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Climate change - The failure of the transnational food system

Climate change - The failure of the transnational food system

By GRAIN

The climate crisis means that we need change now! The organization of society around making profits has proven to be a corrupt system and we need to build alternative systems of production and consumption, which are organized according to the needs of the peoples and life on the planet. The forces of change are in our hands, in our communities, which are organizing to regain control over our food systems and our territories.


The current global food system, with all its high-tech seeds and cute packages, is unable to fulfill its primary function: feeding people.

This year more than a billion people will suffer from hunger, while another 500 million will suffer from obesity problems. Three-quarters of those who do not have enough to eat will be peasants and rural workers (the same people who produce the food), while a handful of agribusiness corporations that control the food chain (those who decide where the food goes) will amass billions of dollars. dollars in profit. Despite its monumental failure, nothing is said in the corridors of power to move us away from this state of affairs. Huge and growing social movements may call for change, but the world's governments and international agencies continue to push for more of the same: more agribusiness, more industrial agriculture, more globalization. As the planet moves into an accelerated period of climate change, driven largely by this very model of agriculture, failure to take meaningful action will rapidly worsen the already intolerable situation. However, in the global movement for food sovereignty there is a promising way out.

Now, the most current scientific studies predict that, if all remains the same, rising temperatures, extreme weather conditions, and the severe water and soil problems associated with them will drive many more millions into the ranks of the hungry. As population growth increases the demand for food, climate change will deplete our capacities to produce it. Certain countries that are already struggling with severe hunger problems could see their food production cut in half before the end of this century. However, where elites meet to discuss climate change, little is said about such effects on food production and supply, and much less is done to respond to them.

There is another edge to the interaction between climate change and the global food system that reinforces the urgent need for action. The latter is not only dysfunctional and very poorly prepared to face climate change: it is also one of its main drivers. The model of industrial agriculture that supplies the world's food system works essentially by converting oil into food, producing huge amounts of greenhouse gases in the process. The use of vast amounts of chemical fertilizers, the expansion of the meat industry, and the destruction of the world's savannas and forests to produce agricultural commodities are together responsible for at least 30% of the emissions of the gases they cause. climate change. (1)

But that's only part of the current food system's contribution to the climate crisis. Converting food into global and industrial commodities results in a tremendous loss of fossil energy used to transport it around the world, process it, store it, freeze it and bring it to the homes of those who consume it. All these processes are contributing to the climate account. When you add them all together, it is not at all an exaggeration to say that the current food system could be responsible for about half of the greenhouse gas emissions.

The reasons for a total change in the global food system and the urgency of such a change have never been clearer. People everywhere show a willingness to change - be they consumers seeking local food or peasants blocking roads in defense of their land. What gets in the way is the power structure — and this, more than anything, is what needs to be transformed.

Five urgent steps

1. A shift towards sustainable and integrated production methods. The artificial separations and simplifications that industrial agriculture brought with it must be undone, and the different elements that make up sustainable agricultural systems must be put together again. Crops and animals must be reintegrated back into the farm. Agricultural biodiversity has to become the foundation of food production, once again, and the seed care and exchange system has to be reactivated. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides must be replaced by natural ways to keep the soil healthy and control pests and diseases. Restructuring the food system in this way will help create the conditions that allow close to zero emissions on farms.

2. Reconstitute the soil and retain the water. We have to take the floor seriously. We need a massive global effort to put organic matter back together in soils, and thus restore fertility to it. Decades of mistreatment of soils with chemicals in some places, and soil erosion elsewhere, left the soils exhausted. Healthy soils, rich in organic matter, can retain enormous amounts of water, which will be necessary to create the necessary flexibility and endurance for the agricultural system to withstand the climate and water crises that are already looming over us. Increasing organic matter in soils around the world will help capture substantial amounts of the current excess CO2 in the atmosphere.

