|Biofuel production is certainly one of the culprits in the current global food crisis. But while the diversion of corn from food to biofuel feedstock has been a factor in food prices shooting up, the more primordial problem has been the conversion of economies that are largely food-self-sufficient into chronic food importers. Here the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) figure as much more important villains.
Walden Bello (2008-08-05)
Whether in Latin America, Asia, or Africa, the story has been the same: the destabilization of peasant producers by a one-two punch of IMF-World Bank structural adjustment programs that gutted government investment in the countryside followed by the massive influx of subsidized U.S. and European Union agricultural imports after the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture pried open markets.
African agriculture is a case study of how doctrinaire economics serving corporate interests can destroy a whole continent’s productive base. Continue reading The destruction of African agriculture
By Milagros Salazar*
LIMA, Aug 28 (Tierramérica) – More than 180 oil and natural gas fields extend across the western Amazon, shared by five South American countries and threatening biodiversity and indigenous lands, warns a study by U.S.-based organisations.
Peru is the most worrisome case: 72 percent of its jungle territory overlaps with plans for exploiting fossil fuels, says the report “Oil and Gas Projects in the Western Amazon: Threats to Wilderness, Biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples”, published Aug. 13 by the open-access online scientific journal PloS ONE. Continue reading Amazon Increasingly Oily
|As fuel prices rocket, a new world energy order is emerging. It will bring with it a fierce international competition for dwindling stocks of oil, natural gas, coal and uranium, and also an epochal shift in power and wealth from energy-deficit states such as the US, Japan and the newly-industrialising China to energy-surplus states such as Russia, Venezuela and the oil producers of the Middle East. Michael Klare examines the likely consequences of the growing competition for the soon-to-be diminishing supply of energy
Oil at $150 a barrel, up sevenfold in six years. Unleaded touching £1.20 per gallon, diesel at more than £1.30 at even the cheapest UK pumps. Gasoline at $4.50-plus – an undreamt-of height – in the US, with diesel topping $5, forcing many truckers off the road. Home heating oil at prices that many cannot afford. Jet fuel so expensive that the major carriers have cut back on routes and some low-cost airlines have ceased flying altogether. Continue reading The end of the world as we know it
Nelson Mandela, the man credited with ending apartheid in South Africa, has marked his 90th birthday by calling for the rich to do more for the poor.
“If you are poor, you are not likely to live long,” he said at his village house in Eastern Cape province for a birthday interview. Continue reading Mandela celebrates 90th birthday
IDPs at the Mathare Chief’s camp in Nairobi. Photo: Allan Gichigi/IRI
NAIROBI, 22 July 2008 (IRIN) – Hundreds of Kenyans displaced during post-election violence in early 2008 in the capital, Nairobi, are still in camps more than two months after the government launched a countrywide resettlement programme.
“Many of the displaced were tenants whose houses were destroyed or have since been occupied by other people; dozens were landlords, mostly in the Mathare slums, and these are the ones whose resettlement is difficult,” Abdi Galgalo, the chief of Mathare, told IRIN on 21 July. Continue reading Hundreds still displaced in Nairobi
National Catholic Reporter
Story and Photos by PAUL JEFFREY Para, Brazil
July 11, 2008
The Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon Deep in the Brazilian Amazon,
Antonia Silva Lima lives in a place called Hope. She came to the rain forest more than two decades ago, following thousands of other migrants fleeing poverty in other parts of Brazil. The settlers moved deep into the forest and cut down trees to grow subsistence crops, only to be chased off their small plots by gunmen at the hire of government-sanctioned wealthy land grabbers. Then four years ago Lima and her family joined a small gathering of peasant farmers committed to living sustainably in the middle of the jungle without cutting it down. She was encouraged to join the project by Dorothy Stang, a sister of Notre Dame de Namur who gave the village its name: Esperança — the Portuguese word for hope. Continue reading The Brazilian Amazon: The legacy of an eco-martyr