Undue Optimism

We learn from Caroline Spelman, care of Fiona Harvey, that Climate Change could be good for British farming :-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4e2c238e-c276-11df-956e-00144feab49a.html

“Climate change could benefit UK farmers : By Fiona Harvey and George Parker : Published: September 17 2010 : Climate change and global food shortages could bring unexpected benefits for British farmers in the next two decades, ultimately relieving taxpayers of the burden of subsidising them, Caroline Spelman, environment secretary, has claimed. Ms Spelman said the UK was unlikely to suffer the severe water shortages that scientists predict will afflict other parts of the world, and that British farmers should be able to exploit greater demand for their produce…”

Note that the argument is not that Climate Change will create better conditions for growing food in the UK.

Instead, the logic is that because we live in North Western Europe, which will see less Climate Change than other parts of the world, our agricultural produce won’t be affected as badly as, say, Asia, so, suddenly British food production will have stronger commercial value as export.

That’s rather perverse, isn’t it ? Profiting at others’ expense never looked so…existential, so morally challenged.

I think that what will happen is that British food production will be increased in order to give it away, in the form of international disaster aid.

The Common Agricultural Policy could become the Crisis Agricultural Subsidy.

In a never-ending rolling disaster, the ethics of meeting basic human needs will surely take precedence over business competition.

Remembering Pakistan

Found at : Only In It For The Gold

Will the long-term future for much of inundated Pakistan resemble a country-wide-scale New Orleans – destroyed and mostly deserted ?

Where will the people go ? Or will they rot and die in “temporary” camps ?

What will become of those stranded in their villages – they stayed to protect the land – they didn’t realise the floodwaters would be like never before – coming to take away their livelihoods and possibly their lives.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jX_KetVCMo64AOZxSMudPWArFrJgD9I946KG0

“US envoy warns Pakistan of flood funding shortfall : By SEBASTIAN ABBOT (AP) : 16 September 2010 : KARACHI, Pakistan — The world will only be able to fund around 25 percent of the tens of billions of dollars needed to rebuild Pakistan after the floods, and its government will have to make up the shortfall, the U.S. envoy to the country warned Thursday. Richard Holbrooke said America would not condition its assistance to the country, but warned that the U.S. Congress might not be generous if it felt that Pakistan was not taxing its own citizens enough. Pakistan’s rich have traditionally not paid much tax on their income or their property — either because they evade them or are exempt — and the country’s collection rates are among the lowest in the world…Monsoon rains triggered massive floods six weeks ago that spread across the country and are still continuing in parts of the south. Some 8 million people have been made homeless in what Pakistani and U.N. officials have said is one of the largest humanitarian disasters in living memory…”

Save Oxfam

In an unguarded moment, I allowed myself to watch television, and found myself watching this campaign advertisement from Oxfam.

The first thing I felt was empathy with the unhappy woman shown in the opening sequence, as the narrator told us that her baby had just been washed away by floodwaters. How dreadful for her. How awful for her child.

The second thing I thought was how shocking it was for an aid and development agency to use this person’s grief as a marketing tool.

The third thing I thought was to ask myself why the makers of the appeal didn’t mention the aggravation to the environment caused by Climate Change, but instead just refered to “more people than ever are dying because of floods, drought and lack of clean water”.

Continue reading Save Oxfam

Recession Kills Dissent

The Economic Recession has been an excellent excuse to stop funding Charities, Aid and Development agencies and other Non-Governmental Organisations.

Whether or not there is still money in the pot for “campaigns” and other kinds of communicating with the public on subjects of philanthropic interest, funders (which include Government bodies) have been finding reasons to cut off the lifeblood of groups with large memberships.

Continue reading Recession Kills Dissent

Copenhagen Discord (3)

Yes, according to the major Aid and Development Agencies in the UK, Climate Change is a problem for poor people in countries all over the undeveloped World.

“So”, I asked, “are you going to include the facts of Climate Change happening in Europe in your presentations, so that people can connect with this ?”

It’s really hard to empathise with the plight of some person you can’t even communicate with on the other side of the Earth who is losing their crops to both drought and extreme flooding all in the same year.

Your sense of philanthropy might rise up and motivate you, but you still do not grasp the reality of Climate Change.

You need some way of buying into the message.

Continue reading Copenhagen Discord (3)