Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean*’s statement on October 13th, Day of Global Action for Climate Justice [DOWNLOAD THE STATEMENT]
Climate Justice for Latin America, the Caribbean and the peoples of the world:
Food sovereignty to cool the planet
Friends of the Earth International will mobilize on six continents on October 13th and 14th 2017 to demonstrate that we are a global environmental movement. We will highlight the climate emergency; fight against dirty energy and false solutions; and demand the transformation of our energy system into a system that is in the hands of the people. Additionally, on October 16th, we will celebrate the International Day of Food Sovereignty: on this day, the peasant and environmental movement will reaffirm that it is only possible to end the global food and climate crisis with food sovereignty and agroecological production.
How are these two themes related? It is simple, the agro-industrial system generates between 44% and 57% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – by destroying forests for plantations, through massive use of fertilizers, by transporting food all around the world, in refrigeration and generating waste, amongst others [Source: GRAIN]. Connecting these issues allows us to understand how this system is responsible for global GHG emissions. In addition, this agro-food system monopolizes food and decides what we eat, many people cannot pay the price of groceries, food has become a commodity and huge amounts are thrown away, including when people cannot afford to pay for it. The system of production, distribution and consumption of food is designed exclusively to generate profits for those agribusiness companies that monopolize the agri-food chain from start to finish. The current agro-food system contributes to the climate crisis and undermines the food sovereignty of the people.
Meanwhile, high-level forums on climate change are increasingly discussing the role of agriculture, and various initiatives are being promoted to “help farmers adapt to climate change and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions derived from agricultural practices”. However, these initiatives are strongly influenced by companies and governments that seek to protect industrial agriculture and corporate-led food systems, blocking the real solutions to the crisis.
Today, small-scale peasant and indigenous agriculture is bombarded by the aggressive promotion of a series of false solutions to address climate change, including REDD + and climate-smart agriculture. These initiatives claim to benefit small-scale farmers, but the reality is that they generally weaken peasant agriculture and food systems, stating that traditional farming practices (especially itinerant agriculture) are the main cause of climate change and deforestation, stripping peasants of access to land and forests, or restricting what they can do with their land.
Our people are living a disaster affected by the climate crisis: Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria and the recent tropical storm Nate – to mention a few – left destruction in their wake in several countries in our region. This is not the fault of nature, it is the fault of environmental deterioration, deforestation, inadequate construction, industrial agriculture, fossil fuel use that promotes an obsolete energy source and a centralized and outdated energy model, hydroelectric projects on a large scale, mining, the production and consumption patterns of a neoliberal capitalist system, the power relations that this system based on domination has imposed on nature and people.
- We denounce the climate injustice that is compounded by the failure of multilateral fora to take into account the differentiated responsibilities of the countries of the global North and the global South for the crisis. Furthermore, the transnational corporate model is given further instruments to advance its destructive practices.
- We reject global policies that seek to advance the privatization, commodification and financialization of nature, and false solutions to climate change that seek to secure the global North’s consumption model, perpetuating the profits of huge transnational corporations.
- We denounce Monsanto-Bayer, Syngenta-ChemChina and DuPont-Dow agricultural megamergers, which control 67% of this industry worldwide.
- We reject the promotion of industrial/commercial agriculture based on monocropping on large tracts of land, and completely oppose the introduction of GM seeds. Enormous areas of agricultural and livestock rearing lands are dedicated to produce wood for cellulose (eucalyptus, pine), agrofuels, or crop monocultures for export (soybean, palm oil, rubber).
- We promote peasant and indigenous agriculture, which recovers peasant practices as a basis to establish pesticide, fungicide and herbicide-free agriculture, with integrated crops and livestock production in small-scale systems.
- We promote food sovereignty: that farmers can decide what they grow; and that they have access to land, water, seeds and local markets.
- We believe that the people’s solutions are the only prospect of reversing the catastrophe we face because of the capitalist system of production and consumption. Food sovereignty; agroecology; community forest management; public community-based water management; and energy sovereignty are some of the popular ways of construction and our possibility to nourish and preserve life.
Climate Justice Now!
*Amigos de la Tierra América Latina y el Caribe – ATALC