3. Deindustrialize agriculture, save energy and keep people on their land. Small-scale family farming must once again be the foundation for food production. Having allowed the huge accumulation of mega-industrial agriculture companies that produce goods for the international market instead of food for the people, causes empty rural areas, overcrowded cities and the destruction of many livelihoods and culture in the process. Deindustrializing agriculture would also help end the tremendous waste of energy now produced by the industrial agriculture system.

4. Cultivate nearby and cut off international trade. One of the principles of food sovereignty is to prioritize local markets over international trade. International food trade in consortium with processing industries and chain supermarkets are the main contributors to the climate crisis. All of this can largely stop and shift the food chain into food production more geared towards local markets. Achieving this is probably the toughest struggle of all, as corporate power has focused on keeping the trading system growing and expanding. And many governments are happy with this. Something that must change if we are serious in our response to the climate crisis.

5. Cut the economy of meat and seek a healthier diet. Perhaps the most profound and destructive transformation that the industrial food system entails is the industrialization of the livestock sector. What used to be an integral and sustainable part of rural lifestyles is now a system of mega-industrial meat factories scattered around the world, controlled by a few. The international meat economy, which has grown fivefold in recent decades, contributes to the climate crisis in an enormous way. It has helped to cause the obesity problem in rich countries, and it has destroyed - through subsidies and unfair trade - local meat production in poor countries. This must stop, and consumer holdings, especially in rich countries, must move away from meat. The world needs to return to a decentralized system of meat production and distribution, organized according to the needs of the people. Markets supplying local markets with meat from small farms at fair prices must be restored and recovered. Unfair international trade must be stopped.

The forecast is famine

In 2007, the International Panel on Climate Change (picc) published its long-awaited report on the state of the Earth's climate. The report, although it showed in no uncertain terms that global warming was a reality and noted that it was "very likely" that humans were responsible for it, cautiously predicted that the planet could warm 0.2ºC per decade if nothing was done to change the course of our greenhouse gas emissions. The report warned that towards the end of the century a change in temperature between 2 and 4ºC could produce dramatic increases in sea levels and a cascade of catastrophes across the planet.

Now, just a few years later, it turns out that the picc was too optimistic. The current scientific consensus is that there will be an increase of 2ºC in the coming decades and that, if the scenario continues to be business as usual, if there are no changes, the planet could warm up to 8ºC by the year 2100, pushing things to a breaking point and deepening what is described as dangerous and irreversible climate change (2). Right now, the impact of the milder forms of climate change affects us strongly. According to the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum, climate change seriously affects 325 million people a year - 315,000 of them die of hunger, disease, and climate change-induced weather disasters (3). The prediction is that the annual share of deaths due to climate change will reach half a million by 2030, with 10% of the world's population being seriously affected.

Food is and will be at the center of this ongoing climate crisis. Everyone agrees that agricultural production has to continue to grow significantly in the coming decades to keep up with population growth. But climate change is likely to put agricultural production in reverse. In the most comprehensive account (to date) of studies outlining the impacts of global warming on agriculture, William Cline estimates that if trends remain the same, by 2080, climate change will reduce the production potential of the world agriculture by more than 3% compared to today. Developing countries will be the most affected, with a 9.1% drop in their agricultural production potential. Africa will face a decline of 16.6%. These are horrendous numbers, but as Cline admits, the actual impacts could be much worse. (4)

A major weakness of the picc and other projections when it comes to agriculture is that their predictions accept the “carbon fertilization” theory which argues that high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will accentuate photosynthesis in many crops. key and your returns will skyrocket. Recent studies show that this potential is largely a mirage. It's not just that any initial growth acceleration slows down significantly after just a few days or weeks, but the increased CO2 reduces nitrogen and protein in the leaves by more than 12%. This means that with climate change, for humans there will be less protein in major grains such as wheat and rice. There will also be less nitrogen for the insects, which is important as the insects will eat a greater surface area of ​​the leaves and this will cause significant reductions in yields. (5)

