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Posts Tagged ‘Water

Water Liberty: How Innovation Trumps Privatization

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By Rady Ananda
COTO Report     May 2, 2014

The World Bank joins Nestlé in wanting to privatize water, deeming it “extremist” to suggest that those born on this planet have a natural right to clean, potable water. Meanwhile, RT’s Abby Martin reports that the watchdog group Corporate Accountability International recently released a new analysis showing that:

“Investing in private water does not extend access and is also counterproductive for economic development. By contrast, infrastructure investment, abandoned by the corporate sector, is where real benefit can be achieved: the World Health Organization estimates more than $10 of economic benefit from every $1 invested in water infrastructure systems.”

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Sustainable Agriculture and Off-Grid Renewable Energy

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Small integrated farms with off-grid renewable energy may be the perfect solution to the food and financial crisis while mitigating and adapting to climate change

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho  July 18, 2011     Institute of Science in Society

In a Nutshell

An emerging scientific consensus that a shift to small scale sustainable agriculture and localized food systems will address most, if not all the underlying causes of deteriorating agricultural productivity as well as the conservation of natural soil and water resources while saving the climate

To substantially improve living standards, access to modern energy is also crucial. Small agro-ecological farms are known to be highly productive, and are ideally served by new renewable energies that can be generated and used on site, and in off-grid situations most often encountered in developing countries

A model that explicitly integrates sustainable farming and renewable energies in a circular economy patterned after nature could compensate, in the best case scenario, for the carbon emissions and energy consumption of the entire nation while revitalising and stimulating local economies and employment opportunities

Food crisis, global economic instability, and political unrest

Soaring food prices were a major trigger for the riots that destabilized North Africa and the Middle East, and have since spread to many other African countries [1, 2]. The UN Food Price Index hit its all-time high in February 2011, and the May 2011 average was 37 percent above a year ago [3]. This is happening as the global economy is still staggering from the 2008 financial (and food) crisis, with public debt expanding and unemployment sky high [4].

Lester Brown, venerated veteran world-watcher, says food has quickly become the hidden driver of world politics [5], and food crises are going to become increasingly common. “Scarcity is the new norm.” The world is facing increasing demand for food as population increases while food crops and land are being diverted to produce biofuels; in 2010, the United States alone turned 126 million tons of its 400 million tons corn harvest into ethanol.  At the same time, the world’s ability to produce food is diminishing. Aquifers are running dry in the major food producing countries where half of the world population live. There is widespread soil erosion and desertification; and global warming temperatures and weather extremes are already reducing crop yields [6-9], hitting the most vulnerable people in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia the hardest.

“We are now so close to the edge that a breakdown in the food system could come at any time.” Brown warns [5]. “At issue now is whether the world can go beyond focusing on the symptoms of the deteriorating food situation and instead attack the underlying causes. If we cannot produce higher crop yields with less water and conserve fertile soils, many agricultural areas will cease to be viable…..If we cannot move at wartime speed to stabilize the climate, we may not be able to avoid runaway food prices….The time to act is now — before the food crisis of 2011 becomes the new normal.”

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The End of the Modern Era is Closer Than You Think

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Peak oil, peak soil, peak water……..all basic requirements for modern life are depleted, but please just keep rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic so the rats have time to escape to their bunker in an undisclosed location.

World scrambles to contain food inflation

“Record high food prices are moving to the top of policymaker agendas, driven by fears it could stoke inflation, protectionism and unrest and dent consumer demand in key emerging economies.”

The Oil Drum | Discussions about Energy and Our Future also  Peak Oil- the End of the Oil Age

Peak soil: it’s like peak oil, only worse | Energy Bulletin

Water scarcity ‘now bigger threat than financial crisis’ – Climate …

‘Land Rush’ as Threats to Food Security Intensify

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Biofuels policies and the 2008 financial and food crisis ignited  

a worldwide ‘land rush’ that’s increasing world hunger without addressing the underlying long term threats to world food security

“The foreign companies are arriving in large numbers, depriving people of land they have used for centuries. There is no consultation with the indigenous population. The deals are done secretly. The only thing the local people see is people coming with lots of tractors to invade their lands….People cannot believe what is happening. Thousands of people will be affected and people will go hungry.”

