If you have "no place to go," come here!

Losing A World

Ruth's picture

The view of Darfur that U.N. President Ban Ki Moon expressed today, in the WaPo op-ed he did, strikes me as one that needs to be taken into account.

The deprivation of growing capacity in the Texas/Oklahoma area has made severe differences here, and has deprived many farming communities of the livelihood they enjoyed/expected for generations, and it is possible that something many consider to be 'the heartland' may be disappearing.

Those communities that lived off of the land are having to depend on the rest of the country to help them out.

Just over a week ago, leaders of the world's industrialized nations met in Heiligendamm, Germany, for their annual summit. Our modest goal: to win a breakthrough on climate change. And we got it -- an agreement to cut greenhouse gases by 50 percent before 2050. Especially gratifying for me is that the
methods will be negotiated via the United Nations, better ensuring that our efforts will be mutually reinforcing.

This week, the global focus shifted. Tough but patient diplomacy produced another win, as yet modest in scope but large in humanitarian potential.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accepted a plan to deploy, at long last, a joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur. This agreement, too, is personally gratifying. I have made Darfur a top priority and have invested considerable effort, often far from public view, toward this goal.
It would be natural to view these as distinct developments. In fact, they are linked. Almost invariably, we discuss Darfur in a convenient military and political shorthand -- an ethnic conflict pitting Arab militias against black rebels and farmers. Look to its roots, though, and you discover a more complex dynamic. Amid the diverse social and political causes, the Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change.

Two decades ago, the rains in southern Sudan began to fail.
It is no accident that the violence in Darfur erupted during the drought. Until then, Arab nomadic herders had lived amicably with settled farmers. A recent Atlantic Monthly article by Stephan Faris describes how black farmers would welcome herders as they crisscrossed the land, grazing their camels and sharing wells. But once the rains stopped, farmers fenced their land for fear it would be ruined by the passing herds. For the first time in memory, there was no longer enough food and water for all. Fighting broke out. By 2003, it evolved into the full-fledged tragedy we witness today.

In our farming communities, what we see is the re-orienting of agriculture into those efforts such as industrial farming and mammoth animal farming that requires a no-benefit and low-paid workforce. Can you say 'immigrant'? This is a far cry from the large part of the country that lived on, and lived off of, their farms until they couldn't keep them anymore.

When the war is between the industry of farming and the working force of this country, what will happen in our mid-America? And can we see it happening now.

Incidentally, our agriculture is a far more powerful interest in this country than the ecology. I believe that is another battle yet to come.

(This post also at )

No votes yet


Submitted by lambert on

The Vikings in Greenland, who starved to death in the winter, after eating their belts, their shoes, and the hooves of the horses, though surrounded by the richest fishing grounds in the world, because "we don't eat fish," spring to mind. Their addiction to "who we are" was just like our addiction to petroleum. We can only hope that our addition isn't as lethal--to us, anyhow.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Ruth's picture
Submitted by Ruth on

The spectacle of the very GoPerverts - who have convinced the weakminded that they represent the real interests of flyover country - fighting off the starving hordes who rely on them, would be less revolting - if I were perverse.

What's wrong with Kansas? It's losing the ability to take care of itself, and there's no alternative. They voted it away.

Maybe I shouldn't wake up screaming. I think I get the picture.


Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

...and of course if it happens after December, it will be the "next" government's fault, not the responsibility of this snakebit presidon't.

It goes back to the Nixon years -- bankers and insurers have been exempted, corporations bailed out, big business offered free access to the government-grant trough.

Family farmers? "Bad managers" all, forced off the land, out of their homes, onto the streets of cities where they ended up with minimum-wage jobs, if they found jobs at all -- all at the behest of the Wall Street gurus driving the "economy."

One of those "gurus" is now a chief-something-officer at Southwest Airlines, and he announced yesterday they're going to have to change their culture because their profitability (they have had 14 straight years of growth and profit, unlike any other airline in the country) isn't high enough. So now Southwest will adopt more of the methods of the "major" airlines -- the failures like USAir, Delta, and United/American, with their revolving bankruptcies are the "industry model."

What a crock, and all for the benefit of "shareholders."

Take your company off the $%^#&*#@! exchange if your "shareholders" are such a-holes that they're going to cut the throats of loyal employees in a profitable company because they want 8% return instead of 6.9% return.

Family farms and small businesses (aka stores not named Wal-Mart, in towns between the Appalachians and the Rockies) have been run into the ground by the corporate hogs who now lord it over their customers (ever try to buy something in a Wal Mart after Bentonville decides not to carry that item any more? Doesn't matter if it's selling like hot cakes, once current stock is gone there will be NO MORE availability; Wal Mart, like the old Soviet Socialist Republic stockists, will determine what you can and cannot buy, how often and how much. This is supposed to be America, and I'd bet Sam Walton is spinning in his grave. He originally started the first store because in neither a TG&Y nor a Ben Franklin in his hometown could he find anything "Made in the USA." I challenge you to find anything in Wal Mart "made in the USA" now!) and their serfs (call 'em "associates" if you want to; they're still part-time wage-slaves!).

This model of business suits the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, both, right down to the ground. Why? Because like Redneck Wingnut Amerikans who can "get it all in one stop", the politicians only have to lobby one or two financial giants to pay for their campaigns.

Do you really think that's not going to have a HUGE influence on how they vote once in office?

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

The days will keep coming here, for a billion years more.

The sun will always rise. When the northern hemisphere tilts towards the sun, it will be summer. When it tilts away, winter.

Some of us are heavily into making sure sapient life survives here. I suspect it will, if we have anything to do with it. Whether the America we know will much longer is another thing. Whether our civilization does what the Vikings in Greenland did is being determined even now.

Remember: the Christian Greenland Vikings, the Maya, the Pueblo dwellers drove themselves into extinction. But the Inuit that lived in the same area as the Vikings are still alive today, as are other native Americans, even those that had to face the Europeans.

There are personal choices we all make that effect our world, our lives, and the lives of those we care about even if the wider society around us follows the road to oblivion.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Ruth's picture
Submitted by Ruth on

It's true, all us populus reps are messy. As long as we can keep the vote, we have a chance, tho.

Sadly, by controlling the ignoramuses this cabal has come pretty close to destroying what made the U.S. prosper. But eventually the lack of buying power is going to ruin it for the sellers, too. You can't sell your luxury goods to a third world market, which is what this is becoming. Surprise, killing the goose that laid the golden eggs doesn't give you the gold.