Tag Archive: money



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 plate of colorful pasta with vegetables and a cream-like sauce.

A common carnist reaction to a vegan/plant-based diet is to claim that it is expensive, despite the fact that meat is more expensive (in terms of money and energy consumption) than plants and that as incomes increase, so does eating animals. It is possible that this misconception comes from the highly-processed mock meats sold at stores such as Whole Foods (nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” because of its high costs). Attempting to recreate a meat-saturated diet with veg mock-meats will undoubtedly be more expensive in countries such as the US where meat is heavily subsidized.

A recent US study shows that plant-based diets are (logically) quite common among people with lower incomes. Read the full article here: Veg Diets Popular Among Lower Income Populations, Students in the U.S.


A chard leaf surrounded by text,

A chard leaf with the caption, “Local and Organic Chard Can Be Delivered using a Smartphone or Tablet…But was it made possible through gentrification, farm-worker exploitation, or racial injustice?”

Dr. Amie “Breeze” Harper, a senior research analyst/strategist for Critical Diversity Solutions (CDS) and intersectional food justice theorist, writes about the gap between tech innovation, venture capital funding, foodie culture, and labor/human rights:

Most people who are into mainstream ‘foodie’ culture care more about their food being ‘local’, ‘fresh’, and ‘organic’ than if the food came to them through the abuse and exploitation of farm workers and other marginalized human workers in the food system.

Many foodies actually think organic and sustainable mean the treatment of human beings and non-human animals is ‘humane,’ which is false. What would be great to have from Blue Apron is a statement that acknowledges the need to be more critical about horrible treatment of human workers.

So far, such statements are no where on their site, however, once
again, it could very well be that investors do not want to appear to be ‘too political’ and prefer to be ‘post-racial’ and ‘post-class’. Yes,
their focus is not farm-workers or other food industry worker rights.

However, the silence around this is quite compelling because the fact is, foodie-tech start-ups could not exist without the human laborers in the food system.

However, I’m still always fascinated by the fact that millions of dollars can be poured into foodie-tech apps by venture
capitalists when food justice activists working in/for the poor and
communities of color, with hardly any resources, struggle like hell to create food security and/or sovereignty for themselves.

Read her full post over at her website, The Sistah Vegan Project.

7/30 UPDATE: Check out her update here, where Dr. Harper announces her theme for next year’s food justice conference.


Companies can measure the value of sustainability and how their environmental efforts directly contribute to profits, using two evaluation methods described in a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The cost of sustainability programs are readily apparent, PwC said. And companies are typically able to determine the short-term value from cost savings, risk reduction or product and service innovations. Putting a dollar value on intangible benefits, especially those over a long period of time, is where companies struggle, the consultancy said.

Sustainability Valuation: An Oxymoron? outlines a direct and indirect approach (see graphics) companies can use to put a value on sustainability, including long term, difficult-to-quantify benefits.

The direct approach looks at the profit and loss impact of sustainability initiatives. The indirect method does recognize that sustainability initiatives create shareholder value. But it’s not directly connected to profits and losses. Instead, it uses a methodology called multi-attribute utility analysis, which has been widely adopted by government agencies for public policy decisions.

Continue reading @ PwC Report: How Companies Can Put a Dollar Value on Sustainability · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader.


Source: The Energy Collective

London is trying it’s best to live up to the goal its set for itself some years back: to hold the world’s first truly sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games. There’s no measurable standard to judge what makes something “truly sustainable” (a gold medal to be sure, rather than a bronze “somewhat sustainable”), but that hasn’t stopped the host city from spending plenty of time and money promoting its vision—and one-year legacy plan—to the public. London assures us it’s taking the challenge seriously; it even created the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 to monitor its efforts, which has already urged Olympic organisers to ensure licensed merchandise is ethically sourced. Some highlights include a walkway illuminated by footsteps and reusing over 98% of materials in demolition and construction.

Even some of the 55 Official Bankrollers of the 2012 Olympics—pitching in more than half of the original £2.4 billion budget (it went up to £9.3 billion)—are playing their part (the rest are being naughty or don’t have a good PR team).*

Continue reading


Credit: Overpopulation by VESAPELTONEN at deviantArt

This is from a summary via the blog wmtc (we move to canada) about the book Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis by Ian Angus and Simon Butler. The authors examine the arguments behind the notion that overpopulation is the leading factor of environmental degradation, addressing issues of reproductive freedom, food shortages, immigration, lifestyle choices, and other related topics. I haven’t read the book, but from this summary, it looks like good, thought-provoking read. Read the full article here and buy the book if you’re so inclined. For a countering viewpoint, check out this post from Enough of Us—C&C

 

Throughout the history of the modern environmental movement, there has always been a school of thought that the central problem (or at least one huge part of the problem) is overpopulation. Under this view, in order to preserve natural resources, we must slow global human population growth.

Historically and today, this involves changing reproductive patterns in developing or third-world nations, here called the global south. In short, women in the global south must have fewer babies, for the sake of the survival of the planet.[…] The more people who live on the planet, the more CO2 emissions there are. That’s easy to show. The correlation between population growth and emissions growth seems obvious. On further inspection, though, the link proves to be illusory.

Consider the facts:

  • Between 1980 and 2005, Sub-Saharan Africa had 18.5% of the world’s population growth, and accounted for just 2.4% of growth in emissions.
  • During that period, the US had 3.4% of the world’s population growth, and 12.6% of the growth in emissions.[…]

The “per capita” problem

A country’s emissions are often expressed per capita – the total emissions from that country divided by its total population. But per capita figures are a convenient way to make any social problem appear to be an individual problem.

[But consider if] half the population of Canada suddenly disappeared, my per capita share of emissions, and that of very other remaining Canadian would increase dramatically overnight, without any change being made in my – or anyone else’s – personal levels of carbon consumption. The population fetishists would realize their fondest wish (a dramatic reduction in population levels) while the per capita emissions levels would soar!

[B]laming individual choice for the environmental crisis ignores gross income equality within the global north. Poverty is rampant. Millions of people are struggling to eat and keep a roof over their family’s heads. When we hear and read about how much Americans (Canadians, Australians, etc.) consume, we generally hear averages. But in the US, the wealthiest 20% of the population receives and spend 60% of all income. The average means very little.

 

Read the full article at wmtc: what i’m reading / marxism 2012 program notes: “too many people?” population, immigration, and the environment.

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