Dear India, it’s time for a new marine conservation agenda

Front page of the Hindustan Times website

The 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity wrapped up yesterday. Today the Hindustan Times published my response op-ed, challenging the Indian government to move forward with an aggressive marine conservation agenda. It’s linked from the front page of HT’s web site at the moment.

The op-ed itself is based on my summer research on India’s EEZ conservation status and the institutional marine research/knowledge/policy regime. That research culminated in a published report and atlas of conservation and environmental metrics of the Indian EEZ.

Ignore the random but incredibly humorous Victoria’s Secret ad center screen. Thankfully, that ad is automatically placed only based on my U.S. location. In India, at least, I’m not competing with advertisements of women in lingerie.

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Food sovereignty in her back “yard”

Urban development + food security

Today is World Food Day, a day noted by food sovereignty+security+justice organizations from the U.N. FAO down to the smallest community co-op. It’s one of these international “days” when we’re all supposed to pay attention to the plight of the millions upon millions of people across the world (and yes, in the U.S., too) whose lives are poorer for their lack of ready access to good, healthy food.

Of course, in the U.S., most of us, myself included, let such days pass without notice. And in reality, a “day” of recognition is a rather artificial way of tackling a problem.

But nonetheless, the grad school hippy in me finds the exercise worthwhile. So I’ve been pondering the above photo, of a mother from Kibera, a sprawling slum of Nairobi. I met her October 15, 2009, when I spent a few weeks in Kenya talking to people about water and environment and health (and also lions and zebras). That’s her youngest on her back, her family’s clothes on the line, and importantly, her primary source of fresh greens growing out of a gunny sack on the ground behind her.

The soil in Kibera is compacted and often toxic from waste/chemical leeching. And space is at a premium, so any kind of local ag has to adapt. Yet in back “yards” across the slum people have taken to growing basic roots and greens in makeshift gardens.

In the face of a globalizing world food system that delivers grocery stores full of processed foodstuffs to us in the Global North, here a marginalized peasantry (displaced to megacities) still manages to respond with their own alternatives. Contained within this picture is a powerful and yet humbling critique of industrialized food that we who have plenty need to hear.

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He’s doing the lord’s work…

Busy little bee

Pollination, it’s the cool thing to do. Especially when so many other pollinator bees are dying and colony collapse disorder looms. Hooray for monoculture and pesticides.

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Bike thieves forced my hand

Titanium

A bike thief obliterated my U-lock and made off with my old road bike. I miss her something awful; she was my first roadie. *Sniff*

But I had been contemplating an upgrade for a while. Sadly, I don’t get to finance the new bike on the sale of the old (though I’m filing my claim with Kryptonite so I hope for some money back).

But I pulled the trigger on this wonder: Ti frame, Full SRAM Rival drive train, Mavic Aksium rims, Ritchey everything else. This certainly makes me happy and I’m back on the road again.

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