Tuesday, November 25, 2008

De-Institutionalizing Monoculture: Adding Biophysical and Political Checks and Balances for the Corrupt Monocultures of the Mind

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Echoing themes from a previous post on the issue of monocultures, the bioregional state is designed to maintain long term forms of biodiversity. Monocultures, instead of providing us with cheap food plant and animal products provide us with massive long term externalities that are incredibly costly. In biological products, how do we maintain a check and balance against monocultures as a production method?

"This is one major issue that I think about, as important in the grain of the bioregional state. It's actually the major point I pondered long before penning the bioregional state. Whether we see it in the formal institutional ecological checks and balances against unrepresentative developmentalism and state corruption, or see it in watershed commodity ecology arrangements, the bioregional state is a framework of protecting preexisting forms of ethnobotany and human diversity. Species die for lack of diversity, including humans. Species as well die because of ignorance of the destructions of their environment--because bodily their environment is themselves.

However, the bioregional state is more than wistfully or sentimentally protecting pre-existing forms of ethnobotany and human diversity, it is a manner for such frameworks to be the developmental and political economic program itself--expanded as much as protected, institutionally."


It is important to maintain, for risk demotion and long-term human choice, access to the global inheritance of plant and animal varieties. We have over millennia laboriously created very ecologically suitable forms of animal and plant varieties for certain forms of climate, soil, and social use. Their ongoing existence is part of the material, ecological checks and balances against unsustainable development in the bioregional state. Their ongoing biodiverse existence, economically, assures that there is human interest motivation to protect particular ecological niches.

What specific two institutions does the bioregional state see as maintaining these ethnobotanical creations as an ecological check and balance against unsustainable development and against political corruption?

In every watershed around the world, the bioregional state encourages the creation of the institutions of [1] Commodity Ecology and [2] Civic Democratic Institutions as a check and balance against monocultures of applied science (to adapt and use a Vandana Shiva book title) as well as against monocultures. The 85 different consumptive use categories can be maintained durably and 'grown into' particular watersheds in this manner (when these two institutions are added by sustainability volunteers in their area, see links for suggestions) as a check and balance against our own sociopolitical destruction as well as against ecological destruction. It is a very noble project where anyone can be a hero in their actions. This fails to mean that other choices traded from other watersheds would be unavailable. That is left up to a particular watershed's 'bionationalization' initiatives which are left open for a watershed to decide through the Commodity Ecology institutions themselves. 'Bionationalization' is decentralized collective oversight as the highest material jurisdiction in the locality to decide while leaving civil rights durable in larger structures as the higher jurisdiction. It's very similar to Elinor Ostrom's ideas of local organizational forms of sustainability that she notes around the world.

As said before in the Bioregional Democracy encyclopedia entry:

Bioregional democracy (or the Bioregional State) is a set of electoral reforms and commodity reforms designed to force the political process in a democracy to better represent concerns about the economy, the body, and environmental concerns (e.g. water quality), toward developmental paths that are locally prioritized and tailored to different areas for their own specific interests of sustainability and durability. This movement is variously called bioregional democracy, watershed cooperation, or bioregional representation, or one of various other similar names--all of which denote democratic control of a natural commons and local jurisdictional dominance in any economic developmental path decisions—while not removing more generalized civil rights protections of a larger national state.

According to major polls, these are hardly odd ideas as a majority of the world has 'gone green' in its orientation.

It comes down to protecting bodily integrity--the integrity of our own bodies' health, as well as plants' and animals' bodily health, and I would argue our body politics' health and durability as well since these forms of monoculture tend toward state self-destruction as well.

"The frameworks of the bioregional state came out of long term comparative historical analysis of the collapses of human societies. Those collapses were instrumentally involved in slow alterations in formal, material, and ideological hegemonies. They were increasingly repressive and intentionally ambivalent toward mounting environmental degradation despite the majority of their population knowing about it."

Under the extended Ecological Bill of Rights in the Constitution of Sustainability (in Toward A Bioregional State).

"What follows is an excerpt from the book....Particularly "Article 29", on bodily integrity I think is a general principle that should be enshrined, covering many issues in one statement of belief covering everything from abortion, to animal rights, to food security, to avoiding forced vaccinations, and to attempts to monitor post-purchasing consumer/citizen behavior through the materials themselves, like with RFID."

