Saturday, November 04, 2006

Going International


"Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power"

-Tao Te Ching

I really love Fiji. I spent a great deal of time there in the mid-80's on a safari from California, and we chartered a boat delivering water to some of the outer island resorts. There have been 3 coups since then, and so news of another one did not upset too many, tourists or locals alike. It seems whenever the military does not like what the government is doing, or feels it is getting a bit too stroppy, then the whip is cracked. Fijians are very laid back, the Indians not so much. Therein lies a great deal of the problems, which are usually ironed out when everyone realises how much they need the tourist dollar, and so reluctantly pull their heads in.

Another interesting international event that will no doubt have long reaching and significant impact on all our lives in the not too distant future: China and Africa buddying up. This is big. One is hungry for resources, the other hungry period. A well thought out strategic alliance will have consequences on everything from the price of oil to World Trade. Watch this space.

I am strictly staying away from the midterm U.S. elections, as it is done to death, and well, it's U.S. politics. Down and dirty.

My cousin runs one of the larges construction and engineering companies in the world, and with all their experience and history building everything from airports to cities across the middle east, even they can't stomach the ongoing violence in Iraq. Time to move on. Sad but true.

Whist in Iraq (and there won't be many if something doesn't change quickly), I am disturbed every time I hear of another fatality in the country that isn't; but what is most unfortunate, is that there is plenty of press for the nearly 3,000 Americans that have lost their lives, when barely a word is spoken for the estimated 600,000 Iraqis that have perished in the last few years, according to this NYTimes article. That is major warfare, no matter how you count it, or what methodology you use. Human life is precious. It should not matter whether it is a civilian, U.S. military, or Iraqi. Sadly, it does to those who manipulate media.

Here in New Zealand the recent Stern Report on Climate Change used New Zealand as an example of excess in terms of the "food miles"used to get its kiwifruit around the world. Much to the outcry of politicians and exporters, the claim is that our production methods are more efficient, that it is actually less carbon hungry than buying in Europe. Perhaps. But that is not really the point.

The carbon market trading will do little to change behavior. And a change in behavior is what is needed. If there are extra green taxes on a country's exports from far away, that will make them less competitive for sure, but people will pay what they have to. Protectionism comes in many forms. The idea is to get local food production back into the hands of people who are local. It is entirely unsustainable to continue to fly produce around the world, taxes or not. Buying carbon credits so that you can continue unsustainable practices does not make sense. Food in particular, is going to be the first to go. It is a global marketplace, but the added value products and services that will need to be exported must be of high value and low volume in order to effect the excessive air travel has on the climate. Food is neither.

A quick glance at the recent Bioneers Conference held in California, and growing year by year.

And last, but certainly not least... the outrageously funny duo of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert being interviewed by seasoned journalist Maureen Dowd for Rolling Stone magazine. Gut-splitting!




1 comment:

nancy deacon said...

I think you are doing a fantastic
jog with your blob (excuse errors)
I don`t know what a HYML tag is
so I won`t use one!! Thanks for
the Jon Stewert article as I keep
forgetting to watch him - he is
great.
love from a biased reader