Thursday, June 2, 2011

Food, Food, Food -- Climate Change, Mega-Corporations, and Fuel

Thanks to my colleague at Down to Earth NW for this blog news flash --

Paul Dillion, gracias.

“Oxfam prophesises that food prices will double by 2030.”

Of course, it's doubtful world incomes will double in the next twenty years. Welcome to the world food crisis. Lang comments it's the result of many problems, including environmental issues, wealth disparity, and misguided solutions:

The 20th century squandered scientific possibilities. It created the fiction that ever more food can be produced by tapping oil, throwing fertiliser at seeds, spraying endless water and treating the soil as blotting paper, a neutral medium. We now know how fragile that mix is, and how fragile the Earth's crust and biology are too. Slowly, some of the institutions created over the last 60 years are recognising that political leadership and redirection are needed. The FAO, WHO, Unicef and Unep all collate the food story. Ministers meet, but in silos. The big picture eludes them. Inaction triumphs.

Sarah Jaffe is responding to a report from Oxfam, called a “Growing a Better Future” which you can read HERE.

The report says “staple foods, already at its highest ever, will more than double in the next 20 years—at least half of that increase due to climate change.”

Obviously, this will hit the world's poorest the most.

Jaffe writes:

Oxfam's GROW campaign is targeting the corporations and governments who prop up a broken food system, but Lang notes that it may be an uphill battle getting action from politicians.

And yet there's little time for hesitation. “The food system is pretty well bust in the world,” Oxfam Chief Executive Barbara Stocking told reporters.

Oxfam maintains that the current food system only works for some, so it's launched the GROW campaign in 43 countries.

The campaign will urge world leaders to make food more affordable and available by investing in small-scale food production, stopping subsidies for the corn-ethanol industry, updating food aid and ending agricultural commodity speculation that drives up prices. Help make sure people throughout the world have enough to eat. Support GROW by spreading the word or signing a global petition. Oxfam is also accepting donations through the Impact links.

Ahh -- food is in the news again and again.

Chris Hedges interviews Bill McKibben, on climate change, delusions, this odd adaptation mentality of Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. Food comes up in his piece --

The Earth has already begun to react to our hubris. Freak weather unleashed deadly tornados in Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala. It has triggered wildfires that have engulfed large tracts in California, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. It has brought severe droughts to the Southwest, parts of China and the Amazon. It has caused massive flooding along the Mississippi as well as in Australia, New Zealand, China and Pakistan. It is killing off the fish stocks in the oceans and obliterating the polar ice caps. Steadily rising sea levels will eventually submerge coastal cities, islands and some countries. These disturbing weather patterns presage a world where it will be harder and harder to sustain human life.

Massive human migrations, which have already begun, will create chaos and violence. India is building a4,000-kilometer fencealong its border with Bangladesh to, in part, hold back the refugees who will flee if Bangladesh is submerged.

There are mounting food shortages and sharp price increases in basic staples such as wheat as weather patterns disrupt crop production. The failed grain harvests in Russia, China and Australia, along with the death of the winter wheat crop in Texas, have, as McKibben points out, been exacerbated by the inability of Midwestern farmers to plant corn in water-logged fields. These portents of an angry Gaia are nothing compared to what will follow if we do not swiftly act.

Notice walls being built, fear of environmental refugees, and the like. So, as a blogger, I have been busy writing stories, planning others for APA's Planning Magazine's Nov. 2011 issue --

Greenwashing, death of environmentalism, the failure of our political system, and the juggernaut of the big oil-big financial giants holding true progress back. Sorry for the delay in getting something posted. More to come.


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