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fig. 1- Proposed Gateway Project retrieved from http://wildernesscommittee.org/gateway_freeways

 By Georgia Campbell

British Columbia’s already vulnerable salmon populations are put increasingly at risk through the provinces “Gateway Program”.  The Gateway Program is a plan to build and expand highways, bridges, railroads, rail yards, and port facilities, encouraging trade with Asia-Pacific (Cuff 2007).  Unfortunately, this development will have an extreme impact on our air quality, our marine and river habitat, and our local wildlife (Ibid).  Specifically, the Gateway Program will have an adverse affect on our pacific salmon populations through the construction of a major highway known as the South Fraser Perimeter Road (Ibid).

The South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) is a proposed highway that will follow the south side of the Fraser River (see fig. 1). The Fraser River watershed drains almost one-third of the province, extends from the Rocky Mountains to the mouth in Vancouver, and spans a distance of 1,400 km (Rand et al 2006).  The Fraser River is the largest salmon-producing river system in Canada (Farrell et al 2008) and a large contributor to our provincial economy (Cox & Hinch 1997).   By building a highway along the Fraser River, salmon populations will be affected in three main ways: through highway construction, highway presence, and increased urbanization (Wheeler et al 2005). This will, in turn, negatively affect our local economy and provincial food security.

Presently, our salmon populations are barely sustainable and are increasingly vulnerable to environmental changes. The collapse of our BC sockeye salmon population this year has created an extreme problem for First Nations food security and for the provincial economy.  BC’s Fraser River this August expected 10.6-13 million sockeye salmon returning to natal spawning grounds and only 1.7 returned (Hume 2009).  The collapse caused sockeye fisheries on the Fraser River to close in July, causing a serious problem for First Nation’s communities who relay on salmon for sustenance and a principal source of protein (Karp 2009).  Increased construction, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions produced by the new South Perimeter Road highway will only increase the fragility of the salmon ecosystems, and decrease the resiliency and sustainability of our local salmon.

Our local salmon populations are born in the freshwater headwaters of the Fraser River.  Once mature enough, the salmon migrate to the ocean northward to the Gulf of Alaska (Cox & Hinch 1997).  Once reproductively mature (about 4 years of age), the salmon use precise homing skills to return to the Fraser River and their natal streams to spawn and, after which, die (Ibid; Rand et al 2006).  Because sockeye salmon only spawn once in their lifetime, it is crucial that they succeed in their homeward migration in order to propagate.  The SFPR will interfere with the migration of both sea-bound juvenile salmon and stream-bound spawning salmon, and decrease salmons’ ability to survive and propagate.

During the SFPR highway construction, an increased amount of sediment will likely enter the Fraser River (Wheeler et al 2005) harming migratory salmon (Lake & Hinch 1999).  Research shows that “fine sediment pollution from highway construction can immediately alter macroinvertebrate and fish communities” (Wheeler et al 2005, 145), and can reduce the amount of fish by 50% (Ibid).  Sediment has such a profound effect on fish because it can clog gills causing severe damage, thus reducing feeding abilities and oxygen consumption (Ibid), and can cause anoxia, stress, and eventually death (Lake & Hinch 1999).

Along with sediments, highway construction will also introduce harmful pollutants into the waterway (Wheeler et al 2005).  During construction the use of heavy machinery can cause chemical pollution, and materials used for highway construction are “highly toxic to aquatic biota” (Wheeler et al 2005, 144).  Because of proximity, this pollution will surely enter the Fraser River and pollute salmon habitat (Wilderness Committee n.d.).

Extended use of the highway—referred to as highway presence—will continue to pollute the river and harm salmon populations.  Highway and road surfaces are impervious in nature, and therefore accumulate chemical pollutants and heavy metals from automotive traffic (Wheeler et al 2005).  These pollutants, including zinc, iron, lead, cadmium, nickel, copper, chromium, phosphorus, and petroleum (Ibid) are then transported into the river by stormwater (Sandahl et al 2007).  Studies show that chemical concentrations are directly related to traffic volumes (Wheeler et al 2005).  Thus, projected traffic increases on the SFPR will only increase pollution levels, and affect salmon in numerous ways.

