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January 14, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-01-14

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Return

of

'normal'

climate

threatens

famine

By JAMES SPAULDING
Pacific News Service'
DESPITE THIS WINTER'S record low tempera-
tures and heavy snowfalls, climatologists
are talking less about the coming of a new ice
age and more about the fact that weather con-
ditions are returning to normal. And that, they
say, spells trouble. -
Normal weather, climatologists agree, means
unseasonable cold spells, frequent droughts inter-
spersed with floods, hurricanes, tornados and er-
ratic rainfall - conditions that threaten massive
crop failures, famines and possibly war.
For several years weather scientists have been
warning that the bounteous grain harvests of the
1460s, which resulted from particularly favorable
weather in North America, could not go on for-
ever. Such consistently favorable conditions, they
said, were highly abnormal.
Their anxiety does not arise because the re-
turn to normalcy threatens mass hunger in the
developed, grain producing nations. They worry
more about the billions of people in the Third
World who are unable to feed themselves or buy
grain on the world market.
The risk is acute, demographers say, because
world food production capacity has already been
strained by the doubling of the earth's popula-
tion to four billion in the last 30 years.
James Spaulding, a former science editor for
The Milwaukee Journal, now teaches journalism
at the University of California-Berkeley.

Stephen Schneider, deputy director of the Cli-
mate Project at the National Center for Atmospher-
ic Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., says that
a reduction of just one per cent in the earth's
present food production capacity could mean death
by starvation for 40 million people.
Already, the Worldwatch Institute has reported
that two-fifths of the slowdown in world popula-
tion growth from 1970-75 resulted from starvation
and malnutrition, mostly in the poorest nations.
DESPITE THE EXTREME POVERTY in many
of these countries, some are among the 35 na-
tions that the prestigious Stockholm International
Peace Research Institute recently predicted would
be capable of manufacturing nuclear weapons by
1985.
The potential for famine followed by political
unrest, terrorism or nuclear blackmail in the de-
veloping nations has recently prompted govern-
ment agencies, including the Defense Science
Board and the CIA, to focus on the dangers.
A recent report issued by the International
Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study in
Bonn, Germany, concludes that a longterm cool-
ing trend has set in and that global climate con-
ditions will consequently become more variable;
or "normal."
"This climatic change," said the report, "poses
a threat to the people of the world." Predicting
"major crop failures almost certainly within the
decade," the scientists warned that the problem
"can be ignored only at the risk of great suffer-
ing and mass starvation."
Reid Bryson, a University of Wisconsin mete-

orologist, is among the leading proponents of the
theory that the Northern Hemisphere has entered
a cooling period, bringing more variable weather.
He contends that since the average tempera-
tures began descending in the 1940s, the grow-
ing season in England has shrunk by two weeks,
droughts have begun to increase in northwestern
India, African and Japanese monsoon rains have
retreated toward the Equator and midsummer
frosts have returned to the midwestern U.S.
Bryson says his studies show that the rise and
fall of civilizations as far back as 1900 B.C. cor-
respond with the advance and retreat of monsoon
rains in regions where rainfall is vital for grow-
ing rice.
He says that a similar cooling period some
time around 1200 A.D. brought a 200-year drought
to what is now the grain belt of the Midwest.
It drastically altered the culture of the indigenous
Indians who lived there, according to archeologi-
cal evidence.
"So clearly," says Bryson, "200 years of drought
in the 'Breadbasket' of North America is possi-
ble."
EVEN THOSE WHO DISAGREE with Bryson
admit that climate poses an acute +hreat to the
world's precarious food balance, and that +he
favorable weather of the past 20 years is un-
likely to continue.
Despite the consensus among climatologists,
the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) con-
tends that agricultural technology and the so-called
Green Revolution (more productive hybrid grains)

will keep food production apace with world popu-
lation growth for at least 25 years. .
Consequently, the U.S. government has allowed
the virtual disappearance in the last decade of
worldwide grain reserves. Lester Brown, presi-
dent of the Worldwatch Institute, contends that
worldwide food supply at any given time is now
down to just 30 days.
Scientists such as Louis Thompson, dean of
agriculture at Iowa State University at Ames,be-
lieve the USDA's reliance on technology is a dan-
gerous fallacy. Thompson's longterm studies show
that since the 1950s, increased crop production in
the corn belt was more the result of favorable
weather than of better technology.
A recent report by the U.S. Office of Technologi-
-cal Assessment took the USDA, to task for fail-
ing to take climate variability ,,into account in
forecasting food production. It said that with world
food supplies dangerously low, the government
lacks an intelligence system capable of predicting
the consequences of unexpected droughts, floods
or other adverse conditions.
The report noted that despite the best com-
puter technology and access to weather satellites,
the U.S. failed to learn of the Soviet wheat crop
failure in 1972 when it sold wheat to the Russians
at bargain prices.
At the same time, said the report, the U.S.
government received no warning when world food
production recently declined for the first time In
many years - with food demand rising sharply.
THE CONCERN OVER the climate-food supply
problem has prompted a one-year study by

