Archive for the 'environment' Category

The other oil shock

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

palmoil.jpgThis good article from the International Herald Tribune links it all: peak oil and biofuel, planterary urbanization and growth in meat consumption for middle classes, increase in food prices, especially hurting the poor, and spreading food riots across the globe.

The other oil shock: Vegetable oil prices soar (more…)

Aquaculture and cancer

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

fishfarming.jpgvideo_button_white_dred.gifThis article from the International Herald Tribune argues that Chinese fish farmers face polluted waters. There are 10 million fish farmers in China who produce for both domestic and export markets. Much of Chinese fish export goes to Japan and East Asia, followed by USA and Europe. 70% of world farmed seafood comes from China, mostly grown inland. So much is the intensity of aquaculture along the coast of China, that not only fish farming pollutes fresh water sources and the surrounding land (a classical example of modern enclosures for the traditional peasantry and local communities — not discussed by this article) but fish farmers are polluting each other ponds. The pollutants of fish and shrimp exports are linked to cancer. Look at this video from The New York Times which pictures fish farmers working in their surrounding, and discusses the reasons why Chinese fish exports are polluted. The colour of the water in these video clips is not the most attractive! Also, check this slide show always from the New York Times for a visual ideaof the work involved in fish farming.

The capitalist use of global warming

Monday, September 17th, 2007

After “green’s” call for nuclear power, now the “green” use of GMOs. Tomorrow, the against-austerity-riots will put put down by “green” ministers. See Return of GM: ministers back moves to grow crops in UK. And do not forget the other capitalist use of the effects of global warming (that for example of re-locating communities in the floaded lands and shores around ther world and force replacing them by mines and tourist complexes.

Microcredit, enclosures, commons

Monday, December 18th, 2006

video_button_white_dred.gifThis is an extract of a debate on microcredit broadcasted by Democracy Now! (13 December - go here for full coverage in real player) between Susan Davis, founder and chair of the Grameen Foundation, and Vandana Shiva. The occasion was the Nobel Peace price acceptance speech made by the founder of Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus. The Commoner has already pusblished a critique of Grameen Bank with the article by George Caffentzis titled Varieties of Bancocide: Left and Right Critiques of the World Bank and IMF, linking microcredit to IMF and World Bank policies.

The debate here extracted is not only informative, it is also enlightening of the gap we have to overcome in our critical discourses. Susan Davis and Vandana Shiva epitomise here two opposite ways to deal with “poverty” and “development”. Susan Davis, in a business like fashion, (more…)

Global warming and indigenous survival: the Inuit

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

video_button_white_dred.gifAn extract from a talk by Sheila Watt-Cloutier of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference at a Internation Forum on Globalisation teach in few days ago (taken here from Democracy Now of 23 November). She is making the very simple, but essential point, that global warming is not so much about the “environment”, but about people and communities whose livelihoods and ways of life are threatened by it. People like the Inuit, whose cultural tradition of hunting and sharing food across the artic are threatened by the effects of the global system of capitalist production. The speaker gives us some interesting insights on how the life of the Inuit depends on the ice sea, which is the main “hightway” for transportation as well as the “supermarket” from which food is obtained. Global warming here clearly appears here as a context of enclosures, and I could not avoid to think that as for the Inuit it represent an opportunity to struggle, for capital it represents an opporunity to replace the “supermarket” of the ice sea with new Wall Marts or Tescos wherever they think to relocate the Inuit once the see ice has melt.

Ethical weaponry

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

The following comes from The Time online edition of few weeks ago. Madness, isn’t it?! Critics may confuse this with hypocrisy, but it is actually much worse than this. It is systemic stupidity. Even managers of an arm company like BAE can be ”ethical” people, worry about the environment and seek for ways to minimise the environmental impact of ammunitions and bomb explosions (sic!) produced by their factories. It is when we measure these individuals’ “ethical” concerns with the practices emerging from the interaction of all these ethical people performing particular roles as business leaders, that systemic stupidity arises. Becasue this is a role that seeks market expansion, and market expansion requires subjecting populations to new rules, new enclosures, new systems of governance. And this increasingly requires war. familyrunning.jpgThe concerns of ethical weapon producers are wahed aside by the sheer growing destructive use of weapons in today’s Empire, the barbaric practices used by the US and Israeli forces in attacking civilians, the maiming and killing children for years to come thanks to scores of unexploded cluster bombs, the use of “next generation weapons” that turn the body into a carbonised lab measuring destructive effectiveness (for a catalogue of latest horrors, browse for example human right watch website). (more…)

The postman, junk mail and the rest of us.

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

This little story on the Guardian Yesterday which I paste below is indicative of what are the jerk reactions of agents operating in a system which rely on rigid lines of separation across social roles. The postman of this story thought he was not only doing himself a favour in reducing the amount of useless junk mail he had to deliver every day. nojunkmail.jpgQuite reasonably he also believed to do the rest of us a favour in giving us an easy way out of the same daily mountains of junk mail. Not to talk about the broader positive implication that a reduction of the same junk would have, in principle,  on the environment. In a word, a win win situation, in which alternatives were ingeniously and simply practiced through commons established across social roles. . . pity that Royal Mail does not seem to appreciate this. (more…)

Toxic tour: Durban, South Africa

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

D. is a big man, proud of his leadership qualities, and proud of being able to kick the asses of shell and bp corporate directors . . .he takes us to Durban south, where he leaves, and breathe the shit coming out of the refineries, down there in front of the block of flat where we leave him after the toxic tour . . .refineries pouring shit that kids breathe, aunties breathe, mothers breathe, fathers breath . . .they build houses, I mean their houses, right on top of the ridge with a view to the refineries . . . .chemicals fly up, right in their lungs . . .and the pipelines they got to replace not long ago was a great victory,rottenpipe.jpg the damn rusted pipeline that crossed the ridge in between the the refineries valley and the harbor, . . .leeking its shit in the hearth, so much shit, that it appeared one day through the house floors, and even in the swimming pools of those who had one . .. black waters, swim in the shit . . .reparation?, yes, reparation! . . . houses sandwiched in between oil depots, the common condition of detritus, (more…)

rough notes on a point of division: Durban, South Africa

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

rough notes on a point of division: => I learn that a community is divided on a question of the damp and project of incinerator. Near the Kennedy road, where the poorerst dwellers live in shacks, there is an old dump in a valley being filled for years . . .contradiction between the poorest communities (kennedy road) and the less poor, in a different housing estate, a bit higher up, people living in solid houses and not shacks . . .the latter is a bit further away from the dump. The latter wanted the dump to be removed, while the council wanted to put an incinirator to earn some brownie carbon credit points to contribute to the neoliberal way of dealing with global warning (sic!) . . .the poorest communities wanted the dump out, but the council started to promise house regeneration and other services, a very attractive prospect . . .hence there is here a line of division between the two communities . . .of course the council promises are empty, but is it better to believe empty promises or no promises at all? Will a common be found among the two communities to go beyond a point of division?