By Lilian Autler
October 16th, 2009
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.
By Lindsay Shade
October 12th, 2009
For some, October 12th is commemorated as the day that Christopher Columbus "discovered" the Americas. For many more, it marked the beginning of over 500 years of foreign domination, cultural destruction and systematic exploitation. Over the last 15 years, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has perpetuated that tragic history.
Join with other justice-minded people to use this October 12th to push for the renegotiation and replacement of NAFTA and forge a new history based on mutual respect, human rights, and dignity.
The Global Week of Action on Trade is a collaborative worldwide action between different communities, to protest the damaging impact of "free" trade, while highlighting alternatives to NAFTA, CAFTA, other free trade agreements and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
It is being organized in conjunction with the Global Mobilization in Defense of Mother Earth and Her Peoples, launched at the IV Hemispheric Summit of Indigenous People in Puno, Peru, last May.
"We ratify the organization of the Minga (traditional indigenous collective communal organization) of the Global Mobilization in Defense of Mother Earth and Her Peoples against the commercialization of life (including land, forests, water, seas, agro-fuels, ex
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.
Earlier this week, the BBC produced a shocking article: “Eyewitness: Guatemala food crisis.” The piece exposes the sad reality that haunts families throughout the country, particularly those in indigenous and peasant communities. I also encountered this dire situation -- children dying of starvation and many others suffering from hunger-related diseases -- during my visit to Guatemala last April, when I heard from our local partners that many peasant communities were showing signs of a food shortage.
During our visit to Brazil earlier this month, Saulo Araujo and I met with Grassroots International’s partners and the communities in which they work. I had prepared myself to talk about a range of issues, from Creole seeds to water scarcity to land occupation. I hadn’t expected to hear so much about the importance of a dignified life.
Last April my colleague Saulo Araujo (Program Coordinator for Brazil & Mesoamerica) and I visited Honduras. What impressed us the most was the strength and vibrancy of social movements, like our partners the Via Campesina (Central America) and COCOCH (the Honduran Coordinating Council of Peasant Organizations), and our allies like COPINH (Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras) and OFRANEH (Honduran Black Fraternal Organization). And especially the strong and resilient women in the forefront of struggle. Afro-Hondurans like Leoncia and Wendy, Lencas like Pasqualita, and Mestizo women like Analina and Berta
At a candidates forum convened by the Via every single presidential candidate attended.
The US-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA), created in 2005 by the Bush and Garcia administrations, came into effect on February 1st, 2009. Since this time, several protests have been held within the country by indigenous groups, peasants and their supporters. At the heart of the protests are several laws, which have been enacted, and since revoked, by the Garcia administration under the FTA.
Social movement leaders in Honduras, including members of Grassroots International's partner, La Via Campesina, fear for their lives, as tens of thousands have gathered to protest Sunday's coup d'etat against President Jose Manuel "Mel" Zelaya Rosales.
Please call on the Honduran Embassy to demand that the congress and military respect and guarantee the human rights of all Hondurans and reinstate the democratically elected president, Mel Zelaya.