meteorologists and agricultural economists at the
National Defense University-.Their aim is to reach
a consensus about what's happening to the climate
and to improve techniques for predicting crop
production.
Last year the National Academy of Sciences
recommended a national commitment to climate
research with spending to rise from $18 million
a year to $67 million by 1980.
Meanwhile, Congress is expected -to set hear-
ings on a National Climate Research Act in the
next session.
In the absence of' concerted government ac-
ion, some scientists have opted to go public" with
their warnings. One of the most persuasive has
been Stephen Schneider of the NCAR in Boulder.
In his recently published book, The Genesis
Strategy - Climate and Global Survival, Schneider
argues that if the earth's population continues to
grow and the less developed countries demand to
use energy at the rate developed countries do, the
man-made waste heat may drastically affect the
global climate. Such effects as higher temperatures
and increased down-wind rains are already com-
mon in and around large industrial cities.
Schneider urges developed countries to sloop
down their use of energy while developing coun-
tries catch up, using alternative energy systems.
He says developing countries must also limit their
population growth.
Until this occurs, he says, governments should
heed climatologists and establish a world food bank
to stave off climate-induced famine and turmoil.

li t itan at
Eighty-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Ml 48109
Friday, January 14, 1977 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
UHC should have voted
to end lettuce boycott

INSIDE AFRICA:
Krugerrand

sales stir protest

THE UNIVERSITY Housing Council
(UHC) recently faced a tough
decision on whether to continue the
dorm lettuce boycott in support of
California farm workers. UHC voted
to continue the lettuce ban for an-
other term, despite a referendum
which went two-to-one for ending
the boycott.
We think they committed a grave
error In ignoring the mandate.
The United Farm Workers Union
(UFW), under the leadership of Ce-
sar Chavez, has carried out an ardu-;
ous, decade-long struggle for ade-
quate pay and safe, decent working
conditions for agricultural laborers.
The UFW has tackled the most nean-
derthal, unreconstructed segment of
American business. At last, victory
seems near, as more and more Calif-
ornia growers sign contracts with the
UFW.,
For four years, University dorms
have supported the UFW by boycot-
ting non-union lettuce. Each term,
the boycott went before dorm resi-
dents for a vote. Until last Novem-
ber, the boycott always won, although
by smaller margins in recent years.
Last November, the boycott wenlt
down to defeat by over two-to-one.
What went wrong?
More than 3,000 dorm residents
gave up their dinners to raise money
for the UFW. Yet, two weeks later,
only 400 people bothered to continue
'the dorm non-union lettuce ban.
, The blame for this failure lies with
those UFW sympathizers who didn't
get out and vote. And it lies with
the UFW Support' Committee for not
getting its people to the polls.
The Daily also shares the blame.-
We failed to adequately publicize the
referendum and make our support for
the boycott well-enough known.

NONETHELESS, the vote must be
respected. Some members of the UHC
argue that people weren't voting
against the UFW, but rather voting
for head letture.. However, as one
dissenting member of the Council re-
marked,;it doesn't matter why stu-
dents voted as they did - that's up
to them. Their will should have been
honored.
It is doubtful whether the farm.
workers' cause will benefit from a
boycott carried out against'the will
of the participants. In fact, continu-
ing the lettuce ban under present
circumstances may create more an-
tagonism and ill will toward the UFW
on campus than any benefit derived3
from it.
This decision will probably make
it difficult, if not impossible, to ever
pass a boycott support vote in the
dorms.
The Daily urges the UHC to re-
consider its action.; Recent reports
that the UFW is considering calling
off the boycott nationally may make
this easier.
If the national boycott continues,
however, the best move would be to
terminate the boycott now, but sched-
ule an early revote.
Then, all of us who believe strong-
ly that the UFW deserves our support
should see that the word gets out-
and the people get out and vote.
TODAY'S STAFF:
News: Jeff Ristine, Bill Turque, Mike
Norton, George Lobsenz, Lani Jor-
don, Ann Marie Schiavi, Bob Rosen-
baum, Ken Chotiner, David Good-
man, Robb Holmes
Editorial Page: Tom Stevens, Rob Mea-
chum, David Goodman
Arts Page: Lois Josimovich
Photo Technician: Andy Freeberg

