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Financial interests have determined that trading money, risk and related financial products outperforms the profitability of manufacturing products or even trading goods and services. Now, they are aiming to exploit our common resources for profit.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a new “free trade” agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and 10 Pacific Rim countries. And, like other Free Trade Agreements, this one is basically a permanent power grab by corporations and financial companies that will make it impossible for the citizens of countries joining the TPP to choose what laws and rules they want to live under.
Pollution trading is being promoted as a way to prevent agricultural wastes from polluting our waterways. But it’s no solution at all. It enables polluters to keep polluting and is not a proven way to limit harmful pollutants from entering our waterways.
Whenever you read a report or hear on the news that the economy is growing, what you are hearing is that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is growing. But while GDP measures economic activity, it does not measure the distribution of the wealth created by that activity, or the quality of our air and water, or the quality of our schools. Yet, when we hear GDP is growing many of us believe that the country is doing better than it was. Given that economists, politicians and the media treat GDP this way, it is no surprise that we think this way.
During the 111th Congress, as legislators debated ways to cope with climate change, the flaws of cap-and-trade approaches doomed the attempt to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act. A final push came in the form of the “CLEAR Act,” which rested on a principle called cap-and-dividend. Although cap-and-dividend avoids the pitfalls of trading credits and offsets, it still relies on a market solution for pollution that upends our commitment to stop pollution and protect our families and our environment.
While the demand for water is on the rise, the supply is shrinking. Water-intensive agriculture, population growth, industrial pollution, breakneck development and other ecological threats are depleting freshwater supplies.
Aquaculture is promoted as a sustainable way to meet rising consumer demand for seafood. But fish farming relies on small, wild fish to feed farmed fish, pollutes the waters around it with wastes and chemicals and threatens wild fish biodiversity through escapes and disease transmission.
Industrialized aquaculture facilities are rapidly replacing natural methods of fishing that have been used to catch fresh, wild seafood for millennia.
Many large fishing operations are getting more than their fair share of fishing opportunities. If this continues, the results are likely to include: depletion of wild seafood, environmental damage to our oceans and the collapse of coastal communities.
Communities that have experimented with privatization have found that it does not solve their water woes. In fact, many private companies are providing worse service at a higher cost than most public utilities.
When water becomes an expensive commodity, social cohesion erodes in neighborhoods and communities. The result is that basic rights become privileges.