Most of the ASEED team has been in Paris for the Climate Summit – discussing emissions and sustainable agricultural alternatives, organising protests and meeting old and new activist friends. A well deserved action holiday, so to say. Now we are back and trying to finish some work before the end of the year, and keep up the momentum with news of our Reclaim the Seeds events and climate actions. Please read about our previous activities and plans for 2016. And because we have too many ideas for our small team we hope for your support.
Agriculture and climate change at COP21
At the end of the UN Climate Conference COP21 in December in Paris a new agreement was signed by all participating national delegations. Most politicians and media responded positively, but is there really reason to celebrate? The words ‘fossil fuels’ and ‘agriculture’ do not even appear in the 31-page treaty text. Countries pledge to limit the temperature rise to 2 degrees and shall endeavour to keep it below 1.5 degrees. Despite possible good intentions, the ‘solutions’ are weak and not legally binding.
For more reactions and a first overview of the agricultural issues discussed in Paris continue reading: “There is a Climate Treaty, now we have to stop climate change“.
ASEED’s time in Paris was spent coordinating and joining a variety of actions that were aimed at highlighting the relation between industrial agriculture and the emission of greenhouse gasses, and at exposing the deep rooted and widespread greenwashing carried out by companies present at COP21 and the corporate side events.
In between, we participated in discussions and presentations about alternative agricultural practices and in many very useful informal talks with other climate activist in the convergence centres like the wonderful Jardin d’Alice and the Zone d’Action Climat.
Here you can find a short summary of some actions and links to further articles.
November 30th: Amsterdam Climate March.
On Sunday 30th November 2015, 7000 people gathered on Museumplein in Amsterdam for the Klimaatparade. While the Paris marching has been forbidden, many demonstrations were organised in big cities all around the world. Despite the harsh winds and a few occasional showers, the group walked for 2 hours, chanting slogans and holding many banners with strong statements. ASEED was part of the Climate Justice bloc. Continue reading.
Guerilla Against Greenwashing
ASEED distributed red stickers and posters in Paris with the message “This company is as green as this sticker/poster” in the several activist convergence centres. Many people stamped them across the city at the business events, offices of various businesses (both agricultural and otherwise) and on advertisements in the streets. Continue reading.
Billboards in the streets were also taken over in a slightly more sophisticated way by the British group Brandalism. Check pictures of the alternative messages they were able to show in the streets of Paris on their website.
December 4th: Opening and immediate closing of Solutions COP21
As Solutions COP21 was the stage for big polluting companies to present themselves and to try to mislead the public and media with their green talk, several actions were prepared. However, paranoid police and security did not let many people in, which resulted in a delayed programme. Later, when some started clapping and shouting inside, the organisers simply cancelled the event. Continue reading.
December 9th: Red line at Danone Headquarters
The 9th of December was the Day for Peasant Struggle and Food Sovereignty. Together with La Via Campesina and their French member group Confédération Paysanne, ASEED did an action at the headquarters of Danone. This large French agribusiness is known for its dairy products and bottled waters like Evian, but is also involved in water privatisation and landgrabbing. A red line was painted in front of the building on the pavement and some windows also received a splash of paint. A long line of red banners depicting the problems caused by industrial agriculture were held in front of the building. Continue reading.
December 12th: Words, Red Lines and up to the Eiffel Tower
December 12 was going to be the big action during which the climate action movement wanted to show it had the last word and would continue to campaign against climate change. In the morning the Friends of the Earth network organised an action where people walked to a set destination to form the words “Climate Justice Peace” on a map thanks to GPS transmission. At 12 o’clock the red-line action started to show that governments and corporations are crossing “red lines” and do very little to address ecological and social problems. The avenue de la Grande Armée was supposed to be blocked to show that actions against emissions and pollutants will continue. As the action was publicly announced, the police had already closed this very busy road themselves and tolerated the protest. At 2 o’clock, thousands of climate activists gathered at the Eiffel Tower. In total, despite the intimidating state of emergency, about 15.000 people participated in the different activities. Continue reading.
You can find an overview of over 100 climate related actions that took place in Paris and elsewhere on the website of the Climate Games.
Vice video of actions and activist sentiments.
Climate Campaigns in 2016
In 2016 several national and international meeting are planned to discuss the actions necessary to radically reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses in Europe.
The first event for the climate justice moment in the Netherlands is January 16-17 in the Nieuwland in Amsterdam.
