they call “Cricket Protein Bar” and roasted crickets. They say that crickets are the perfect protein source, high in essential amino acids, B12, and iron.

2) Plenty grows salad greens indoors with wind and solar providing power. They plan to add strawberries to their production line.

3) Just (which was formerly known as Hampton Creek) produces an egg substitute from mung beans. You can buy it at Walmart.

4) Mosa Meat grows meat from animal cells cultured in a bioreactor. It won’t be practical until the cost can be reduced unless you want to buy a $280,000 hamburger.

5) Beyond Meat bypasses the animal cells to produce burgers and sausage from peas, beans, rice, and sunflower seeds. You can buy their product at thousands of grocery stores.

6) Odontella uses algae to produce a product with the texture and flavor of salmon. They call it Solmon, and it’s available in vegan grocery stores in Europe.

7) Huel makes drinks that are supposed to have the nutrition of a meal with 27 essential vitamins and minerals as well as protein, fat, fiber, and phytonutrients.

8) Solar Foods uses microbial fermentation of nutrients, water, and carbon dioxide to produce protein that resembles wheat flour.

Can we produce enough food using these new techniques? These ideas are encouraging because plants and insects can be grown inside so that pesticides or herbicides are not needed. Cultivation can be automated, reducing the massive overhead of conventional agriculture. Add to that, the fact that much of the food grown outside is wasted by pests, war, pollution, unpredictable weather, and bad agricultural practices.

American tastes may take a long time to adapt to these new foods, but a starving child in Africa is not concerned about how the food was produced if it satisfies hunger and provides nutrition. God has given us the means to produce all the food we need, but greed, waste, and ignorance have led to starvation and misery.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Science and Technology vs. Greed and Stupidity

Science and Technology vs. Greed and StupidityIf you believe everything you read about science and technology in magazines and newspapers, you might want to question how much of it is factual. The way the media presents the stories, you might get the idea that science and technology are making such rapid advancements that in a few decades, we will solve all of the problems of humanity. There is no question that incredible advances have been made in medicine and agriculture. However, what many people don’t realize is that while some critical areas are advancing, others seem to be losing ground.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us: “An American mom today is 50% more likely to die in childbirth than her own mother was.” The primary cause seems to be that health professionals have biases causing them to overlook symptoms. Food shortages are also creating an increase in disease and death due to malnutrition. The primary cause is that there has been a 20% drop in the abundance of food production in countries that depend on their domestic food supply. Humans have reduced the population of pollinators, including wild bees, endangering crop production. Over-fishing is beginning to threaten the primary source of protein for billions of people. The human destruction of mangrove forests and coastal coral reefs has placed 300 million people at increased risk of flooding.

God has given us not only the resources to feed every human on the planet today, but also the way to live with each other to allow the maximum potential for the food and medicine to reach the people who need it. The Genesis account tells us that God gave Adam everything he needed and that by the sweat of his brow, he would be able to eat. Humans have allowed power and control to rule what we do. We have made money and possessions the focus of our activity instead of focusing on God and serving others. In the process, food has become a weapon. Instead of “taking care of the garden, dressing and keeping it” (Genesis 2:15), we have exploited and abused the good things God gave us.

The world continues to reject the teachings of Jesus, replacing them with selfishness, greed, and a moral code that teaches “survival of the fittest.” The result is that we all reap the consequences of what we have sown. Bringing people to believe in God and Jesus Christ not only has meaning in terms of what lies beyond this life, but it also is at the root of the quality of life we and our descendants will have in the future. Science and technology can’t solve all of our problems as long as greed and stupidity get in the way.
— John N. Clayton © 2019