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Globalisation & The Environment

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Joshua Spinks

on 5 March 2013

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Transcript of Globalisation & The Environment

. . Development vs Sustainability What is sustainable development? Role of the Nation State The UK has increased their policy interests in regard to climate change and securing a new renewable energy source for the future. GM Foods & Monsanto Rise of GM Foods Globalisation & The Environment: Impacts Development vs Sustainability Role of the Nation State GM Foods & Monsanto Impacts Globalisation then has had a significant impact on the environment in the world we live in today and throughout this presentation the environmental impacts, both negative and positive, will be examined. Environmental Impact “Globalization’s most horrendous consequence has been to create and feed a vicious cycle of worsening environmental catastrophes.” (Nester, 2010, P.4) “Thanks to globalization, international trade, jet planes, and the internet, all countries on earth today share resources and affect each other.” (Diamond, cited in Giddens, 2009, P.28) Technology The spreading and sharing of technology due to globalisation has the ability to drastically improve lives of people in developing countries as well as providing them with the knowledge to improve their environments. “New low-cost PC kiosks are liberating villagers in many countries. Internet connectivity increases the incomes of poor farmers and fishermen by 5-10 percent.” (Moore, 2009, P.161) Farmers in developing countries are able to check the price of their crops to ensure they are not being cheated, this is due to the availability of technology in a more globalised world. Benefits Arctic and its Indigenous People Adverse impacts of globalisation can often be seen affecting the indigenous peoples and their way of life, usually in the most remote parts of the world. CO2 emissions, linked to global capitalism, have particularly affected those living in the arctic regions of the world. Addicott, Bhuiyan and Chowdhury (2011, P.5) highlight this issue, arguing that “…indigenous communities will likely lose their livelihoods and culture, since their ‘traditional lifestyle and cultural heritage depend upon the preservation of the Arctic environment Deforestation The pursuit of greater global development can be considerably more damaging if it leads to a natural disaster “…deforestation in China's Yangtze basin led to floods that killed 3,700 people, dislocated 223 million, and destroyed 60 million acres of cropland.” (Guardian, Stamm, 2013) As in China... An apparent contradictive dichotomy exists within the idea of sustainable development. As Giddens (2009, P.62) indicates “Sustainability implies continuity and balance, while development implies dynamism and change.” By the 1990’s “there were more than 70 definitions of sustainable development” (Elliott, 2006, P.9) Is it possible? “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, cited in Elliott, 2006, P.10) However... as illustrated in the section in this presentation on the impacts of globalisation on the environment, the needs of the present appear to have superseded those of the future. If introducing the difficult, sometimes contradictory discourse of sustainable development has achieved anything, it is in making governments consider environmental issues as well as just economic interests, examples of which will be illustrated in the next section of this presentation. Developing Nations In Summary... Developed Nations "Increasing the amount of energy the UK gets from low-carbon technologies such as renewables and nuclear, and reducing emissions through carbon capture and storage (CCS), will help us to: make sure the UK has a secure supply of energy reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow down climate change..." (Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2013) There is a clear action plan stated within UK government policy which is targeting specific areas. "To increase and accelerate the use of renewable energy in the UK..." (Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2013) Although they lack the economic means of the more developed nations, developing nations often demonstrate an environmental conscience absent from the agendas of some first world nations. "In Bangladesh, more than a million households without access to electricity are now getting off-grid solar power thanks to a US130 million project from the World Bank" (World Bank, 2012) "In Uganda, the Bank Group collaborated with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to finance a renewable energy project for US$76 million" (World Bank, 2012) Cooperation between Nations Through the United Nations and the organisation of global summits, globalisation has encouraged a greater interconnectedness and created new opportunities for nations to cooperate. "The recent United Nations conference on climate change in Nairobi was an important milestone on the road map to involving all players that can make a difference." (Barroso, 2006) The Rio+20 summit has placed an emphasis on the role of those nations who have newly developed, as opposed to Europe and the United States i.e. 'The West'. Watts (2012) explains "The political weight is tilted heavily towards emerging economies and developing nations. Brazil, Russia, India and China will be represented by national leaders." This new cooperation can be seen as an attempt to sever colonial ties as "Africa no longer looks to the north alone for its salvation but to its own resources and to India, Brazil and China." (Boateng, 2012) "Global grain reserves hit critically low levels" "Extreme weather means climate 'is no longer reliable'" "Rising food prices threaten disaster and unrest" Vidal, 2012 In the context of such serious global food crises, both a long term and short term solution must be found, whether GM foods is that solution will be examined in this section of the presentation. Benefits of GM Foods It is argued that GM foods have heralded the beginning of a "genuine new agricultural revolution that will provide food security for generations to come." (Tuckman, 2013) Also GM food can be grown to have a greater resistance should there be cases of extreme weather. As Harvey and Smithers (2013) explain "The extreme weather of 2012 has turned British farmers on to genetically modified crops, with calls from farming leaders to start using the technology as a way to help combat the effects of climate change." As well as this, a fundamental advantage of GM food, as we are told, is the increased yield it gives to crops. However this claim has been consistently refuted... GM Foods: The Future? "GM food has so far not delivered on its early promises of higher yields..." (Vidal, 2013) "China is deeply cautious when it comes to growing GM food crops and has been shocked by reports of children being allegedly used for a GM food trial." (Vidal, 2013) "...most developing countries remain suspicious of the claims, or convinced that the benefits will go mainly to the corporations that control the seeds and chemicals needed to grow the crops." (Vidal, 2013) An inherent problem then emerges GM food as those who apparently need it most do not want it. Instead it can appear as though it is being forced upon poor farmers by large multinationals, one of which will be examined next... Monsanto In contrast to the nation state, large corporations such as Monsanto lack accountability to the people they deal with around the world. "Monsanto is in the business of making money - first and last. Their evident strategy is to make farmers worldwide dependent on their patented seeds, herbicides and pesticides." (Greenpeace, 2008) Furthermore, there is a significant problem when you consider that "91% of GE seed is made and owned by one company called Monsanto." (Greenpeace, 2006) Therefore it can be argued that Monstanto are open to all the criticisms of monopoly capitalism. Finally, it is fair to argue that the future of GM foods is heavily linked with that of Monsanto. Ultimately, can a corporation "found guilty of decades of pollution in a small US town." (Teather, 2002) be trusted to find global, environmental food solutions? Globalisation then has had an enormous affect on the environment and despite some benefits from the global spread of technology, there have been considerable adverse environmental impacts due to the globalised world. Furthermore, it has been argued that although sometimes a clumsy and misused discourse, sustainable development has at least encouraged national governments to consider environmental issues more seriously. As well as this, it is arguable that despite the rise in the influence of TNC's and global organisations, the nation states still have a considerable role to play in tackling climate change. Although there is sufficient evidence to suggest that those nations who have contributed the least to environmental damage are conversely those most committed to combating it. Finally, using Monsanto as the main example, there are clear problems with GM food, both in its apparent benefits and in the adverse affects it has had on the environment in many of the worlds developing nations. Questions? Bibliography Addicott, J.F. Bhuiyan, M.J.H. Chowdhury,T.M.R. (2012). Globalization, International Law, and Human Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Barroso, J. (2006). Europe accepts its role as the green pioneer of the world. Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/nov/26/business.climatechange1?INTCMP=SRCH Last accessed: 4/3/2013