There are many choices already to avoid monocultures in agriculture and animal husbandry. These can be adaptable readily now for particular ethnobotanical uses and, to coin a phrase, ethno-"ecohusbandry" uses. For it is a marriage, eh, of plants, animals, and people in particular areas that is sustainable? While monocultures are innately a divorce from the environment and a divorce from our own long term human ecological self-interest.

"The argument of the bioregional state is that pro-humanist views are solutions to environmental degradation, because it is in human ecological self-interest to reflect a sound ecology--as it is all bound up in their human health and durable economies."

"[The] strand here is that it deals with institutionalizing biodiversity in human uses, instead of leaving them out of the social human loop (like in utilizing native bees for pollination, for example). Once they have a social use, there is a systemic human desire to innately preserve them and their ecological interrelations. When the local biodiversity is integrated in commodity production, then humans take over--for their own self-interest and politics--the protection and representation of voiceless plants and animals that is in sync with them."

"[T]he seat of any concern over human rights, health, ecology, and economy isn't an ideological issue. It is a geographic issue that appeals to particular geographies, instead of parties. Note in the article below that the organized frameworks here that are for these issues are entirely local. We should reconceptulize the whole basis of politics here, to take into account the Local Wing versus the National Wing. In the National Wing, they use whatever flavor of the month ideology to gatekeep against the Local Wing.

The Local Wing is why called 'left' environmentalist and so called 'right' gun rights organizations are working together on the local level to create local conservation corridors for wildlife in the Rocky Mountains--while these ideological groups on the national level pretend these issues are enemies of each other. They aren't. The ideologies are. The issues aren't. Another good example of 'right-wing environmentalism'--and a serious critique of how misleading it is to frame it as a left issue--is the book Deeper Shades of Green: The Rise of Blue Collar and Minority Environmentalism in America.[link]

'A new merger of movements is aborning. African-Americans, who had largely ignored much of the environmental movement as irrelevant to their primary social and economic concerns, became increasingly aware that racial discrimination can take the form of environmental injustice. Workers, long accustomed to the adage that jobs are more important than preserving the environment, have discovered that they were often sold a bill of goods....In the process, these groups have found each other. They have become America's newest, most radical, and most committed environmentalists. Radical, not because they adhere to esoteric theories about humankind's ecological crimes against the biosphere, but because they have discovered a mother's passion for true family values when her child's life or health is in danger. Committed, not because they believe deeply in a particular political philosophy, for most come from fairly unremarkable backgrounds, but because they are America's real communitarians. They believe that neighborhoods matter and that government should be in the business of protecting, not destroying, our sense of community.'

And that is why the Local Wing--full of people on the left and right--are totally opposed to the neocons and their health destroying, economic destroying, and environmental destroying policies.

Just goes to show you that the Local Wing knows how to run society much better than the criminals on the national level."


Green Majority in Ungreen States

Polls show it with 'right wing-environmentalism' just as strong in support as left-wing environmentalism.'

"The majority (77%) think we should do "whatever it takes" to protect environment. --- In another poll, reported in The Ecologist, upwards of 80% of the U.S. with little difference between left or right want their environmental laws seriously enforced, as well as strengthened. [This is the issue...that many of the people who 'vote right' and may be more interpersonally conservative, have the same social policies and weigh in 'on the left' [sic, it's a geographic instead of an ideological issue!] on the health, ecology, and economy issues.]"

This is why institutional adaptation via green constitutional engineering of the bioregional state is is a better strategy than attempting to fit green into a particular ideological party vehicle:

"There are equal disagreements among greens as they attempt to take the geographic, non-ideological, cooperative, localist ecological self-interest and turn it into an ideological vehicle, mostly through unlikelihood of bottling green and putting it in one political party:

The idea of moving a singular political party into the state and then reorienting the state from only that singular political party basis is a faulty model of sustainable change. Instead, the state should be reoriented first to generate a more competitive party framework to remove the gatekeeping of any party--because the grand majority of the population supports a combination of green sentiment in many countries worldwide."


Back to the specific topic of biophysical checks and balances against monocultures. Monocultures are extreme forms of unrepresentative raw material regimes. Everything is already solved. However, we have a political corruption issue keeping these existing solutions from being implemented currently. Addressing political corruption in material consolidation requires novel institutional checks and balances because policymaking is in the hands of the corrupt who only want to encourage and to subsidize more monocultures which subsidize our own biological, economic, and ecological self-destruction intertwined.

