THE ROAD AHEAD 2 – FOOD SECURITY

THE ROAD AHEAD 2

FOOD SECURITY

The world as a whole has to rethink food production and consumption if we want to survive. Food security is not to be perceived as availability for all i.e. freedom from hunger but as something vastly complex for it involves what we produce, how we produce, what we consume and how we consume.

Recent research and findings show the urgent need for humanity to rethink food culture. The Guardian published an article by its environment editor, Damian Carrington, on 31 May 2018 entitled “Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth”. It tells us that not only industrial activities but also some agricultural practices are responsible for our environmental disaster.

Some shocking pieces of information found in Carrington’s article:

1. The new analysis shows that while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.

2. The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.

3. “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions.

4. One surprise from the work was the large impact of freshwater fish farming, which provides two-thirds of such fish in Asia and 96% in Europe, and was thought to be relatively environmentally friendly. “You get all these fish depositing excreta and unconsumed feed down to the bottom of the pond, where there is barely any oxygen, making it the perfect environment for methane production,” a potent greenhouse gas, Poore said.

5. Prof Tim Benton, at the University of Leeds, UK, said: “This is an immensely useful study. It brings together a huge amount of data and that makes its conclusions much more robust. The way we produce food, consume and waste food is unsustainable from a planetary perspective. Given the global obesity crisis, changing diets – eating less livestock produce and more vegetables and fruit – has the potential to make both us and the planet healthier.”

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THE ROAD AHEAD 1

NATION BUILDING

Routine celebration of Independence Day every year may give us a good conscience. But is it enough? Do we realise that there is an important unfinished business? Is there a political will to transcend our ethnic loyalties and forge strong national progressive values? Is this just a poet’s dream or an indispensable survival tool to equip us to successfully face the dramatic crises looming behind the horizon?

In Mauritius we love slogans, catchphrases and myths so long as they hide the truth. We love to believe that God made Mauritius first and used it as a model to build paradise. Some think Mauritius is “LA PETITE FRANCE”; others that it is “LITTLE INDIA”. No one wants to know what it really is, i.e. A CREOLE ISLAND as defined by Professor Meghan Vaughan in her book “CREATING THE CREOLE ISLAND: SLAVERY IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY MAURITIUS”, Duke University Press.

On this creole island TWO important creole languages are spoken namely Mauritian (Mauritian Creole) and English. YES, both our national language and our official language are creole languages. If in doubt please read THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE by Professor David Crystal (Cambridge University press).

Mauritian is neither ‘a broken French’ nor ‘a patois’ nor ‘the daughter of French’. Only adamant asses can unashamedly say this. A serious study of the syntactic features of Mauritian and English shows how close they are at that level; a contrastive analysis of the phonemic features of Mauritian and French reveals how much they differ although French has been initially the main lexifier of our national language.

We have TWO vibrant creole languages (Mauritian and English) to power our cultural, intellectual and spiritual development. French as a third language may help provided blinkered Francophiles stop regurgitating stupidities, unaware that the world of learning has undergone a radical linguistic revolution.

Why bother? Just to please our ego? No, nation building is a necessity to help us face the consequences of global warming and climate change for we must develop new values, new attitudes and new strategies.

28.05.2018