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December 16, 2009

ALERT! More Old Forests, Less Industrial Agriculture, Key to Climate, Food and Water

By Ecological Internet's Climate Ark Climate Change Portal

Old forest logging must end for climateTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

Securing world food security while maintaining operable forests, global climate, water, ocean and terrestrial ecosystems – and human rights, justice and equity – is the biggest challenge facing humanity. Water and food are the next bubbles to burst -- expect severe shortages of both in the 2010s. It is long past time to get back to the land through protecting and restoring old forests and organic permaculture farming. Our survival depends upon being with land, collecting water, letting forests age and growing food.

Today industrial-style agriculture uses huge amounts of water, energy, and chemicals – replacing natural terrestrial ecosystems with toxic monocultures; while poisoning and displacing local peoples. Farms are large, highly specialized, and run like factories with large inputs of fossil fuels from pesticides, other synthetic chemicals and transportation fuels. Land degradation — the decline in the quality of soil, water and vegetation — is of profound importance for any serious negotiations upon climate change. A new study finds that 24% of the Earth‘s land is degrading, some of it formerly quite productive.

Large scale biofuel/biomass production – particularly promoting monoculture tree plantations within the context of Copenhagen “solutions” – runs counter to urgently addressing climate change and threatens to cause more deforestation, human rights abuses, and degradation of soil, water and biodiversity. All biofuels based upon industrial agricultural practices worsen climate change and ecologically diminish soils and ecosystems, drive food prices up, and force more people worldwide into hunger and malnutrition.

It is time to transform agriculture into an ecologically sustainable enterprise, based on systems which can be employed for centuries. To reduce the pressures upon the land and allow forests to undergo succession, we must promote organic, permaculture, low impact agriculture, agro-forest and other agro-ecological systems to meet human food needs, including major reduction in meat consumption. And protecting and restoring old forests where they historically occurred is vital as well. TAKE ACTION HERE NOW!


Comments

Without forests we will be lost entirely.We ought to have thought of this long back ,but as we are already late,we should start work right away and go forward in preserving whatever that is left. The medicinal plants,the rain forests and many more.We all join hands together to work for this great cause.I appeal to all the people of this world as we all have a share in this ,be it small or big.

I agree with you that something needs to be done about massive reduction of agro-business and de-forestation. But it will take a massive transformation and overhaul of how we relate to our environment (built and natural) and also what kind of cultural relationship we have with nature.

My argument is that we need to be more like pirates: http://bit.ly/6KJBdZ.

What do you think?

In response to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the Global Agricultural Development Initiative solicited commentary by leading agricultural development, food security, and climate change experts to provide expert analysis of the Conferences's proceedings.

Weigh in at http://globalfoodforthought.typepad.com/

This is along the same lines and may be of interest...

Press release by Global Forest Coalition, Biofuelwatch, Grupo de Reflexion Rural, Gaia Foundation, Focus on the Global South, Noah (Friends of the Earth Denmark), Robin Wood, Campaign against Climate Change, Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Group, Ecologistas en Accion, Corporate European Observatory, Econexus, ETC Group, Rettet den Regenwald.

For immediate release

Copenhagen, 17th December - The new draft proposals released yesterday at the Copenhagen Climate Conference will lead to large-scale destruction of ecosystems and unprecedented land grabs as spurious `offsets' will allow Northern countries to burn ever more fossil fuels say civil society groups who have been tracking negotiations.

Proposals (1) are expected to lead to huge carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for tree and crop monocultures, including for biochar production (2), `no-till' GM soya (3), and tree and shrub monocultures falsely classed as `carbon sinks'. Details are to be worked out by a technical UNFCCC meeting next year (4).

Stella Semino from Grupo de Reflexion Rural (Argentina) states: "If these new proposals are agreed upon we will see a massive boost for crop and tree plantations alike which, in the name of `climate change mitigation', will speed up the destruction of forests and other vital ecosystems, the spread of industrial agriculture, and land-grabbing against small-farmers, indigenous peoples and forest communities. Industrial monocultures are already a major cause of climate change and their expansion will make it worse."

Under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol, no CDM offsets are allowed for existing forests nor soil carbon although a very limited number of CDM credits can go towards industrial tree plantations. Current proposals for large-scale offsetting for `carbon sinks' closely resemble those contained in the US climate bill. Back in 2001, when the US proposed such offsets, the EU had refused them, warning that this would render a climate change agreement completely ineffective.

"The right kind of agriculture, such as organic and biodiversity-based farming, has the potential to store carbon in soils and increase resilience to climate change" said Anne Maina of the African Biodiversity Network, "But realistically, small-scale organic farmers in Africa are not going to be the ones participating and benefiting from the CDM or these complex UNFCCC market mechanisms. They will be locked out of the process, and their livelihoods will be threatened. If heads of state accept this language, it will lead to a destruction of the very same solutions we need to support."

Camila Moreno from Global Forest Coalition adds: "In Brazil we're seeing an obscene agribusiness lobby presenting themselves as the solution while they destroy Brazil 's unique rainforest and savannah habitats and contribute massively to climate change. Yet they continue too ply their trade in the highest political circles with impunity. Theses new CDM rules will further mandate this ransacking of the global South."

Contacts:

Deepak Rughani, Biofuelwatch

Teresa Anderson, Gaia Foundation

Notes:

(1) The proposals can be found at http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/awg10/eng/l15.pdf I WOULD INCLUDE PRECISE PARAGRAPHS HERE

(2) Biochar is fine-grained charcoal applied to soils. It is being promoted widely as a means of sequestering carbon even though there are major scientific uncertainties over the amount of carbon in charcoal which will remain in soils for different periods, over possible losses of existing soil carbon as a result of charcoal additions and over the potential of charcoal dust to worsen global warming in the same way as a black soot from fossil fuel and biomass burning does.

(3) Monsanto has promoted the inclusion of no-till agriculture into the CDM since the late 1990s and they have just been awarded the Angry Mermaid Award for their lobbying (www.angrymermaid.org/). Industrial no-till agriculture involves large-scale agro-chemical spraying to destroy weeds rather than ploughing the soil and herbicide-resistant GM crops are most commonly used with no-till, particularly in North and South America . The impacts on soil carbon are scientifically debated and uncertain, there is evidence that this method can lead to more emissions of the very powerful greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, and the introduction of no-till GM soya in Argentina has been shown to have accelerated the destruction of the Chaco forest.

(4) It is proposed that the 2010 SBSTA meeting of UNFCCC will recommend new CDM methodologies for example for tree plantations, `forest management', a term widely used for industrial logging, and soil carbon management.

We should focus some energy on converting farms to forest in the good old USA and it has already begun. New England the southeast began to increase to increase forest cover as farms were abandoned long ago due to poor eroded soils.
Now the beginnings of restoring bottomland hardwood forest along the lower Mississippi River valley are underway with groups like the Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, and Army Corps.

The impact of industrial farming on climate change has reached a critical threshold. We can only go on so long sucking the life out the soil and releasing waste into the air, oceans and rivers before we permanently degrade the capacity of these ecosystems to sustain us.
Regards, Kevin R

It may be good that Copenhagen failed to reach a binding agreement. The agreements proposed were full of too many loopholes.James Hansen considered the proposed carbon trading a farce.

The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (SIHM) in the Cordillera mountains are drawing on their experience of local conditions to make the most of farming opportunities here.

The nuns share their knowledge of organic farming with local villagers, and have organized more than 200 households in nearby communities who have previously relied on chemicals in farming.