Tag Archive | climate change

Food Policy for Food Justice: Food Justice & Climate Change

This is the sixth in a series of weekly posts highlighting OKT’s Food Justice series. You can download series handouts here for free.

5d1dce30fb378b552fdbf4cce77b91fdWild weather and unpredictable seasons are changing what farmers can grow and is making people hungry. Food prices are going up. Food quality is going down. Soon, climate change will affect what all of us can eat.
OXFAM

This opening statement from the international organization OXFAM introduces its investigation into the connection between Food Justice and Climate Justice. According to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is made up of thousands of the world’s leading climate scientists, our current food system is one of the main contributors to climate change.

Driven by increasing profits, the current food system contributes to climate change in the following ways:

1) Agribusiness practices mono-cropping, where large portions of land are devoted to growing one kind of crop. This kind of land usage not only increases the need for additional water, it degrades the quality of the soil and causes soil erosion.

2) Agribusiness completely depends on fossil fuels to grow and harvest food, thus contributing significantly to warming the planet. In addition, most food grown does not stay local. The average food item travels 1,000 miles before it is consumed, increasing the current food system’s dependence on fossil fuels even more.

3) The current food system promotes high levels of meat consumption, particularly in the US. Producing so much meat diverts large amounts of water, increases levels of methane gas and requires more land use to raise feed, resulting in deforestation and the release of more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. All of these factors further contribute to climate change.

4) The current food system produces highly processed foods that cause the many health problems we currently face. The energy and resources used to manufacture and distribute the high volume of unhealthy processed foods are also contributing to climate change.

While the world’s wealthier regions (specifically North America and Europe) are responsible for much of the current climate change crisis, its negative impacts
disproportionately impact regions of the world with higher levels of poverty. This is also true within the United States, where the communities most
negatively impacted by climate change are the same communities most
neglected by the current food system. This is why Our Kitchen Table
recognizes the relationship between food justice and climate justice. We
recognize that in order to have food justice, we need climate justice as well.

Here’s how you can practice climate justice alongside food justice:

  • Eat food grown locally.
  • Grow more of your own food.
  • Reduce or eliminate meat in your diet.
  • Reduce or eliminate processed foods in your diet.
  • Take action to build an alternative to the current food system.
  • Work for food sovereignty.
  • Join local, national and international efforts to promote food justice and climate justice.

 

 

You can learn more about climate change and food
justice in the zine, Organizing Cools the Planet, www.organizingcoolstheplanet.wordpress.com.

 

For information on OKT’s food justice resources and
campaigns, contact us at OKTable1@gmail.com  or
616-206-3641. Or, visit our website at www.oktjustice.org/.

 

 

April 11 Activist Assembly will focus on Climate Justic

Becoming the Media: A Critical History of Clamour MagazineIf you are concerned about environmental justice and want to be part of a conversation on how we can collectively promote and practice Climate Justice, then you might consider participating in a free community forum on April 11.
Change U, a social justice program offered through the LGBT Resource Center at GVSU is hosting its fourth Activist Assembly this year. This activist assembly will investigate the gravity of the current climate crisis, with an emphasis on looking at the causes through an intersectional lens and the need for systemic change. The content presented will expose the fallacies of green capitalism and the push for individual lifestyle choices. Climate Justice is an international movement that recognizes that we need system change, especially an end to neoliberal capitalism. This assembly will provide skill shares and opportunities to learn from people & groups fighting tar sands, fracking, militarism, food apartheid and market-based solutions to Climate Change.
There will be breakout session that looking at the climate crisis on West Michigan, Animal Liberation, Food Justice, how to organize against the tar sands pipeline in Michigan and climate justice from a Native American perspective.
The activist assembly is free and will include lunch. For more information and how to register, go to http://gvsu.edu/socialjustice/collective-climate-justice-32.htm. The Activist Assembly involves students, faculty and community members and is a great way for people to make connections and build relationships with those wanting systemic change and social justice.

Looking for Leaders on Climate? Follow the Women Farmers

Published on Sunday, March 08, 2015 by Common Dreams
by Jon Queally, staff writer

Across the globe, countless women are standing up to the ravages of climate change – and to the governments and big businesses who are allowing it to destroy the world.

Ipaishe, a farmer and climate campaigner from Zimbabwe, is among the women climate leaders who are showing others the path towards a more sustainable and equitable future. (Photo: Oxfam International)

Ipaishe, a farmer and climate campaigner from Zimbabwe, is among the women climate leaders who are showing others the path towards a more sustainable and equitable future. (Photo: Oxfam International)

“I give you a message from my heart,” she says, “let’s move forward and work together for the benefit of everyone. And especially for those who work in the fields, as we are the ones who suffer the most.”