When Cline did the calculations without considering the alleged carbon fertilization the results were even more alarming. World yields would fall 16% by 2080, and regional falls would be 24.3% in Latin America, 19.3% in Asia and 27.5% in Africa. Yields would be reduced by 38% in India, and more than 50% in Senegal and Sudan. (6)

But even this terrifying prediction could fall short. Cline's study, like the picc report and other reports that address climate change and agriculture, do not take into account the water crisis associated with climate change. Today, 2.4 billion people live in environments with severe water scarcity, and recent predictions suggest that this will increase to 4 billion by the second half of the century. The sources of water for agriculture have been depleted or are becoming dangerously scarce in many parts of the world. Global warming will compound the problem as higher temperatures lead to drier conditions and the amount of water needed for agriculture needs to be increased. It will be increasingly difficult to maintain current production levels, even as demand increases due to the larger population. (7)

Cline also did not contemplate the impacts of extreme weather conditions that will occur with increased climate change. Droughts, floods and other natural disasters are expected to increase in frequency and intensity, causing crop disasters wherever they occur. The World Bank predicts that the intensification of storms caused by climate change will make an additional 29,000 square kilometers of agricultural land located in coastal areas vulnerable to flooding. (8) Simultaneously, a dramatic increase in forest fires is expected, which already affect about 350 million hectares each year (9), and this will cause a pollution problem with carbon aerosols, which will further aggravate the greenhouse effect . A study predicts that wildfires will increase by 50% in the western United States by 2055, all as a result of increases in temperature. (10)

And then you have to consider the market. The global food supply is increasingly controlled by a small number of transnationals that have a near-monopoly on the entire food chain, from seeds to supermarkets. The amount of speculative capital in agricultural trade is also increasing. In this context, any disruption of the food supply, or even the simple perception that there are problems, can lead to tumultuous increases in prices and a huge profit hoarding on the part of speculators, making food inaccessible for urban sectors. poorer and causes all kinds of alterations in agricultural production in the field. (11) In fact, the mere rumor of a global food shortage has already drawn financial speculators into agriculture, who are grabbing land on a large scale, at a level not seen since colonial times. (12)

We are entering an era of extreme disturbances in food production. There has never been such an urgent need for a system to ensure a food supply for everyone according to their needs. And yet the global food system has never been so tightly controlled by a small group of people whose decisions are based solely on how much money they can raise for their shareholders.

The clash of two worlds in the Peruvian Amazon

The Peruvian government chose a symbolic date, World Environment Day, to launch a bloody attack on the peoples of the Amazon. The reason for this repression? The categorical opposition of the Amazonian communities to the invasion of their territories by socially and environmentally destructive business activities, such as mining, oil extraction and plantations dedicated to the monoculture of trees and agrofuels.

On April 9, local communities in the Peruvian Amazon began what they called an "indefinite strike" to protest the Peruvian Congress' refusal to review a series of decree laws that harm the rights of indigenous peoples. These decrees were published by the Executive in the framework of the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement signed with the United States.

By unleashing this massacre on World Environment Day, the government of Alan García clearly showed the world how little importance it places on protecting the environment and how highly it values ​​large corporations that hope to exploit - and simultaneously destroy - the country's natural resources. . Worse still, the government publicly declared its contempt for the lives of indigenous peoples who are struggling to defend what little the advance of the "development" model has left them, which has widely proven to be socially and environmentally destructive.

As a result of this bloody repression and the worldwide public attention that it aroused, the Peruvian Amazon became a symbol of the clash between two different conceptions about the present and future of humanity, which today unfolds worldwide.

On one side of this conflict is the world of economic interest, which means social and environmental destruction, imposition by force, violation of rights. Obviously, this world is not represented by the Peruvian president, who is only a temporary and disposable aide to the corporations — a fact that was evidenced by the fate of the once-all-powerful President Fujimori. However, the role played by these helpers is very important, to the extent that they are the ones who provide the necessary "legality" signs to actions that clearly violate the most basic human rights.

