LIMA, Peru – Most of the environmental battles Brother Paul McAuley fights seem endless, mainly conflicts between indigenous communities and loggers operating on their lands or oil companies that have spilled toxic substances into their waterways.
Sometimes, however, there’s a victory. In mid-October, the Peruvian government overturned a law that would have allowed water from one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River to be diverted to irrigate export agriculture operations on Peru’s desert coast, a measure critics called a political-patronage boondoggle.
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For 40 years Desmarais has run the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre in Zambia. But over the last 20 years Desmarais has rethought almost every aspect of conventional Western agriculture and how it’s applied in Africa.
Ploughs, tractors, chemical fertilizers, commercial herbicides were once all part of Desmarais’ gospel of modern agriculture. But no more. The Canadian Jesuit now promotes organic, ecologically sustainable, no-till farming for small scale farmers.