"[Monocultures of materials are]...the most politically contentious raw material arrangement for two rationales. First, it is because there is so much money and dependency to be created...Second, it is because none of that centralization or dependency is required. Only massive amounts of political corruption hold it in place as raw material regimes that hold off consumer choices in the interest of achieving consumer clientelism and power in that way in a forced (non)-choice."

BioregionalStateTV: "The Sustainability Channel"

See my assembled BioregionalStateTV . BioregionalStateTV has expanding links demonstrating very inspiring ideas that are already working against monocultures. BioregionalStateTV will have well-produced videos that detail how to move biophysically toward more "watershed-centric" arrangements of material sustainability.

There are such things as material ecological checks and balances, and the bioregional state aims to animate these as much as adding at least 60 other human institutional checks and balances to remove pre-existing corruptions in our conceptions of formal democracy. (See that link for an extensive four part series summarizing issues about sustainability and the bioregional state approach).

The below repost on monocultures was part of Project Censored 2007 list of top 25 stories ignored in the corporate media.

It ignores unlabeled cloning [1] [2] as another danger to our health and ecological durability, though it's a good article.


# 19 Indigenous Herders and Small Farmers Fight Livestock Extinction

in Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009

Sources:
Trade BioRes, September 21, 2007
Title: “Conference Agrees Steps to Safeguard Farm Animal Diversity”
Author: The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

La Via Campesina, September 11, 2007
Title: “Wilderswil Declaration on Livestock Diversity”
Authors: Representatives of pastoralists, indigenous peoples, and smallholder farmers

Student Researchers: Maureen Santos, Andrew Kochevar, and Stephanie Smith

Faculty Evaluator: Nick Geist, PhD

The industrial model of livestock production is causing the worldwide destruction of animal diversity. At least one indigenous livestock breed becomes extinct each month as a result of overreliance on select breeds imported from the United States and Europe, according to the study, “The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources,” conducted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Since research for the report began in 1999, 2,000 local breeds have been identified as at risk.

The industrial livestock breeding and production system that is being imposed on the world requires high levels of investment in technology and receives subsidies and other resources that have distorted the market.

Consequences of the livestock industry’s globalization include the threat to sustainable development and global food security, destruction of the livelihoods of over one billion [more sustainable] people worldwide, smallholder bankruptcies and suicides, and the extinction of some of the world’s hardiest breeds of animals.

The FAO report, which the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) contributed to, surveyed farm animals in 169 countries, and found that nearly 70 percent of the world’s entire remaining unique livestock are bred in developing countries. The findings were presented to over 300 policy makers, scientists, breeders, and industrialized livestock keepers at the First International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources, held in Interlaken, Switzerland, from September 3 to 7, 2007.

In response to these findings, scientists from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, ILRI’s supporting organization, have called for the rapid establishment of gene banks to conserve the sperm and ovaries of key animals critical for the survival of global animal populations. Over the past six years, ILRI has built a detailed database, called the Domestic Animal Genetic Resoures Information System, containing research-based information on the distribution, characteristics, and statuses of 669 breeds of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens indigenous to Africa and Asia.

Meanwhile, concurrent with the Interlaken summit, around 300 representatives from thirty organizations of pastoralists, indigenous peoples, smallholder farmers, and NGOs from twenty-six countries met in a parallel conference, to establish opposition to globalized industrial livestock production. The Livestock Diversity Forum to Defend Food Sovereignty and Livestock Keepers’ Rights met in Wilderswil, Switzerland, and presented an alternative Declaration on Livestock Diversity on September 6, 2007.

The Wilderswil Declaration maintains that while the FAO report contains good analysis and squarely points to the industrial livestock system as one of the main forces behind destruction of diversity, the FAO Global Plan of Action contains nothing that addresses these causes.

The Declaration states:

It is totally unacceptable that governments agree on a plan that does not challenge the policies that cause the loss of diversity . . .

Defending livestock diversity is not a matter of [privatized] genes but of collective rights.

The social organizations of pastoralists, herders, and farmers have no interest in participating in a plan which does not address the central causes behind the destruction of livestock diversity, but rather provides crutches and weak support for a collapsing global livestock production system. Because the Global Plan of Action does not challenge industrial livestock production, we reinforce our commitment to organize ourselves to save livestock diversity and to counter the negative forces bearing on us.

