The Avocados of Wrath
Per capita consumption of avocados has kept on growing in the importing countries, driven by intense marketing campaigns promoting the nutritional benefits of this food. GRAIN reports on how the industrial agribusiness model exploits small- and medium-sized growers, forces them to take on all the risk and also bear the burden of environmental externalities. Meanwhile, big agribusiness companies and their investors are largely shielded from the public health and environmental impacts.
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Paul Kingsnorth: The Great Unsettling
There is no such thing as a perfect society, and anyone who tries to build one will either go mad or become a tyrant. Humans are fallen, or just natural, and both of those words are synonyms for ‘imperfect’. What is ‘perfection’ anyway? It is a concept designed by a part of the modern human mind – the part that likes clean lines, easy answers, plots that end by neatly tying up all the threads. The quest for perfection is a quest for homogeneity and control, and it leads to the gulag and the guillotine, the death camp and the holy war. Even if we could agree on what perfection amounted to, we would none of us be equipped to build it.
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The electric car must fail
Ratheesh Pisharody writes: A classic method of avoiding personal sacrifice is to explore “alternatives”. The individual thought behind this is simple. “Can I keep sitting on my privileges by pretending to make a dramatic change with sufficient optics and industry backing, but with no personal cost/effort?”. And the pop-icon of “alternatives” is the electric car….
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Big Farms make Big Flu: The deadly connection between industrial farming and pandemics
From Climate and Capitalism: Evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace explains the tight links between new viruses, the epidemiologically dangerous methods of industrial food production, and corporate profits. “To understand why viruses are becoming more dangerous, we must investigate industrial models of agriculture and livestock production. But, few governments, and few scientists, are prepared to do so.”…
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New Zealand’s ‘well-being budget’ and the unnecessary evil of economic growth
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has presented a pioneering national budget where spending is dictated by the “well-being” of citizens, rather than productivity and economic growth. But as long as other major economies continue to prioritise growth, New Zealand may become a lone wolf trapped in an increasingly hungry bear pit, writes Jack Peat….
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Mikhail Gorbachev: “We need a new economic model, the planet is overburdened”
Mikhail Gorbachev, founder of Green Cross International, on the need for urgent economic and social change to promote true sustainable development that does not over-consume and waste natural resources, while at the same time ensures opportunities and peace for humanity. This 2012 interview with the former USSR President and Nobel-winner remains just as relevant today….
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Jason Hickel: The Nordic model is a disaster for the environment
From Al Jazeera: Scandinavian countries have some of the highest levels of happiness on the planet, and top virtually every ranking of human development. They re worth celebrating for all they get right. But there’s a problem. They’re an ecological disaster, with some of the highest levels of resource-use and CO2 emissions in the world….
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Your money or your life? Putting wellbeing before GDP
Researching public perceptions of the future, I’m not aware of any progress indicators that reflect the real depth of people’s concern. The current wave of global political unrest and protest is commonly attributed to growing inequality, corruption, austerity, thwarted expectations and climate change. But the real reasons also go deeper, challenging the entire narrative of modernisation itself….
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Blip: Humanity’s 300 year self-terminating experiment with industrialism
In his new book ‘Blip’, Christopher Clugston synthesizes the evidence produced by hundreds of research studies to quantify the causes, implications, and consequences associated with industrial humanity’s predicament. He presents compelling evidence to show how industrial civilisation’s enormous and ever-increasing utilisation of nonrenewable natural resources will lead to global societal collapse in the near future….
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55 ways to ‘starve the beast’
Big Agri, Big Pharma, Big Tech, Big Food, Big Banking, Big Oil and Big Government aren’t there to make our lives better. They’re there to control us and make as much money as possible; and they’ll run you over if you’re in their way. Daisy Luther on how to fight back and starve the Beast….
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The Great Water Grab: Wall Street is buying up the world’s water
Jo-Shing Yang reports on how Wall Street banks like Citigroup and multibillionaires are buying up water sources all over the world at unprecedented pace. Simultaneously, governments are moving fast to limit citizens’ ability to become water self-sufficient. Also read an investigative report from The Guardian: Liquid assets: how the business of bottled water went mad…
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The fate of Ladakh in the Age of Ambani
Padma Rigzin writes: Ladakh’s folk religion teaches that humans do not form the centre of the natural world but are merely inhabitants. So much so that my ancestors would not move a rock to build a house. Unfortunately, people in Leh are shouting the tune of the mainstream. Ambani has already started knocking our doors….
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Compulsive consumption: The malaise at the core of the climate crisis
Thanks to the capitalist propaganda machine, we’ve forgotten the difference between ‘conscious’ and ‘compulsive’ consumption. Frugality, which once used to be the essence of responsible living has been labelled as ‘shame’. Though rarely discussed, this was the beginning–and now the core–of the climate crisis. And it has begun to control all aspects of our lives….
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Why technological solutions cannot combat ecological challenges
From The Hindu: More fuel-efficient cars usually mean that car owners take many more trips, in effect nullifying the saving of fuel from the technical innovation. This simple example shows why any advocacy of a lasting technological solution to ecological challenges is only destined to set the stage for the next generation of ecological problems….
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Climate justice is injustice, if partial
Ratheesh Pisharody writes: While we pretend to have weaved in a “justice angle” into the climate emergency narrative, we conveniently veto-ed ourselves back in. Thus we ensure we represent the perpetrators and also the victims. By taking away a large part of that victim-hood-bank we seem to want an unfair share of “climate justice” too….
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Vaclav Smil: ‘Growth must end. Our economist friends don’t realise that’
Over more than 40 years, Vaclav Smil has grown in influence, and is now seen as one of the world’s foremost thinkers and a master of statistical analysis. Bill Gates says he waits for new Smil books the way others wait for the next Star Wars movie. Smil’s latest is Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities….
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Helena Norberg-Hodge: The promise and pitfalls of localism
The fact that the language of localism is being increasingly co-opted by authoritarians around the world is itself a sign of localism’s appeal. Left uprooted and adrift by the globalized economy, people are desperate for a sense of connection: to one another, to the living world, to a place and culture that’s familiar to them….
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In Bolsonaro’s burning Brazilian Amazon, all our futures are being consumed
Elaine Brum writes: Believing the Amazon is far away, on the periphery, when the only chance of controlling climate change is to keep it alive, reflects ignorance of continental proportions. Our eyes have been contaminated, distorted, colonised. The forest is at the very core of all we have. This is the real home of humanity….
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Global collapse has begun, but this doesn’t mean we have to give up hope
David B. Lauterwasser writes: Very few people today think that our global civilization is on the brink of collapse. Most of the news consist of disturbing stories on increasingly overwhelming issues that, plainly spoken, seem impossible to solve. And yet, no one even recognizes that it is collapse that’s started to unfold all around us….
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Eating for a better world: Some questions and a guide
From Trophic Tales: The focus on the welfare of individual domesticated animals might be an extension of the modernist tendency to simplify and discriminate. The morality of living, eating, and dying is more complex than two-word slogans can prescribe. If we care about animals —wild or domesticated— we’ve to think in terms of entire ecosystems….
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