On the other side is the world of those who aspire to a future of solidarity and respect for nature. In this case, they are represented by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, but they can also be found in similar struggles in other parts of the world, in confrontation with other governments that are also at the service of the economic interests of large companies. To mention just a few examples, we can highlight the current struggle of the countries of Southeast Asia, against the destruction of the Mekong River —which provides sustenance to millions of people— by the giant hydroelectric dams; the struggle of the African peoples against oil drilling and exploration; the struggle of the Hindu peoples to protect their forests against mining extraction, and so many more struggles.

In this confrontation, the hypocrisy of those who strive to impose the destructive model is apparently limitless. In the case of Peru, President Alan García, the same man who now wants to open the Amazon to extractive activities, declared just a year ago that he wanted to “prevent this original well-being that God has given us from being degraded by the hand of the man, due to the incompetence of those who work the land or exploit it economically, and that is why we have created this Ministry of the Environment. "

This kind of government hypocrisy is blatantly evident around the world, especially regarding climate change. During an indefinite international process, which began in 1992, the governments of the world agreed that climate change is the worst threat to humanity. They also agreed that the two biggest causes of climate change were greenhouse gas emissions from the use of fossil fuels and deforestation. Finally, they agreed that something had to be done about it. And after signing the agreements and flying back to their countries, they have done everything possible to promote oil exploitation and / or deforestation.

Without the need to create ministries of the environment or participate in international processes to combat climate change, there are peoples around the world taking action to defend the environment and the climate from the imminent threats that weigh on them. In almost all cases, their actions have been criminalized or repressed - both in the South and the North - by those who should be encouraging and supporting them: their governments.

In the symbolic case of Peru, the peoples of the Amazon - with the support of thousands of citizens around the world - have won an important battle in this struggle between two worlds. Obviously, no one believes that this is the end of the conflict. But it is a victory that gives hope to many other people who are fighting for similar goals and finally to the whole world, because the end product of this confrontation between two worlds will determine the destiny of humanity.

WRM Bulletin, No. 143 - June 2009


Cook the planet

Proponents of the Green Revolution like to talk about how the unique recipe of uniform plant varieties and chemical fertilizers saved the world from famine. Proponents of the so-called Livestock Revolution and Blue Revolution (aquaculture) sell us a similar story about races. uniform animals and industrial foods. This discourse should be less convincing today as nearly a quarter of the planet's population is starving and crop yields have stagnated since the 1980s. In reality, what we have before us seems more like a horror story when we consider the environmental consequences, especially as the world learns of the role that these transformations of agriculture and the food system have played in climate change.

The current scientific consensus is that agriculture is responsible for 30% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. But it is unfair to put all forms of agriculture in one bag. In most eminently agricultural countries, agriculture itself contributes very little to climate change. Countries with the highest percentage of rural population and whose economies depend mainly on agriculture tend to have the lowest levels of greenhouse gas emissions. (13) For example, although Canadian agriculture is said to contribute only 6% of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions, this is 1.6 tons of greenhouse gases per Canadian, while in India, where agriculture is A much larger component of the national economy, per capita emissions from all sources are only 1.4 tons, and only 0.4 tons come from agriculture. (14) There are differences, therefore, in the type of agriculture that is practiced, and agriculture in general cannot be blamed.

Furthermore, when we look at the total contribution of agriculture to climate change, we see that only a small section of agricultural activities are responsible for almost all greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Deforestation caused by land use change is responsible for about half of the total, while emissions from agricultural establishments are caused mainly by animal production and fertilizers. All these sources of greenhouse gases are closely linked to the emergence of industrial agriculture and the expansion of the food system in the hands of transnational corporations. Also the high dependence on oil and the large carbon footprint caused by transporting food and supplies around the world in all kinds of plastic containers.