Toxic chemicals can increase the viability and infectivity of parasites (Couillard et al 2008).  This has extreme implications on salmon because they are already prone to numerous fatal parasites that can cause kidney failure, and severe gill damage (Crossin et al 2008).  Further, studies suggest that exposure to chemicals, such as PCBs, can trigger migration earlier than historically observed (Couillard et al 2008).  Early migration has had detrimental effects on salmon populations as they are making their migration during warmer than average periods, which is potentially lethal as salmon are a cold-water species, and sensitive to even slight changes in temperature (Ibid).

Lastly, copper in urban runoff damages the olfactory sensory epithelium in pacific salmon (Sandahl et al 2007).  A major source of copper in runoff is emissions from automotive exhaust and brake pad wear (Couillard et al 2008).  Studies show that “copper is a neurobehavioral toxicant in fish” (Sandahl et al 2007, 2998) damaging their olfactory sensors that they rely on to detect food, navigate to natal spawning grounds, and avoid predators (Ibid).  Mortality rates will therefore increase as salmon will be unable to detect chemical alarm cues and predators, find food, or find natal spawning grounds (Ibid).  Exposure to even modest amounts of copper can cause permanent damage (Ibid).

Studies show that highway growth encourages “sprawling development” and increases urbanization (Cuff 2007).  In turn, this will increase the amount of harmful pollutants being emitted into our atmosphere and our aquatic environments.  Because copper has a wide variety of industrial, commercial and residential uses, copper in urban runoff will continue to increase with urban expansion (Sandahl et al 2007).  As our salmon become increasingly exposed to heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and PCB’s our local food security will continue to be affected.  By consuming contaminated fish people put their own health at risk, impinging on peoples right to food security, food sovereignty, and access to local healthy food—that is if pacific salmon will even be available to consumer.

Because of the Gateway Project, GHG emissions are predicted to increase by 31% (Cuff 2007).  Global warming resulting from an increase in GHG emissions will further increase water temperatures and thus increase salmon mortality in BC.  Increased water temperatures cause extreme exhaustion, energy depletion (Crossin et al 2008), smaller stock size (Cox et al 2008), and susceptibility to disease in Pacific salmon (Crossin et al 2008).  This will therefore decrease reproductive capabilities and increase mortality rates.

Through highway construction, presence, and inevitable urbanization, Gateway’s SFPR will damage the Fraser River and cause mortality among pacific salmon.  Our provincial salmon are currently declining at alarming rates, proving they are living in an already fragile ecosystem.  The SFPR will only contribute to this fragility by polluting the Fraser River, increasing sedimentation, and increasing water temperatures through global warming.  In the face of the Gateway Program, our local salmon have little to no chance of survival—negatively affecting our regions biodiversity, economy and food security.

REFERENCES

Couillard, Catherine M., Robie W. Macdonald, Simon C. Courtenay, Vince P. Palace. 2008. Chemical—environment interactions affecting the risk of impacts on aquatic organisms: A review with a Canadian perspective—interactions affecting exposure. Environmental Review, 16: 1-17.

Cox, Sean P., Scott G. Hinch. 1997. “Changes in size at maturity of Fraser River sockeye salmon (Onchorhynchus nerka) (1952-1993) and associations with temperature.” Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54: 1159-1165.

Crossin, G.T., S.G. Hinch, S.J. Cooke, D.W. Welch, D.A. Patterson, S.R.M. Jones, A.G. Lotto, R.A. leggatt, M.T. Mathes, J.M. Shrimpton, G. Van Der Kraak, and A.P. Farrell. 2008. “Exposure to high temperature influences the behaviour, physiology, and survival of sockeye salmon during spawning migration.” Canadian Journal of Zoology 86:127-140.

Cuff, Nick. 2007. Gateway to global warming. Wilderness Committee Educational Report, 26.2

Farrell, A.P., S.G. Hinch, S.J. Cooke, D.A. Patterson, G.T. Crossin, M. lapointe, M.T. Mathes. 2008. “Pacific Salmon in hot Water: Applying Aerobic Scope Models and Biotelemetry to Predict the Success of Spawning Migrations. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 81(6): 697-708

Hume, Mark. 2009. Fraser River’s salmon stocks ‘beyond a crisis.’ Globe and Mail, online, 13 August 2009.

