Sign the Pact for the Earth

On the afternoon of World Soil Day – December 5, 2015 – on the occasion of COP21, leaders in defense of life and of our planet, representatives of seed savers – community supported agriculture, spiritual leaders, artists and concerned citizens gathered at La Villette in Paris and planted a ‘Garden of Hope’ as a reminder that our seeds, our soils and our biodiversity, kept in the hands of local farmers and caring citizens, are solutions to climate change, to which Industrial globalised agriculture makes a significant contribution.

Seed Freedom and Food Freedom are the keystones to a prosperous and secure future for our Earth and for humanity.

As Earth citizens, we launched a Pact with the Earth and with each other to defend our commons – our seeds, soil, water, biodiversity, air and climate systems – essential to building climatic resilience, and to affirm that in ecological organic agriculture and local food systems lie the answers to the food, nutrition and health crisis, water and climate crisis, and the creation of millions of climate refugees.


Read and Sign the Pact for the Earth

‘Terra Viva’ — Our Soil, Our Commons, Our Future

COP 21: A Fraud

Fraudulent Science at COP21: Who Benefited?

Why has virtually every COP21 media article repeated the mistaken idea that the only strategy to fight climate change is the failed one to stop burning fossil fuels?

Big Ag, the giants of the industrial agriculture industry, including Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, McDonald’s and the entire synthetic fertiliser industry—have miscounted and misrepresented America’s agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Sadly, thanks to Big Ag’s backroom political dealings in Washington, DC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have agreed on the ludicrous statement that agriculture contributed only about 10 percent of U.S. GHG emissions in 2013, when in fact it was more than 25 percent.

When this erroneous conclusion is corrected and the formerly hidden facts are well understood by policy leaders and the public, we’ll be able to shift policies toward more regenerative, soil-honouring practices and then we’ll see sales of pesticides and chemical fertilisers plummet.

It’s plain to see why Monsanto and friends, via their high-level political appointees, influenced the U.S. and United Nations delegates at COP21. They eliminated agriculture and soils from the COP21 agenda and thus the final agreement—despite overwhelming evidence that soil sequestration (carbon farming) is the number one solution to stop the rise of CO2.

It is modern farming that is largely to blame

An article in the Washington Post (Barker & Pollan 4/12/15), describes how “a third of the carbon in the atmosphere today used to be in the soil and modern farming is largely to blame.” They point out that “practices such as the overuse of chemicals, excessive tilling and the use of heavy machinery disturb the soil’s organic matter, exposing carbon molecules to the air, where they combine with oxygen to create carbon dioxide. Put another way: Human activity has turned the living and fertile carbon system in our dirt into a toxic atmospheric gas.”

 

Luckily, There’s a Secret Weapon

“It’s possible to halt and even reverse this process,” the writers add, “through better agricultural policies and practices.” They go on to explain how “restoring carbon to the soil is not nearly as complicated as rethinking our transportation systems or replacing coal with renewable energy.”

Ronnie Cummins and Katherine Paul of the Organic Consumers Association pursued this same point in their recent piece How World Leaders Can Solve Global Warming with Regenerative Farming. They describe how the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) set out to achieve “a legally binding and universal agreement to make sure the Earth doesn’t get warmer than 2C above pre-industrial levels.

 “To meet that goal, the French government launched the 4/1000 Initiative which, distilled to simplest terms, says this: If, on a global scale, we increase the soil carbon content of the soil by .04 percent each year for the next 25 years, we can draw down a critical mass of excess carbon from the atmosphere and begin to reverse global warming.”

Is the French 4/1000 Initiative realistic?

Yes, even by conservative estimates. Industrial, degenerative farming practices—which include tilling, deforestation, wetlands destruction and the use of massive amounts of synthetic and toxic fertilisers and pesticides—have stripped 136 billion tons of carbon out of the soil and sent it up into the atmosphere. Using the French government’s modest estimates, we can transfer, via enhanced plant photosynthesis, 150 billion tons of this carbon back into the soil in the next 25 years.

For some reason, Greenpeace, 350.org and the climate movement think putting close to 100% of our policy and educational efforts into shutting down oil is our one last hope to stop climate change. This is madness. Can they really believe that fewer people will be driving cars in 2020 than in 2015? And don’t they realise that every new hybrid or 100% electric car in its making will contribute almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as would driving a five-year-old Toyota?

More: | EcoWatch; Soil not Oil Coalition

Clear Winner! Our Family Farms Coalition    

In November 2014, voters in Jackson County, Oregon overwhelmingly passed an ordinance to ban the planting of genetically-engineered (GE) crops in the county.
The local farmers in particular were fearful that contamination from GE crops could destroy their livelihoods.

Not long after the ban came into effect opponents backed by Monsanto and their allies went to work trying to overrule the voters in court. Similar laws had also been passed in California and Hawai’i and were also challenged in court … this was a test case.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) quickly stepped in to legally defend the Jackson County ban — and were victorious: a precedent-setting win that will protect family farmers from genetically-engineered crops, and give consumers a choice in the marketplace, for decades to come.

