Category: Economic



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At a public meeting, Vallejo Board of Supervisor Erin Hannigan informed us that Safeway had put a deed on their former property. This deed prevented another grocery store from using it for the same purpose. In our recently released Vallejo report, we highlight on page 15 the impact this had on the community, which left the neighborhood and surrounding areas without access to a grocery store.

Please join us in demanding that Safeway/Albertsons eliminate restrictive deeds on their former properties that prevent new grocery stores from replacing them.

Source: Appetite for Justice by Food Empowerment Project: Shame on Safeway

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When asked directly whether environmental racism was at play in Flint’s water crisis, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder replied last month, “Absolutely not.”

And yet…

Source: Race Best Predicts Whether You Live Near Pollution | The Nation


INDIAN RURAL LIFE - A woman herding two cows.

A woman herding two cows. Credit: Vijayamurthy sadagopalan

With more than 800 million people living in extreme poverty and many more struggling to make an honest living, it is clear that the current global economic model isn’t working for everyone. Economic growth often comes at the expense of the majority, with short-term financial gains trumping long-term sustainability. The current global obsession with economic growth, alongside the enormous over-consumption enjoyed by the wealthiest people on the planet, has brought us all to the brink of catastrophic climate change.

Earthrise presenter Ndoni Khanyile travels to Burkina Faso where farmers are embracing agroecology as a means of feeding the most vulnerable and visits villagers in Uttar Pradesh in India, who are turning to solar microgrids for energy.

Watch the video at: Another Giant Leap – Al Jazeera English


A blonde woman wearing faux-native headdress. Source: Native Appropriations

A blonde woman wearing faux-native headdress. Source: Native Appropriations

Culture is the tangible and intangible manifestations of a people’s heritage, such as music, language, dress, dance, foods, and so on. As social creatures, we humans thrive when we can participate in and enjoy our own culture and celebrate our heritage. And while it is important to our lives, questions of what culture is, how we participate in it, who gets to participate, and what does participation look like, are often forgotten in mainstream discussions of sustainability. Continue reading


Image of workers cleaning and sorting pineapples.

Source: Consumers International

Here’s a quick post on the situation in Costa Rica about pineapple union workers and exploitation they face: Banana Workers’ Strike Highlights Abuses by Corporations in Costa Rica

Consumers International also has a case study on pineapples, which investigates working conditions in the pineapple industry and its impact on communities and the environment in Costa Rica.

As a consumer, what do with this information? Do you choose to continue to financially support exploitation because it’s more convenient? Do you search for alternatives, or give up whatever it is? When you know better, do you do better? Let me know in the comments.


Pile of empty Coke bottles

Empty Coca-Cola bottles. Source: Eco Chunk

On a recent online forum, a friend commented on the curiously idealistic perspectives that advocates hold about food as compared to agribusiness. Often, you’ll hear health advocates, environmental conservationists, an animal advocates talk about “individual food choices”and the drop-in-the-bucket impact they have to eventually, someday move modern society into a more sustainable future. Conversely, as this friend explained, agribusiness interests “most certainly do not see global consumption patterns as a matter of individual consumer choice and have a very deliberate agenda to reshape consumption patterns in the global south.”

Among the articles he posted, Mexico: Public Health, Rising Obesity and the NAFTA Effect, explained how global economics, health, and environmental sustainability intersect to create the current conditions in Mexico:

“trade liberalization also plays a huge role in what food is accessible in developing countries. After NAFTA was implemented in 1994, the number of unhealthy food products from the United States to Mexico increased substantially. A spike also took place in the amount of raw soy and corn imports: two products used to make highly processed foods and feed livestock.

In 2011, Mexicans consumed 172 liters per capita of Coke, compared to the 1991 pre-NAFTA level of 69 liters per capita. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the consumption of animal fat in Mexico increased from about 34.7 grams per capita per day in 1991 to 46.9 grams per capita per day in 2009. A recent study linked these and other resulting dietary changes with an unsettlingly high 12 percent increase in obesity in Mexico between 2000 and 2006. Though obviously an unintended consequence of NAFTA, this shows that trade can actually impact public health.

The article is an important read, especially since as consumers, we rarely know the full picture of what goes into our food—including the trade agreements, subsidies, and short- and long-term health effects.

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