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Global Warming and Food Production
Climate and biodiversity are intractably linked – biodiversity hugely influences soil health; populations of pollinating species; the ability of the land to store water and carbon; local pollution levels and the impact that has; and pest populations. All of these things add up to affect the amount of food that our planet can produce, either as crops, or forage for livestock.
As man-made climate change worsens, weather systems become imbalanced, causing a greater amount and severity of weather extremes – the relative stability of our climate is coming to a premature end. Some parts of the earth will become functionally unliveable, with extremes in temperature and conditions causing death and loss of fertility. This will reduce the amount of productive farming land that we as a species have to work on. Even with new countries entering the market of certain temperature-sensitive crops – such as grapes in the case of Britain – these will not be enough to offset the loss of swathes of fertile land in every single continent. Indoor farming and food production is not exempt from this either: as temperature extremes worsen in severity and regularity, and water availability in many areas decrease, whole batches of produce grown in containers or greenhouses – from experience – can be damaged or killed off completely. Increased amounts of water and energy required to offset this worsens the situation still, and increases costs for producers.
Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reduces the nutrition available in crops and soils, so both humans and livestock will need to eat comparatively more to be able to get the same range and amount of nutrients as previously. This – in the system of global capitalism – will increase the pressure for more intense farming methods. It is either this, or rely more and more on manufactured, processed foods – themselves appalling in their health impacts – and supplements. Both have high energy and carbon requirements and emissions, which just increases the vicious cycle we have already created.
Population growth is forecast to be the largest in places that either are currently, or will in the future, be worst hit by climate change, such as the Indian subcontinent, South East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. These neo-colonial countries – exploited by the very nature of capitalism (which draws billions from these countries and gives nothing in return to the indebted poor) and the imperialist desires of its major powers – will struggle most under the joint pressures of climate change and food poverty. The need to feed more people on less and less productive land will increase food imports – the impact this can have seen currently in many countries in Africa and the Middle East during the current crisis, as well as increased emissions – and the pressure for high-intensity, chemical-based industrial agriculture. This type of farming exacerbates both the symptoms (droughts, infertility, pollution and poisoning) and the causes (emissions and biodiversity loss) of climate change-related food and health pressures.
Whereas the system of capitalism is a global phenomena, it is one with national characteristics and contradictions, with each country working to protect its own corporations and financial and imperial interests across the globe. The very nature of capitalism and bureaucracy is to be in constant competition even with allies, with corporations holding as much – or sometimes more – power than governments, which themselves – even the so-called “democratic” ones – are ruled by a dictatorship of either capitalists and capitalism, or bureaucrats, or both. This means that the timely international, planned response to the climate and food crises that is required is so unlikely that it might as well be impossible. This will leave us with mass calamities in both climate and food production, the start of which are seen today in the competition over resources, overproduction and wastage of products, lack of suitable distribution, and mass poverty and malnutrition.
Millions, maybe billions, will die as food availability crashes and prices skyrocket, with the burden falling mainly on the global poor and the working classes; these are the people with the least say on how capitalist society is run. What is required is a bottom-up, democratic system of planning the economy in each country, under the control of the working class and exploited – the vast majority. This is the only way the needs of each and every one of us can be met. It may seem utopian, but this is a system first used in the early years of the Soviet Union. It is us – and socialism – or it is any of the faces that capitalism and bureaucracy wear. This is the choice we as a world working class have to make.
Effects of Gentrification on the Working Class
by Lost Slokasians
At its most basic level, gentrification means the changing of an area's character to one of affluence. Some look at this, seeing the improvements— walkability, and trendy shops— see gentrification as a positive. The way it stands, however, it is a dirty word, a process that can only be created by the effects of the capitalist economic system. While it has benefits, such as reduction in crime and increase in incomes, the underlying factor to these benefits is that gentrification replaces an area's current residents, often working-class people of color, with younger, mostly white residents.
A development is created such as a stadium or new company, or in the case of the Old Forth Worth area of Atlanta, Georgia, a walkability-centered development. Old Fourth Ward is a historic Black neighborhood, giving rise to civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King and others. The area was decimated by Reaganomics and its effects; crime was high and drug abuse was common. However, in the 2000s, a scheme was created by a young Georgia Tech student named Ryan Gravel. He imagined a system of walkability that would lead economic improvement to many forgotten neighborhoods. Sadly, the Beltline project was taken by wealthy developers who only saw profits. Developers built expensive and trendy apartments along the new multi-use path. They underpaid local tenants for their land, and replaced them with apartments so expensive that the former landowners were forced out of the neighborhoods they had called home. From 2000 to 2020, the black population went from 80% to 35% with the average rent reading $2,010. These prices limited the area to the rich and those associated with the tech industry.
Today, the area is home to $15 beer and liberal slogans on every corner. This is not limited to the Old Fourth Ward; this is happening in every major American city. Look around, where does the working-class live? Where do the wealthy and well-educated live? We all not only have to realize this is happening, but also to take action: push back against the big developers and keep fighting for fair housing.
Thank you for reading the Union Tribune's March & April Newsletter edition! If you liked it, give it an upvote. This edition contains opinion articles by Harndon and Lost Slokasians, edited and formatted by Erynia and Draconia. We are always looking for new writers and editors, so if you would like to join the Union Tribune team, please DM qibli77#6967 on discord or telegram Erynia and Draconia.
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