Posts Tagged ‘biofuels’

Saturday’s events in Tokyo

On the first full day of anti-G8 action in Tokyo yesterday, there were workshops held throughout the city from 1pm, consisting of various “working groups”. These were then followed by a General Meeting at 6pm, which I attended. The meeting was held in Bunkyo Kumin Center near Kasuga station and the main speaker was Susan George of ATTAC France and Transnational Institute. She is a long-time activist and the author of a number of books on poverty including How the Other Half Dies (1976).

The first hour of the meeting was given to introductions and the reports by the “working groups”. These groups covered issues such as trade, sexual discrimination and American bases on Okinawa and Guam among others.

Shut Down the G8 Summit - Working Groups report



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A change is needed

As rice prices continue to surge, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have been calling for a summit to discuss the crisis in the world food situation.

Groups such as Canada’s National Farming Union (NFU) are commenting that it is becoming clear that the whole fabric of food production needs to change. Darrin Qualman, NFU’s research director, was interviewed by Inter Press Service (IPS):

“The food production system is designed to generate profits, not produce food or nutrition for people,” Qualman told IPS.

He says there are enormous amounts of food stored in central Canada’s farming heartland, but thousands of people there, including some farm families, are forced to rely on food banks. (more…)

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In Part 1 – Price Rises and Causes, I wrote about how the World Food Program are slashing their aid this year, unless they receive further funding from donors. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the developing world.

The one thing that is likely to cause social unrest, above politics, religion and human rights, is when peoples’ access to food starts to disappear and empty stomachs abound.

We are wasting energy on a scale never seen before, and the immediate consequence of this is that we are no longer producing enough food for everyone’s current rate of consumption. As a result of shortages, the food prices are rising, denying the world’s poorest of sustenance. The initial effects in Japan are stories such as Kentucky Fried Chicken increasing their prices for the first time since 1992.

However, for the developing world, where people spend a far higher proportion of their budget on food, the situation is becoming desperate. The world is beginning to erupt in a series of food riots. I have tried to summarise some of the major disturbances, but the list is growing longer every day.


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And so it begins…

The World Food Programme (WFP) announced in March that the number of people they can help will fall greatly this year, due to the recent and sustained increase in the price of food. They are appealing to governments around the world to up their funding to meet their needs. A recent Al Jazeera programme highlighted the startling reality of the situation:

The WFP says at least $500 million is needed immediately.

Since last June, the cost of fuel and food worldwide has shot up by 55 per cent on average.

That spells bad news for more than 73 million people worldwide who rely on the UN for food handouts.

The deadline given for receiving the funding is May 1st. If they do not meet this target then many of the people reliant on the charity of others for their food will starve.

That’s right, whilst in a country such as the United Kingdom, recent grain price increases have raised the cost of bread and are putting pressure on pig farmers, elsewhere people will die.


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