The ravages of climate change come into sharp focus in this exhaustive report from the front lines.
It is a scientific fact that the planet is warming. But how bad is climate change really? Based on the information in this country-hopping exploration of genetically modified seeds, vast land grabs in developing nations, the biofuel boom, and agribusiness overreach, we are in trouble. From Malawi to Mexico, Iowa to India, Wise, the senior researcher at the Small Planet Institute and director of its Food Rights Program, examines the complicated and confusing decisions that have brought us to the current situation: “hunger amid plenty.” The author argues convincingly that the main culprit is large-scale, industrial agribusiness. “Everywhere I traveled in researching this book,” he writes, “agribusiness interests were being promoted, to the detriment of family farmers, the environment, and the food and nutritional security of the world’s poor.” In Mexico he illustrates this point by writing about the fight of La Demanda Colectiva, a small group of farmers, consumers, and environmentalists who petitioned a ban on GM corn because they believed it would threaten the country’s maize diversity. Against all odds, Wise reports, an injunction remains in place, and the “Sin Maíz no hay País” (Without Corn There Is No Country) campaign has been able to continue its fight against Monsanto and other multinational agro-chemical conglomerates. However, that doesn’t mean GM corn hasn’t already left its mark, be it through American crop exports to the country or contamination. Regardless, the author believes that even in the midst of climate change and food insecurity, there’s reason to remain hopeful. “In the battle for the future of food,” he writes, “farmer resistance is strong, and so are their alternatives, many advanced under the banner of ‘food sovereignty.’ ”
At times overwhelming in its scope, the book is a grave and timely look at the future of feeding the planet.