One World Newsletter February 2005 Vol 2 No#1
Environmental, Social and Business Development Issues Facing Our World
Welcome back, once again to our 2005 edition of our newsletter "One World". This is a monthly publication dedicated to providing you with knowledge and information to raise your awareness about sustainable development issues facing us in the contemporary world.
Most of the issues discussed are from within Australia, however as the theme is "One World" we will be providing information from all over the world.
We know you are very busy, so want to thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. The information we provide you is comprehensive, concise and apposite.
We are a an independent consulting group and we are not affiliated with any religous or political organisations. Our religous and political irreverance is a fact we pride ourselves on.
Our mission is to raise your awareness on sustainablity issues throughout the World, through independent, factual information, helping you can make the right choices to empower yourself in the uncertain times ahead.
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Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Importance of Mangroves Forests
Signs of an Entrepreneur
And third, when one pest is eliminated the door is opened to others that were less apparent before their competition was killed off.
At first the solution to these problems seemed to be to just use more, or different, chemicals, but eventually it became obvious this was no more than a good way to line the pockets of chemical manufacturers.
IPM was developed and used where traditional methods of pest control have failed, become costly or have been detrimental to the environment or the health of people.
Components of IPM
1. Risk assessment
Where is it being used?
Key to success
Mangrove forests around the world have been disappearing at an alarming rate, as the world increases its appetite for fish and seafood. In the past, very little was understood about the complex ecosystem of the mangrove and the fish breeding habitiats it provides, and most have been cleared for farming, settlements, timber and even aesthetics.
Mangroves are a wide variety of plant species that are found in salty estuarine mudflats, all over the world. Mangroves are mainly found in the tropics with some 40 different species found there. However they can be found in temperate climates as far south as Southern Victoria (White Mangrove) in Australia.
Mangroves survive where most species of plants can't and are found in silty and salty soils that have low oxygen content. To survive in a low oxygen content envrionment, mangroves have an air uptake adaption called a "Pneumatophore". These are special protruding aerial root branches which are found sticking up out of the mudflats during low tide.
Mangroves have small yellow flowers and leathery leaves and play an especially important part in Pacific Islander's culture, providing food, medicines and timber for building and firewood.
Ecologically, Mangrove forests provide rich and complex breeding grounds and habitats for fish, which provides a major part of Pacific Islander's diet. Other species of animals include birds (such as egrets, kingfishers and sea-eagles), mammals such as "Flying Foxes", and other animals such as turtles, "mudskippers", crustaceans and crocodiles. Mangroves do not provide a habitat for mosquitos as is often thought, because mosquitos do not breed in salty water.
One major drawback of clearing mangroves is it has been discovered that it leads increased cyclone/hurricane damage because it provides a shelter break against wind and soil stabilisation, reducing the potentially devastating effect of cyclones upon coastal areas.
Luckily, people are now starting to understand the importance and
benefits of mangrove forests and there are conservation and rehabilitation
projects occuring around the world to protect the remaining mangroves
and in some instances restore the mangroves, as the supply of fish stocks
around the world start to decline through over fishing.
Farmers throughout the world have a history of accepting and adopting new technology as fast as it becomes available. The massive rise in food production in the last century only came about after the widespread use of new chemicals, including herbicides, pesticides and artificial fertilisers.
When genetically modified (GM) technology emerged a couple of decades ago, once again many farmers saw this scientific advance as the way of the future, a method of producing more food with less chemicals.
Recently there has been a lot of controversy over the GM food, as a moratorium on GM crop production in some parts of Australia has been introduced in the short term, due to concerns regarding agricultural trade and the impact of not having GM free status.
What are the issues over GM food?
The other side of the argument is that we don't know what the GM crops are doing to the environment, over the long term. Once released into the environment, how can we stop the spread of plant drift and cross-pollination, which may lead to "super" plant hybrid species? For example, in canola, the drift of pollen can be over several kilometres, leading to possible cross-pollination with organic producers. How do we protect producers that wish to remain organic from these pollen drifts and "hybridisation" of plant species? Once released there is very little control and turning back.