Another highlight is the Ende Gelände camp on May 13-16 in the German Lausitz to stop the use of lignite (Braunkohl).
ASEED is also going to bring some climate activists together for a strategy meeting (and probably an action), but because of the many planned meetings in the first months of 2016, we will take a decision about the best time and place in a few weeks.
Reclaim the Seeds
Beginning 2016 there will be two Reclaim the Seeds events! Attention for seeds is still necessary. The plans for a new EU seedlaw have been put aside for now, but in the meantime patents have been granted on GM and non-GM food crops like broccoli and tomatoes, although the EU parliament recently voted against granting patents on plants derived from conventional breeding. It is still important to apply pressure, to support agricultural biodiversity and to break the power of large seed and pesticide companies.
13 February: Reclaim the Seeds in Wageningen
A Reclaim the Seeds event with a seedfair and workshop programme will take place in Wageningen. About 12 interesting seed-savers already registered for a stall and we expect some more to follow. On top of this there will be many stalls with information about all kinds of ecological and social farming alternatives.
The event in Wageningen will be organised at the same time as the Food Otherwise Conference with a more extended programme including workshops and debates.
Updates will be published on: http://reclaimtheseeds.nl
27 February: Reclaim the Seeds in Lier (Belgium)
The second Reclaim the Seeds event in 2016 will be in Belgium! This is mainly organised by the seed working group of Velt, but the concept is the same as previous events in the Netherlands. Updates will be published soon on reclaimtheseeds.nl but for now you will have to visit their facebook page to get more info.
The Monsanto Tribunal
The Monsanto Tribunal, which will be held in The Hague from 12 to 16 October 2016, aims to assess these allegations made against Monsanto, and to evaluate the damages caused by this transnational company.
For an increasing number of people from around the world, Monsanto today is the symbol of industrial agriculture. This chemical-intensive form of production pollutes the environment, accelerates biodiversity loss, and massively contributes to global warming. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Monsanto, a US-based company, has developed a number of highly toxic products, which have permanently damaged the environment and caused illness or death for thousands of people. Continue reading.
TTIP and other international trade deals are a problem that should not be forgotten under the shadow of climate change. We must continue to fight against this trade deal and draw attention to it.
The well documented threat that the trade deals present to action on climate change appears to have prompted a decision in the European Commission to avoid mention of trade at the UN climate talks in Paris. A document that was presented by the European Commission’s climate secretariat (DG Clima) to the trade policy committee of the EU governments was leaked to campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory, and showed that the EU intends to go against any mention of trade or trade related issues in an agreement at COP21. This position contradicts a proposal from the European Parliament to safeguard climate policy from investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
In the meantime the EU Commissioner Malström is still trying to fool people by changing the ISDS part of the TTIP proposal without really changing it.
ASEED has printed a lot of new exciting stickers (that were very popular in Paris) against TTIP. They can be picked up at our Amsterdam office or at our events held in the new year!
Call for new EVS volunteers
Do you have affinity with the work of ASEED, some experience with activism, grass roots organising or campaigning on agriculture/food? We are looking for two or three people to join our team in 2016 for a period of one year, as an EVS-er (European Voluntary Service). If you are not older than 30 years, not of Dutch nationality, speak English, and would like to join us, then this is maybe something for you. Read more about it and get in touch!
End of the year donation for ASEED?
2015 is coming to its end. ASEED is looking back at a busy year with many volunteers active with the organisation of the seeds fair, the agriculture-climate action camp, anti-TTIP-actions and much more. The highlights of the year was obviously the big protest in Paris for a serious tackle of climate change instead of corporate greenwash bullshit and weak deals at the COP21. All of this was financially supported by funds like XminY, Zaadgoed Foundation, Patagonia, all kinds of other small grants, and of course our donors!
As you could read in this SEEDmail, we have many activities coming up next year. And also for these we are still searching for financial means to make them possible. An end-of-the-year gift, a piece of your thirteenth month, a small donation, anything is welcome. The Reclaim the Seeds weekend is still in need of money, and also the Climate Fair and other activities to enforce a proper implementation of the Paris climate promises. A final suggestion is the website Gentech.nl: it urgently needs a technical upgrade and possibly a move to a different server. For this Dutch info source on GMOs we need some donation.
In brief, donate generously and fast because in The Netherlands you can then still deduct it from your taxable income 2015. More information about this can be found here. How to make a single donation is explained here.