By The Pacific News Service
ROOMING U.S. SALES of Kru-
gerrands, the gold coins
whose sale provided a vital 14.7
per cent of South Africa's export
earnings in 1975, have spurred
demonstrations by opponents of
apartheid. Protesters have pic-
keted a Manhattan department
store selling Krugerrands, stag-
ed a rally in San Francisco and
convinced the Denver city coun-
cil to urge residents not to buy
the coins.
Krugerrand sales are crucial'
in earning badly needed foreign
exchange to reduce South Afri-
ca's balance of payments defi-
cit. They also help keep up the
price of gold, its major export,
by holding down the amount
available in bullion form.
South Africa's critics hope to
turn the coin sales strategy on
its head by, publicizing the fact
that blacks who mine the gold
Iearn less than 10 per cent what
whites do, work in dangerous
conditions and must live separ-
ated from their families.
Both the sales boom and the
protests stem largely from a
highly successful $4 million TV
and newspaper advertising cam-
paign. One Houston bank that
had previously sold just a few
coins handled 1,600 in the days
after the ads started appearing,
and sales at a San Francisco
bullion dealer shot up 900 per-
cent.
And despite sales tax and oth-
er costs that make the Kruger-
rand up to 20 per cent more ex-
pensive than plain gold, t h e
market is so strong that -the
prestigious Merrill, Lynch bro-
kerage firm is now selling coins
in all its offices.
* * *Cm
rTHE OPEC nations may face

their second split in as
many months when the first
joint Afro-Arab summit conven-
es here in January. The develop-
ing African nations that have
been hit hard by oil price rises
are expected to seek price con-
cessions from OPEC, and some
observers think Saudi Araoia's
recent split on pricing may fore-
shadow a similar showdown over
the African demands.
Many of the African coun'ries
have had conflicting reactions
to OPEC in the past,, di'dliking
high oil pricesbut strongly sup-
porting the principle of higher.
prices for raw material exports.
While resisting requests for se-
lective discounts. OP CC has pla-
cated them with aid priograms
like the recently launcned Inter
na'ional Agriculture Develon-
ment fund.
* * *
FEARS OF BLACK nantonilist
guerrilla warfare in Souh
Africa have prompted a 'cdl to
arms" by the Defense Ministry
and official warnings to w h i t e
businessmen to take pre:;-uons
agains' urban violence.
A spokesperson for the De-
fense Ministry said the -asponse
to a call for volunteers has been
"amazing." Defense chief P. W.
Botha saidtthe plea for volun-
teers was the only alternative to
broadening enlistment to include
middle-aged men.
Newspapers have recently
fueled fears with allegations that
that African National Congress,
a banned underground liberation
movement, has established bas-
es in neighboring Mozambhique.
The reports claim that hundreds
of Africans have received train-
ing and thatnurses are on duty
to care for the wounded.
While the accuracy of the ie-
CAMEL. . T11EiR. RE

port is questionable, its release
has clearly increased the con-
cern of white South Africans and
added support for the govern-
ment's hard-line apartheid pol-
icy.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister
James Kruger has issued warn-
ings to businesses following the
early December explosion in cne
of Johannesburg's largest down-
town buildings. Kruger said the
bombing, which followed sever-
al other incidents involving
South African police and armed
blacks, may indicate andattempt
at urban warfare.
THE RECENT conviv':on of
nine black South Africans
under the Terrorism Act is be-
ing called one of the most im-
portant legal decisions in South
African history. For the f i r s t
time a court has explicitly ruled
that opposition to the govern-
ment and its racial policies cor-
stitutes terrorism - a z - i m e
carrying a mandatory minimum
senence of five years and a
maximum of death.
The seven Africans and two
Indians were found guilty of con-
spiring to change South Africa's
anartheid system. Seven of
them were also convicted of or-
ganizing illegal rallies to cele-
brate majority, rule in Mozam-
bique.
Before the verdict, S o u t h
African authorities had o f t e n
detained government opponents
under the country's security le-
gislation, only to see the courts
refuse to accept the govern-
ment's definition of terrorism
and find them innocent. 'Many
were thenre-arrestednand held
without trial. Repercussions of
the legal turnaround are expect-
EDMXW. P WMER *