This case marks the first time that a U.S. FEDERAL court has recognised farmers’ right to protect their crops from GE contamination.

Ecological Farming Practices Needed To Achieve New Climate Targets 

Even as the communities on the front lines of climate disaster declared that the signatories to the new climate agreement in Paris at the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) had failed them, farmers across the globe are creating innovative solutions to ecological challenges every day.

Farmers are responsible for much of the world’s land use and associated climate emissions, and are key partners in the global effort to reduce the environmental impact of human activities.

A new interim report from The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food (TEEBAgFood) reveals the true worth of eco-agri-food systems, helping policymakers to better understand the complex links between ecosystems and food.

The interim report—featuring compelling data from these metanalyses—precedes a series of other reports that will present 1) scientific and economic foundations to address core theoretical areas of biodiversity, ecosystems, and agricultural externalities; 2) policies, production, and consumption to focus on policy evaluation for topics such as food waste and food safety; and 3) synthesis to extract key messages and recommendations from the findings of the core reports, addressing a broad readership. All of the publications will contribute to a better understanding of the economic tradeoffs between agricultural productivity in the short term and ecosystem productivity in the long term, aimed at incentive mechanisms that can facilitate a livable future.

Read more HERE.

MOBAY Returns with Mustard

Monsanto and Bayer have a long history. They made explosives and lethally poisonous gases and sold them to both sides of both the World Wars. Bayer was part of IG Farben, Hitler’s economic power and pre-war Germany’s highest Foreign Exchange earner, with offices in the United States and Switzerland.

The Biotech Industry – the Chemical-Military-Industrial complex of our times – is a singular global entity. They have no concern for what happens to the farmers crop once they have made the sale of their seeds and chemicals. Unless, of course, the farmer hasn’t used their seeds and their seeds have managed to pollute the farmer’s farm – then they sue the farmer! This was the case with Australian organic farmer Steve Marsh, whose field was contaminated by his neighbour’s GM Canola (Mustard family but lacking the medicinal properties of Mustard). The neighbour was later found to have been paid by Monsanto. These are not people interested in feeding a growing number of people on this planet with limited resources.

In 1998, the WTO forced India to remove it’s Quantitative Restrictions on agricultural imports, which were necessary for India’s food sovereignty. The removal of these protections allowed for US-subsidised GMO Soya Oil as ‘Edible Oil’ to be dumped into the Indian market – in violation of India’s laws which do not allow the import of GM food, and the required labelling of the imports. The reduction of cultivation of pulses and oilseeds because of the expansion of rice and wheat monocultures, during the first Green Revolution, and the spread of GM cotton and hybrid corn during the second Green Revolution, has created price rises.

Scarcity of oilseeds and pulses created by Green Revolution Monocultures being used to impose GM mustard 

The Green Revolution, a brilliant marketing strategy to keep companies of war in business, was given the Nobel Peace Prize.  Chemical agriculture had short-term successes but has been a long-term failure in every way imaginable. It has left India’s soils in ruin, and Indian farmers in debt, destroying 93%  of that country’s food diversity.

Once more and more farmers began planting monocultures of cotton, rice, wheat and sugar-cane, India’s productivity and exports of these commodities increased due to the increased cultivation – not because of the chemically-intensive Green Revolution. Unfortunately the production of pulses and oil seeds – like mustard – decreased due to decreased cultivation. Mustard is India’s most cultivated oilseed, the biggest market, hence the corporate push for commercialisation of GM mustard, hiding behind public institutions. GM Mustard, like Bt-Cotton has been, will be a noose around the necks of India’s farmers.

Industry is now using the deficit in production of oil seeds to justify the illegal trials of their illegal technology. They say Pental’s GMO Mustard (DMH-11) will increase mustard yields. This is false. The yield comes from the original planting material used not from the GM transformation. GM transformations merely introduce tolerance to proprietary toxic herbicides (Ht), make the entire plant toxic (Bt) or create sterile seeds (Terminator). In the Dhara trials, the only traits that have been introduced into the original hybrid are GURT/Terminator and Herbicide Tolerance. The GMO Mustard trials are shrouded in secrecy because they are illegal, breaking multiple laws.

Help protect India from this Corporate Imperialism

Sign the Petition to stop illegal trials of GMO Mustard on Change.org

Sign the Pact for the Protection of the Planet – http://bit.ly/Pact4Earth

Making Peace with the Earth – A Message from Dr Vandana Shiva


Related Campaigns

 

Sarson Satyagraha – Civil Disobedience against GMO Mustard

Russia goes Organic, just as Monsanto’s new GMO-corn gets approved in U.S.

Yesterday, while Russia was declaring itself a GE-Free global food exporter by 2020, the USDA approved a new GMO corn from Monsanto. All the while the U.S. Senate is busy working overtime to kill all rights to label GMO food across America.

The Monsanto Protection Act is Back and WORSE than ever!

Right now Monsanto and its biotech lobbyists are scrambling in Washington DC to try to find enough U.S. Senators to pass a deceptive bill that will kill states’ rights to label genetically-engineered foods, a deception to give the illusion of proper oversight of their untested GMOs and toxic weedkillers.

