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Social Movements and Allies at COP21 Call for Transformation of Food Systems and Agroecology

The following is the sixth post in Groundswell International’s climate change series, addressing considerations for the 2015 Paris climate change conference.

As the delegates to the COP21 deliberate the final agreements in Paris, social movements and allies within the ‘Global Convergence of Land and Water Struggles’ are advocating for climate justice and real solutions to the climate crisis. Below is a summary of the arguments being made, reported by GRAIN, a small international non-profit organization that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Their latest article is titled #COP21: Cooling the planet – Frontline communities lead the struggle:

According to the members of the Global Convergence, a big part of the solution is to change not only large scale corporate agriculture, but the current food system, which is responsible for 44 to 57 percent of world’s greenhouse gas emissions. These agribusiness emissions are particularly linked to deforestation, which often results from the expansion of monocultures of corn or soybeans.

Agro-industrial production methods are dependent of fossil fuels – such as gasoline, fertilisers, pesticides, factory farming. These generate a high level of emissions. The world food system also involves a lot of transport and storage of goods, processing and food packaging, and a huge amount of food waste. All this contributes to global footprint of carbon emissions caused by our food system.

For these reasons, the Global Convergence calls for a radical transformation of food systems to models based on food sovereignty and agro-ecology, based on small-scale food producers and communities’ access to and control over land and other life-giving natural resources.

The member social movements denounce the false solutions to the climate crisis which are often discussed by governments and which are largely influenced by the lobbying of the corporate sector.

These include: climate-smart agriculture, carbon markets, carbon capture and sequestration, and fracking. Presented as ‘solutions’ to the man-made climate crisis, these often deepen the privatisation and financialisation of nature. They also lead to ever more land and water grabbing, dispossession of people, and human rights violations.

This comes as no surprise. Often, the same actors that are largely responsible for eco-destruction in the first place—and serve the purpose of preserving the current economic and industrial food system—are those proposing these false solutions that serve their interests.

The members of the social movement underline that this is not about “alternatives”; it is about real solutions.

Transforming our global food and farming system is going to take time, as well as a shared vision for positive, real solutions. It will be a change made through policies as well as personal choices. It is essential that moving forward, we support agricultural methods that are restorative to our planet and its people, not just “less bad” versions of the current industrial model. Rather than minimize the negative effects of the current system, adapting to agroecology will promote real, lasting solutions in the face of climate change. 

Check out the other blog posts in our special series coinciding with the climate talks in Paris


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