Friday, March 22, 2013
Industrial fishing and the Maldives
From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: Shauna Aminath was on campus yesterday, talking about global warming and the situation in her homeland, the Maldives. The Maldives are a circle of small islands just off the coast of India, protected by coral reefs, and they are being swamped by sea water that is rising because the ice caps are melting. The ice caps are melting because carbon dioxide is building up in the atmosphere, trapping the heat of the sun and making earth’s temperature rise. Shauna’s challenge is about the ecosystem, yes, but it’s also about politics. The democratically-elected government, led by an elected President, was ousted by a military-backed dictator. She had worked hard for the President and is working toward a new election to reinstate him. As soon as I understand that politics is the problem, I begin to look for the financial backers. Shauna guesses that the petroleum companies have something to do with it, but there are no resources in the Maldives they’d want at this time. After our brief conversation, I realized that I know her story. It’s the same one we have here on the prairie. Our resources are democracy and socially-just family-raised products. In her case it’s fish and in our case it’s crops and livestock but the corporate forces want to own them both. One of the members of the National Family Farm Coalition is NAMI, a North Atlantic fishing cooperative. Their story is that industrial-size fishing trawlers are taking over the waters of family-run fishing boats. To the industrial fishers, those islands are just nuisances. The industry just wants to get rid of all of us, humans in the way of their industrial harvesters. That’s all for today. March 22, 2013.