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

The Institute of Science in Society April 28, 2010

Grabbing the world’s ‘unused land’

In the past three years, foreign governments and investment companies have been buying or leasing vast tracts of farmland in Africa and elsewhere for producing biofuels or food for their own use [1].

This ‘land rush’ was triggered by the demand for biofuels, and accelerated [2] with the financial and food crisis of 2007/8 (see [3] Financing World Hunger, SiS 46).

Government policies promoting biofuels are based on the mistaken belief that fuels made from plants are ‘carbon neutral’, in that burning them would simply release the carbon dioxide fixed by photosynthesis and would not increase greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The European Union is aiming for10 percent of its transport on biofuels by 2020 [4] (Europe Unveils 2020 Plan for Reducing C Emissions, SiS 37). George W. Bush, for his part, proposed to cure the US’ “addiction to oil” by increasing federal budget 22 percent for research into clean fuel technologies including biofuels to substitutes for oil to power the country’s cars [5] (Biofuels for Oil Addicts, SiS 30). The hope is to replace more than 70 percent of oil imports from “unstable parts of the world” – the Middle East – by 2025.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation helpfully identified immense areas of ‘spare land’ in developing countries that could be used for planting ‘bio-energy’ crops to be turned into biofuels. The World Bank’s recent report on the 2008 commodities price hike includes a diagram entitled [6] “The stock of unused but potentially arable land is enormous”, depicting more than 700 million hectares of ‘unused’ land in sub-Saharan Africa, and more than 800 m ha in Latin America and  the Caribbean.

Corporate farming for the rich

International agribusinesses, investment banks, hedge funds, commodity traders, sovereign wealth funds, UK pension funds, foundations and ‘individuals have been snapping up some of the world’s cheapest land, in Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, Congo, Zambia, Uganda, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ghana and elsewhere. Ethiopia alone has approved 815 foreign-financed agricultural projects since 2007. Any land investors can’t buy is leased for about $1 per year per hectare. In many cases, the contracts have led to evictions, civil unrest and complaints of “land grabbing”, John Vidal reports in UK’s Guardian [1].

Nyikaw Ochalla, an indigenous Anuak from the Gambella region of Ethiopia now living in Britain but in regular contact with farmers in his region, told Vidal [1]: “All of the land in the Gambella region is utilised. Each community has and looks after its own territory and the rivers and farmlands within it. It is a myth propagated by the government and investors to say that there is waste land or land that is not utilised in Gambella.

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Our Thirsty World: Nat’l Geo on Water

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Flavorwire

by Shana Nys Dambrot

Photo by L Johnson

National Geographic puts a new spin on a classic subject, using cutting-edge photographic technology to build a sweeping portfolio of the past and future of water on Earth.

From agriculture, industry, and religion to conservation, commerce, and mythology, no aspect of human life is unaffected by the presence — or increasingly, the absence — of fresh water. Water: Our Thirsty World, a special issue of NatGeo and related exhibition at LA’s Annenberg Space for Photography, tackles this fluid topic in light of dire resource-war scenarios and nature’s evaporating majesty.

View the issue on NatGeo’s website, find out what you can do to help, browse images and videos from the exhibition, and if you’re in LA before June swing by and see it in person.

Potential Food Shortages…in America?

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Millennium Ark  08/18/09

California and Texas – America’s main food growing states – have experienced severe, ongoing drought. California is suffering through a 4th straight year of horrendous water shortages, which has impacted every single crop it produces. See California’s Vital Role in Food Production for an eye-opener of what this states brings to your table.

Parts of Texas are experiencing the worst drought ever and fears are surfacing that it may be here to stay. Extreme drought is impacting everything that Texas produces. Marketing economist Dr. Mark Welch expects drought to cut Texas’ corn crops by 45%, sorghum by 69%, and wheat 62%. Cotton fields are so dry they’re being abandoned. These aren’t the only foods in trouble. Vegetables, horticulture plants, peaches and their world famous pecans have also taken severe hits. April freezes wiped out some Texas grapes leaving wineries in tough shape.
No Amer Drought

Drought in Wisconsin has pushed farmers to the edge and where it hasn’t destroyed crops and livestock outright, crops are at least 3 months behind. In Iowa, hail losses try farmers’ hearts.

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Written by laudyms

August 21, 2009 at 9:22 am