Since most of the energy used by the industrial food system comes from the consumption of fossil fuels, the amount of energy it uses translates directly into the emission of greenhouse gases. If we just look at the American food system, it is estimated to account for a formidable 20% of all fossil energy consumption in the country. This figure includes all the energy used in establishments that produce food, and in the post-industrial processes of transportation, packaging, processing and storage. The US Environmental Protection Agency reported that in 2005 the nation's farmers emitted as much carbon dioxide as 141 million cars combined that same year. This totally ineffective food system uses 10 non-renewable fossil calories to produce a single dietary calorie. (fifteen)

The difference in energy use between industrial agriculture and traditional farming systems could not be more extreme. There is much talk about how efficient and much more productive industrial agriculture is compared to traditional farming in the global South, but if one takes energy efficiency into consideration, nothing could be further from the truth. The fao estimates that, on average, farmers in industrialized countries spend five times more commercial energy to produce a kilogram of cereal than farmers in Africa. If we analyze specific crops, the differences are even more spectacular: to produce a kilo of corn, a farmer in the United States uses 33 times more commercial energy than the traditional peasant in neighboring Mexico. And to produce a kilogram of rice, an American farmer uses 80 times the commercial energy used by a traditional farmer in the Philippines. (16) this “commercial energy” that fao talks about is, of course, the gas and fossil fuel required to produce fertilizers and agrochemicals and those used in agricultural machinery, all of which contribute substantially to the emission of greenhouse gases. (17)

But agriculture itself is responsible for only a quarter of the energy used to bring food to tables. Energy waste and pollution occur within the international food system in its broadest sense: processing, packaging, refrigeration, cooking, and moving food around the globe. There are crops or feed that are grown in Thailand, processed in Rotterdam, fed cattle somewhere else, to end up as food at McDonalds in Kentucky.

Transporting food consumes enormous amounts of energy. If we look again at the United States, it is estimated that 20% of all merchandise transport within the country is used to move food, resulting in 120 million tons of CO2 emissions. The import and export of food from the United States accounts for of another 120 million tons of CO2. To that we must add the transport of supplies and inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) to industrial farms, the transport of plastic and paper for the packaging industries, and what consumers move to go further every day, to supermarkets. This gives us a picture of the tremendous amount of greenhouse gases produced by the industrial food system, just because of its transportation requirements. Other large producers of gases are the food processing, refrigeration and packaging industries, which are responsible for 23% of the energy consumed in the American food system. (18) All of this adds up to an incredible amount of wasted energy.

And speaking of waste: the industrial food system discards half of all the food it produces, on its way from establishments to merchants, to food processors, to stores and supermarkets - enough to feed the world's hungry. six times. (19) No one has begun to calculate how many greenhouse gases are produced by the rotting of all the food thrown away.

Much of this tremendous global waste and destruction could be avoided if the food system were decentralized, if agriculture were de-industrialized.

However, the sectors in power respond to the current food crisis and the accelerated collapse of the systems that promote life on the planet with more of the same, and at most they add a few useless technological remedies

The food system controlled by the transnationals is then at a dead end. What they propose is more industrial agriculture and more global food chains as a solution to the food crisis. But these activities only accelerate climate change, and thereby severely intensify the food crisis. It is a vicious cycle that causes extremes of poverty and profit, and the gulf between the two grows ever deeper. Radical transformation of this food system has been urgent for a long time.

Time to make changes to the sea

Fishing was once one of the most efficient ways to obtain food without producing greenhouse gases. Industrial fishing reversed the equation. According to Mares en Riesgo and the Mar del Norte Foundation, the overload caused by commercial fishing has not only made fish stocks less flexible in the face of climate impacts, but large commercial fisheries are one of the important sources of emissions. of greenhouse gases worldwide:

* Por cada tonelada de producto, medido en peso vivo, se emiten 1.7 toneladas de co2.
* Las pesquerías mundiales quemaron casi 50 mil millones de litros de combustible en el año 2000, para una producción de 80 * Millones de toneladas de peces e invertebrados marinos;
* Las pesquerías mundiales dan cuenta, al menos, de un 1.2% del consumo de petróleo a nivel mundial, una cantidad igual a la consumida por Holanda, que ocupa el 18avo lugar como país consumidor.
* El contenido energético del combustible quemado por las pesquerías es 12.5 veces mayor que el contenido energético de la proteína comestible presente en la captura obtenida.

