Thursday, 23 April 2009
Greed + global warming = 1,500 farmers in India recently committing suicide, (did you know about it?)
This is a complex issue, there are several causes but in the main they are drought, international trade agreements, and policies of international loan agencies (IMF, World Bank). The global warming aspect has meant that for farmers in some areas the water level has gone down below 250 feet where it used to be at 40 feet a few years ago.
The lack of irrigation water will be further influenced by increased global climate change which is expected to raise the Indian Sub-continent temperatures by up to 4°C by 2100 according to a report in The Hindu. This is expected to cause major problems with the monsoon season that is so critical to crop growth and ground water replenishment.
The international trade agreements are mostly influenced by the transnational corporations. A trade agreement between the United States and India, the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA), was backed by Monsanto and other transnational corporate giants.
The World Bank loans to the poor countries pave the way for the transnational corporations to take control and exploit local markets and natural resources. In 1998, the World Bank’s structural adjustment policies forced India to open its seed sector to transnational corporations. This allowed for the seizure of India’s seed sector by Monsanto, its trade sector by Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill, and its retail sector by Wal-Mart.
As a result of this, traditional farm saved seeds have been replaced with genetically engineered seeds. Their precarious situation was aggravated as a result of the aggressive marketing and subsequent disappointing results of Monsanto GM Cotton seed, marketed as disease resistant and high-yielding, when in fact it turned out to be neither.
This GM cotton seed is sterile and cannot be saved. The farmers then have to purchase seeds for each growing season, which is a costly investment for them. In most cases this has led to poverty and severe indebtedness. In order to relieve themselves of debt, some farmers have even sold their own organs.
Cotton farmers in Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have defaulted on bank debt, and then become further indebted to illegal moneylenders. When these attempts have failed to rectify their financial situations, many farmers committed suicide.
According to the Indian National Crime Records Bureau records, there have been 166,304 farmers’ suicides in a decade since 1997 in India. Of these, 78,737 occurred in five years between 1997 and 2001. The next five years - from 2002 to 2006 – proved worse, seeing 87,567 take their lives. This means that on an average, there has been one farmer’s suicide every 30 minutes since 2002.
These suicides are an example of how global climate change and big business will affect the poorest in society first. Perhaps some of the shame of these farmers’ debts and suicides should be borne by those who over-consume and live for the bottom line only, while others actually pay the price.
For more information see HERE HERE and HERE
Posted by Fr. Peter Doodes at 08:27
Thursday, 16 April 2009
According to John Austin MP I had “engaged in what appears to be a campaign of cyber-terrorism, intended to crash my and the House of Commons IT system which threatens to prevent me dealing with the very urgent needs of my constituents many of whom are among the most deprived in the country”. Ignoring the fact that for 22 years I lived in his constituency, what is needed to become a ‘Cyber Terrorist’?
First of all you need to have a concern for the environment that transcends the concerns for the here and now, looks for the long term future and are not afraid to stand up and be counted and take some form of action. If that is you then you have qualified for the above title! I have come to the regretful conclusion that governments and big business, especially the UK government and big businesses, seem to regard environmentalist much in the same way that they regard terrorists. This may seem an overstatement but let’s us face facts, due to the Web and blogs such as this, there is no longer any hiding place for either, the truth will out... unless it is suppressed. This may seem a little paranoid so let me take it further.
The proposed Kingsnorth coal fired power station in Kent UK will emit as much C02 as Nigeria and so several thousand climate protestors peaceably camped nearby and were met by 1500 police in an action that cost £5.7 million. The police claimed that many of their number were injured in ‘containing the protest’ yet these injuries turned out to be wasp stings, headaches, toothache, diarrhoea and so on. To see just how the police handled these horrendously dangerous protesting individuals watch here and for a firsthand account (Adrienne Campbell's writing of her husband's experience of arrest and release) see here.
In London recently there were G8 protests. I will not condone violence from any quarter, but my friends who were there at the peace camp said that the police presence was frightening and oppressive, shades of Kingsnorth, but then Ian Tomlinson, a bystander with his hands in his pockets, simply walking home was attacked by the police and died later, you can see the attack here.
The police had been talking up the threat of violence at the G20 protests for weeks. They briefed journalists and companies in the City of London about the supposed intentions of the climate campaigners intending to demonstrate there, but refused to let the campaigners attend the briefings and put their own side of the story. They also rebuffed the campaigners when they sought to explain to the police what they wanted to do.
My new title of being a Cyber Terrorist was due to me emailing several MP’s about a possible third runway at London Heathrow (something which will flatten a local village and cause even more pollution) and which many others did at the same time.
I was a member of a Christian group that took part in a Climate Change Church service that then joined several thousand others on a march in London on 8 Dec 2007. I was walking down Whitehall, past Downing Street when a police officer a few feet away took a close-up video of my face and using one of those directional microphones listened in to the conversation I was having so I am obviously on a database somewhere...
