Food, Crisis, and The Human Spirit

food_crisis

FOOD = “to tend, keep, pasture, to protect, to guard, to feed”

CRISIS = “to separate, decide, judge, discriminate, distinguish, to sift”

SPIRIT = “animating or vital principle, soul, courage, vigor, breath”

It’s estimated that one billion people on the earth are starving and many are farmers. Farmers starving? How in the hell…

Take a typical independent farmer, let them do what they know how to do—use their human spirit to relate to the good earth—and they’re the best fed people on the planet. The crisis—what we need to separate out and make decisions about—is caused by not letting them do what they know how to do—letting multinational corporations that specialize in industrial agriculture supplant their efforts—provide food that’s of less nutritional value but is much cheaper than what the farmer can raise on their own. Also make sure that various multinationals control the seeds the farmer can get their hands on, making sure the seeds can only be used for one crop then have to be bought again—see Monsanto: Seed Police, The Bad Seed, and Harvest of Fear. The farmer can’t afford to buy new seed and they risk legal entanglement if they reuse the seed. And, if they try to use their own non-genetically-modified seed they’re pressured so much they can’t sell their healthy food and they can’t even grow it to feed themselves. If you doubt that a small town or village farmer can be pressured into not growing food from healthy seed just think about those multinationals and all the money they have. Do you think they mind paying some of those farmers to spy on other farmers?

So, the farmers are starving unless they buckle-under to the pressure from agri-business that seems to not use the human spirit in their mix of business factors. Then, the people who used to eat the healthy food the farmers grew have to settle for genetically-modified and less nutritious food—if  the farmer used the “approved” seed or if  the particular government lets food aid (also less than wholly nutritious) actually arrive at their table (if they even have a table…).

If you’ve gotten this far in the post and you’re starting to get bored about the one billion fellow human beings who are being starved by corporate greed, I suggest you review your commitment to the basics of the human spirit—love, harmony, sympathy, service, and compassion—as well as catching up on the concept of the Oneness of Humanity—the fact that what hurts one, hurts all… sooner or later…

Thankfully, there are some companies that do all in their power to resist the pressure from the spiritless corporations, grow fully nutritious food, and not only make it available to affluent people but install procedures that implement microfranchising so the poor can benefit as well. Check out Nuriche as one example.

Then, there are organizations like Yes!  that do everything in their power to help us all  build a more sustainable world.

Look into their special Spring 2009 theme: Food for Everyone: How to Grow A Local Food Revolution. Plenty of advice that ordinary people can use to make a major contribution to the global food crisis.

So…

FOOD = something we all need in a form that supplies us with the nutrition we must have to function effectively.

CRISIS = a time to make decisions, separate out the truth from the propaganda, and make a personal judgement to take some kind of positive action.

SPIRIT = what we all have and some  need to dust off and shine up so our human family can get back on its feet and live in peace and tranquility…

Spiritual Quote:

“A new economic order can be founded only on an unshakable conviction of the oneness of mankind. Discussions aimed at solving problems related to extreme poverty based on the premise that we are one human family rapidly expand beyond the current vocabulary of economics. They demand a wider context, one which anticipates the emergence of a global system of relationships resting on the principles of equity and justice.”
Bahá’í International Community: 1993 Feb 12 Human Rights and Extreme Poverty

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How Hungry Are *You* ?

Cartoons can be brutal in their portrayals yet nowhere near as brutal as the facts.

Who’s starving?
Who’s well-fed and determined to stay that way, whatever the price?
Who deserves to starve?
Who’s working to stop the inequities?

From Reuters: Biofuels major driver of food price rise: World Bank “Large increases in biofuels production in the United States and Europe are the main reason behind the steep rise in global food prices, a top World Bank economist said in research published on Monday.”

From OneWorld.Net: Trade Negotiations Cannot Solve Food Crisis Created by WTO and World Bank “Trade negotiators are using the current food crisis as a Trojan Horse at the WTO negotiations to push an agribusiness agenda on farmers and rural communities around the world,” stated Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Agriculture should be removed from WTO negotiations until international leaders fully examine the impact on developing countries’ ability to feed themselves.”

Hmmm…
The World Bank states one of the major problems then persists in striving toward a non-solution.

Why are people so subjugated they can’t raise their own food? Why do the multinationals work so hard to deny human rights?

Let’s see . . . Couldn’t be massive greed, could it?

It took me most of 40 years to get the idea that we are One from my head to my heart. During that time, I committed actions that benefited me and ignored my brothers and sisters in our global family.

My head said I deserved what I could grab. I’d suffered and needed those material things to comfort me . . .

Now my heart aches with bleeding feelings that stun my sensibilities. The world’s in the clutches of the temporally powerful. Temporal because the Spirit of humanity will survive and the materialistic “rulers” will turn to dust and be forgotten.

This post and its implications are so grief-ridden I’m reduced to a state of utter hope—hope that my grandchild’s children will see better days.