Companies like Monsanto and Bayer cropscience are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on GM crops? It means that these companies have a patent on these GM crops, which virtually means the company owns that product and you have no right to replant that seed, leading to eventual monopolisation of the seed supply business, as other products are "bred out" or cross-pollinated.
Is this a wise thing to let the future of our food supply be handled by couple of corporations?
According to ABC TV Landline program (7/11/04) "Monsanto is responsible for the traits in 90% of the crops planted in American soil, and their cotton, corn and soybeans have made their way into millions of acres in more than a dozen countries, including Australia."
Monsanto also produces "Roundup" ready GM crops, which are tolerant to Monsanto's herbicide, Roundup (glyphosate), killing the weeds but not the crop plants. So Monsanto will be supplying the seed and the herbicide. Is this a conflict of interest, or very smart business practice?
The major result from monopolisation, is the loss of plant strains and varieties, as only the best, most efficient strains will be used for GM crop production. Over time, through natural selection and evolution, these limited strains and varieties will lead to decreased resistance and tolerance to pests, weeds and fungis, bringing in potentially more problems for food production. Doesn't this also mean just more herbicides, pesticides and fungicides sales for these companies?
What about the super weeds that have been produced? These are weeds that are already resistant to herbicides and may have natural genetic modification or mutation. Doesn't that just require larger doses of herbicide (i.e glyphosate), used more frequently to control the weeds? Glyphosate sales have been dramatically increasing over the past decade, as it gains more popularity. What does this indicate?
However, Monsanto's future no longer lies in chemicals. According to ABC TVs Landline program, 80% of Monsanto's business is now biotechnology and seeds.
Monsanto insists that farmers sign technological agreements that limit the reuse of seeds from one year to the next. And Monsanto takes the use and re-use of its seeds very seriously indeed, something Tennessee farmer, Kem Ralph is all too aware of.
Memphis farmer, Kem Ralph, spent three months in jail, as a result of Monsanto taking action against him for a "breach of conditions". What led to that jail sentence began six years ago. At the end of the 1998 planting season, having run out of his own saved seeds Kem Ralph went to his distributor to buy some more cotton and soy seeds.
And the distributor only had genetically modified seed. Not having a much of a choice, Mr Ralph went and bought the seed, which according to him, was "awfully expensive".
At the end of the season, Mr Ralph saved some of the seeds that came from his soy and cotton crops and planted them back the following year. "The next thing I knew this gentleman was knocking on my, was at my house here," he said. "He says that, 'You have been saving Monsanto seed'. "I said, 'How in the hell are they Monsanto seeds when they's the offsprings of mine after I plant them?'
Monsanto insists farmers sign a technology agreement when they purchase their GM seeds. Among other things, farmers agree "not to save any crop produced from this seed for planting and not to supply seed produced from this seed to anyone for planting."
Monsanto sued Mr Ralph for breaching that contract. With legal action in train, Mr Ralph burned some of his cottonseed and delivered some of the other cotton and soy seeds to friends and colleagues. He then lied to the court about what he had done with the stock.
In July 2003, he was jailed for three months for what was, in effect, perjury and destroying evidence. Mr Ralph did act improperly, there is no doubt about that, but there is one key issue here. A profit-making company is telling farmers they can't do what they have been doing for generations. That is, save seeds from their crops to plant out the following year. This is quite common for farmers to traditionally do this from generation to generation.
One thing complicates his case is Kem
Ralph says he didn't sign the technology agreement that Monsanto says
he breached. He says his signature was forged. It isn't unheard of for
seed dealers to sign for customers. "Any idea who did sign the
agreement?" Mr Ralph was asked. His reply: "Don't have any
idea, it doesn't look anything like my signature." The writing
Mr Ralph said: "looks like chicken mess. I mean I write, my hand's
not that good but it ain't look nothing like my handwriting." However,
he failed to convince the US Court of Appeals, who described his assertions
of the signature being forged as "unpersuasive". Which comes
down to the argument, do these companies wield too much power over agriculture?