This peoples’ proposal asserts that it is not possible to conserve animal diversity without protecting and strengthening the local communities that currently maintain and nurture such diversity. These livestock keepers maintain that governments should accept and guarantee collective rights and community control over natural resources, including communal grazing lands and migration routes, water, and livestock breeds.

The Declaration further states:

Local knowledge and biodiversity can only be protected and promoted through [local 'bionational'] collective rights [similar to the bioregional state]. Collective knowledge is intimately linked to cultural diversity, particular ecosystems, and biodiversity, and cannot be dissociated from any of these other three aspects. Any definition and implementation of the rights of livestock keepers should take this fully into account. It is clear that the rights of livestock keepers are not compatible with intellectual property rights systems [i.e., gene banks] because these systems enable exclusive and private monopoly control. There must be no patents or other forms of intellectual property rights on biodiversity and the knowledge related to it.

The organization maintains that they want livestock keeping that is on a human scale, based on the health and wellbeing of humankind not industrial profit. They point out that the dominant model of production is based on a dangerously narrow genetic base of livestock that is propped up by the widespread use of veterinary drugs. Yet this risky and high-cost system is providing more and more of our food: globally, one third of pigs, one half of eggs, two thirds of milk, and three quarters of the world’s chickens are produced from industrial breeding lines.

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Other articles in Project Censored deal with corruptions of monocultures this year:

# 22 CARE Rejects US Food Aid
in Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009

Sources:
Inter Press Service, July 23, 2007
Title: “Mutiny Shakes US Food Aid Industry”
Author: Ellen Massey

Revolution Magazine, October 1, 2007
Title: “Starvation, Aid Agencies and the Benevolence of the Imperialists”
Author: Revolution Cooperative

Student Researchers: Susanna Gibson, Cedric Therene, and Chris Armanino

Faculty Evaluator: Keith Gouveia, JD

In August 2007, one of the biggest and best-known American charity organizations, CARE, announced that it was turning down $45 million a year in food aid from the United States government. CARE claims that the way US aid is structured causes rather than reduces hunger in the countries where it is received. The US budgets $2 billion a year for food aid, which buys US crops to feed populations facing starvation amidst crisis or enduring chronic hunger.

The organization’s announcement prompted argument about the forms and objectives of the aid given by the US and other big powers to third world countries and the role that most charity organizations are playing. The reasoning behind CARE’s decision is part of a years-long debate that has influenced everything from US trade and domestic legislation to the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization talks.

CARE’s 2006 report, “White Paper on Food Aid Policy,” points out that the current food aid program is motivated by profit rather than altruism. The policy, which dictates that donated money be used to purchase food in the home country, results in a program driven by “the export and surplus disposal objectives of the exporting country” and not the needs of people in hunger.

The US policy implements the practice of monetization, a food aid policy in which the US government buys surplus food from American agribusinesses that have already been heavily subsidized, and ships it via US shipping lines (generating transport costs that eat up much of the $2 billion annual food aid provided by the US government) to aid organizations working around the world. The aid organizations then sell the US-grown crops to local populations, at a dramatically reduced cost. The aid organizations use proceeds from these sales to fund their development and anti-poverty programs. But several groups, with CARE at the forefront, have pointed out that this policy has the effect of undermining local farmers and destabilizing the very food production systems that aid organizations are working to strengthen.

A policy that puts local farmers out of commission and undermines agriculture in developing countries becomes part of a process by which those countries lose the means to develop—and thus grow more dependent on the stronger and more dominant nations. These countries become more vulnerable in every sphere, not only economically but politically as well. The result is likely to be more hunger and less sovereignty as countries are tied ever more tightly to the world market.

“We are not against emergency food aid for things like drought and famine,” CARE spokeswoman Alina Labrada said, “but local farmers are being hurt instead of helped by this mechanism.”

The European Union has also been critical of the US food aid program. European countries all but phased out the practice of monetization in the 1990s. Only 10 percent of their budgeted food aid is reserved for crops grown in Europe. Suspicions remain that the US uses monitized food aid programs to avoid limits on its universally contested farm subsidies.

The UN World Food Programme, the largest distributor of food aid in the world, has rejected the practice of monetization and does not allow its grain to be sold by NGOs.

The past two US congressional farm bills presented proposals to shift portions of the food aid budget from grain to cash donations, to be made available for people in need to buy locally grown crops. Both attempts were voted down.

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In conclusion, the best 'gene banks' are the living animals and plants themselves: institutionalize living biodiversity with the bioregional state.

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