Mares en riesgo/ Fundación Mar del Norte:
www.seas-at-risk.org/1mages/Carbon%20footprint%20brochure%20final%20final.pd}

Cuál es la salida

Dicho de la manera más simple, la crisis climática implica que necesitamos cambios ¡ya! La organización de la sociedad en torno a la obtención de ganancias ha demostrado ser un sistema corrupto y necesitamos construir sistemas alternativos de producción y consumo, que se organicen de acuerdo a las necesidades de los pueblos y la vida en el planeta. Tampoco podemos confiar en nuestros gobiernos, que permiten que la distancia entre lo que los científicos dicen que hay que hacer para detener el desastre climático y lo que los políticos realmente hacen se haga cada vez mayor. Las fuerzas del cambio están en nuestras manos, en nuestras comunidades, que se organizan para recuperar el control sobre nuestros sistemas alimentarios y nuestros territorios.

En la lucha por lograr un sistema alimentario diferente, los obstáculos principales son políticos, no técnicos. Hay que volver a poner las semillas a manos campesinas, eliminar los pesticidas y fertilizantes químicos, integrar al ganado a formas de producción mixta, y organizar nuestros sistemas alimentarios de forma tal que todos tengamos suficientes alimentos sanos y nutritivos. Las capacidades para producir tales transformaciones han quedado demostradas en los miles de proyectos y experimentos que desarrollan comunidades del mundo entero. Incluso la Evaluación Internacional del Papel del Conocimiento, la Ciencia y la Tecnología en el Desarrollo Agrícola —llevada a cabo bajo la dirección del Banco Mundial— no puede sino reconocerlo. A nivel de finca son bastante claras y directas las formas de lidiar con el cambio climático (véase el recuadro “Cinco pasos clave hacia un sistema alimentario que pueda enfrentar el cambio climático”).

Los desafíos políticos son más difíciles. Pero hay mucho que ya está pasando a nivel local. Enfrentadas incluso a la represión violenta, las comunidades locales están resistiendo los mega-proyectos, las represas, la minería, las plantaciones y la tala de los bosques (ver el recuadro “El choque de dos mundos en la Amazonía peruana”). Aunque rara vez se reconozcan como tales, sus resistencias están en el corazón de la acción por el clima, al igual que el movimiento por la soberanía alimentaria, que se van uniendo para resistir la imposición de políticas neoliberales y desarrollar visiones colectivas de futuro. Es en estos espacios y a través de esa resistencia organizada que emergerán las alternativas al destructivo sistema alimentario actual y podremos hallar la fuerza y las estrategias comunes que nos saquen del ciclo suicida en que la agricultura industrial y el sistema alimentario industrial nos tienen hundidos.

References

1. Informe global 2008 de International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (iaastd),
http://www.agassessment.org/index.cfm?Page=About_IAASTD&ItemID=2

2. Chris Lang, “Words and not deeds at climate change talks”, WRM Bulletin, número 143, junio de 2009

3. Global Humanitarian forum, Human Impact Report, mayo de 2009:
http://www.ghf-geneva.org/OurWork/RaisingAwareness/HumanImpactReport/tabid/180/Default.aspx

4. William R. Cline, Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country, Center for Global Development and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2007, http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/14090

5. John T. Trumble and Casey D. Butler, “Climate change will exacerbate California’s insect pest problems”, California Agriculture, v. 63, núm.2:
http://californiaagriculture.ucop.edu/0902AMJ/toc.html

