Take the loaded question, “can we feed the world?” The knee-jerk response to this is “no,” but that’s the wrong answer. In a traveling lecture that directly addresses the question, farmer/author Joel Salatin offers some surprising statistics to illustrate just how inefficient we’ve become with food and land use. Aside from the fact that for the first time in human history we’re not eating 50 percent of the food we produce, Salatin points out that a staggering 40 million acres in the United States are tied up in lawn turf, while another 36 million acres are devoted to recreational horses. My takeaway is that we have the space and capacity to feed the world, but we simply choose not to. We’d rather consume, waste, and consume some more. The culprit, I believe, is a flat-out inhumane obsession with development and progress no matter what the cost.
—editor’s note (pg. 5) in the January/February 2013 Utne Reader by Christian Williams
Journalist: Do you feel, however, that we’re making progress in this country?
Malcolm X: No, no. I will never say that progress is being made. If you stick a knife in my back 9 inches and pull it out 6 inches, that’s not progress. If you pull it all the way out, that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. They won’t even admit that the knife is there!
BEIJING — China’s most influential newspaper on Monday urged authorities to listen to people’s worries about pollution, after fears over a new waste water pipeline sparked weekend riots.
“The public’s awareness of environmental issues and their rights is increasing at a rapid pace,” said an editorial in the People’s Daily — the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist party.
China should strive to “establish an open and transparent decision-making mechanism, and build a tolerant environment for public opinion”, it said.
Authorities in the eastern Chinese city of Qidong agreed Saturday to cancel plans to build a new water pipeline after thousands of local people took to the streets, overturning cars and ransacking government offices.
They were concerned that the pipeline, from a Japanese-owned paper factory, would pollute a nearby fishing port.
China’s dependence on manufacturing for economic growth has left the country struggling with a legacy of industrial pollution, and the riots were only the latest in a series of environmental protests.
Last year, a large-scale demonstration in the coastal city of Dalian forced the local government to relocate a chemical factory.