Friday, September 10, 2010

Food Riots in Mozambique

Raj Patel's analysis of the food riots in Mozambique shows how disturbances at one ecological level, here climate change, manifest on other physical, social and economic levels that actually mask the effects of climate change.

"But there’s nothing natural about the way that those weather events get transmitted around the world. The way that we experience climate change, the way that we experience global warming, is always mediated. It’s always an interaction between the natural systems and our human systems. So, for example, in Russia, the fact that there was a heat wave was compounded by the fact that Russian preparations and fire fighting equipment wasn’t very good and the preparations to actually fight the fire were inadequate. And then, of course, on top of that, Vladimir Putin announced that there would be a ban on exports of wheat to the international market. And what that did was send signals to traders and speculators in grain that, in fact, there would be less wheat available than they thought. And there were worries already about how climate will impact wheat harvests in Argentina, for example. And all of a sudden you have a sort of speculative bubble."

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