<http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20090813/BCSALMON13BCART2226/Columnists/Columnist?author=Mark+Hume&gt;

Karp, David. 2009. Sockeye salmon numbers crash as bust replaces anticipated bounty on B.C. coast. Vancouver Sun, online, 27 July 2009. <http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Sockeye+salmon+numbers+crash+bust+replaces+anticipated+bounty+coast/1832698/story.html&gt;

Lake, Randal G., Scott G. Hinch. 1999. Acute effects of suspended sediment angularity on juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Canadian Journal of FIsheries and Aquatic Science, 5:862-867.

Rand, P.S., S.G. Hinch, J. Morrison, M.G.G. Foreman, M.J. MacNutt, J.S. Macdonald, M.C. Healey, A.P. Farrell, D.A. Higgs. 2006.  “Effects of River Discharge, Temperature, and Future Climates on Energetics and Mortality of Adult Migrating Fraser River Sockeye Salmon.”  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 135: 655-667.

Sandahl, Jason F., David H. Baldwin, Jeffrey J. Jenkins, Nathaniel L. Scholz. 2007. A Sensory System at the Interface between urban Stormwater Runoff and Salmon Survival.  Environmental Science and Technology, 41: 2998-3004.

Wheeler, Andrew P., Paul L. Angermeier, Amanda E. Rosenberger. 2005. Impacts of New Highways and Subsequent Landscape Urbanization on Stream habitat and Biota. Reviews in Fisheries Science, 13:141-164.

Wilderness Committee of Western Canada.  n.d.  Stop Gateway.  Retrieved online 15 November 2009 at <http://wildernesscommittee.org/gateway&gt;

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By Georgia Campbell

The collapse of our BC sockeye salmon population this season has created an extreme problem for First Nations food security and for the provincial economy.  BC’s Fraser River this August expected 10.6-13 million sockeye salmon returning to natal spawning grounds (Hume 2009).  Only 1.7 returned (Ibid).  The collapse caused sockeye fisheries on the Fraser River to close in July, causing a serious problem for First Nation’s communities who relay on salmon for sustenance (Karp 2009)—and have done so for thousands of years (Bottom et al 2009).  Ernie Crey, an advisor for the Stó:lo Tribal Council states that “most Indians who live in the Fraser watershed are low-income or poor… the fishery is their principal source of dietary protein” (Karp 2009).  This year our province lost over 8,000 tonnes of sockeye salmon (Akin 2009).  Prime Minister Stephen Harper in response has recently ordered an inquiry into the matter to uncover the cause of salmon depletion (Ibid).  Although there are probably numerous factors, one principle cause appears to be warming ocean temperatures (Ibid).

BC’s Fraser River watershed drains almost one-third of the province, extends from the Rocky Mountains to the mouth in Vancouver, and spans a distance of 1,400 km (Rand et al 2006).  The Fraser River is the largest salmon-producing river system in Canada (Farrell et al 2008), and the largest producer of sockeye salmon in the province (Rand et al 2006)—economically the most valuable salmon species in BC, and the second most abundant (Cox & Hinch 1997).

All wild salmon are born in freshwater rivers, such as the Fraser, where sockeye salmon in particular remain for the first 2 years of their life (Cox & Hinch 1997).  The salmon then migrate to the ocean and spend typically the next 2 years of their life migrating northward to the Gulf of Alaska (Ibid).  Once mature, the salmon use precise homing skills to return to the Fraser River and their natal streams to spawn (Cox & Hinch 1997; Rand et al 2006).  Upon entering the Fraser River salmon cease feeding and relay on energy reserves to make it up the river (Ibid).  After spawning the salmon die, usually resulting from complete exhaustion (Ibid).  Because sockeye salmon only spawn once in their lifetime, it is crucial that they succeed in their homeward migration in order to propagate.