What’s your estimate of when things will turn from greed to compassion?

~~~~~~~~~

“Good God! Is it possible that, seeing one of his fellow-creatures starving, destitute of everything, a man can rest and live comfortably in his luxurious mansion? He who meets another in the greatest misery, can he enjoy his fortune? That is why, in the Religion of God, it is prescribed and established that wealthy men each year give over a certain part of their fortune for the maintenance of the poor and unfortunate. That is the foundation of the Religion of God and is binding upon all.
“And as man in this way is not forced nor obliged by the government, but is by the natural tendency of his good heart voluntarily and radiantly showing benevolence toward the poor, such a deed is much praised, approved and pleasing.
“Such is the meaning of the good works in the Divine Books and Tablets.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 276

“Unfortunately, the arbiters of human affairs have, instead of embracing the concept of the oneness of mankind and promoting the increase of concord among different peoples, tended to deify the State, to subordinate the rest of mankind to one nation, race or class, to attempt to suppress all discussion and interchange of ideas, or callously to abandon starving millions to the operations of a market system that all too clearly is aggravating the plight of the majority of mankind, while enabling small sections to live in an unprecedented condition of affluence.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1989 Feb 09, Right to Development

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How Do You Feed A Whole World ?


Quite often, the global drama strikes me as a group of children fighting over who gets to go first. Actually, I’ve been feeling a bit adolescent lately so it’s not much of a stretch to see the world’s leaders as misbehaving children.

From the International Herald Tribune: Negotiators acknowledge World Trade Organization process needs to change

From the New York Times: After 7 Years, Talks Collapse on World Trade

From the New York Times/World Business: China’s Shift on Food Was Key to Trade Impasse

From Reuters: EU points at U.S. for WTO collapse

From The WIP: How to Solve the Food Crisis: Cut trade barriers and start a Green Revolution in Africa, says Jeffrey Sachs
“The only silver lining in this (crisis) is – I even hate the idea of using that – is that it has made more people aware of the things that can be done, like the green revolution. I am not a believer in waiting for crises to get things done. I think it’s an absolutely ridiculous part of our character, but when we do have the crisis, at least it’s true that there is more discussion about agriculture the last months than there was in eight years!”

Hundreds of people, seemingly knowledgable in their field, sit down over a seven-year period and can’t come to an agreement; even though people are starving, and banks are tottering, and simple, sincere people (the world over) are losing hope . . .

What’s missing?

One thing that needs to be adjusted in the equation is to strike out the terms referring to Third World. Far as I can figure out, we have one world.

Next, terms need to be incorporated so the job of production becomes integrated globally—not the “us”/”them” situation we have. This will free enormous creative resources for solving our other crises.

“Economic development strategies employed by the United Nations, the World Bank and a number of governments during the last fifty years, however sincerely conceived and executed, have fallen far short of aspirations. In much of the world, the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has widened and is accelerating with the persistent disparity in income levels. Social problems have not subsided. In fact, crime and disease are not just on the rise; they are also becoming endemic and more difficult to combat.

“These failures can be traced to a number of factors. They include a misplaced focus on large-scale projects and bureaucratic over-centralization, unjust terms of international trade, a pervasive corruption that has been allowed to flourish throughout the system, the exclusion of women from the decision-making processes at all levels, a general inability to ensure that resources reach the poor, and the diversion of development resources into military hardware.

“A dispassionate examination of these factors betrays a common systematic and fundamental flaw in the current paradigm for economic development: material needs are often addressed without taking into account the spiritual factors and their motivating power….

“Because of the spiritually damaging nature of dependency, schemes which focus solely on redistributing material wealth are doomed to failure in the long run. Distribution of wealth must be approached in an efficient and equitable manner. In fact, it must be intimately integrated with the process of wealth creation.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Oct, Turning Point For All Nations

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Our Ruined Earth

My focus today is what’s wrong in Our Family’s Home . . .

From the Environment Section of AlterNet:

Why Our Food Waste May Be Our Greatest Asset
Composting is key to reducing waste costs, cutting global warming emissions, and increasing urban food security.

Time to Face the Hard Realities of a Global Energy Crisis
America needs a comprehensive plan to deal with post-peak oil — and that is going to involve some serious long-term thinking.

Get Ready for the Post-SUV World!
SUVs and big pickups are waddling off into the sunset, leaving Americans with no more excuses for the nation’s profligate oil use.

Global Warming’s Twin Evil: Wildfires and Drought
The 850 fires burning in California alone should be a wake up call that we’re unprepared for rapid climate change.

All this and much more on AlterNet’s Site . . .

And, absorb this wonderful, educational, and surprising video: “Solving” climate change from David Keith.

What’s driven our Family to this Crisis?

What can we actually do?

How much of the Crisis is manageable?

What needs to occur in political circles to make change actually happen?

Why in the world, considering that the environmental problem was already a concern in the 1950’s, have we let it get this bad?

Will prayer help?

Will war help? ( That’s a trick question. Just seeing if you’re paying attention… 😉 )

What in the World can We DO !?!

I’d Love to see your thoughts and feelings in the comments . . .

Today’s quote is from ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT: Statement to the first substantive session of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED):

“The principle of the unity of mankind naturally implies the need for world peace and security. The World Commission on Environment and Development observed in its report that world peace and security are central to sustainable development. The Bahá’í International Community agrees that as long as the specter of war continues to dominate international relations, the well-being of the human race and the environment will continue to erode. It is the Bahá’í view that the root cause of all war and injustice is the failure to recognize the fundamental oneness of the human race. Acceptance of the principle of oneness will induce the willingness to uncover and permanently resolve all other causes for conflict. Indeed, it must be the foundation for any serious attempt to find ways of living in harmony with our environment and each other.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1990 Aug 06, Environment Development

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