Regulating the Palm Oil Explosion and the Living Income Income Proposal

4247149433_de1522178b_o

The current global ‘Palm Oil Explosion’ is an under-reported nightmare. Communities in the ‘global south’ are being pitted against large multinational corporations, banks, and the confusing and changing allegiances represented by the UN for rights to land usage to produce palm oil – resulting in the equivalent of 300 football fields of rainforest being cleared EVERY HOUR to make way for palm oil production. [1]

European financial institutions are behind a significant number of these land grabs. This massive, largely unregulated monoplanting of palm oil has destroyed and is destroying huge swatches of land in Africa, the Papuas of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and Indonesia. [2]

In one example, the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) provided a $52 million loan in Uganda to fund a project a palm oil mega farm to oil palm giant Wilmar International. The small community of farmers there were promised better jobs and prospects for the future. It did not happen. Now an entire forest (3600 acres) on a Lake Victoria island has been obliterated to establish a vast plantation The local farmers have received little to no compensation along with the loss of pristine land. [2]

In Liberia a community resisting big agra oil palm plantation on their land have been harassed, coerced and intimidated. “Many are standing firm,” says Silas Siakor, of SDI Liberia. Jogbahn Elder Joseph Chio Johnson said, [they] “must stop threatening our people and accept that our no means no.” [3] – See more at:

Such incidents are widespread and growing: new cases are reported to civil society organizations on a near-weekly basis in countries from Cambodia and Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, Myanmar and Nigeria.

Who is protecting the people who actually live on these lands? Who is overseeing UN IFED? The charter of UN IFED says it was created to “enable rural people to overcome poverty.” If we can’t rely on international organizations mandated to protect and assist indigenous people shouldn’t we rethink our international laws and constraints so that local communities do not lose access to vital land and water resources?  Why should local communities be left with permanent soil erosion, animal abuse, pesticides, deforestation, migratory labor and child labor that accompany monoculture plantations? We do know that the current industrial plantation model as it exists does not respect the rights of indigenous populations. Why not  learn from Africa’s indigenous populations who know how to grow and cultivate palm oil utilizing the common sense application of agroecology and biodiversity?

There is a common sense solution: The Living Income Guarantee proposes that the natural resources of a land and people belong to the people – the ones that live on it. “The nationalization of natural resources and connected enterprises provides an opportunity for the management of the country’s resources by the people of that country – and is, in fact, an extension of direct democracy.”

[1] The Ecologist: (http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2759987/un_banks_and_oil_palm_giants_feast_on_the_stolen_land_of_ugandas_dispossessed.html
[2] Pampazuka News: http://www.pambazuka.net/en/category.php/features/76280
[3] Global Research.net: http://www.globalresearch.ca/corporate-palm-oil-plantations-destroy-the-peasant-economy/5403869#sthash.hT2usn59.dpuf

Advertisements

The California Drought and a Living Income Guaranteed

Screen shot 2015-06-14 at 1.32.55 PM

We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody. R. Buckminster Fuller

What is the real cause of the California drought – is it weather modification, the federal government cutting off water to farmlands, a cyclical pattern that in geological terms is to be expected? Is it a conspiracy to turn vast tracts of land back to wilderness a la Agenda 21?

Is it possible to know, definitively, the cause of the drought? Are there multiple causes? How can we redress global, national and local abuse — and not spin our wheels looking at the side effects of our systemic misalignment?

750 million people – approximately one in nine worldwide, currently lack access to safe water.Every day 2,300 people die from diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water and basic sanitation. 84,000 people died because they do not have access to clean water.

We know corporations continue to divert unknown quantities of California water to be bottled and sold. We know that there is no state agency  tracking how much water is being diverted from a resource that should be shared among all Californians. Isn’t this analogous to how we allow our creativity, innovative ideas and solutions to be siphoned off and diverted to support a system that does not support life equally – that does not protect the one resource we need most: water?

What usually happens in the educational process is that the faculties are dulled, overloaded, stuffed and paralyzed so that by the time most people are mature they have lost their innate capabilities R. Buckminster Fuller

In 1936 R. Buckminster Fuller came up with the idea of Dymaxion Bathrooms. These bathrooms are equipped with “Fog Gun” hot water vapor showers that use only a cup of water to clean hygienically without soap. He also created a waterless “Packaging Toilet” that shrink-wrapped “output” for pickup for composting. Ordinary toilets use approximately 2000 gallons of pure drinking water per year to flush – and waste – one human’s “exhaust” that, if dried out, would scarcely fill two 5-gallon pails. [2]

We have everything we need to create solutions. We can all have clean water. We can free ourselves from the dictates of the deluded constraints of rampant self interest.

A decent future starts with a decent start – it’s everybody or nobody. Investigate and support  The Living Income Guaranteed – I’m gonna bet Bucky would approve.

[1] http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/

[2] http://bfi.org/

The Great Fiction that is Currency

Currency

The ‘social scientists’ of human history, in various capacities and at various times, have shown the frightening ease with which the human will relinquish power and autonomy to those they perceive as having more authority and expertise – like in the famous Milner experiment:

“While I was a subject in 1964, though I believed that I was hurting someone, I was totally unaware of why I was doing so.”  (Professor Milgram elaborated two theories based on his landmark study investigating our relationship to authority: his theory of conformism, based on Solomon Asch conformity experiments, describing the fundamental relationship between the group of reference and the individual person. A subject who has neither ability nor expertise to make decisions, especially in a crisis, will leave decision making to the group and its hierarchy. The group is the person’s behavioral model and the agentic state theory: “the essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view themselves as the instrument for carrying out another person’s wishes, and they therefore no longer see themselves as responsible for their actions. Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred in the person, all of the essential features of obedience follow”.[1]

The world system in it’s efficiency and technology has happily appropriated the ease with which we hand-off of authority to experts. This abdication comes with a price, one we are evidently willing to live with – so that instead of creating the lives we want, taking responsibility for what we have created, we believe we must comply and “come to view themselves as the instrument for another’s wishes.”

These rules are the cause of the vast disparity of wealth and well-being in this world. Our  role as both spectator and participant becomes quite disturbing –  with the increasingly narrow opportunities for self-creation and in an environment increasingly programmed and then presented as “reality” for “it is technology that presents non-reality, which is mistaken for reality.” [2] In our ‘non-reality’ the facts don’t count. Consider our relationship to money: back in early human history someone once convinced another that gold was worth exchanging for time and labor. This fiction – that a piece of metal was worth more than a tree or a cow – became the origin of a leisure class and the private control of currency.

The fiction of currency runs our lives and had created a world that –  as entrepreneur Anita Roddick said, has created  “a religion of maximizing profits” where “everything is legitimate in the pursuit of that goal.” That the World Bank, the International Bank of Settlement, the IMF, and the Federal Reserve are private organizations – themselves charted by the private Council of Foreign Relations and their branches – (offshoots of the UK Milner Group (Bankers) and Cecil Rhodes (Banker) and the Rothschild’s (Bankers) – should prompt serious concern and investigation.

Just as the corporation uses branding to create attractive personalities for themselves, we can create and control the images and content to empower ourselves to challenge the accepted version of currency. The path from spectator to being autonomous can be walked using the technology that is already here and to advance the cause that, contrary to what we have accepted so far,  humans may be trusted with the promotion of values that support all life on earth, equally.

[1] The Milner Experiment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

[2]The Technological Society. Jacques Ellul
Trans. John Wilkinson. New York: Knopf, 1964. London: Jonathan Cape, 1965. Rev. ed.: New York: Knopf/Vintage, 1967.

 

Blog at WordPress.com.