For this migration, sockeye have an optimum temperature of 15ºC (Farrell et al 2008).  But, with climate change some sockeye salmon runs are experiencing temperatures in excess of 19ºC—a temperature at which no salmon run has ever historically been successful (Ibid).  Further, global circulation models predict an increase in temperature of 2-4ºC in the next 50-100 years (Rand et al 2006), virtually making salmon survival impossible, as salmon have a 5-day lethal temperature of 22ºC (Crossin et al 2008).

At present levels however, our salmon populations can barely sustain themselves.  With increasing temperatures salmon’s metabolic rates increase (Ferrari et al 2007).  Heart-rate increases, oxygen consumption increases (Farrell et al 2008), and they burn more energy than they would at optimum temperatures (Ibid; Crossin et al 2008).  Often, this results in energy deficiencies and many salmon have begun to die of exhaustion before even making it to spawning grounds (Crossin et al 2008).  Further, those that do make it to spawning grounds are often so energy depleted that they either die, or fail to have enough energy to produce sperm or eggs for reproduction (Farrell et al 2008).

An increase in temperature also causes an increase in disease (Rand et al 2006; Ferrari et al 2007; Crossin et al 2008).  In warmer waters salmon are more susceptible to numerous diseases involving parasites and fungi than in cooler waters (Ibid).  These diseases can cause kidney failure, respiratory failure, fungal infection, and eventually death (Crossin et al 2008).  Further, infection increases death by exhaustion, as infection can cause increased energy depletion through increased stress levels and thus increased metabolic rates (Ibid).

Although raising temperatures may not be the only factor depleting the sockeye salmon stocks, it is certainly a contributing factor.  We can only hope that this misfortune can act as an aid in highlighting the urgency at which our country needs to fight against climate change and lower our greenhouse gas emissions.  Currently, our country has continued to decline in performance in air quality, biodiversity, and greenhouse gas emissions (Galloway 2009), posing a serious threat to our environment, our economy, and our food sovereignty.  It is time for our country to step up, and do something about our climate problem—for our fish, our economy, and our people.

 References

Akin, David. 2009. Judicial inquiry to examine B.C. salmon loss. The Province, online, 5 November 2009. <http://www.theprovince.com/news/Judicial+inquiry+examine+salmon+loss/2188822/story.html&gt;

Bottom, Daniel L., Kim K. Jones, Charles A. Simenstad, and Courtland L. Smith. 2009. Reconnecting Social and Ecological Resilience in Salmon Ecosystems. Ecology and Society 14(1).

Cox, Sean P., Scott G. Hinch. 1997. “Changes in size at maturity of Fraser River sockeye salmon (Onchorhynchus nerka) (1952-1993) and associations with temperature.” Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54: 1159-1165.

Crossin, G.T., S.G. Hinch, S.J. Cooke, D.W. Welch, D.A. Patterson, S.R.M. Jones, A.G. Lotto, R.A. leggatt, M.T. Mathes, J.M. Shrimpton, G. Van Der Kraak, and A.P. Farrell. 2008. “Exposure to high temperature influences the behaviour, physiology, and survival of sockeye salmon during spawning migration.” Canadian Journal of Zoology 86:127-140.

Farrell, A.P., S.G. Hinch, S.J. Cooke, D.A. Patterson, G.T. Crossin, M. lapointe, M.T. Mathes. 2008. “Pacific Salmon in hot Water: Applying Aerobic Scope Models and Biotelemetry to Predict the Success of Spawning Migrations. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 81(6): 697-708

Ferrari, Michael R., James R. Miller, Gary L. Russell. 2007. “Modeling changes in summer temperature of the Fraser river during the next century.” Journal of Hydrology 342: 336-346.

Galloway, Gloria. 2009. Harper digs in heels as Obama heads to Copenhagen. Globe and Mail, online, 25 November 2009. <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harper-digs-in-heels-as-obama-heads-to-copenhagen/article1376880/&gt;

Hume, Mark. 2009. Fraser River’s salmon stocks ‘beyond a crisis.’ Globe and Mail, online, 13 August 2009.

