Globalization, Food, and Piracy
A recent post by Mother Jones asked Somali Pirates=Environmental Avengers? The roots of these modern-day pirates, the article suggests, may lie in the shocking levels of pollution endured by Somali coast-dwellers. Not only is European pollution ending up on shore, but European ships are looting the area of its seafood, leading to malnutrition among those who depended upon the seas for their livelihoods.
Of course, there is a lot of chaos in Somalia, and one could make the case for Western antecedents for much of it. The post reminded me of two things that have been on my mind: 1) That developing nations are shielded from feeling the burn that our environmental short-sidedness causes people in other parts of the world and 2) That globalization is a tricky thing. According to the New York Times
The increased global demand for seafood affects people in coastal areas who have traditionally depended upon fish for food and trade. The United Nations Environment Program Division of Early Warning and Assessment says,
Globalization doesn't have to be a bad thing. Some have called fair trade a way of managing globalization, or an alternative model for globalization because it involves a big-picture look at the way international trade affects local populations.
For an explanation of food policy, poverty, and globalization, see the International Food Policy Research Institute, “Shaping Globalization for Poverty Alleviation and Food Security.”