I believe that the concern that is now apparent from both authorities and big business about people like you and I, who have concern for the future of this amazing planet, is that we now via the web have both information and community, and as such are seen as a threat. Does that sound farfetched? If you think so then see one of my previous posts here, it is anti Monsanto, a company that I regard as often quite evil in the way it does business, and who was the first to reply to this post... it was Monsanto! Some of the larger companies, and perhaps governments, must have a department that trawls the web to search out dangerous individuals such as me in order to repudiate their views and claims, but due to the web, there are now few hiding places.
If it were not for the web then the videos above and the concerns expressed would have never been seen or read, and what then? I have found out, to my cost, that the press and TV rely on their advertisers and proprietors in order to fund them and they are not likely to offend either, especially when the propriators and advertisers activities involve environmental damage that attracts the attention of environmentalists. When that happens the environmentalist concerns are usually rubbished by the media, have you noticed that?
So where do my Christian beliefs fit into this? Easy, we have to stand up and be counted when we see brutality and oppression, and if we do not condemn it, we condone it.
Posted by Fr. Peter Doodes at 02:50
Friday, 10 April 2009
Mat 26:34 Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you that this night, before the hour of the cock's cry, you will say three times that you have no knowledge of me.
They sure have been made to pay for it ever since....
Posted by Fr. Peter Doodes at 08:52
Thursday, 9 April 2009
The Maldive Islands, they are on average just 1.5m above sea level.
Tuvalu, with its highest point just 4.5m above sea level.
Kiribati, just ½ m more and its arable land will be gone.
The Carteret Islands will be underwater by 2015 and it had 2000+ inhabitants in 2003.
Key West in Florida... although parts of the area are 6m above sea level, less than 1m and much will be flooded.
I wonder which is the one that will wake the world up when the flooding happens?
Posted by Fr. Peter Doodes at 12:52
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
The cure to the world’s financial disaster is more of that which caused the pain! (You didn’t believe that, did you?)
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, or batteries run flat, leak and ruin the stuff. Or Microsoft stop providing you with updates, or your SIM card gives up or the goods become obsolete the year after you have bought them and so they all end up stored in garages, basements closets or in units on industrial estates while you are still paying for them on your credit card. Instead store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.
Ok, so that is not exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21, but could this be what He would be saying to us today?
In the UK the latest concern is that in reaction to the financial disaster, the British people are saving rather than spending when we are all told that what is required to get the economy going again is to consume again, to buy new goods. Yes, that’s it; the answer to the world’s financial disaster is to replace all that ‘old’ stuff that we all own.
This is of course what every almost advert in any media tries to persuade us to do. That TV that still works is now outdated and certainly needs replacing by one of those latest flat screen models. The latest Apple computer is so slim that it takes up no space at all compared to that ‘old’ one you bought only last year and you can now choose the colour as well. That jacket you have still fits perfectly, but its last year’s style as are those shoes you have on and have you seen just how low the fuel consumption is on the latest model cars?
While this happens and people are being persuaded to ‘spend, spend, spend’ and ‘borrow, borrow, borrow, (which is how the world got into this unholy financial mess in the first place) Planet Earth is treated as a never ending source of raw materials for the manufacture of never ending goods and a never ending dump facility, with many of its people a never ending resource to be exploited, if necessary by never ending violence, in a world where only those people that have the never ending means to buy and consume have any value whatsoever in the economic system.
Most people do not consider themselves to be ‘rich’. They might consider that Tiger Woods or Lewis Hamilton or Sir Richard Branson are, but not themselves, because they have become an integral part of a culture that works to (and always will) leave them dissatisfied with their lot. The fact is though that if you have a sound roof over your head, enough food to eat, clothes to wear, running water, a sewerage system, easy access to affordable transport and a computer then you are in the top 20% of the world’s population. Most people in the West are rich, but have allowed themselves to be blinded to the fact! Jesus is very clear about materialism; a life that is centred on our possessions is a life that is not fulfilled in His eyes.
We are, of course, all consumers of one sort or another, shelter, clothing, and our ‘daily bread’ of food and drink, but it is when we focus on possessions beyond our normal needs that we lose the focus of our lives also. It is then that companies such as ‘Mini Storage’, ‘Self Storage’ and ‘Lock and Store’ thrive and the possessions become the possessors as their owners pay to store items they may never use again. “Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven” He said, He did not say in a container in an industrial unit!
So what would Jesus prefer? Would He like to see us borrow more and spend it so we can mine and exploit both more resources and more people in order to buy more and more possessions and fill ever more facilities full of old stuff? Or would he like to see us being happy with what we need rather than what we want and to get rid of the excess by donating it to charity or sold and the money given to those in need? The answer He gave in Matthew 19:21 to the young man who asked Him what he should do to inherit eternal life was straight to the point “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." The young man went away sorrowing because his real God was his possessions.
My dread is that with all the money that is now being pumped into the world's economy (and just where did it all come from?) and the encouragement to spend, spend, spend we will eventually again be back where we started. In the words of George Santayana “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.
The simple fact is that the less we possess and the more we divest ourselves from our unneeded and unnecessary, the less we will be bound by earthly things and the better life will actually become for us, for the environment, and so for the future generations as yet unborn, who are having their futures decided and mortgaged by the present generation.
Posted by Fr. Peter Doodes at 01:32