Worldlog Week 15 – 2009

10 April 2009

This week I’d like to interrupt our course on “how to set up a Party for the Animals” to bring you some news. As sure as anything, we’ll continue our course next week.
The credit crisis has us all in its grip. In the Lower House, I have held a number of debates on how we should tackle the crisis. The world is facing several different crises: the credit crisis, the climate crisis, a food crisis, a raw materials crisis, a fresh water crisis, a biodiversity crisis and an animal-health crisis. Overcoming these various crises requires our working toward a sustainable society. A party sympathizer sent me a funny message. He had been following me in the crisis debate on TV and sent the following:

Dear Marianne,

Last week we were watching the crisis debate, and when you (who also happen to be our favourite debater) took the floor, one of our cats sat herself down in front of the TV set to listen attentively to what you had to say. The evidence follows below!

Keep up the good work!!
Regards Nina, Robert-Jan and the cat caboodle

On Friday 10 April some fellow party members, including our front candidate for the European Parliament, Natasja Oerlemans, held a symbolic demonstration aimed at focusing attention on the inequality of food distribution in the world. Easter is traditionally a time of feasting. And each year there is the same mad rush to stock up at supermarkets all around the country. In the run up to Easter, we wanted people to spare a thought for the enormous food crisis that is currently sweeping the world. We bought up all the bread in a supermarket so that the sight of breadless shelves would symbolize hunger to the shoppers. We took the bread to a food bank to be distributed to people on low incomes.

While in the West more than 1 billion people suffer from obesity, in developing countries 1 billion go to bed hungry each night. And this imbalance in world food distribution is only getting worse. And in the mean time, it is those living in developing countries who are hardest hit by the various crises engulfing the world. Now is the time to show solidarity with those on the other side of the world. This means looking closely at how we produce and consume our food. As it happens, 40% of the world’s grain harvest is fed to livestock, mainly to produce meat for wealthy Western consumers. The production of 1 kilo of meat consumes 3 to 8 kilos of grain and tens of thousands of liters of drinking water. Added to that, cattle-raising occupies 80% of the world’s arable land. In other words, we could literally feed billions more mouths if Western consumers eased off the meat a little more often.

The demonstration was a success and the bread was well appreciated at the food bank!

Natasja Oerlemans and I at the demonstration

To end with another piece of good news: 7 April saw the publication of the first poll for the European elections of 4 June. The pollsters forecast that the Party for the Animals will win one seat in the European parliament. And we haven’t even started campaigning yet…! The forecast is based on earlier election results and an analysis model developed by three renowned political scientists Simon Hix (London School of Economics), Michael Marsh (Trinity College Dublin), and Nick Vivyan (London School of Economics).

Till next week!