That is the voice of Arminda, a farmer and agro-forestry advocate from Bolivia, who is among a number of women farmers and activists featured in a campaign video by Oxfam International which celebrates female voices from around the world who are raising the alarm about climate change, organizing their communities in response, challenging others to recognize their wisdom, and pressuring local and national officials to follow their lead.

According to Oxfam, the small group of brave women in the film is just a sample of the thousands of others who are standing up to the ravages of climate change – and to the governments and big businesses who are allowing runaway global warming to destroy the world.

With Sunday recognized by the United Nations as International Women’s Day, Oxfam’s focus on the vital role played by the women farmers is part of the organization’s ongoingGROW Campaign, which targets the intersection of hunger, climate change, and global inequality.

Alison Woodhead, director of the campaign, says women make up 43 percent of the agricultural workforce in the world’s developing countries and play a vital role in both food production and preparation.

These women, explains Woodhead in a blog post on Sunday, “have a wealth of knowledge about seeds, crops, water and land management. But the imbalanced responsibility of them putting food on their own family tables, as well as producing much of the world’s sustenance, is getting tougher all the time because of increasingly unpredictable weather.”

As this recent reporting by Agence France-France explores, climate change may be a “man-made” problem, but its negative impacts are disproportionally felt by women across the world.

“It boils down to the fact that women and men have different types of vulnerabilities already in the world,” explained Tara Shine, special advisor to the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice think tank, headed by the former Irish president-turned UN special envoy for climate change. “And then climate change comes along and accentuates all of those.”

In addition to their insight on the threat of climate and food insecurity, it is because of their unique role within their families and communities, argues Woodhead, that women are now essential leaders in the global fight against climate change. The video produced by Oxfam, she says, represents only “a snapshot of the huge contribution women across the world are making in the battle against climate change – an issue that impacts everyone, regardless of gender identity.”

Also featured in the video is Langing, a farmer and climate youth leader in the Philippines, who says she saw no other option but to rally to the cause after her schooling was cut short after drought killed off the crops of her family’s farm.

“In my opinion it’s unfair on us,” says Langing. “We are not the main contributors to climate change. But in these times, we should not blame each other. If we do what is right and start with ourselves, imagine the impact we could have. If we all believed in the same principles, we surely would be able to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

And Rosario, who like Arminda hails from Bolivia, adds, “If you want something, you can get it – it’s just about the power inside you to go and do things.  So my message to people would be ‘let’s get organized, let’s get together, let’s talk and move forward towards the same point.'”

Fight climate change with food sovereignty

Published on Monday, 08 December 2014 15:02 by La Via Campesina

La Via Campesina and GRAIN release two new documents on food and climate change ahead of the People’s Summit on Climate Change in Lima, Peru. 

Publication4With this year’s UN Climate Change Conference under way in Lima, La Via Campesina and GRAIN announce the joint publication of two new documents that detail how a global programme to support food sovereignty can resolve the climate crisis and feed the world.

The documents show how the dispossession of peasants and indigenous peoples of their lands has laid the basis for destructive resource extraction and an industrial food system that is responsible for 44-57% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

La Via Campesina and GRAIN explain how a worldwide redistribution of lands to small farmers and indigenous communities – combined with policies to support local markets and ecological agriculture – can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by half within a few decades, significantly curb deforestation and meet the food needs of the world’s growing population.

For more information see:

Read La Via Campesina’s position paper, “Environmental and Climate Justice Now!

La Via Campesina is the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity.

GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems

Join OKT for session four of our Food Justice series this Saturday

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 4.07.07 AMFood Justice Wk. 4: Practicing Food Justice
10 a.m. to noon, Saturday Dec. 13
Garfield Park Lodge, 334 Burton SE

Join us for session four of our Food Justice series this Saturday as we center the discussion around how we can collectively practice food justice. In the first three sessions we examined the unsustainable and exploitative nature of the current food system, but now we want to focus on how to respond.
The temptation is this consumer culture is to look for an easy and quick fix to problems. Despite the mantra to just buy local, we cannot simply buy our way out of this mess. We will look at how people have practiced food justice in the past as well as examples of how people are practicing it now, from across the country and around the world. More importantly, we will discuss ways to practice food justice right here in West Michigan.
In preparation, we encourage people to read our Food Justice handout series https://oktjustice.org/resources/hand-outs-and-zines/okt-food-justice-series/, but will provide additional resources at the class. Feel free to bring food to share during the discussion!