agriculture

Global Food Prices Hit New Record High

As riots and rebellions are already rocking northern African nations (and parts of the Arabian peninsula) with the intensity to destabilize and topple governments that have maintained power for decades; the marginalized and disenfranchised people of the world will undoubtedly find increasingly more reasons to organize themselves into enraged mobs. As if decades of political corruption, social injustice, and increasing economic stagnation were not enough, the UN's Food & Agriculture Organization has released their latest figures indicating that the price of staple foodstuffs has risen to an all-time high, surpassing (on average) the last period of crisis (in 2008) that sparked food riots in nations around the world, when the price of corn, soy, and sugar all skyrocketed based partly on speculation of a burgeoning market for biofuels in the world's wealthier 'post-industrial' nations. From Algeria, Fanon's "wretched of the earth" are rising in rage against the new (economic) colonialism. And from other nations, A-to-Z, around the world, we're reminded once again of the great prophet Bob Marley's words of wisdom: "a hungry mob is an angry mob." And with droughts plaguing South America's big commodity-crop exporters. flooding in Australia, and a degree of politico-economic polarization in the United States that is unprecedented in living memory; the global food situation is unlikely to improve any time in the foreseeable future... especially considering that only three countries (the three A's -- America, Australia, and Argentina) supply nearly 80% of the world's cereal exports. (continued...)

¿Y2K y 12? -- Mayans INSIST 2012 isn't the end of the world

Mayans may INSIST 2012 isn't the end of the world, but millions of bored neurotic New Agers, conspiracy theorists, and hucksters from the world's post-industrial societies will inevitably refuse to take notice of the opinion of a bunch of silly Mayans... "Mayans? Aren't they extinct??"

This Associated Press article doesn't get too involved in trying to explain the differences between linear and cyclic views of time, or any of the other vast differences between the cosmovisions of the indigenous inhabitants of the New World and the cosmovisions of the Old World conquerors/settlers/occupiers. Still, it's worthy of reading, especially for anyone who has ever had any curiosity about the whole '2012 Mayan prophecy' issue... and ESPECIALLY for anyone who thinks the Earth's magnetic poles are gonna shift and civilization is gonna end and we should all be burying gold bars and canned food.

The article doesn't mention this (for obvious reasons), but Mayans are far more concerned with transgenic corn from Monsanto contaminating the epicenter of biodiversity for the originally domesticated Zea mays, and any of us should be as well. Millenarianism regarding the year 2012 is just one more distraction among many in our global consumer culture. We all need to stay focused on the real structural problems of the real world... so that if a real apocalypse ever does occur then it will be an opportunity for creation of a better world, instead of just a chance to start making the same mistakes. Anyway, enough polemicizing, (dinner is ready, hehe), just click on through to read the article....  (continued...)

City Bees Are All the Buzz!

I wanted to keep bees on a suburban lot in South Carolina, but it was "illegal" under the regulations of the homeowners' association -- which had all actually been written by the developer and turned over to the 'association' as a de facto constitution. I was already involved in a fight with the same developer about his desire to build two houses on a area of isolated wetlands that were preserved as a 'conservation easement', precisely because of his initial development -- but they had been preserved by the Army Corps of Engineers (ironically) in their (often misguided or malicious) efforts to manage the nation's waterways and this federal power to protect 'isolated wetlands' in such a way had been promptly repealed by the Bush administration... leading to a sort of development boom in the South Carolina Lowcountry, since much of the previously protected wetlands were now governed only by state regulations (and most states had no such regulations since the activity had been in the domain of the Corps of Engineers).

Anyway, it seemed a more important fight; to save that small boggy & impenetrable patch of swamp magnolias, pines, gums, and even invasive species (Bradford Pears, and Tree of Heaven especially, but also lots of lawn grass and garden plants), since neighbors used one corner (which had been "accidentally" razed) as a dumping area for yard waste. And so I saved the little "less than an acre", from the developer who wanted to sell two more homes in a neighborhood where we already lived on lots the size of postage stamps. And also saved it from the crowd in the homeowners association meetings who wanted a "pool and/or clubhouse" on the forested land. I saved it, and so I still heard birds singing, and woodpeckers pecking. And, I had lots of bees, birds, butterflies, lizards, and snakes, and worms, and mice, and moles, etc. (because they still had a bit of the wild from whence to come) and I received plenty of fines and threats for my suburban permaculture experiment (one "neighbor" actually climbed on his roof to see what was in the jungle behind my fence, instead of merely asking and enjoying the tour that I loved to give to anyone who would let me), that was quite a spectacle... but as for the honey, someone else was reaping that reward. And I felt I didn't have the energy for the hives, much less the fight that would ensue once the hives were discovered. The thought of hives gave me hives, heh, pun fun. Yet the idea came to me again, when considering an 'urban ecovillage' in Buenos Aires, and the prospects for hives in urban areas. It seemed to me that the tree-lined streets and gardens full of flowers and citruses would provide a comfortable habitat, and the bees would be as integral and natural addition as they were in my suburban garden. However, when my own (usually entirely supportive) wife looked at me as if concerned for my mental health after I suggested the idea of intentionally bringing entire hives of bees into an urban apartment tower, I knew that it would likely be as difficult of a battle here as anywhere. (Especially considering that she's a "mental health" advocate, who has done a great deal of work to get people OUT of mental institutions.)

Yet, a small collective of underground apiculturists in New York City are teaming up and forming a powerful lobby that has already succeeded in introducing legislation to overturn the city's ban on bee-keeping. They're showing that the idea is not only viable, but that it enriches the local environment (and economy) in more ways than most people seemed to anticipate. It's hardly just for the honey. Click on through to read this very interesting article that has everything from direct action anarchist apiculture to ecopsychology...  (continued...)

WTF WWF?!? -- Roundtable for Responsible Soy: Rejected! La Soja Mata.

They use so many dirty tricks against us. Age-old dirty tricks too, like 'image magick'. Using symbolic abstractions to mesmerize us... to mystify us. The environmental NGOs who sell their 'brand' for the purpose of corporate greenwashing.are certainly deeply involved in such dark magic... attempting to distract us with their mindfucking trickery while our mother is raped and our children are robbed. (continued...)

Talkin' Biofuel Business Blues

Politico-celebrity Al Gore was here in Buenos Aires last week, cashing in on a speaking engagement at the First Interamerican Biofuels Congress in the swanky Hotel Presidente Alvear. Apparently 'biofuels' are becoming the latest trend in 'sustainable development' since the major economies of the US and Japan are starting to take a considerable interest in supplementing petroleum-based liquid fuels with alternate liquid fuels like biodiesel and ethanol. Interestingly, as the subject of biofuels comes to the forefront of public consciousness so do all of the corresponding criticisms that have been developed over the years. Indeed, it seems the critics are actually getting more coverage than the proponents. (continued...)

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