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.
You can see from the work of Bill Mollison and others that it’s quite possible to green the desert without massive infrastructure projects. The present desertification of the South-West of the United States is not a result of “climate change”, it’s the result of misuse of the water that’s always been there, under the ground, regardless of the periodic minor variations in climate.
The second video below gives an idea of what could have happened had common sense prevailed over the short term self-interest of a very few, and what could still happen if people wake up.
William Engdahl has published an in-depth article about the Rockerfellers’ agribusiness revolution and the devastating impact it has had on our health, our food and the lives of farmers worldwide. Read it at journal-neo.org.
Here’s an interview he did for Red Ice Radio (doesn’t cover everything in the article):
One of Bougainville’s leading film-makers says the island would be better off without mining.
After 25 years, moves are afoot to re-open the Rio Tinto-owned Panguna copper mine and PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is due to make a much-postponed visit to the autonomous region next week. Jemima Garrett has been getting a sneak preview of Clive Porabou’s new doco ‘After the War’.
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/52192689]Nakuru Lemiruni sends a message to those responsible for evicting the Samburu tribe from their land..
The Samburu of Kisargei, in Kenya’s Laikipia district, were brutally evicted from the lands they call home in 2010 after the land was sold to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF, using funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), says it bought the land on the understanding that no-one lived there. When the Samburu protested and took the matter to the courts the land was hurriedly ‘gifted’ to the government.
Police chose a Friday “market day” for their attack, when the men were away and only women, elders, and children were in their homes. Fanning out across the 17,000- acre Eland Downs Ranch, police burned the Samburu families’ homes to the ground, along with all their possessions.
Identified in the Kenyan press as “squatters,” the evicted Samburu families petitioned a regional court to recognize their ancestral claims to the land where they lived and grazed their cattle The suit has been filed by the Samburu against the African Wildlife Foundation and the former President.They need money and public support to win.
The U.N’s Green Climate fund has so far received 7.5 million dollars in funds from a small number of countries. What do you think a bunch of dull, grey conference types would do with it? Sure enough they spent it all on their own salaries, offices, travel and finding new ways to be boring. Try to read their catchy slogan without yawning, more in an article at whatsupwiththat.com
If you cut your forest, the winds will not blow from the ocean and will not bring you rain. Natural forests draw atmospheric moisture inland from the ocean in a positive feedback loop. This builds up precipitation inland, compensating for water lost through river flow and ultimately increasing river runoff due to the sustained low pressure area inland. Forests make rivers.
REDD, or reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, is one of the most controversial issues in the climate change debate. The basic concept is simple: governments, companies or forest owners in the South should be rewarded for keeping their forests instead of cutting them down. The devil, as always, is in the details. More details in redd-monitor.org’s intro page.
In August 2013, the No REDD in Africa Network met in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The members of the Network, which was launched at the World Social Forum earlier this year, produced a short statement, posted in full below.
In the past few weeks, REDD in Africa has hit the headlines several times. In Madagascar, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the government of Madagascar announced that 705,588 carbon credits are certified for sale from the Makira REDD+ Project. WCS estimates that the 400,000 hectare project will prevent emissions of 32 million tons over the next 30 years.
“The sale of these carbon credits has triple bottom-line benefits; it helps wildlife, local people, and fights climate change,” said Todd Stevens, Executive Director of Global Initiatives at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Stevens clearly hasn’t considered what happens when carbon credits are sold. Of course the Makira forest should be protected, but the sale of carbon credits ensures that somewhere else emissions will continue, thus cancelling out any reduction in Makira.
[On 10th Sept 2013], “Varm luft for milliarder”, a documentary by Tom Heinemann, was broadcast on Danish television. It’s an exceptionally good documentary, with beautiful photography and featuring interviews with politicians, academics, a carbon trader, a journalist and an activist.
The narration is by Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Headhunters, Game of Thrones, Black Hawk Down). “One carbon credit is equivalent to one ton of carbon. Or the volume of one hot air balloon,” he tells us.
Called “Carbon Crooks” in English, the documentary presents a detailed critique of carbon trading starting with the Kyoto Protocol. It looks into the VAT carousels, computer hacking, theft, money laundering and fraud with carbon credits that have cost European tax payers an estimated €15 billion. It mentions carbon credits from wind farms in China that are not connected to the grid. And “smokeless” factories, where you can’t breathe the air. And looks in detail at a project that distributed thousands of water filters to villagers in Kenya but that hardly anyone uses. And it looks at the collapse of the carbon market in Europe.
Imagine if we could help someone change their life for the better permanently, in under three years. Or imagine being in direct contact with the people on the ground, turning their semi-desert home back to an abundant food forest using permaculture, perhaps even going over and helping out…. Imagine being able to offer advice and expertise, or just encouragement and support, while a family solves their problems. No middlemen, no expenses taken out, no bureaucracy. If only!
After spending some years and a lot of money (to me) trying to set up a conventional non-profit to promote permaculture, I came across an alarming and incredible statistic, one which caused me to reappraise everything I was doing and start something else. According to statista.com, in the USA alone, non-profits reported expenses of 1.89 trillion U.S. dollars in 2009. I wanted to be sure, because sometimes a billion is a hundred million, instead of a thousand million (presumably to distinguish top millionaires from the riffraff). But that’s not the case here. A trillion is a one followed by 12 zeros, so in 2009, US non-profits’ expenses were 1,890,000,000,000 dollars.
And that’s just the USA. We could safely double it for worldwide non-profits, and still be well below the actual figure. To be conservative, let’s say 3 trillion of our dollars each year goes on the kinds of projects that non-profits are allowed to do (essentially, making the world a better place). Think what you could do with just one million dollars. Now think of that times three million! Or imagine if three million people went out into the world, each with a million dollars to spend on projects beneficial to the community. Every year!