State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking

The Sustainability Haters

We simply need to be really careful about how we get our information and where our attitudes come from.  A few days ago, a local radio station was advertising an event sponsored by the United Nations Foundation.  The DJ finished by suggesting that everyone must be for this, unless you are a “Sustainability Hater”.  Hate is a pretty strong word.  The message from the DJ (well meaning as he may be) was that if you don’t support this agenda, you are alone and a hater.  Did he have any idea that there are other views out there or what these views may be?  Does he know who he is calling a hater?

FANRPAN is the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network.  Their goal is to improve food security in Africa by increasing farming productivity.  At their conference in Pretoria, South Africa on May 24, Chairman Sindiso Ngwenya of Zambia criticised First World attempts to use climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development arguments to prevent African agriculture from advancing.  He spoke against First World handouts, suggesting that what Africa really needs is modern technology (tractors, fertilizer and the like) and reliable, affordable electricity.  He was critical of the UN’s COP-17 (Conference of the Parties who decide climate policy) for being obstructionists to what Africa needs to gain food security.  A full story can be found at:

Sorry, but African Farmers who want to grow food for their people don’t seem much like haters.  In fact, when a movement relies on name calling to show its superiority, it is definitely worth looking deeper into what it may be hiding.  However, it is far too easy for Americans who have plenty of food, and generally very few real worries to catch a tidbit from the radio or the news and accept it as universal truth without understanding the perspective of those affected.  For me, I’m standing with the African farmers.  Maybe I’m a sustainability hater, too.

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  1. John

     /  June 21, 2012

    About 3 years ago, I wrote a paper for my labor economics class which focused on the (in)effectiveness of the U.N. food drops of the nineties in the Ethiopia area. In short, and I could dig up the statistics if you like, the food drops had the effect of increasing hunger, depleting work, and increasing poverty.

    The problem with just providing for people (especially when it is done by a government entity) instead of teaching and helping them provide for themselves, is that we ultimately waste many more resources in the process of providing. Just look at the vast amounts we spend per capita fighting poverty in the U.S. (over $40,000 per person)!

    • Brinton

       /  June 21, 2012

      If you don’t mind, please do dig up the statistics. Could be interesting and informative.

  2. John

     /  June 22, 2012

    Give me a week to get to the computer where I have my paper saved, and I will get those posted.


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