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New York Times (August 31)

2018/ 09/ 02 by jd in Global News

“Worldwide, insect pests consume up to 20 percent of the plants that humans grow for food, and that amount will increase as global warming makes bugs hungrier…. That could encourage farmers to use more pesticides, which could cause further environmental harm.”


1843 (August Issue)

2017/ 08/ 27 by jd in Global News

“Doctors and parents both tell young people to eat healthily and drink in moderation, and the young finally seem to be listening. Recent shifts in spending” in both the U.S. and the UK “indicate that they are spending more on healthy food and less on boozing.” For example, in the U.S. “households headed by under-25s have increased their spending on fresh fruit by 77% and on fresh vegetables by 47% (in real terms)” while more than halving annual spending on alcohol “from about $560 in 2000 to roughly $270 in 2015.”


CNN (December 1)

2016/ 12/ 04 by jd in Global News

“Nearly every piece of plastic ever made still exists today. More than five trillion pieces of plastic are already in the oceans, and by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish, by weight… Some 8 million tons of plastic trash leak into the ocean annually, and it’s getting worse every year. Americans are said to use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.” The potentially catastrophic impact largely lies beyond our gaze in remote places, like Midway Atoll, where birds are dying from plastic consumption. There is now also “growing evidence that fish may prefer eating plastic to food,” and that the nano-plastics and styrene that make their way into the food chain could have profoundly negative consequences for humankind.


Financial Times (February 6, 2014)

2014/ 02/ 08 by jd in Global News

“In an era when much of the world is worried about the possibility of drifting into Japanese-style deflation, one country has precisely the opposite problem: unbridled inflation.” Over the last 5 years, India’s consumer prices have been rising annually by close to 10%. “That is no small matter for the multitudinous poor, for whom escalating food prices can summon the spectre of hunger. Nor does it do much for macroeconomic stability, which India badly needs in this year of tapering and tricky political transition.” Fortunately, new central bank governor Raghuram Rajan looks “up to the task.” With his tough policies, he may prove the Paul Volcker of India.


The Economist (December 7, 2013)

2013/ 12/ 08 by jd in Global News

Despite frequent assertions, there is no evidence that genetically modified (GM) crops are bad for people. On the other hand, copious evidence demonstrates how GM crops “benefit the health of the planet. One of the biggest challenges facing mankind is to feed the 9 billion-10 billion people who will be alive and (hopefully) richer in 2050. This will require doubling food production on roughly the same area of land, using less water and fewer chemicals.” GM crops provide the hope that we will be able to meet this challenge.


Los Angeles Times (July 28)

2013/ 07/ 29 by jd in Global News

“North and South, on the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, couldn’t be more different.” When the armistice ended the war in 1953, “one-third of all homes and two-fifths of all factories were destroyed. Seoul, Pyongyang and all other cities were little more than rubble. Food was scarce, orphans plentiful.” Today, not that much has changed in the North, but everything has changed in the South, which is now the world’s 12th largest economy. “There is no more inspiring story in the world over the past half-century—or a more compelling example of how political decisions can shape people’s lives.”


The Los Angeles Times (July 4)

2013/ 07/ 05 by jd in Global News

“Home of the free, land of the hot dog.” America celebrates its birthday today and, amid picnics and other celebrations, will eat 150 million hot dogs which have come to be seen as the prototypical American food. “As food, hot dogs are a symbol and means of social integration. Eating one with fellow enthusiasts from all walks of life is an act of community solidarity, especially at a ballpark with fellow fans. And it is part of the lovely myth of social equality that Americans hold dear.”


Time (July 1)

2013/ 07/ 02 by jd in Global News

“Japan’s upper house gave final approval on June 12 for a $500 million, 20-year fund to promote Japanese culture overseas. Called Cool Japan, the multidisciplinary campaign is designed to plug everything from anime and manga to Japanese movies, design, fashion, food and tourism…. It’s unfortunate that the name of a campaign to showcase creative originality strongly echoes Cool Britannia, the pop-cultural flowering that took place in the U.K. in the 1990s.”


The Wall Street Journal (September 3)

2011/ 09/ 05 by jd in Global News

There’s only one way the world can feed 9 billion people and provide them with fuel and water. According to Nestle’s Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, politicians around the world must decide “no food for fuel.” Increasingly food has been diverted for biofuel production. About one half of corn production in the U.S. and rapeseed production in Europe already goes to biofuels, which are also water intensive (producing a liter of biodiesel can require over 9,000 liters of water). While the result of rising food prices from this diversion is merely “annoying” in rich countries, it means people “go hungry” or thirsty in the Third World.


Wall Street Journal (January 22)

2011/ 01/ 23 by jd in Global News

“Four of every 10 rows of U.S. corn now go for fuel, not food.” In 2001, the figure was less than one in 14. This helps explain soaring food inflation. The Journal criticizes the government subsidies behind the shift to fuel use. “At a time when the world will need more corn and grains, it makes no sense to devote scarce farmland to make a fuel that exists only because of taxpayer subsidies and mandates.”


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