<http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20090813/BCSALMON13BCART2226/Columnists/Columnist?author=Mark+Hume&gt;

Karp, David. 2009. Sockeye salmon numbers crash as bust replaces anticipated bounty on B.C. coast. Vancouver Sun, online, 27 July 2009. <http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Sockeye+salmon+numbers+crash+bust+replaces+anticipated+bounty+coast/1832698/story.html&gt;

Rand, P.S., S.G. Hinch, J. Morrison, M.G.G. Foreman, M.J. MacNutt, J.S. Macdonald, M.C. Healey, A.P. Farrell, D.A. Higgs. 2006.  “Effects of River Discharge, Temperature, and Future Climates on Energetics and Mortality of Adult Migrating Fraser River Sockeye Salmon.”  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 135: 655-667.

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In our urban environment we can equate dumpster diving to the modern day food scavenging. If we are looking to steer away from supporting large-scale agribusiness and corporate monoculture and towards having a smaller ecological footprint, then dumpstering is a step in the right direction. There are a certain number of ‘risks’ associated with dumpstering. Although dumpstering may appear to be risqué, these risks are socially constructed and reproduced through proprietary and capitalist rhetoric. Health risks, legal risks and the risk of being stigmatized are all embedded in socially constructed ideas of what our food systems and consumer habits should look like.

When I told my folks of the meals that I had eaten with ingredients acquired from a dumpster, they gasped. My parents first concern was my health. Their idea of a dumpster is that filled with useless material, filth and decay. However, there is quite the difference between household trashcans and commercial dumpsters. Behind produce shops there are different bins for organics that are separated from other waste. Produce that is not esthetically pleasing will be thrown out because there is a huge disparity in people’s perception of what is acceptable for the grocery shelf, and what is edible. This disparity is what goes to waste. “Without waste, consumer capitalism cannot charge for the luxury of the flawless tomato or the freshly baked bagel…In other words, without waste, conspicuous consumption becomes far less conspicuous.” (Essig 2003). This perception of what is edible is created by rhetoric around food health, which is produced by agribusiness and food marketing. “Advanced capitalist societies are organized around surplus value or valorization for capital. That IS one reason why perfectly useable goods will be discarded rather than given away” (Shantz 2005). Our strict health codes expiration dates, best before and sell before dates allow huge amounts of edible foods to be thrown into the trash. Behind grocery stores, dumpsters contain sealed containers, cans, bins and bags of various preserves.

dumstering Granville Island

Dumstering Granville Island Organics

It is astonishing that one would be breaking a law by consuming others’ waste, but there is an ownership around dumpsters. Vancouver Safeway stores have placed locks on their dumpsters and some favorite dumpstering locations now have signs, locks or guards warning dumpster divers away. “This garbage proprietorship is also expressed in the fact that it is often multinational fast food chains that have the strongest dumpster security, including in some cases razor wire enclosures” Plocek (2004). This security then makes it illegal to dumpster. Health care rhetoric is also used around these laws. It is assumed that someone who eats out of a dumpster would get sick then proceed to take legal action against the dumpster owner. This idea is absurd as we can recognize that most folks collecting meals from dumpsters are either disenfranchised or anarchist. “Taken in tandem, the waste of food and the protection of waste [is seen] as the avaricious gluttony of American society” (Clark). We can see that the legal risks around dumpstering are a part of a systemic capitalist problem.

Perhaps the most disabling gap between mainstream and dumpstering is the stigma and the idea of dumpstering as an extreme. The idea of climbing into a dumpster is far from glamorous, too far, too radical for most. But for those who have been inside the dumpster, the amount of waste is too much to ignore. “Punks regularly liken mainstream food geographies to colonialism because of their association with the [developing world]: destruction of rainforests (allegedly cleared for beef production), the creation of cash-cropping (to service World Bank depts.), and cancer (in the use of banned pesticides on unprotected workers and water supplies)” (Clark). We can see not only the waste in the dumpster but the misuse of resources on a global scale. Dumpster diving folks or “Do It Yourselfers are not just living off the grid, but off of the excess that the grid produces. In an incredibly idealistic act of faith, they believe that by redirecting consumer capitalism’s “waste stream” to those in need, they are actually dismantling the master’s house with the master’s tools” (Essig 2002).

