I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Gloom - But From Jeffrey Sachs this Time

Jeffrey Sachs spoke at the University of Toronto.
Something very dramatic is happening,” he warned a rapt audience. “We’ve entered a new global scenario with respect to food, hunger and conflict … an era where things are likely to get tougher, not easier, in terms of production,” he said. “We’re hitting boundaries that are very important to understand and very important to counteract.”  Chief among those is the fact that global demand for food – and the agricultural commodities used to produce it – is outpacing the growth of supplies. The onset of climate change, which affects everything from the water supply to crop yields, is a ballooning wedge that will continue to force those trend lines in opposite directions, Dr. Sachs said.

And from the March 25, 2011 edition of the Economist:
Peak, rather than average, temperatures are what matter most to maize. Days above 30 degrees C are particualrly damaging. In otherwise normal conditons, every day the temperature is over this threshold dimishes yields by at least 1 5. Moreover, days where the ttemperature exceeds 32 degrees C do twice the harm of those at 31 degrees C. And during a drought, things are worse still.   page 91
What does this mean?  It looks like climate change has an viscious effect on crop failure: the hotter it gets the less food we get  - on an exponential scale.  It's going to be tougher to produce enough food to feed all of humanity.  That's you and me, folks.  Oh we won't starve in the rich countires.  Our food will be very expensive, that's all.

But what can we DO?  Well, there is a federal election looming on the horizon.  Educate your friends.  Go to candidate forums and ask questions.  Write letters to the editor.  Email leaders of the parties.  Vote strategically.  Tell everyone you want Canada to live up to its promises regarding money for small holders. 
We've been failing badly on keeping our promises as Dr Sachs points out.

Dr. Sachs is particularly incensed by the failure of G8 countries to come through on a $22-billion pledge made in 2008 to establish a World Bank fund to help smallholder farmers. Improving the livelihoods and farming practices of smallholders across a host of poor countries is seen by many economists as a critical approach to tackling hunger.Dr. Sachs said G8 countries are guilty of merely feigning support.  “The G8 lied. It made the promise but didn’t follow through,” Dr. Sachs said. “Your Mr. [Stephen] Harper is so big on accountability, but there is no accountability whatsoever and there is no money in the bank.”   Although Canada is a small country. Dr. Sachs said Canada bears a share of the responsibility for the fact that wars are getting more investment than agriculture, the boosting of which is a well-known ground stone of development.
Kick up a fuss!

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