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Contents contributed and discussions participated by Arabica Robusta

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Reality check for 'miracle' biofuel crop - SciDev.Net - 5 views

  • It has only been in the past few years that interest in jatropha as a biofuel crop has mounted, particularly because of its purported ability to thrive on marginal land and in drought conditions. As for claims about the tree's fast-growing nature, early fruiting, pest and disease resistance due to its toxicity, and its potential to not only produce biodiesel, but also as fuel for light and heat for cooking.
  • The main finding of the Reality Check is that jatropha is not economically viable when grown by smallholders in Kenya, either in a monoculture or intercrop plantation model. This is due to low yields and high production costs, and a lack of guidelines for applying agronomic and silvicultural best practices.
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Transnational Institute | Pachakuti: Indigenous perspectives, degrowth and ecosocialism - 4 views

  • However, convincing northern consumers of the need for a new paradigm and new lifestyles, given the impossibility of endless growth on a limited planet, will not be an easy task.[8] A synthesis, of elements of sometimes overly holistic indigenous wisdom and of excessively compartmentalized western science, seems to me the a fruitful combination to provide guidance for a way out of the current crises which threaten the planet, our Mother Earth.
    • Arabica Robusta
       
      Dualist indigenous/western knowledge paradigm is partially useful at best.  Looking at relations of power and voice is more useful.  See Edelman's "Peasants Against Globalization"
  • the phrase “to live well but not better” (than others, or at the cost of others) is potentially confusing in English since “well” and “better” are similar if used to denote qualitative vs quantitative meaning. Language and culture are crucial elements if we are to convince others to understand and then follow this “dictum”. For example, English is a language based largely on nouns, while Anishinabe languages are dominated by verbs, resulting in cultures which focus respectively on objects versus process[12], with a resultant tendency to objectivize or integrate nature.[13] This may in part explain the domination of the planet today by English dominated cultures and may make the task of undoing this domination extra difficult.
  • Ecuadorian economist Pablo Davalos[16] provides a brief survey of the evolution of dependency, Marxist, world system and neo-liberal classical economics to show how we have arrived at a state of economic autism. He concludes that “Of the alternative concepts that have been proposed, the one that presents more options within its theoretical and epistemological framework to replace the old notions of development and economic growth, is Sumak Kawsay, good living.”
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  • The creation of “autonomous” zones of power in Chiapas, with parallel institutions of governance are said to have brought significant political transformation, but some say they have not yet created a viable model of economic autonomy for poor peasants.[22] Others cite civil – military tensions in the Juntas of Good Governance as reducing local autonomy.[23] Some feel that internal political organization has taken priority over social and economic improvements and weakened earlier efforts to reform the broader Mexican state and guarantee indigenous rights of self-determination.[24] Nevertheless, the Zapatista carcoles are models of governance which include many elements implicit in the ecosocialist and degrowth paradigms and further research on these experiences is sorely needed.
  • The protection and preservation of balance in the natural world, including all its living beings, is a primary goal and need of our proposal. Mother nature has inherent rights to exist on the Earth in an undiminished healthy condition.
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    In its efforts to exert some political influence on solutions to the current world financial and climate crises the nascent international ecosocialist movement should direct some attention to a synthesis of the western ecosocialist discourse with the growing Latin American indigenous discourse that is making exciting progress, albeit in fits and starts, toward an international charter for the protection of the planet, Mother Earth, and all forms of life on it.
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AfricaNews - Africa: Renewable energy key to development - The AfricaNews articles of D... - 3 views

  • The CEO of the China Africa Bridge said: “The solar radiation Africa receives could make this continent the Saudi-Arabia of the future”.
  • mong the discussed and recommended policies were micro-credits for the purchase of solar home systems, the reduction or abolition of import duties on renewable energy technology, renewable energy payments for independent electricity-producers in regions with a grid and policies for subsidizing the use of solar water heaters as widely used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries.
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    The CEO of the China Africa Bridge said: "The solar radiation Africa receives could make this continent the Saudi-Arabia of the future".
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Africans Face Competing Visions of Agricultural Development at a Critical Juncture | Fo... - 4 views

  • While it is not surprising that the IFIs mediate the global economy, often brutally, in favor of the OECD countries-the flip side would be to engage in development activities as if these global imbalances did not exist. This seems to be the Earth Institute's perspective. Their website describes their program as bringing the benefits of scientific expertise of "850 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, staff and students working in and across more than 30 Columbia University research centers" to solve "real world problems." The Earth Institute believes "finding solutions to one problem, such as extreme poverty, must involve tackling other related challenges, such as environmental degradation and lack of access to health care and education."
    • Arabica Robusta
       
      Good critique of the Earth Institute: "engage in development activities as if ... global imbalances did not exist."
  • The IFIs' fixation on macroeconomic indicators leads to the misguided belief that bumping up countries' GDPs will help poor Africans by way of some mythological trickle-down effect that has yet to materialize. This metric has led, among other things, to an inexorable push in Africa for large scale industrial agriculture for export markets, while leaving the peasant farmers who produce most of the food consumed by Africans out of the equation. The aid regime has thus done more to open Africa's agricultural resources for exploitation than to mitigate the roots of poverty and hunger in Africa.
  • It is not difficult to succeed when one has a lot of money and one defines success as eradicating poverty in individual villages.
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  • The villagers in Sauri are understandably happy with the results, but off the record they have criticized the non-inclusiveness of the top-down approach.[i] UN officials and scientists have also been reluctant to speak against Sachs on the record for fear of retribution.
  • The Millennium Villages siphon off money better spent elsewhere, and draw attention away from creative, grassroots approaches to local problems. Long-term solutions require sustainable low-tech methods that farmers can control, such as permaculture, seed banks, and green manure; as well as redistributive land reform and marketing boards to provide some security.
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation (no direct relation to the Millennium Villages project). Created in 2004, the MCC is a U.S. Government aid organization that has spent $5.5 billion since 2004 awarding contracts to private businesses in target countries. The MCC's focus on raising the overall GDP is being pursued with the same failed policies as the IFIs: aggressive privatization, foreign direct investment (predatory capital), and global integration.  One of the more contentious aspects for small farmers are land grabs by foreign investors, facilitated via MCC contracts for "Systematic Land Regularization and Improvement of Rural Land Allocation." A recent report by GRAIN reveals that the MCC has been using "Land Regularization" to change land ownership rules and gain access to tens of thousands of acres of land in three of the ECOWAS countries: Benin, Ghana, and Mali.
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    Good critique of Earth Institute
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South Africans say 'no' to coal plant - 1 views

  • esidents located near Lephalale in South Africa’s Limpopo Province today filed a complaint with the World Bank’s independent complaint body, the Inspection Panel, stating that a proposed $3.75 billion World Bank loan to help finance the Medupi coal-fired power plant will significantly damage their health, livelihoods and the environment.
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Ecological Space - IIED - 0 views

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    'productive' vs. 'luxury' carbon emission
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Oil: Fueling Another Debt Crisis? - 0 views

  • High oil prices have a clear economic effect. But for highly indebted, impoverished countries, climate change, fueled significantly by CO2 emissions from cars and other gas-guzzling vehicles in the North, will have serious ecological, social and economic impacts as well.
    • Arabica Robusta
       
      Comment on petroleum and global warming.
  • Says Saul, “A key way to transition away from dependence on oil is through debt cancellation. Countries need fiscal space in order to invest in the post-fossil fuel economy — but the debt trap keeps countries from meeting a wide variety of social needs.”
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    it is clear that soaring oil prices are undermining the benefits of debt cancellation in some countries, especially poor oil-importing nations.
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