* * *
V/ENDALAND, one of the least
populated of South Afri-
ca's semi-autonomous black
homelands with 400.000 inhabi-
tants, has become the third ban-
tustan to opt for independence
from Pretoria. Patrick Mphephu,
chief minister of Vendaand,
said he would make a formal re-
quest for independence n e x t
March and that he eKne:ts South
Africa to accept the request in
1978.
Earlier this year Bonhu.Its-
wana, the home of 800,000 Ts-
wana people led by Chief Lucas
Mangope, announced it p 1 a n s
to seek independence from South
Africa.
The Transkei, largest of South
Africa's bantustans, became in-
dependent October 26 but is re-
cognized by no foreign country
except South Africa. The ban-
tustan policies are opposed by
many Africans in Soutn Africa,
including the chief of one .I r ire-
land. They contend tie bantus-
tans are indenendent in name
only, but ,totally denendent on
South Africa economica ly .and
intended mainly to draw critic-
ism away from South Africz;s
apartheid system.
A FTER 13 YEARS of precar-
ious constitutional unity,

ed to be felt
country.

throu hout t h e

the United Republic of Tanzan-
ia - mainland Tanganika and
the two islands of Zanzibar - is
cautiously moving towards full
political integration.,
Until now, Tanzania has been
led by two separate parties, the
mainland's Tanganika African
National Union (TATNU) and
Zanzibar's Afro-Shirazi Party
(ASP). Now the two are about to
merge and form the hybrid Re-
volutionary Party of Tanzania.
Tanzania's 54-year-old Presi-
dent Julius Nyerere will almost
certainly be named to heal the
new party when it is officially
christened Feb. 5. The merger
has long been stormy and em-
harassing to Nyerere. whoso po-
litical philosophy of one-party
democratic socialism, contrasts
sharply with a 3*man Revolu-
tirnary Council's absolute rule
of the spice islands of Zanzibar
and Pemba. At one point Zanzi-
bar's first president. a burly cx-
sailor named Abeid Karume, ev-
en ruled that all Arab girls had
to marry any African man who
pronosed to them - after an
Arab girl refused the advances
of his son.
While Tanzanians -hope the
merger will eventually lead to
the full political integration of
7anzibar with the mainland,
Zanzibar has protectively main-
tained its autonomy in economic
and judicial affairs.

Perspective

by W. L. SC H ELL ER....

014 A NomaE

"WITH HIS INAUGURATION less than a week away, Jimmy
Carter's administration, his cabinet posts in particular, have
pretty much taken shape. Some of the old liberals from the
sixties thought that Carter's cabinet would be the realization
of their dreams. Instead Carter's choices have drawn fire from
the NAACP, women's groups, Ralph Nader and others. President-
elect Carter seems to have picked out his cabinet that he feels will
work to solve the problems of this country, not just appease a few
interest groups.
Mr. Carter will have at his disposal much of what he has said
that he is looking for. His cabinet contains spokespersons for
both business and labor. This is best seen in his choices for Sec-
retary of the Treasury and Secretary of Labor. Michael Blumen-
thal is currently President of the Bendix Corp., which was named
one of the five best managed companies in America by Dun's
Review. Ray Marshall, the, Labor designate, is a very pro-labor
Economics Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. These
two men represent a very diverse scope of opinion.
Carter has put a farmer at the head of the Department of Agri-
culture. A top mind like Schlesinger will be welcome as the new
energy czar, presumably to become Secretary of Energy after
Carter consolidates the various departments. Harold Brown, an
emminently qualified weapons expert and president of Cal Tech,
should perform well in the Defense Department. But all is not
perfect in the new administration.
Carter's choice of Griffen Bell as Attorney General was at
best a disappointment. Even laying aside all the furor over his
civil rights record, there were better people for the job. Sup-
posedly such figures as Barbara Jordan and John Doar were
under consideration. Instead of keeping to his claim .that he would
pick only the best people for the job, Carter gave the job to one
of his old hacks.
One of the most disturbing, if not potenially dangerous, trends
is the increased politicization of the CIA. The director of -the CIA
needs to be a man who is knowledgable in the area of intelligence
ga'hering and international affairs. Theodore Sorenson and his
predecessor George Bush are simply not these type of people.
George Bush was a former Republican Party National Chairman
and Sorenson was Kennedy's administrative assistant. A well qgtal-
ified person from within the CIA would seem to have been a
better choice.

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