Archive for the Sustainable farming Category

Book Bites Back

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Organic agriculture, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2018 by rgwallace

The final proofs have been edited. The website is approaching the landing page. The guerrilleros are amassing along the capital’s limits. Our new book, at 68 pages, as one co-author put it, packs a punch of a 300-page heavyweight. It is dense with critical insight.

If by the scope of our analysis alone, we offer some of the more cutting-edge modeling for vector-borne diseases such as Zika and malaria. We connect a series of pathogen-vector systems of Itô stochastic differential equations to the political economies of deforestation and neoliberal austerity.

As infectious diseases in an age of nation states and global health programs cannot, as much of the present modeling literature presumes, be described by interacting populations of host, vector, and pathogen alone, we also offer a series of control theory models. These models, useful to researchers and health officials alike, explicitly address interactions between government ministries and the pathogens they aim to control.

The new modeling also bites back. We criticize cost effectiveness analyses and the agricultural concept of endemic stability, key moments in modeling disease interventions, as part and parcel of an ethics of economism organized around minimizing state health expenditures. We ask whether along the way these scientific models help undercut global disease control in such a way as to protect corporate bottom lines.

The book is due out April 2018. You can pre-order a copy here.

For those who don’t have the cheddar to cover the cost of a book from an academic publisher, we recommend you ask your library to order it. Or you might order a MyCopy print-on-demand for $25 through your local research institution or library.

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Prometheus Rebound

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Organic agriculture, Revolution, Sustainable farming, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2017 by rgwallace

Eagle eating snakeIn embracing Prometheus, techno-optimists expunge Zeus’s succeeding curse, an omission that aligns right alongside their myopia around one of two of humanity’s sources of wealth.

Earth’s regenerative natural resources are clearly as necessary an input as human labor. Otherwise, ignoring we’d never have evolved in the first place, any cargo system organized around mutual aid, even resignified in opposition to the colonial enterprise, would be no better than breaking rocks.

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Dilemma Tale

Posted in Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , on October 30, 2017 by rgwallace

Puerto Rico 1Perses, lay up these things in your heart, and do not let that Strife who delights in mischief hold your heart back from work, while you peep and peer and listen to the wrangles of the court-house. –Hesiod (700 BC)

Perhaps we suffer a neoliberal hangover believing victory to be found in choosing which ecological catastrophe will annihilate civilization.

Will it be the metabolic rifts disconnecting human health and food from the quasi-equilibria of a variety of ecosystemic cycles spooling apart? Will it be the metabolic shifts in the new pathogens and pollutions capitalism selects for but we payless cannot survive for long? Or is the bourgeois episteme unraveling across multiple domains, producing monsters of omission and commission alike?

Do we play the Tannhäuser, our fates at momenta beyond men and gods alike, finding solace in a death drive proving our rival priests wrong? Will there be relief in an epitaph that reads, “I…was…right!” Or, the golden age in us, will we find the path out the grand trap in the faces of our children?

Ten Theses on Farming and Disease

Posted in Evolution, Influenza, Revolution, Sustainable farming, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2017 by rgwallace

costarica043Every once in a while, we have to take a stab at putting all the pieces together. In some ways these ten theses on farming and disease only touch on what I, and others, have been saying all along. But there’s a growing understanding of the functional relationships health, food justice, and the environment share. They’re not just ticks on a checklist of good things capitalism shits on. Falsifying Hume’s guillotine, embodying a niche construction at the core of our human identity, justice and the ecosystem appear to define each other at a deep level of cause and effect.

1. Contract farmers around the world are suffering cost-price squeezes. Producers are at one and the same time suffering increasing input costs and low or falling prices for their goods at the farm gate. The farmers are forced to chase an economic Red Queen. Individual farmers must increase production if only in an effort to cover for low prices that increases in production across farms helped depress to begin with.

2. The squeeze is a scam agribusiness is running on farmers. In enforcing high farm output, companies are seeking gluts that cheapen ingredients for their processed product lines. High output, producing food beyond global consumer demand, is also about making money off farmers contractually obligated to buy synthetic inputs they don’t need to grow us enough food.

3. The gap between cost and price, also a form of labor discipline, forces many farmers out, leading to plot consolidation as those smallholders and mid-level operations still left buy up abandoned land, banking on economies of scale, debt-financed mechanization, and appreciation in land equity to pull them through the artificial price squeeze.

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Red Earth

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Organic agriculture, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2017 by rgwallace

Red Earth 4They lived like monkeys still, while their new god powers lay around them in the weeds. ― Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars

For a column to be published on Earth Day, the day of the March for Science, a reporter asked me three questions: Why are capitalism and environmentalism inherently incompatible? Why is industrial farming harmful to the environment? And why are corporate sustainability and carbon footprint reduction programs so often a farce?

Drawing from previous essays, the newly emergent ecological Marx, both sides of the John Bellamy Foster and Jason Moore debate, and the clash over environmental destruction under pre-capitalist formations, I answered all three together in what follows, parts of which the columnist may excerpt.

Capitalism is fundamentally different from any other social organization in human history. There is the matter of scale, of course. The environmental destruction arising from the system’s mode of production is now global and geological.
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Rogue Resistance

Posted in Ecological resilience, Influenza, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2017 by rgwallace

Alt_CDCOne can’t help but cheer the online resistance Fed scientists are waging against the anti-science Trump administration. Among them, Rogue NASA, NOAA Uncensored, and everybody’s favorite Alt US Forest Service: only you can prevent fascism.

But some of us were @Alt_CDC long before it was hip or took a Twitter handle.

Didn’t swine flu H1N1, Ebola Makona, H5N2 (and other H5Nx), Zika, cholera in Haiti, the vaccine gap for yellow fever, H7N9, Ebola Reston, MERS in industrialized camel, the opioid epidemic, and a surge in antibiotic resistance emerge under President Obama’s watch?

Wasn’t it the Obama NSF and NIH that failed to fund scientific efforts to explore the roles agribusiness, deforestation, structural adjustment, and global circuits of capital played in these outbreaks? Continue reading

Did Deforestation Spring Zika?

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , on February 19, 2016 by rgwallace

This is the first of three clips in which I’m interviewed by the Real News Network about the outbreak of Zika virus across Latin America.

No matter what turns out to be the cause of the microcephaly thousands of Brazilian newborns are suffering–Zika, pesticides, something else, or some combo–a large literature shows the resurgence of the Flaviviruses–dengue, yellow fever, Chikungunya, and now Zika–is, like Ebola in West Africa, being driven largely by neoliberal deforestation.

By logging, mining, and monoculture agriculture, we appear to be stripping away the ecosystemic limits forests typically place upon many a pathogen.

I’ll have a more in-depth post on Zika in the days to follow.