6. Op cit, ver nota 4.

7. Según el informe global 2008 de International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (iaastd), la seguridad del abastecimiento de agua para el riego disminuirá en todas las regiones, con un cambio mundial de 70% a 58% entre 2000 y 2050.
http://www.agassessment.org/index.cfm?Page=About_IAASTD&ItemID=2

8. Susmita Dasgupta, Benoit Laplante, Siobhan Murray, David Wheeler, “Sea-Level Rise and Storm Surges: A Comparative Analysis of Impacts in Developing Countries”, The World Bank, Development Research Group, Environment and Energy Team, abril de 2009.

9. http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/29060/icode/

10. http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/2009-22.html

11. Ver la página web de GRAIN sobre la crisis alimentaria: http://www.grain.org/foodcrisis/

12. Ver la página web de GRAIN sobre el acaparamiento de tierras: http://www.grain.org/landgrab/

13. Wikipedia, List of Countries by Carbon Dioxide Emissions per Capita, 1990-2005:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita

14. Greenpeace Canada, “L’agriculture… pire que les sables bitumineux! Rapport de Statistique Canada”, 10 de junio de 2009:
http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/fr/actualites/l-agriculture-pire-que-les

15. Los datos en este párrafo provienen de: Food & Water Watch, “Fossil Fuels and Greenhouse Gas Emission from Industrial Agriculture”, Washington, noviembre de 2007.
http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/food/factoryfarms/dairy-and-meat-factories/climate-change/greenhouse-gas-industrial-agriculture

16. FAO, “The Energy and Agriculture Nexus”, Roma, 2000, tablas 2.2 y 2.3. http://tinyurl.com/2ubntj

17. Ver GRAIN, “Paremos la fiebre de agrocombustibles”, Biodiversidad, sustento y culturas”, octubre de 2007,
http://www.grain.org/biodiversidad/?id=367

18. Food & Water Watch, “Fossil Fuels and Greenhouse Gas Emission from Industrial Agriculture”, Washington , noviembre de 2007.

19. Tristram Stuart, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, Penguin, 2009,
http://www.penguin.co.uk/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780141036342,00.html

Los campesinos están enfriando la Tierra

(Vía Campesina, comunicado sobre el cambio climático, extractos)(1)

Los actuales modos de producción, consumo y comercio mundiales, han causado una destrucción masiva del medio ambiente incluyendo el calentamiento mundial que está poniendo en riesgo nuestros ecosistemas y llevando a las comunidades humanas al desastre. El calentamiento global muestra el fracaso del modelo de desarrollo basado en el alto consumo de energía fósil, en la sobreproducción y en el libre comercio.

Via Campesina cree que las soluciones a la actual crisis tienen que nacer de los actores sociales organizados que están desarrollando modos de producción, transporte y consumo basados en principios de justicia, solidaridad y bienestar comunitario. Ninguna solución tecnológica resolverá el actual desastre medio ambiental y social. La pequeña agricultura sustentable es intensiva en trabajo y requiere poco uso de energía; ello puede contribuir a enfriar la Tierra

En el mundo entero practicamos y defendemos la pequeña agricultura familiar sustentable y demandamos soberanía alimentaria. La soberanía alimentaria es el derecho de los pueblos a alimentos saludables y culturalmente apropiados, producidos con métodos ecológicamente sustentables y seguros. Coloca las aspiraciones y necesidades de aquellos que producen, distribuyen y consumen alimentos en el centro de los sistemas y políticas alimentarios, y no las demandas de los mercados y corporaciones. La soberanía alimentaria prioriza las economías y mercados locales y nacionales y empodera a la agricultura campesina y familiar, a la pesca artesanal, al pastoreo y a la producción, distribución y consumo de alimentos basados en la sustentabilidad ambiental, económica y social

Demandamos urgentemente de las autoridades a nivel local, nacional e internacional:

El desmantelamiento total de las agroempresas: ellas les están robando la tierra a los pequeños campesinos, producen alimentos chatarra y crean desastres ambientales.