There are some 380,000 growers in the United States that are licensed to use Monsanto's GM products
So why does Monsanto insist on farmers signing technology agreements? Kerry Preete is the vice-president of US crop production for Monsanto and is quick to defend his company's approach.
"There's several aspects to that technology agreement and one of those is to ensure that growers understand the stewardship and use standpoint and we ask the farmers to use the seed appropriately from an intellectual property standpoint and that's the purpose of the agreements," Mr Preete said.
He says it takes five to 10 years to get a small plant from one of these growth chambers through the breeding cycles and many regulatory hoops to the commercialisation stage. Tens of thousands of these experiments will not stack up to that. Only the best will see the light of day.
A single plant taken to commercialisation stage will have cost up to $100 million to get it there. Companies insist that they have to be able to recoup their investment. It does that by charging a technology fee when farmers purchase their seed, and claiming damages against farmers who re-use seed with the Monsanto GM traits.
In the U.S, there have been just under 100 cases where negotiation has broken down and Monsanto has taken legal action.
In Australia although we have moratoriums in most states regarding GM crops, however GM cotton has been grown for the past 6-7 years.
The fact that Australia this year will
plant around a quarter of a million hectares to GM cotton this year,
makes something of a mockery of the GM free status of particularly New
South Wales, according to the University of California's Dr Rick Roush.
So does this mean we are already eating
GM foods in Australia?
In Australia our labelling laws allow
the marketing of foods that were derived from genetically modified crops
to go unlabelled if there is no detectable GM DNA in the final product.
So what are the benefits of using GM
2. Beyond that is biopharmaceuticals - crops that produce vaccines for diseases like pneumonia. Currently there is no vaccine for this disease and there is an effort to get a vaccine for this viral pneumonia disease into a plant based product, like a tomato.
3. Scientists are now developing corn that can thrive in the cold and soybeans that can tolerate drought.
4. There's also a range of foods that can be made tastier and more nutritious.
5. Some products may have increased yields, however the main saving comes from the reduced use of hazardous herbicides and pesticides. Herbicides such as Trizine, (a known residual, aquatic pollutant and banned in the EU), as in the case of Canola, to non-residual herbicides, such as "Roundup" ready Canola.
Now that you have some facts, the choice
is up to you to determine the real benefits and weigh them against the
associated risks of GM products.
The argument for genetically modified
crops is as varied as its end uses. However, what is certain is the
more research needs to be carried out, about the long-term effects of
Who could have forseen that the internal combustion engine was going to change the world's climate, through global warming, when it was invented 150 years ago? How could we have possibly known at that time?
Source: ABC TV Landline program Oct/Nov
4. U.S National
Figures released from the US treasury
show that, since 1940, the U.S population has more than doubled yet
the National debt has risen from $49 billion to over $7.6 trillion in
Will Kiyosaki's, Altman's and Roach's
predictions ring true and will it have repercussions for Australia,
as it is burden with its own consumer-incurred credit card debt?
Credit card debt alone in Australia is
AU$28 Billion, up 30% on last year. [source: Australian
Bureau of Statistics, January 2005]. This is about $1,400 for man, woman
and child. However this pales in comparison to the US National Debt.
Does this have implications for the world and capitalism in general? Is the US able to sustain this debt, or are we heading for one big mighty crunch in the near future? Are we unrealistic about the way we are living? Will we end up massively paying for it, or will everything sort itself out in the future?
Here is a snapshot of the U.S National
Debt, with thanks to Ed Hall
for providing all the following information.
U.S National Debt Clock
The estimated population of the United
States is 295,565,727. so each citizen's share of this debt is
The National Debt has continued to increase
an average of $1.86 billion per day since September 30, 2004.
To whom is all this money owed? Who
owns the Debt?
The largest slice of the
pie, over 40% (over $3 trillion), is owed to the Federal Reserve Bank
and to other government accounts; that is, this part of the Debt is
owed by one part of the government to another. The remaining 60% of
the Debt, over $4.6 trillion, is privately held.
The above information is
from the "Treasury Bulletin", a quarterly publication of the
U.S. Treasury department's Financial Management Service. The Treasury
Bulletin is the best place to find the latest information on this subject.
