Archive for agro-ecology

Fork in the Road

Posted in Ecological resilience, Organic agriculture, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 by rgwallace

This is the final installment of the ‘big picture’ on global food crises I co-authored with Richard Kock and Robyn Alders. The first two installments can be found here and here.

We learned food insecurity and disease outbreaks can serve as a cover for a particular capital-securitized science tied into spreading the Livestock Revolution, with profound effects on diet and health worldwide.

Studies of bird flu outbreaks, for instance, at one and the same time repeatedly embody the premises of and serve as tautological arguments for the transition into highly capitalized farming. ‘Biosecurity’ effectively permits agribusiness, a likely source for pathogenic influenzas, to dispossess indigenous farmers, spreading hunger and disease and despoiling local agro-ecologies. The resulting environmental collapses are treated as due cause for subsequent dispossession.

That is, agricultural pathways are as much, if not more, about controlling the means of food production as they are about the food produced.

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Egypt’s Food Pyramids

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2011 by rgwallace

A million minds momentarily magnetizing themselves along the same axis can turn a country’s deepest despair into an ecstatic sprint for freedom. What a people find revolting–a dictator decorated in American apologia–can be turned by a people’s revolt ridiculous.

No wonder so much effort (and money) is daily expended on propaganda in countries around the world. Obedience–the notion the rulers rule–is at its heart precarious.

But once a hypnosis is broken and history lurches forward, those who are unable to come to terms with the new order are left behind. They are relics, trivia, answers to riddles lost in the sand blowing about the noseless sphinx of empire. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his Washington supporters, Anthony to Mubarak’s Cleopatra, were so startled by January 25th’s uprising that nearly a month later each party still hadn’t grasped their newfound irrelevance.

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Does Influenza Evolve in Multiple Tenses?

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2010 by rgwallace

The past may possess a power greater than prologue. Anyone with a social networking account knows that. All of a sudden you find yourself daily interacting with people long thought boxed away. People mature, yes, but sensibilities remain largely intact and an old year, fine wine or vinegar, pours back up into the bottle.

“The past,” as William Faulkner diagnosed it, “is never dead. It’s not even the past.” Living in multiple tenses, in what we characterized in the previous post as Louis Althusser’s ‘historical present’, can be exhilarating or exhausting depending on the day.

That kind of time travel may be influenza’s bread-and-butter. Strains of the bug may retain, and strategically exploit, the capacity to evolve molecular characteristics of bygone eras.

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