Tuesday, 11 January 2011 10:29
In one of its latest reports, the United Nations noted that world food prices are rising rapidly. It predicted that prices of commodities will continue to rise during the new year.
A convergent set of factors may be behind the trend – such as rising cost of fuels, the simmering global financial crisis, and probably most of all destructive weather occurrences. An unprecedented heat wave in Russia a few months ago destroyed wheat crops by the thousands of hectares, and in the last two weeks floods of “biblical proportions” destroyed more farms in Australia, among a series of such natural calamities throughout the world.
As thousands of birds drop dead from the sky and millions of fish die in mass kills in some parts of the world recently, too, the global ecology seems, indeed, to be going haywire. These events have triggered a new round of millennialism - belief in an apocalyptic end of the world this year - in at least one evangelical church in the USA.
Here in the Philippines, heavy rains and resultant flooding in several provinces in the past two weeks have killed over 30 people and extensively destroyed properties and agricultural crops. Although Zamboanga City and the peninsula have so far escaped unscathed, there is no guarantee from Mother Nature that she will not next vent her ire on local communities.
A lot may be done at the local level to mitigate the causes and effects of natural calamities – from reforesting the bald mountains and mangroves to using fuels more efficiently. Local governments have a principal role in all this, ultimately including protecting and stimulating agricultural and marine productivities and food production and processing to buffer the effects of rising food prices, at least.
The poorer segments of society suffer the most whenever commodity prices rise abruptly or precipitously, or when violent natural disasters strike. But all the rest of the population is equally at risk. Common sense should tell us to take all steps to prepare and protect ourselves as much and as soon as possible against these real and actual dangers. (Peace Advocates Zamboanga)
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