Think Piece 1

Ecology and earth resources are the fundamentals of human life, without produce from the earth and the biologically necessary air and water, we fail to exist as a species. As we evolved and partook in industrial productions and developed our political structure, our relationship with the earth became a lot less simple. Ecology is the only shared resource all sovereign nations possess and due to uncontrolled usage and inequality of power, environmental damage and management of wealth have turned into a global security trail. As I read the first three chapters of Floyd and Matthew I attempted to put thee theories and frameworks presented into current situations, and examine their findings in a more colloquial and easily understood model. This model will implement the three major ideas of the read chapters; environmental security garnered through global human change, human creation of ecological factors and the negative effects of social conflict on the environment.

Let’s take a look at a grain crop that has received a lot of attention in the last ears, quinoa. Quinoa went from largely unknown to western economies to a food craze and foodie must-have. Originating in Peru, and Bolivia, what was originally a nationally self-sufficient product soon became an internationally demanded seed. Following the trajectory of this crop we can see the aforementioned concepts.

In the global economy Peru and Bolivia are developing countries, with their economic and political practices largely uninterrupted by larger international players such as the US, however as demand for quinoa grew so did their economy in a rather unprecedented way. the price of this crop tripled from 2006 to 2013, and high demands from North America and Europe claimed its crops glamorizing the newly established superfood. while most would expect this to aid in the economy of farmers working in the Andes mountains, it actually leads to an unprecedented social damage. Quinoa, which was a constant food produce and obliged for the nutrition of large rural communities now became too expensive to eat. Yet demands and contracts put in place during the food demand boom, has prevented farmers from growing and selling anything but quinoa. This has created a danger in environmental security as export demand has focused on very few of the 3,000 or so different varieties of quinoa, prompting farmers to abandon many of those varieties and making them susceptible to pests and other uncontrollable factors.

Human demand has created ecological decline, making instable economies and forgetting that “no natural object s solely a resource” as stated by Arne Naess, as such volatile markets and ecological damage will create repercussions. As human action causes irreparable damage social and ecological capital suffer, and farmers like the ones in Bolivia and Peru are in the market chains created by western demand of an ecological source.

This social conflict of northern demand and southern labor leads us to environmental scarcity, as stated by Deligiannis due to mismanagement. Economic sanctions did not protect farmers and instead sided with profitable companies such as Whole foods who managed through demand to recreate Andes farmer’s relationship with the crop and environment.

My think piece this week was done in the form of which I could better comprehend the theories read. If I may focus my research paper in similar situations where wealth inequalities between nations cause large enviro-political change, such as in the case of Quinoa farmers or even the privatization of water, which occurred in Bolivia. I hope to become more comfortable with the readings and theories and better express the global changes occurring throughout environmental causes.


*Note: I apologize for my late entry, I believed that the WordPress entries were due at 9am on Tuesdays. This will not occur again and I apologize for my confusion. Thank you.

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