What is the difference
between the Debt and the Deficit?
This data was gathered from
the U.S. Treasury department's web
As you can see, except for
a rise at the end of World War II, the Debt remained remarkably constant
for nearly forty years when inflationary forces are taken into account.
After 1983 however, with the notable exception of the Fiscal Years ending
in September of 2000 and 2001, the trend has been upward even when inflation
is taken into account.
For further details checkout:
If you are contemplating
on starting an online business or just want to know what sells then
read-on. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as merely offering your
existing products and services on your website. As many "dotbomb"
businesses discovered, not all products and services are attractive
to the online consumer.
What doesn't sell online
Also items that are not:
Dress fabrics are a good
example. A fabric purchaser usually goes through a process of touching,
weighing, comparing colours, and assessing how the fabric hangs before
making a final decision. They are unlikely to consider online fabric
What does sell online
For example, Amazon.com does very well because there's no more mystery to buying a book online than if they were in the book store purchasing the book. You can't feel or touch a book online but the internet might even be better because it offers reviews and ratings that you may not get in a bookstore.
Travel sells well online. Using the internet is easier than making a trip to the travel store and again, you know exactly what you are getting. The internet also makes it easy to comparison shop for the best ticket prices. Offering comparison shopping is a key factor to a successful business online and the internet has been a huge success in this area.
Items that are hard to find sell well online. If you offer a unique product that can't be found in stores people are more likely to purchase online. This is especially true for the more rural areas of the country where it's harder to find certain products. Here people will turn to the internet to find what they need.
For all other products there is virtually very little that does not sell online nowadays. Of course some things sell better than others.
Make buying convenient
You should be able to analyse what will only sell if your customer can see, feel, touch, smell or taste, etc. On the other hand, some products, such as fruit and vegetables, are so common that the item can be chosen without any physical interaction. For instance, there has recently been an increase in grocery "stores" online because most shoppers are used to the different products available. They don't need to feel an orange to know what it is or check the labels on the back of health foods, and feel confident purchasing these items online.
Now that you have a better idea of what does or doesn't sell online, you should consider your own products and services. Analyse the products or services you want to offer online. See if there is any way in which you can add value to them so they'll be more attractive to your online customers.
Strategies for online
Identify any product that
is likely to appeal to an online customer. You can then assess whether
you need to go one step further such as offering your products cheaper
than your competitors or guaranteeing next day delivery, etc.
A report presented by Cyber
Dialogue shows that free freight and delivery is the third major reason
why some online businesses attracted repeat customers. The first two
factors were security of information and price.
Make a list of your current
products and see if they could fill a "niche market". Try
and work out if:
Your site has to be set up so that the shopping experience and checkout aren't frustrating. If you've ever bought anything over the internet think about what it is you liked or didn't like about the experience. Certainly don't offer what you didn't like and make what you did like even better.
Clear information and quality pictures or photos. Always provide as much information about your products as possible and always post a clear picture or photo. If the photo isn't of good quality then your viewer won't consider you a quality site. Get them as close to touching, feeling and smelling the product as possible.
It makes sense that common products that you can buy at the local store don't sell well online, but if you can identify unique products and focus those products to their target markets you may have a winner. Anyone can experience healthy sales for any product sold online by following these guidelines that make sales a success.
However, this is just a preliminary process as a number of additional factors, such as market research, consumer trends, competition analysis amongst others, have to be taken into consideration. The aim is for you to consider what products are worthwhile offering to your internet customers, then do all the required analysis afterwards to understand your market and consumer needs before you proceed.
It takes an entrepreneurial fire in your belly to start a business - and make it succeed - and not everyone has it. How do you know if you have what it takes to start a business? There's really no way to know for sure.
But I do find things in common among the
emotional and family fabric of people ready to consider an entrepreneurial
venture. Here are six signs that you have the entrepreneurial spirit.
1. You come from a line of people who
couldn't work for someone else.
3. You see more than one definition
of "job security."
4. You've done the market research
By Joseph Anthony. Provided by the Microsoft Australia Small Business Centre.
by SDS Consulting 2005