El reemplazo de la agricultura y producción animal industrializada por una agricultura sustentable de pequeña escala respaldada por programas de reforma agraria genuinos.

La promoción de políticas energéticas sensatas y sustentables. Esto incluye menos consumo de energía y producción de energía solar y biogás en las granjas en vez de la fuerte promoción de la producción de agrocombustibles, como es el caso actual.

La implementación de políticas agrícolas y de comercio, a nivel local, nacional e internacional, que respalden la agricultura y el consumo local de alimentos sustentables. Ello incluye la prohibición del tipo de subsidios que llevan al dumping de los alimentos baratos en los mercados.

1- http://www.viacampesina.org/main_en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=457&Itemid=37

El Grupo de los 8 y la crisis climática: ¿Las acciones concordarán con las palabras?

Los gobiernos de algunos de los países más poderosos del mundo (1) se reunieron recientemente en Italia y produjeron un documento titulado “Liderazgo Responsable para un Futuro Sustentable”. En su declaración, ellos informaron al mundo que están “determinados a asegurar el desarrollo sustentable y a abordar los desafíos interrelacionados de la crisis económica, la pobreza y el cambio climático.”

Si no fuera porque la actual situación es tan trágica, resultaría gracioso.

El mundo está enfrentando una gran crisis económica, la pobreza está creciendo en todo el mundo —incluso en esos 8 países— y la crisis climática está convirtiéndose en un desastre. Todo, como resultado directo del liderazgo “responsable” ejercido, durante muchas décadas, por los gobiernos de esos y otros cuantos países más.

Es obvio que nadie puede culpar a países como Tuvalu, Fiji, Laos, Camboya, Papua Nueva Guines, Gambia, Namibia, Uruguay, Cuba o a la mayoría del los 192 estados miembros de las Naciones Unidas, por haber creado estos problemas. Sin embargo, la mayoría de ellos ya están sufriendo grandes impactos sobre sus pueblos.

El G8 ahora promete que ellos tomarán “el liderazgo en la lucha contra el cambio climático”, pero la realidad muestra que están haciendo justamente lo contrario: en el Reino Unido se está criminalizando a quienes han protestado para tratar de impedir el uso de carbón; en Alaska se planean perforaciones petroleras; las compañias petroleras y de gas de los países del G8 continúan beneficiándose de los combustibles fósiles, en tanto que el consumo en los países del grupo ha significado a destrucción de las selvas

Los países que ya están sufriendo con el cambio climático nunca han expresado el deseo de ser “liderados” por el G8. Al contrario, les están exigiendo, a ellos y a otros gobiernos poderosos, aceptar su responsabilidad por los problemas que han creado y hacer algo al respecto. No en el 2050, sino que ahora ya. No con declaraciones, sino que con acciones concretas. No a través de los “mecanismos de mercado”, sino que a través de legislaciones estrictas.

El mundo —sus pueblos y ecosistemas— no pueden tolerar más un sistema donde pocos gobiernos —basados en su poder económico, político y militar— utilicen y destruyan el planeta para su propio beneficio. Al respecto, el G8 necesita recordar lo que significa la democracia y aceptar que son una pequeña minoría a la que nadie les ha atribuido el liderazgo, excepto ellos mismos.

El mundo no quiere o necesita de sus “liderazgos” sino que necesita que actúen de manera “reponsable” para solucionar el desastre climático que han provocado. El mundo necesita que pongan sus acciones a la altura de sus palabras.

Movimiento Mundial por los Bosques (2)

(1) Los miembros del G8 son: Canada, Francia, Alemania, Italia, Japón, Rusia, the Reino Unido and los Estados Unidos. La Comunidad Europea también asiste.

(2) "Viewpoint", WRM Boletín mensual. número 144, junio 2009. www.wrm.org.uy


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