Posts Tagged World Bank

Land, Survival and Development

“Prices of food are rising worldwide. More than 33 countries have witnessed food riots” (Shiva 2). Little do people know that the Arab Spring started in Egypt and Tunisia due to rising food prices (mainly bread) and authoritarian regimes in power as old as four decades were overthrown. The most important fact to learn from the Arab Spring is that food is not a luxury but a vital necessity without which no one can survive and due to various factors such as climate change, using corn and soy for bio-fuel and Western policies with corporate globalization is leading to rising food prices which will put add another billion to the existing one billion people who are starving and lack access to clean water.

The Bread Man: A man using bread to metaphorically construct a helmet to protest the rising cost of daily essential food items that ultimately led to the ouster of the regime of Mubarak and resulted in the Arab Spring Movement across the continent.

Climate change with rising temperatures world-wide has led to a number of droughts and floods in various parts of the world. The past decade has been the warmest decade ever with a significant increase in extreme weather such as tornadoes, tsunamis, floods and droughts all across the globe that significantly reduced the amount of harvest by ruining the very land that produces the crops. Also mono-culturing and growing only soy or corn as in Illinois is quite detrimental in the long run as it greatly reduces the yield and more and more fertilizers are needed which are leaked into the water systems. The fact that 21,350,000 acres in Illinois are planted with corn and soy has resulted in atrazine found almost every river and stream in Illinois (Steingraber 152, 157). Atrazine is a known endocrine disruptor in humans and animals and greatly destroys bio-diversity by preventing plants from doing photosynthesis (Steingraber 157). Also drinking water contaminated with nitrates from fertilizers causes leads to higher amounts of bladder and ovarian cancers (Steingraber 161). For instance, more than 50 percent of the water wells in Iowa farms are contaminated with nitrates and are unsuitable for drinking (Wells and Wirth 308).

Thus Western policies such as the ones dictated by the development policies of the World Bank, the structural policies of the International Monetary Fund which encourage the Green Revolution in developing countries has done nothing but ruin the farmers lives and increase the profits of the fertilizer companies as increasing amounts of fertilizers are needed to produce the crops. Also the increasing amount of fertilizers leaks chemicals into the atmosphere which cause cancer. Thus now food scarcity has become the biggest issue in developing countries and they are increasingly importing food whereas before the Green Revolution they were self-sufficient in food.

Thus it is high time that people rise up against the corporations such as Cargill, Monsanto, DuPont and others that are making a profit at the cost of ruining lives of millions of people and ruining the environment through the production and use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. People need to realize that local farming is the final solution to the problem with less dependence on petroleum. Then only we will be self-sufficient in food. Thus we need to value the land greatly. People need to realize that you can buy everything from Wal-Mart but it is land that produces everything. Thus the true value of land need to restored. If we overlook the true value of land it is going to be late to save a billion people from going into starvation.

Thus this Ecofeminism course has greatly changed my perception of the real value of land. As an Economics and International Business and Management major all I learnt was that land is just a factor of production and nothing special. But through the class discussions and a broad range of readings done in this class I came to learn about the various implications of development policies on the land and the people and eco-system surrounding it and its implications on society in general.

Traditional Paddy farming in Bangladesh using a cow rather than a tractor to plough the land. Cow manure is also an excellent organic fertilizer.

Works Cited

Shiva, Vandana. Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Crisis. Cambridge, MA: South End, 2008. Print.

Steingraber, Sandra. Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2010. Print.

Wells, Betty, and Danielle Wirth. “Remediating Development through an Ecofeminist Lens.” Ecofeminism: Women, Culture, Nature. Ed. Karen Warren. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1997. 300-14. Print.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments