Daily Archives: April 8, 2021

Nothing like a blocked Suez Canal to show the global supply chain’s fragility – Marketplace

Bill Gates is the biggest private owner of farmland in the United States. Why? | Bill Gates | The Guardian

Nick Estes – Mon 5 Apr 2021 08.45 EDT

Gates has been buying land like it’s going out of style. He now owns more farmland than my entire Native American nation

Bill Gates has never been a farmer. So why did the Land Report dub him “Farmer Bill” this year? The third richest man on the planet doesn’t have a green thumb. Nor does he put in the back-breaking labor humble people do to grow our food and who get far less praise for it. That kind of hard work isn’t what made him rich. Gates’ achievement, according to the report, is that he’s largest private owner of farmland in the US. A 2018 purchase of 14,500 acres of prime eastern Washington farmland – which is traditional Yakama territory – for $171m helped him get that title.

In total, Gates owns approximately 242,000 acres of farmland with assets totaling more than $690m. To put that into perspective, that’s nearly the size of Hong Kong and twice the acreage of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, where I’m an enrolled member. A white man owns more farmland than my entire Native nation!

The United States is defined by the excesses of its ruling class. But why do a handful of people own so much land?

Land is power, land is wealth, and, more importantly, land is about race and class. The relationship to land – who owns it, who works it and who cares for it – reflects obscene levels of inequality and legacies of colonialism and white supremacy in the United States, and also the world. Wealth accumulation always goes hand-in-hand with exploitation and dispossession. In this country, enslaved Black labor first built US wealth atop stolen Native land. The 1862 Homestead Act opened up 270m acres of Indigenous territory – which amounts to 10% of US land – for white settlement. Black, Mexican, Asian, and Native people, of course, were categorically excluded from the benefits of a federal program that subsidized and protected generations of white wealth.

The billionaire media mogul Ted Turner epitomizes such disparities. He owns 2m acres and has the world’s largest privately owned buffalo herd. Those animals, which are sacred to my people and were nearly hunted to extinction by settlers, are preserved today on nearly 200,000 acres of Turner’s ranchland within the boundaries of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty territory in the western half of what is now the state of South Dakota, land that was once guaranteed by the US government to be a “permanent home” for Lakota people.

The gun and the whip may not accompany land acquisitions this time around. But billionaire class assertions that they are philosopher kings and climate-conscious investors who know better than the original caretakers are little more than ruses for what amounts to a 21st century land grab – with big payouts in a for-profit economy seeking “green” solutions.

Our era is dominated by the ultra-rich, the climate crisis and a burgeoning green capitalism. And Bill Gates’ new book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster positions himself as a thought leader in how to stop putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and how to fund what he has called elsewhere a “global green revolution” to help poor farmers mitigate climate change. What expertise in climate science or agriculture Gates possesses beyond being filthy rich is anyone’s guess.

When pressed during a book discussion on Reddit about why he’s gobbling up so much farmland, Gates claimed, “It is not connected to climate [change].” The decision, he said, came from his “investment group.” Cascade Investment, the firm making these acquisitions, is controlled by Gates. And the firm said it’s “very supportive of sustainable farming”. It also is a shareholder in the plant-based protein companies Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods as well as the farming equipment manufacturer John Deere. His firm’s largest farmland acquisition happened in 2017, when it acquired 61 farming properties from a Canadian investment firm to the tune of $500m.

Arable land is not just profitable. There’s a more cynical calculation. Investment firms are making the argument farmlands will meet “carbon-neutral” targets for sustainable investment portfolios while anticipating an increase of agricultural productivity and revenue. And while Bill Gates frets about eating cheeseburgers in his book – for the amount of greenhouse gases the meat industry produces largely for the consumption of rich countries – his massive carbon footprint has little to do with his personal diet and is not forgivable by simply buying more land to sequester more carbon.

The world’s richest 1% emit double the carbon of the poorest 50%, an 2020 Oxfam study found. According to Forbes, the world’s billionaires saw their wealth swell by $1.9tn in 2020, while more than 22 million US workers (mostly women) lost their jobs.

…(read more).

Research to innovation: Solutions to the climate crisis in Africa


CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

Scheduled for Apr 20, 2021

In the run up to the COP26, University of Leeds and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) are convening this event to discuss priorities for Africa in the face of the climate crisis and examine the role of research in delivering the necessary solutions to pressing climate change issues on the continent.

Key Green Transitions: How Systems Are Changing for People and Planet | 2021 WBG-IMF Spring Meetings – YouTube


World Bank

Started streaming 19 minutes ago

Everyone deserves a sustainable future. But solutions are most urgently needed in developing countries, where the investment gap is deepest and people are most disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis. Helping countries prepare for and invest in low-carbon, resilient development requires key transitions – in energy, transport, cities, and food systems – which are also key to an inclusive and effective recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us as we discuss solutions sectors, highlight key priorities for COP26, and look at what it will take to shape a resilient recovery that works for people and planet.

🗣️ Speakers – David R. Malpass, President, World Bank Group – John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate @U.S. Department of State​ – Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, Indonesia @Kemenkeu RI​ – Shemara Wikramanayake, Chief Executive Officer, @Macquarie Group​ – Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge @The Royal Family​ – Malik Amin Aslam, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, Pakistan @GovtofPakistan​ – Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy – Lucy Heintz, Partner and Energy Fund Manager, Actis – Claudia Dobles Camargo, First Lady of the Republic of Costa Rica @Casa Presidencial Costa Rica​ – Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Arabic Republic of Egypt @وزارة البيئة المصرية Ministry of Environment Egypt​ – Brian Arbogast, Director of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation @GatesFoundation​ – Gunhild Stordalen, Founder and Executive Chair, EAT – Sulton Rakhimzoda, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving Aral Sea (EC IFAS) – Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit – Alok Sharma, COP26 President – Ahmed Badr, Founder of Narratio, @Connect4Climate​ Youth Ambassador

When will we travel again? | Euronews Debates


euronews (in English)

Streamed live 83 minutes ago

The rollout of vaccines in Europe and beyond is fuelling hopes that travel and tourism can take off again soon, satisfying pent-up demand. But with so many questions remaining over the pandemic, exactly how soon that will remain uncertain.

For an industry devastated by the health crisis, and all the economic fallout that brings, the restart will not come soon enough. But will travel ever be the same again, and should it be? Countries won’t be throwing open their borders at the same time, that’s for sure. The ever-changing health crisis will dictate which destinations can open and when. And when they can be removed from travel bans imposed by other nations. What role will the vaccines play in this? Will countries only welcome back visitors when vulnerable population groups have been protected? And who will be able to cross the border and visit? Will so-called ‘vaccination passports’ become a reality? And what are the challenges around aligning national and international travel policies?

Could domestic tourism benefit from this continuing uncertainty? Will home-grown attractions be the first to see new life, compared to the short and long-haul leisure markets? When overseas travel does return, what will the journey look like? Are pandemic safety measures adopted by airports and airlines here to stay for the long term? How much more of a role will technology have in the future of travel? And will it cost us more to get on the move again?

What about destinations? How are they adapting, as they look to win back lost revenues? What will they need to do to win back visitors in the short and long term, some of whom may face huge demands when it comes to reassurance? What does this mean for branding and communications?

The pandemic has changed us all, which may well determine consumer behaviour in a post-Covid world. There is much talk of the emergence of the conscious traveller, keen to have unique and authentic experiences while making a positive mark on the planet. What kind of new trends and desires will we see? Or will travellers go back to their old ways?

Travellers will be increasingly likely to expect greater flexibility from airlines and tourism providers when it comes to planning their trips. What kind of demand are companies and booking platforms already seeing? And what are consumers telling them? What are they looking for?

Many travel and tourism commentators advocate that the pandemic has presented a huge opportunity for positive change in the sectors, a chance to build back better, with sustainability front and centre. What now for the future of these hugely important economic sectors?

SPEAKERS: David Goodger, Managing Director, EMEA, Tourism Economics Gloria Guevara Manzo, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council Maria Elena Rossi, Marketing and Promotion Director; Agenzia Nationale del Turismo (ENIT), Italy Chris L. Thompson, CEO, Brand USA Andrew Van Der Feltz, Senior Director, Business Development, Expedia Group Media Solutions