William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD
THE USE AND ABUSE OF CORN
They use good land to grow the rich cobs of corn
In an obscene type of wasteful inhumanity porn
Because they’ll burn this fuel made from each farm
And this misuse of food is causing global famine harm
Families with children have nothing to eat
In the African village and on the Haitian street
Corn is used freely to burn in American cars
And to make corn whiskey that is drank in our bars
North America could grow enough to feed the global village
This might stem the raw hunger and stop terrorist pillage?
Let us do the works of mercy in the 3rd world famine field
With the surplus grain and corn that North Americans yield
Please stop making corn into automobile fuel
As millions die from the hunger –that’s atrociously cruel
©Copyright April 15, 2008 by William H. A. Willbond MSM, CD
Author’s Note: Works of Mercy Poetry Inspired by the Kate Heartfield article and Cartoon (reproduced below) from April 15, 2008 Times Colonist
Canada’s Inaction Helps Create a Global Food Crisis
By Kate HeartfieldPoverty and the environment used to be soft topics. These were the portfolios of female cabinet ministers, the obsessions of bleeding-heart backbenchers. These were the things hippies talked about over herbal tea.
Government might still be behind the times, but society has moved on. Now global poverty and the environment are the subject of bar graphs in boardrooms, where men in suits crowd around and look very, very nervous.
The old distinction between realism and idealism was probably always falsely drawn. Now it’s nearly invisible. Where’s the distinction between defence and development when United Nations peacekeepers are firing rubber bullets at starving Haitian protesters?
Indeed, food riots are spreading across Latin America, Africa and Asia. The global increase in food prices has several causes, most of them linked to bad domestic policies.
One cause is the government-driven market in biofuels. Another is under-production of food, which is nearly synonymous with underdevelopment. Global economic development is not a luxury.
Several neglected problems are converging, creating a moment of crisis. It’s a moment that cries out for political leaders with a new kind of wisdom: The ability to understand how the policies of any single state go out into the world and boomerang back. We need leaders who can see connections between countries and between seemingly disparate problems.
Last week, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund called for “urgent action” to meet the Millennium Development Goals, in particular the goal of halving world hunger by 2015. Remember that Canada has brazenly broken its promise, year after year, to spend 0.7 per cent of its national income on aid.
The result of Canada’s miserly, scattered approach to development confronts us now. While the world economy has grown by impressive leaps in the last two decades, that growth has been uneven. Too many countries are vulnerable, economically and politically, to shocks.
And, right on cue, the shocks are here. Food prices are one. Fuel prices are another. Then there’s the coming recession in the United States, which the IMF describes, in another bleak report, as “the largest financial shock since the Great Depression.” The global economy is in serious trouble.
I fear that the imperfect and insufficient work Canada has done, in countries such as Haiti and Afghanistan, will be proven as effective as a life preserver in a gale.
What do we do when recession and inflation threaten to cause riots and wars? Maybe we should call in the bleeding hearts, the environmentalists in sandals. They’ve been talking the right game for years.
The World Bank/IMF report says that “development and environmental sustainability are fundamentally complementary objectives. “ One way to protect food production is to stop turning the world into a desert. Poor countries are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather.
The IMF assures the sceptics that it is quite possible to reduce emissions without affecting growth. It recommends some combination of cap-and-trade systems and carbon taxes, saying, “It is essential that increases in fuel prices be passed on to final consumers.”
That reduces demand for fossil fuels, the IMF explains, which helps cushion inflationary shocks. It also reduces the use of fossil fuels.
At the international level, there’s a consensus: Climate change and the Millennium Development Goals are the defining challenges of this moment in history.
In contrast, Canada’s government is still treating both as afterthoughts. The proof is in the last federal budget, which took a decidedly “soft” approach to climate change and to international development. Those sections of the budget would have looked inadequate and out of date even 20 years ago.
The Conservatives promised to improve the way this country delivers aid. That remains nothing more than a promise. Stephen Harper’s government is turning out to be nearly as fond of dithering as Paul Martin’s was.
If we don’t work to create a world in which Haitians are no longer starving, we will continue to live in a world in which countries like Haiti have a chronic need for peacekeepers and police officers. As the global economy suffers, Canada’s economy will suffer. One way or another, Canada will pay, for its lack of leadership.