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Fuel for the Future

Automobile fuel efficiency is moving to center stage in the national transportation discussion. Potential solutions include solar power, electric plug-in, hydrogen fuel cells, gas-electric hybrids and a litany of other forward-thinking energy solutions. Some engineers even claim that cars will soon run on water.

Yet no one is proposing that we a build car that takes no fuel. That suggestion would, of course, be preposterous. How could we expect adequate vehicle performance without any fuel input? We can’t. It’s a simple equation balancing act: without input, you don’t get output.

This tenet also holds true on a human level, and it is the focus of this week’s National School Breakfast Week. Many schools across the nation this week are raising awareness about the importance of breakfast and even giving away free meals to students.

Without the fuel to power them through their days, students don’t have the energy to focus, learn and socialize. We have a responsibility as a society to keep our students’ fuel tanks full, so they can power into a future of their design.

2 Degrees, in partnership with Akshaya Patra, delivers meals in the form of hot school lunches in India. These meals are of critical importance, because they give children the fuel to achieve academically. It’s hard enough to concentrate on menial, day-to-day tasks when you’re hungry. Imagine encountering multiplication for the first time in your life…on an empty stomach. Most adults would fail.

In his 1943 paper on human motivation, psychologist Abraham Maslow laid out a hierarchical pyramid of human needs. The most basic needs (lower on the pyramid) must be met before other human needs can be satisfied (higher on the pyramid). Which indispensable need lies at the base of the pyramid? Food. Without this foundational fuel, all other human aspirations — friendship, self-esteem, creativity, health, shelter — are thrown into jeopardy.

Happy National School Breakfast Week! May children all over the world have enough fuel in the tank to concentrate, learn and thrive on the path to a self-actualized future. We applaud all of our supporters for helping us tackle this critical problem, one meal at a time.

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