Efforts to support local permaculture and disable large-scale agribusiness will ideally lead to the end of Dumpstering, as there will be no conspicuous consumption and therefore no excess to thrive off of. However, in the meantime there is plenty of loot in those dumpsters, so lets move past these socially constructed risks and step towards a smaller ecological footprint by stepping into the dumpster.

 

References:

Clark, Dylan. 2004. “The Raw and the Rotten: Punk Cuisine.” Ethnology. Vol. 43, No. 1.

Essig, Laurie. 2002. “Fine Diving.” Salon.com. http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2002/06/10/edible_trash

Plocek, Keith. 2004. “Free Lunch.” Houston Press.   http://houstonpress.com/Issues/2004-11-25/news

Shantz, Jeff. 2005. “One Person’s Garbage…Another Person’s Treasure: Dumpster Diving, Freeganism, And Anarchy.” Verb. Vol 3, No. 1. http://verb.lib.lehigh.edu/index.php/verb/article/viewArticle/19/18

 

 

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Question: How do turban-wearing Punjabi men, road-bike riding east-enders and satisfied stomachs relate? Answer: Free Indian-style dinner on Skeena 5th and at 7 PM every Monday thru Thursday. Don’t get it twisted, because every meal is a web of interrelated stories.

This is the story of how Preet Kaur Lidder’s full tummy came-to-be via bike and turban. Akali Singh Sikh Society works to fill hungry bellies to those who come to 1890 Skeena Street. This story exemplifies a major issue in Vancouver, food security, from an affordability perspective.

Akali Singh Sikh Society

Site of Free Community Meals

Caught in a gap between university life and dog-eat-dog working struggle, Ms Lidder’s financial status is borderline homeless. She can’t afford to eat three meals a day and pay rent. After four years of university, she rushes between two jobs a day on her mountain bike. Her first check will be cut in 10 days. Until then she must stretch the bank while working in Kerrisdale, living near Cambie and biking as far east as Boundary Road. As she puts it, “I needa eat! I know there’s more than enough food to go around in this town. Somebody can afford to feed me. And, I’m reconnectin’ with my roots.”

The idea is simple. There is always food in the temple. When you are hungry, you eat. As Sikhs, we do our best to lay no judgment by appearance. People of any culture are welcome to eat, by all means. As Sikhs we may judge based on action but not looks,” Jasbir Singh, the spiritual leader at the temple, explains.

A form of spirituality that evolved out of northern Punjab, India, Sikhism lays new roots in Vancouver. Preet Kaur Lidder a first generation Indo-Canadian raised Sikh describes Sikhism as, “Different for everyone. It’s not about your god or my god. Religion is nothing but a product of certain time and place. Everyone’s prayin’ to the same spirit.”

Jasbir details the rituals involved in eating at the temple, “Respect. We show this by sitting properly at a table when eating. It is disrespectful to eat or drink standing up. Hands are to be clean. Take as much as you can eat easily. Don’t waste.”

Don’t waste. This is common practice in northern India. Perhaps because some may be included in the“2.5 billion people still live on less than $2 a day;” as reported by the Human Development Report in 2005. While frugality customary practice for Sikhs, it has not entirely caught on for visitors to the temple. According to the Marion Nestle (author of Food Politics), roughly 2 billion are overfed. Frugality is a practice that is not often executed in relation to foodstuff in North America. Ms Lidder notes that when she is receiving a plateful of dinner at temple, “I always forget to ask them not to pile on the dessert. It ends up being so much food that I’m either stuffed or throwing food away. Either way it’s no good, know what I mean jelly bean?”

For two billion people on the planet, food sources are insecure due to lack of affordable meals. According to the Canadian Food Bank, “For 1 in 6 Canadian families, work does not pay enough to live and eat.”

Donations are made by people who attend temple services. Both food and money,” Jasbir Singh humbly explains from where funding comes. I asked Jasbir if people who come to temple just to cop a meal are required to give anything back. “Not to us,” he responded, “Just as long as they give good karma in someway.”

