Climate Change

Changes in farm policies needed to reduce climate change

I have had the privilege of being the point person for Grassroots International on our U.S-based advocacy work on food and farm policy issues. A large part of this work is done in conjunction with our allies in the US Working Group on the Global Food Crisis, where Grassroots is a member of the ad hoc steering committee  I have been working to raise the voices of Grassroots’ partners, like the Via Campesina, in the policy solutions put forward for consideration in Washington. Among the strategies for which our partners, and we, advocate is a transition away from large-scale industrialized fossil-fuel-dependent agriculture toward a more earth and people friendly model of sustainable agriculture.

Climate change and violence in Mexico

Cab drivers are often a good source of news information, or at least a good barometer of public opinion. Such was the case when I finally arrived in Mexico City this afternoon for visits with Grassroots International’s partners here.

The city hasn’t changed from the last time I came--the same heavy traffic and the same cloud of pollution above our heads. In the cabin of my taxi, I found an old newspaper with photos of damage in Cancun courtesy of Hurricane Ida last week. They are dramatic. Sections of the flat sand beaches of the famous tourist spot were left uneven. A caption on one photo says that the wild waves had carved out a seven-foot high wall in the sand!

350 or Toast! "There is no Planet B"

And, the answer is...350. That is 350 parts per million of Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere, the upper limit for sustainability of life, human life anyway. The question, however, is why are more -- not less -- Americans not convinced about the dangers of global warming and climate change in 2009 than in 2006? A new poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press released yesterday, found some alarming downward trends. Only 35 percent of Americans see global warming as a serious problem, and about 57 percent believe there is solid evidence that the earth is getting warmer.

Towards Food Sovereignty: Reclaiming Autonomous Food Systems now available online

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), an independent international research and development organization, recently published a book that should be of interest to Grassroots International's supporters. Available free online, Towards Food Sovereignty: Reclaiming Autonomous Food Systems offers great analysis and links to video and audio files that show farmers, indigenous peoples and consumers all working to promote food sovereignty.

Throughout the world, social movements are the driving force behind a new food sovereignty policy framework, which aims to guarantee and protect people's space, ability and right to define their own models of production, food distribution and consumption patterns.

Land + Water + Food = Resource Rights = Human Rights = Poverty Eradication

October 17th is marked as by the United Nations as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. At Grassroots International, we have been working with our partners for over 25 years towards achieving that goal. Clearly, a lot needs to be done to get us there.

Family Farmers Feed Brazil

The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) recently published a report on the country’s agricultural sector. The last report had been published in 1996. The new document supports several points raised by peasant organizations, such as our partner the Via Campesina International, around the critical role of the small scale agriculture to climate justice and hunger. The main points are outlined below.

1.

Today is World Food Day!

Today is World Food Day!

World Food Day is celebrated every year on October 16 – the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. World Food Day raises awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger. This year's theme for World Food Day is "Achieving food security in times of crisis."

A critical issue related to food and agriculture that is finally gaining more attention is climate change. Industrial agriculture contributes significantly to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions.

Amigo, Can You Spare a BTU?

Chances are, the average U.S. resident has no idea that their demand for electricity might require that a Mexican village be flooded for a hydroelectric dam. The question is: if the human cost were known, would we consume just a little bit less?

At Grassroots International, our bet is that a little bit of knowledge would go a long way.  For those who value human rights, that high social and environmental cost is not likely to sit right.

Our unabashedly biased perspective is based upon the way we’ve worked for more than a quarter century: offering financial support to communities around the world whose natural resources have been extracted and despoiled and sharing their stories in living rooms, community centers and across cyberspace.

Why Do We Need a Global Climate Justice Movement?

 
Because we need just, equitable and not simply effective action on climate change – it’s not just about numbers but about just numbers. Because the rich countries are shifting the burden to the South – on the developing and least developed countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America that have contributed the least to global warming. Because short-term economic interests are driving the negotiations – the considerable lobbying power of big oil, big coal, big agriculture, and other big corporations is out in full force ahead of the upcoming Copenhagen negotiations in December 2009. And because the people are not being heard – especially those who will be adversely affected

Feeding the world and cooling the planet

"The cascading series of events now known as the world food crisis started in Mexico as the 'tortilla war' in January 2007. It then flared up in Italy as the 'spaghetti strike' nine months later. Later it became an unstoppable avalanche ... La Vía Campesina believes that this crisis is the result of decades of destructive policies: pressure from international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to decrease investment in small-scale food production through structural adjustment programs; increasing the power of transnational corporations; financial speculation; and more recently, governments' support for the frantic escalation in the production of agro-fuels."