Archive for April, 2008

US and EU “Criminals” in Skyrocketing Food Prices

Ethanol Production PlantAnd here’s another one today from the Environmental News Service, UN: Biofuel Production ‘Criminal Path’ to Global Food Crisis

The United States and the European Union have taken a “criminal path” by contributing to an explosive rise in global food prices through using food crops to produce biofuels, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food said today. At a press conference in Geneva, Jean Ziegler of Switzerland said that fuel policies pursued by the U.S. and the EU were one of the main causes of the current worldwide food crisis.

Not only does using crops for fuel raise the global food prices, but the crops themselves are likely to be genetically modified, require tons of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and fuel to transport said agricultural inputs to the fields. Unfortunately, an industrial biofuel industry is not the answer to our fuel shortage and is extremely unsustainable.

April 29, 2008 at 5:29 pm Leave a comment

Eating is a Political Act

Rice Farmer in Cambodia from WikiCommonsI’ve been out of touch with Bamboo Dispatch the past two weeks, sorry! I’ve been busy, though and some posts soon should reflect what I’ve been up to. In the meantime, here are a couple articles that crossed my inbox which are worth a read:

Do you drive a biodiesel or hybrid car, or better yet, bike to work? Do you recycle, reuse and buy green products? But what about the food you eat? As the article, “Eat Locally, Survive Globally” at The Toronto Star points out:

It takes 35 gallons of oil, or the equivalent of a barrel, to raise a steer to go to market. Twenty per cent of American petroleum is consumed in the producing and moving of food.

And there continues to be a lot of talk about the food crisis. Here’s an article, “Neglect of Farming Led to Rice Crisis” discussing where the rice shortage originated:

‘’The agriculture sector has been neglected for a long time, nearly four decades, and the Asia-Pacific regions would have run into a food shortage problem and rising food prices sooner or later,” says Shamika Sirimanne, chief of the socioeconomic section in the poverty and development division of ESCAP. ‘’Governments used to provide much more public services to the agriculture sector earlier.” …
‘’This shift has become marked since the 1980s,” Sirimanne explained in an interview. ‘’Everybody began to think of economic growth in that decade and what could be achieved through manufacturing, industry and services. The idea of growth through agriculture was sidelined.”

It’s important to note that the case of rice is not special, corn, wheat and all other types of food are in shortage due to similar global conditions such as trade agreements and government priorities.

April 29, 2008 at 12:06 pm 1 comment

CIW Testifies Before U.S. Senate About Present-Day Slavery in the Fields

At a hearing yesterday in the U.S. Senate, the Coalition of Immokolee Workers (CIW) presented their case that tomato pickers in Florida were living and working in slave conditions.

The CIW has staged national campaigns boycotting Taco Bell and McDonalds which have succeeded in winning the tomato pickers a 1 cent increase per pound of tomatoes picked. There is a current campaign against Burger King for the 1 cent increase which will converge in a mass procession in Miami this April 28 to deliver to the Burger King headquarters the petitions gathered in support of the worker’s struggle.
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April 16, 2008 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment

DIY Kraut

I’ve never liked sauerkraut. Well, I didn’t like it until I tried this homemade variety made by my friend Michael and his housemates. We were meeting for some all-you-can-eat pizza at a local place and they brought a jar of the stuff. Sauerkraut? On pizza? But I tried it because my slice of cheese could use a little sprucing up. Wow. It was delicious! I was around to watch them start the next batch. Here’s how they did it…
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April 15, 2008 at 12:14 pm 2 comments

Instances of Spying on Green Activists Confirmed by Former Investor in Investigation Group

This article published in Mother Jones is enough for me to add The Center for Food Safety to my Links section. The Center for Food Safety does great political work around genetically modified food and raising awareness of the dangers. I read once that 75% of Americans would not buy Genetically Engineered (GE) food if they knew if was engineered, but that 75% of Americans don’t know that most of the food on supermarket shelves today is in fact GE. The reports in the article also offer further prove the phenomenon known as “The Green Scare.” This is the hyper-paranoia in the government and media that eco- and animal-rights activists are the number one threat to national security.

April 11, 2008 at 6:06 pm Leave a comment

Riots over Food Prices in Haiti, Globally

ReutersBy Leonard Doyle in Washington, Re-posted from The Independent

Demonstrators have tried to storm the presidential palace in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, as protests over hunger and rising food prices spread across the developing world.

Demanding the resignation of President René Préval, the protesters attempted to break through the palace gates before being driven back by a contingent of Brazilian United Nations peacekeepers who used tear gas and rubber bullets.
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April 10, 2008 at 12:19 pm 1 comment

EPA Charged with Ignoring Environment, Health

Reported in the San Francisco Chronicle today, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (and part of the Bush’s executive branch) is being sued by environmental and farm worker advocates for ignoring the health risks of four pesticides and allowing them to be continually be sprayed on crops in the United States.

A 1996 federal law required the EPA to reassess the safety of all pesticides used on foods and decide by 2006 whether to approve their use. Patti Goldman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said the agency found that four substances posed risks to human health but concluded their cost savings to growers outweighed the dangers.
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April 8, 2008 at 6:11 pm Leave a comment

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