Politics Blogs - Blog Top Sites Blog Flux Directory Green Assassin Brigade: September 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Child labour should equal a Commonwealth Games boycott

I think its disgusting that India's Commonwealth game venues have been built in part by child labour. Call me nuts, but I believe that under no circumstances should a 4 year be digging ditches for electrical cables and other menial chores on a 13 hour shift, yet this is happening at the Commonwealth games . This is not some small dark sweat shop hidden from prying eyes but an illegal act practiced openly at the venue for an major international sporting event funded by their own government. If this can happen in plain view what does India condone that we cannot see? I'd toss countries out of the Commonwealth for less than this.

So I ask you, why are we legitimizing a country that allows child labour by allowing our athletes to compete at this event? Should our athletes feel good about walking on a gravel path made from the stones crushed by 4 year olds with hammers? Even without the child labour issue, the construction and hygiene standards on site are proof India is not ready for prime time and no one should be surprised if a building collapses, a balcony falls off or numerous athletes fall sick from the conditions. India does not deserve to host these games and I hope this issue is brought forth the next time they bid to host anything.

I know that there are many crazed sports people out there who feel that Canada's international prestige is simply based on the performances of our athletes but that is a total crock.
Canada's international standing should not be measured by how fast we swim or how high we jump, but rather on doing the right thing for the right reasons and boycotting India's Commonwealth games over child labour is the right thing.

Contact your MPs, Sports Canada, Team Canada's corporate sponsors, the press and the individual sports federations and demand our athletes stay home.Recommend this Post

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Speculating in Misery

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard brings us an interesting article dealing with the speculation of agricultural land.

Speculators like rich hedge funds and billionaires have been buying up large chunks of foreign agricultural land in order to speculate on the hunger that a growing and more affluent world population will bring. Combine this growing demand with the destruction of existing productive land by overproduction, aquifer depletion and climate change related disasters and we are going to suffer some huge food supply issues in the near future. Mozambique, the example given in the story is just one of many countries that will be hurt this year because of Russian crop damage and the export ban.

The backlash to this speculation will undoubtedly cause more nations to ban or restrict the foreign ownership of agricultural resources. This is move is very likely in contravention of TWO rules and could possibly lead to the the unwinding of globalization. There are big legal and ethical issues tied up in all this such as globalization vs. national interest and the ethics of growing food for fuel and food speculation, all of which will propel food security issues way up the agenda in coming years.

One of the most telling parts of this article is a quote acknowledging that the drive for endless growth may be about to hit a brick wall, or in this case the Great Wall.

Cheng Siwei, head of China's green energy drive, told me last week that eco-damage of 13.5pc of GDP each year outstrips China’s growth rate of 10pc. National wealth is contracting. "We have an intangible environmental debt that
we are leaving to our children," he said. So does India. Much of the globe is stealing food from the future.

Imagine that, China the country touted as the next super power, an economic juggernaut because of its impressive rate of growth is doing more ecological damage than real growth!!! The endless growth model is flawed and China is quickly eating through its ecological capital in its rush to build cities, dams, airports and roads. In a generation it will be an urbanized country without the rural resources to support itself.

Sounds like a very unstable future.

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