We live in a world where one third of all food is wasted, where industrial agriculture accounts for the lion’s share of carbon emissions, and where the genetic diversity of the whole food chain is in free-fall, all presided over by an international regime of biopiracy headed by multinational corporations like Monsanto. But not everyone is taking it sitting down.
The Guardians of the Seeds are the alternative, and in their struggles and celebrations they prefigure a different way of life. As over a thousand people streamed into the small town of Monte Carmelo on the morning of October 29, this vision comes to life. People from around the country bring their seeds to trade, to discuss, to learn and compare. Small children run through the crowds, as eager to trade for a new kind of seed as children in the cities to buy a new plastic toy.
The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity: Business & Financing War (1997)
The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity, by Michael Maren, is a book about good intentions gone awry, in the realm of charitable assistance to Africa. The author argues that the international aid industry is a big business more concerned with winning its next big government contract than helping needy people. The focus of the book is Somalia. Among the organizations criticized are World Vision, Save the Children, Christian Children’s Fund, UNICEF, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, and USAID. The book argues that relief aid helped bolster the regime of Siad Barre.
“One thing that keeps me puzzled, despite having studied finance and economics at the world’s best universities, the following question remains unanswered. Why is it that 5,000 units of our currency is worth one unit of your currency where we are the ones with the actual gold reserves? It’s quite evident that the aid is in fact not coming from the West to Africa but from Africa to the Western world. The Western world depends on Africa in every possible way since alternative resources are scarce out here. So how does the West ensure that the free aid keeps coming? By systematically destabilizing the wealthiest African nations and their systems, and all that backed by huge PR campaigns — leaving the entire world under the impression that Africa is poor and dying and merely surviving on the mercy of the West.
Short answer, big agriculture, big business and little Bill. Bill Gates along with Monsanto are using their US government to force GM crops on Africa, says a report by FoE International. Small farmers will suffer, even more than they are under the current alleged aid and development projects.
In their press release, FoE says:
“South African farmers have more than 16 years’ experience cultivating GM maize, soya and cotton, but the promise that GM crops would address food security has not been fulfilled. Indeed, South Africa’s food security is reportedly declining with almost half the nation currently categorised as food insecure even though South Africa exports maize,” said Haidee Swanby from the African Centre for Biosafety.
“The South African experience confirms that GM crops can only bring financial benefits for a small number of well-resourced farmers. The vast majority of African farmers are small farmers who cannot afford to adopt expensive crops which need polluting inputs such as synthetic fertilisers and chemicals to perform effectively,” she added.
[strange usage of “effectively” there, maybe she knows what they’re really for!]
…According to the final declaration of the Forum for Food Sovereignty, …”Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”
A Mail Online article, “The Great British rake-off… what really happens to the billions YOU donate to charity: Fat cat pay, appalling waste and hidden agendas” was published last November. It goes into some depth about how wasteful many charities are. Exposing how much money is spent on advertising, administration and so on, it details David Craig’s new book: The Great Charity Scandal, which he says “is not an attack on charity, but an attack on charities that put their own interests first”.
Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has uncovered serious abuses of Baka “Pygmies” in southeast Cameroon, at the hands of anti-poaching squads supported and funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Already 56,000 people have pledged to support a global ‘internet seed swap’ initiative promoted by Avaaz,. Trouble is, the plans are deeply flawed, and have been developed without consultation with major seed saving groups worldwide. They also claimed the approval of the famous activist Vandana Shiva, but had to apologize when she said she didn’t approve of it!
Is Avaaz just another NGO trying to make a buck out of others’ misfortune, or is there something more sinister going on? You be the judge.
An investment branch of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) aid agency has come under fire for subsidizing Avance Ingenieros to build elite housing projects in El Salvador at the expense of the UK taxpayer, according to an investigation by the Guardian newspaper. This is not an accident or mistake, it’s policy. http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15954
Patrick Alley at TEDxExeter talks about how the logging industry and governments have conned people into believing that legal logging is ok and that organizations like the WWF are helping to improve the state of our forests.