Even worse, a small group of Democrat and Republican Senators are working behind the scenes to pass the ultimate Monsanto Protection Act by sneaking a rider into a must-pass spending bill that would permanently kill the GMO-labelling movement in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the very same day, Russia’s president Putin wants Russia to become world’s biggest exporter of Non-GMO food:

We are not only able to feed ourselves taking into account our lands, water resources – Russia is able to become the largest world supplier of healthy, ecologically-clean and high-quality food which the Western producers have long lost, especially given the fact that demand for such products in the world market is steadily growing,” said Putin, addressing the Russian Parliament this week.

Hundreds of Farmers go to COP21

La Vie Campesina (LVC) has been an active presence at each Conference of the Parties (COP) organised as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC – CCNUCC).

With no other option than migration when their lands are devastated by climate disasters, peasant farmers are among the first to fall victim to adverse climate conditions. This problem, whilst the most visible, is  but a small part of a much greater problem. In reality, all farmers, regardless of the part of the world they call home, are victims of adverse climatic conditions which impact upon their everyday practices. They are also implicated by the so-called solutions offered by multinationals and governments during these well-known Conventions of the Parties.

From 4th December, the men and women of la Via Campesina, present from 30 countries, including the European Coordination Via Campesina, and members of the Confédération Paysanne will be present in Paris to show that the form of agriculture that is the basis of their everyday life represents a valid means of counteracting adverse climate conditions.

Countries Represented: Zimbabwe, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Congo, Canada, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba, Haïti, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Palestine, Indonesia, South Korea, Bangladesh, Nepal, Germany, France, Turkey, Romania, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Finland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Sweden … but NOT New Zealand

Toxic pesticide banned on genetically engineered crops

 The U.S. EPA is revoking the registration of “Enlist Duo.”  

Approved by the agency just over a year ago, Enlist-Duo is a toxic combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D that Dow AgroSciences created for use on the next generation of genetically engineered crops, designed to withstand being drenched with this potent herbicide cocktail.

This action resolves a year-long legal challenge filed by a coalition of conservation groups seeking to rescind the approval of the dangerous herbicide blend. EPA had approved use of Enlist Duo in many states.

Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen and is wiping out the monarch butterfly, 2,4-D also causes serious human health effects, and the combination also threatens endangered wildlife.  This must not, and will not, be how we grow our food.” ~ Paul Achitoff. Managing Attorney, Earthjustice

Enlist-Duo allow farmers to spray both glyphosate and 2,4-D without killing their crops, which they hope will kill weeds resistant to glyphosate alone. But some weeds have already developed 2,4-D resistance, and the escalating cycle of more toxic pesticides in the environment will continue unless EPA stops approving these chemical.

Source: | Center for Food Safety

Gotham Greens – Chicago urban farm

Chicago is now home to the World’s Largest Rooftop Farm

The 75,000-square-foot farm is located on top of a Method manufacturing facility, and is powered completely by renewable energy. The farm employs more than 50 people and “will produce nearly 10 million annual crops of local, premium-quality, pesticide-free, leafy greens and herbs,” according to the company.

There are numerous benefits to growing food this way in addition to year-round production. According to the company, their “proprietary growing methods” produce up to 30 times more crop per acre than field production. They claim their two-acre facility can produce yields equivalent to more than 50 acres of conventional field production.

Thanks to “sophisticated computer control systems” that “continually adjust the greenhouse environment to ensure optimal growing conditions all year round,” the farm is able to produce despite even the coldest of temperatures.

And because Gotham Greens recycles all of its irrigation water, the company says, “it uses 10 times less water than conventional agriculture (while also eliminating all agricultural runoff—one of the leading causes of global water pollution).” Additionally, by growing and selling their food in Chicago, they drastically reduce the food waste and environmental footprint inherent in long-distance food transport.

More Urban Farms: | 6 Urban Farms Revolutionising Where Food Is Grown

 

World Bank-Backed Projects Threaten Indigenous Communities’ Ways of Life

Former World Bank official says bank shut down his efforts to defend rights of tribal group in Kenya

(Oct 26th 2015):  The convoy of vehicles rumbled into western Kenya’s Cherangani Hills, a region of thick forests and bitter land conflicts. Inside the caravan: a delegation of World Bank and Kenyan officials accompanied by armed forest rangers.

Joseph Kilimo Chebet, father of five, standing next to the charred remains of his home in Kenya.

Joseph Kilimo Chebet, father of five, standing next to the charred remains of his home. He and other Sengwer said Kenya Forest Service officers had set it afire hours before. Photo: Tony Karumba / GroundTruth

The group was investigating allegations that the Kenya Forest Service was using a World Bank-backed conservation project to bankroll a wave of evictions targeting the Sengwer, a hunter-gatherer tribe that says it has lived in these forests for centuries.

Navin Rai, the World Bank’s top advisor at the time on issues relating to indigenous peoples, was among the officials who inspected the charred ruins of mud-and-thatch huts that tribe members said had been burned by forest rangers who considered the Sengwer to be squatters occupying the land illegally.

Source: Evicted and Abandoned – International Consortium of Investigative Journalists