Food plays an important role in Sikhism just it does in every religion. Food is offered to the public because, “It is the true love of god. Our bodies are the temple of god,” Jasbir relates his take on an ancient Sikh tradition of always providing free meals at the temple. For him, food security is not an environmental issue but a social one. If the society in which he lives is able to feed its community then he is happy to provide.

As Ms Lidder treks via bike to fill her belly, Sikh turban-wearing men will greet her at the destination with a plate full of Indian dinner. Temple hours are 5AM to 8PM everyday, service begins at 5:45 twice daily. At the end of the meal, Ms Lidder asks an interesting question, “Why is it that I have hustle me and my bike from Kerrisdale, a very well-off neighborhood, to Boundary just cop a meal?”

Works Cited

Nestle, M. 2002. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. Berkeley: University of California.



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Humans today have trouble with the notion of ‘one thing’. We are constantly taking, and trying to control nature. For the case of food we try to “make the deserts bloom and put an end to world poverty” (Otero, 27).  When bringing up this act of world greed we can not help wonder if it is bought on by society. How did we become so focused on money as some people suffer? I think it is time we stop focusing on the monetary profit of farming and focus on how to profit the people.

If we continue living as we do today, raping the worlds resources from oceans to mountains and jungles to forests,  problems will arise.  We all know that with the rise of population and global warming, food crisis and famine go hand in hand. It must be noted that in this discussion I will focus on the exploitation of the global South by the global North. As everyone is trying to make a buck.  It is evident that, “[humans will] carry this revolution forward even if it destroys the entire world” (Qinn, 217). In other words the world will be consumed by our greed and want for “more”.
The film Darwin’s Nightmare, directed by Hubert Sauper, is a perfect example of the greed and domination of the global North and how it directly effects the global south. In the poverty struck town of Mwanza, Tanzania, located on the southeastern shores of Lake Victoria the fishing industry is the main economy of the town. Hundreds of tons of fish are exported every year. The fish factories process thousands of fish a day to be loaded on to daily flights headed to the global North later to feed a family in Europe or Russia. As cargo planes arrive empty and leave full of fish, beggars outside fight for rice and fish scraps from the factory.  This short description of the film proves that “[t]he idea…that we can solve the food crisis by simply increasing yields is problematic in a world where most people go hungry, not because there isn’t plentiful food, but because they can not afford what food exists” (Otero, 30).  If we added more fish to Lake Victoria and focused on the town of Mwanza, the only thing that will change is the number of fish processing plants in the town, and some more zeros and comas on the total number of tons exported. There would still be children begging outside, and there will still be people who cannot afford to buy food. A more local example of this is that, “[i]mporting cheaply produced transgenics did nothing to shield Mexican from the onslaught of high corn prices: when prices increased by 15% […] consumption dipped by 30%” (Otero, 30). When the United States gave Mexico genetically mortified seeds more crops were produced.  All that meant was the more crops were exported. The people still went hungry.
If you take a look around nature and include humans, “[… you’ll see some creatures who act as though the world belongs to them and some creatures who act as though they belong to the world…” (Quinn 245). I believe that if we can belong more to the world, for example let the city of Mwzana eat their fresh fish, and let the People of Europe catch their own fish to eat. If we support the small-scale producers we can help feed millions of peasant families, keep the farmers on the land. Also small-scale local farming have positive effects on the environment and local farming is known to help preserve plant diversity. Findings, “…support the view that, while agricultural production and productivity are increasing, the benefits of capitalizes farming are not necessarily accruing to small farmers or the hungry” (Otero, 30). We must stop the production of genetically modified seeds in order to have bigger fruits and vegetables.

The change has to start somewhere, and I think that change should begin on a local level. If everyone who reads this blog becomes more conscious about what they buy, and focuses on locally grown food we can make a difference.  However we can only start the change. I believe that there will continue to be “more than enough food” but as long as farming stays focused on making a buck people will always be hungry

WORKS CITED
Otero, Gerardo, and Gabriela Penchlaner. “Is Biotechnology the Answer? The Evidence
From NAFTA.” NACLA Report on the Americans 42.3 (2009): 27-31. Print.

Quinn, Daniel. Ishmael. New York: Bantam/Turner, 1992. Print

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