It is as simple –and as horrifying– as that: both human health and the health of Planet Earth depend on plants. However, plants that make up 80% of the food and 98% of the oxygen, are under growing dangerous threats.
Mr. Vladimir Putin’s illegal War of Aggression in Ukraine, launched on February 24, 2022, brought into stark relief the fractured state of Global Peace and Security. Militarized conflicts, civilian deaths and forced migration in the tens of millions have been ongoing for decades, with little or no relief to the beleaguered victims.
The world is being pressed by financial interests to raise interest rates, ostensibly to check inflation. After the US Federal Reserve started raising interest rates, more central banks have been doing likewise.
Considering inflation’s contemporary causes, such ‘follow the leader’ central bank mimicry cannot check it except by slowing economies. Worse, this has meant taking on huge new risks, seriously damaging world economic prospects in the medium and long-term.
Around the world, commercial fertilizer prices are soaring
, pushing farmers and countries into a frenzy. In addition, soaring fertilizer prices are sparking fears
of inflation, food supply shortages
and food insecurity
. There are several
reasons that have contributed to the rising fertilizer prices
including the Russian-Ukrainian war and the global pandemic.
People require food, with more people requiring more food and less people requiring less food. Despite that self-evident relationship, most governments appear reluctant to accept the intimate link between the supplies of food and the numbers of people and continue calling for the further growth
of their populations.
“I first think about my children. They are why we were forced to leave - because our children are always our first concern.”
These are the moving words of Victoria, who fled the brutal war in Ukraine with her two daughters. Her eyes welling up with tears, she recalled their dangerous journey from Ukraine. She and her two school-aged daughters were forced to leave behind everything they have ever known.
The world's leading health and children specialised organisations have once again sounded the alarm bell about what they classify as “shocking, insidious, exploitative, aggressive, misleading and pervasive” marketing tricks used by the baby formula milk business with the sole aim of increasing, even more, their already high profits.
This is our third episode on the ongoing movements of people around the world. You can listen to the previous ones, the first about climate migrants
and the second on remittances
, on any podcast app.
Capital flight from the global South is immense, with widespread adverse effects. A new book proposes measures to curb, even reverse capital flight from Africa. It also offers pragmatic lessons for many developing countries.
Amidst a backdrop of rising food insecurity worldwide and a global food supply chain crisis, many countries are attempting to increase the level of food self-production. One improved input for farming which is receiving renewed attention is improved seed. The two most populous countries in the world, China and India, have recently made ground-breaking moves to improve their competitive position by developing new seeds which will improve their food production and increase resilience to climate change. So far, in 2022, new regulations on using biotechnology (genetic modification and gene editing
) have been put in place by both countries to ultimately allow smallholder farmers to benefit from these new seeds.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine, along with his implied threats of nuclear weapons use against any who would interfere, has raised the specter of nuclear conflict.
Every now and then, experts remind that the Indigenous Peoples are the best (and last?) custodians of the essential web of life: biodiversity.
The recently disseminated Zero Draft Ministerial Declaration of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)-- the main UN event to track the member states’ progress to achieve the Agenda 2030 slated to be held in the first half of July-- is a disappointment.
Empowered by a global pandemic and the drum beats of war, the strongest despots are growing more despotic, and criminal cartels even more brazen in their violence. Extremists of various hues are also stepping out of the shadows.
Just when the world most needs press freedom to thrive, the liberties that societies only really treasure when they are emasculated are coming under more pressure from different directions, old and new.
Women journalists around the world are experiencing an exponential increase in misogynistic online abuse, which poses a grave risk to women's media participation in the digital age.
With 50% of humanity affected by land degradation, the world must move to a ‘crisis footing’ to conserve, restore and use land resources sustainably, a major UN report has said.
Two months after the start of the war, on 24 February, the data on the substantial increase in the cost of food products, the rise in prices and shortages of fertilizers, the destruction of land and plantations in Ukraine, the sanctions, the difficulties with the transport of cereals from the world’s main granary, represented by Russia and Ukraine, and the massive migrations, especially from rural areas, are just a few aspects that confirm the pessimism that had been generated after the outbreak of the conflict.
In case you were not aware, please know that humanity used to cultivate more than 6.000 plant species for food, but now instead fewer than 200 of these species make major contributions to food production. Out of these, only 9% account for 66% of total crop production.
Curbing capital flight from developing countries is long overdue. New sanctions against Russian oligarchs show this can be done with the requisite political will. Recent research also shows how to more effectively stop capital flight.
Since the first Earth Day observed on 22 April 1970, world conditions have worsened greatly across three critically interrelated global dimensions that portend a disastrous future for life on planet Earth.