Boateng, P. (2012). My Ghanaian grandfather would agree that Rio+20 may yet be a turning point. Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/25/rio20-my-ghanaian-grandfather-africa. Last accessed 04/03/2013.

Department of Energy and Climate Change. (2013) Policy increasing the use of low-carbon technologies. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/increasing-the-use-of-low-carbon-technologies Last accessed: 4/3/2013

Elliott, J.A (2006). An Introduction to Sustainable Development. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge.
Giddens, A. (2009). The Politics of Climate Change. Cambridge: Polity. Bibliography cont... Greenpeace. (2006). Exposing Genetic Contamination. Available: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/planet-2/report/2006/9/genetic-engineering-exposed.pdf. Last accessed 04/03/2013.

Greenpeace. (2008). Monsanto's 7 Deadly Sins. Available: http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/PageFiles/348435/Download%20Document.pdf. Last accessed 04/03/2013.

Harvey, F. Smithers, R. (2013). Bad weather prompting more British farmers to favour GM use. Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/04/bad-weather-farmers-gm?INTCMP=SRCH. Last accessed 04/03/2013.

Moore, M. (2009). Saving globalization: why globalization and democracy offer the best hope for progress, peace and development. Singapore: Wiley.

Nester, W. (2010). Globalization: a short history of the modern world. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Occupy Corporatism. [Online Image] Earth1. Available at: http://occupycorporatism.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/earth1.jpg Last accessed: 02/03/2013 Bibliography cont... Stamm, B. (2013). Growth and sustainability: are they really at odds with each other? Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/sustainability-growth-profits-top-brands?INTCMP=SRCH. Last accessed 02/03/2013.

Teather, D. (2002). Monsanto found guilty of polluting. Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2002/feb/25/gm.business?INTCMP=SRCH. Last accessed 04/03/2013.

Tuckman, J. (2013). Scientists in Mexico herald agriculture revolution in food security push. Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/feb/15/scientists-mexico-agriculture-revolution-food-security?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487. Last accessed 04/03/2013.

Vidal, J. (2012). UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013.Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/oct/14/un-global-food-crisis-warning. Last accessed 04/03/2013.

Vidal, J. (2013). UK government's enthusiasm for GM not matched in developing nations. Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2013/jan/04/uk-government-enthusiasm-gm. Last accessed 04/03/2013.

Watts, J. (2012). Q&A: Rio+20 Earth summit. Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/06/rio-earth-summit. Last accessed 04/03/2013.

World Bank. (2012) Developing Countries Ratcheting Up Action on Climate Change. Available: http://climatechange.worldbank.org/content/developing-countries-ratcheting-up-action Last accessed: 4/3/2013 Josh Spinks, Sam Turner & Claire Jones
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