Monday, August 31, 2009

The Future of Sharing

The latest paper from the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit has gone to press. Its entitled "NA TO ROUROU, NA TAKU ROUROU - THE ECONOMICS OF A SHARED FUTURE" and explores the indebtedness of New Zealand and something of a new economic direction. You can get a copy of the paper by emailing me (malcolm_irwin@nzf.salvationarmy.org) or by going straight to www.salvationarmy.org.nz/socialpolicy. We hope it fuels your imagination to be something of the difference our future demands.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's really in our food

I've been working on a policy inititaive for one of class assignments, it is addressing the issue of food and the differences in quality and pricing. While researching, I came across a policy written by the green party about food, titled Greening the food basket. Ironically it's main points are exactly what my main points were, but better. Here's the link, this is what the standard of our food should be and despite how much income you earn, the quality of food that you buy is the same for everyone.
www.greens.org.nz/policy/food

The demand for better quality of food is based on peoples increasing awareness of the impact on the enviroment, peoples hardship due to the way it's produced and the effect on one's health. The more people are aware and educated on the subject, the pressure remains to change the current to better standards of how our food is produced. A movie called Food Inc has been released in America, soon to be available here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

International day for the remembrance of the slave trade and it's abolition

On sunday the 23rd August, International day for the remembrance of the slave trade and it's abolition. IT'S NOT OVER YET and still continues to this day, the least we can do is share about why this is still happening and how? Next Sunday speak out, tell your friends, family and congregation. Share the amazing story of grace and what we can do....



Here are some websites to visit:
http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/
http://www.humantrafficking.org/
http://www.stopthetraffik.org/default.aspx

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A shift toward something new?

Time magazine featured these thoughts:
"Numbers alone do not capture the sense that the balance of global economic power is shifting eastward. There have been several moments that seemed to crystallize the zeitgeist, none more memorable than U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's speech in June before the best and brightest at Peking University, the Harvard of China. Not long ago, students there would have been the most respectful and polite of audiences. Yet when Geithner tried to reassure one questioner that China's investments in U.S. government debt were "very safe", the response was perhaps an indication of the onset of a new economic order: the students laughed."
Time, August, 10, 2009.

Are we witnessing a global shift in economic and political power? What of the emerging economies of Brazil and India? How will they change the economic and political landscape of our planet? What do you think it could mean for New Zealand? What do you think of the fuss being made of India and China fueling a global economic recovery? Recovery of what and to what? What do you think it could mean for our pursuit of social justice?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mobilizing to Save Civilization

This book is worth reading, offering solutions to a new way of existing.
http://www.earthpolicy.org/Books/PB3/Contents.htm

A piece taken from it:
Lester R. Brown, Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Earth Policy Institute, 2008)
From Chapter 2. Deteriorating Oil and Food Security

INTRODUCTION: The twentieth century was the oil century. In 1900, the world produced 150 million barrels of oil. In 2000, it produced 28 billion barrels, an increase of more than 180-fold. This was the century in which oil overtook coal to become the world’s leading source of energy. 1
The fast-growing supply of cheap oil led to an explosive worldwide growth in food production, population, urbanization, and human mobility. In 1900, only 13 percent of us lived in cities. Today half of us do. The world grain harvest quadrupled during the last century. Human mobility exploded as trains, cars, and planes began moving people at a pace and over distances scarcely imaginable when the century began. 2
Today, we are an oil-based civilization, one that is totally dependent on a resource whose production will soon be falling. Since 1981, the quantity of oil extracted has exceeded new discoveries by an ever-widening margin. In 2006, the world pumped 31 billion barrels of oil but discovered fewer than 9 billion barrels of new oil. World reserves of conventional oil are in a free fall, dropping every year. 3
Discoveries of conventional oil total roughly 2 trillion barrels, of which 1 trillion have been extracted so far, with another trillion barrels to go. By themselves, however, these numbers miss a central point. As Michael Klare notes, the first trillion barrels was easy oil, “oil that’s found on shore or near to shore; oil close to the surface and concentrated in large reservoirs; oil produced in friendly, safe, and welcoming places.” The other half, Klare notes, is tough oil, “oil that’s buried far offshore or deep underground; oil scattered in small, hard-to-find reservoirs; oil that must be obtained from unfriendly, politically dangerous, or hazardous places.” 4
At some point in the not-so-distant future, world oil production will peak and turn downward. When it does so, it will be a seismic event. The only world we have known is one where oil production is rising. In this new world, where oil production is no longer expanding, one country can get more oil only if another gets less.
We are witnessing a fundamental shift in the relationship between oil and food, one that has been in the making for several decades. From 1950 to 1972, a bushel of wheat could be traded for a barrel of oil on the world market. The price of each during that period was remarkably stable, averaging just under $2 per bushel of wheat and per barrel of oil. Since then, oil prices have climbed. In late 2007, even with the recent run-up in wheat prices, it took eight bushels of wheat to buy one barrel of oil. 5
Agricultural analysts have long been concerned about the effect of the coming rise in oil prices on food production costs, but now the price gap is so wide that the United States is starting to convert grain into fuel for cars. When the price of oil rises above $60 a barrel, it becomes highly profitable to do this. An estimated 16 percent of the U.S. grain harvest was converted into automotive fuel in 2006. For the 2008 harvest, the figure could be close to 30 percent. 6
The line between the food and energy economies is becoming blurred as the two begin to merge. As a result, the world price of grain is now moving up toward its oil price equivalent. If the food value of a commodity is less than its fuel value, the market will move it into the energy economy.

Also visit: TerraNature
............. working to conserve land and marine habitat, and protect New Zealand's biodiversity
http://www.terranature.org/

Others books by Lester Brown
http://www.earthpolicy.org/Books/index.htm

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Entitlements - who is worth what?

























The concept of entitlement is currently gripping something of our national focus. Do you feel entitled to something? What? How can entitlement be more than simply what we feel is rightfully ours? How can entitlement be a measure of the mutual responsibility we have toward others, a measure of what we’re actively sharing in/with others? Or is it simply a weapon of mass distraction?
See The Rainbow of Entitlement at www.salvationarmy.org.nz/socialpolicy for some thoughts that could help deepen the conversation.