Atop a small hill, on the banks of the mighty Damodar river in the steel city of Durgapur in the Bankura district of the state of West Bengal in the Indian subcontinent stood a rickety little mud cottage. In front of this tiny earthen adobe towered a metal and concrete two-way vehicular bridge atop a colossal barrage, stretching across the ancient riverbed. At the break of dawn, every day, from this flimsy shanty emerged a bald old man with a long silver beard and a massive chest. No one knew his real name and called him Duburee, meaning a diver in the Bengali language.
Wearing only a tightly wrapped loincloth around his waist, he would spend the next hour applying a strong-smelling mustard oil all over his old but firm skin, especially inside his ears, naval, and on his colossal chest. Following this, he would perform another hour of yogic…
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“At the request of the President of the Republic, I have decided to immediately recall our two ambassadors to the United States and Australia to Paris for consultations,” the statement said. “This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on 15 September by Australia and the United States.”
The FBI’s handling of the Nassar case reflects a stunning failure of empathy by the agents, as well as a callous abandonment of duty amid the ongoing threat to public safety that Nassar posed. Gymnasts and Nassar victims Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman, along with Maroney, told the Senate on Wednesday that the agency’s derelictions were both procedural and moral. In downplaying their experiences, delaying the investigation, and failing to collect evidence of Nassar’s crimes, the FBI committed a second, additional harm against Nassar’s victims: not only were they abused, but they were insulted and disregarded by those who were supposedly there to help them.
As Maroney put it in her testimony, “What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?”
Kavilca wheat is one of the survivors of disappearing diversity, but only just. It has a distinctive history and a connection to a specific part of the world and its people. It is only during our lifetimes that this singular grain, perfectly adapted to its environment and with a taste like no other, has become endangered and pushed to the brink of extinction. The same is true of many thousands of other crops and foods. We should all know their stories and the reasons for their decline, because our survival depends on it…
If the businesses that helped create and spread homogeneity in our food are now voicing concerns over lost diversity, then we should all take notice. The enormity of what we’re losing is only now dawning on us, but if we act now, we can save it.
The decline in the diversity of our food, and the fact that so many foods have become endangered, didn’t happen by accident: it is an entirely human-made problem. The biggest loss of crop diversity came in the decades that followed the second world war when, in an attempt to save millions from starvation, crop scientists found ways to produce grains such as rice and wheat on a phenomenal scale. To grow the extra food the world desperately needed, thousands of traditional varieties were replaced by a small number of new super-productive ones. The strategy that ensured this – more agrochemicals, more irrigation, plus new genetics – came to be known as the “green revolution”…
I can’t claim saving endangered foods will provide answers to all of these problems, but I believe it should be part of the solution. Kavilca wheat, for example, can thrive in conditions so cold and damp that modern crops are guaranteed to fail. Bere barley is a food so perfectly adapted to the harsh environment of Orkney that no fertilisers or other chemicals are needed for it to grow. And murnong, a juicy, nutritious and once abundant root from southern Australia, is proof that the world has much to learn from indigenous peoples about eating more in harmony with nature.
The concept of being endangered and at risk of extinction is usually reserved for wildlife. Since the 1960s, the red list, compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, has catalogued vulnerable plant and animal species (about 105,000 at the time of writing), highlighting those at risk of extinction (nearly 30,000).
A version of the red list dedicated solely to food was created in the mid-1990s by Italy’s Slow Food movement and named the Ark of Taste. The group that created it saw that when a food, a local product or crop became endangered, so too did a way of life, knowledge and skill, a local economy and an ecosystem. Their call to respect diversity captured the imaginations of farmers, cooks and campaigners from around the world, who started to add their own endangered foods to the Ark.
Hate-motivated attacks that did not rise to the level of a crime — known as hate incidents — increased by 69%, driven largely by an 19-fold increase in attacks on Asian Americans.
The findings, released Friday by the nonprofit Orange County Human Relations Commission, mirror statewide trends.
A state attorney general’s report found that hate crimes reported to law enforcement rose 31% in last year, with attacks against Asians up by 107%.