Until the March 2009, the village of La Gloria in the cactus-filled hills of Mexico’s Sierra Madre was like any other neglected community in the country. However, since April 27 – when Mexico’s health minister told the world that the community of 3,000 was home to the earliest known case of the Mexican flu – events have taken a startling turn.
From the 12 until the 30th of May the UN summit on Biodiversity (CBD) took place in the German town Bonn. But as expected the current problems with the food and climate crisis have not been solved by this meeting. Not even some serious steps in the right direction. But what can you expect with countries like Canada and Australia that mainly defend the interests of their large scale agriculture. Also delegations from European countries are thinking more about their multinationals and own decadent consumption pattern than about nature and a healthy and social food production.
Thursday, 10 January 2008 – One hundred campesino residents were able to block the agrotoxic fumigation of a new soy field in the 4th line of the Ybypé community in the Lima district of the department of San Pedro.
In this “line” [section] of the town, parcels of campesino land were sold to Brazilian soy growers, who dismantled the parcels entirely with tractors and planted soy. The residents, aware of the dangers represented by the pesticides used to fumigate the soy fields, have successfully resisted every intent to fumigate these parcels.
Potatoes in Greenland, olives in the south of England, bell peppers grown outside of greenhouses in the Netherlands. The warmer weather offers possibilities. Furthermore, thanks to the mild winters, we can start growing our crops a few weeks earlier than we used to. And a higher level of CO2 also ensures a quicker growth rate and higher profits. This is the good news.
In reality, climate change is also dangerous for food production. Also, agriculture contributes heftily to the emission of greenhouse gases. Both these effects will be discussed in the following paragraphs.
Protesters at petrol stations state “Agrofuels are no solution for the climate and energy problem!”
Malmö, Saturday 20 September 2008 – During the European Social Forum (ESF) about 50 people protested against the introduction of the large scale production of agrofuels. The devastating social and environmental consequences of the production of energy crops was a big issue in the presentations and discussions inside the ESF. The Agrofools decided that it was important to reach the people in the streets as well, and to explain that we have to choose between food and fuel.
Land reforms! NO Steakholder Conferences!
Amsterdam – On the 9th of December (2008) A SEED Europe held a picket-line at a conference on genetically modified soy. The objective of the meeting was to discuss sustainability risks and benefits of GM soy and to formulate management options for companies. A SEED reminded participants upon arrival that not only is GM still controversial, but so is large-scale soy production in general. A SEED did not participate in the conference itself because the announcement made clear that in our eyes crucial poignant issues in the (GM) soy debate were not open for discussion.
– About equal distribution of land and energy and sustainable consumption.”
This is the long title of a new brochure produced by A SEED. Besides explaining the many aspect of agrofuel related problems it, the brochure is mentioning ways to go to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses and to live with a radical lower energy use.
You can read the brochure on-line print the higher resolution pdf-file version. Or try to obtain a paper version.
Small version (72dpi, 8.8 MB, to read on a screen)
Large version (150dpi, 31.8 MB, to print)
Besides in English version there is also a version in German: “Agrotreibstoffe, kein Mittel gegen Ölabhängigkeit und Klimawandel. – Für eine gerechte Verteilung von Land un Energie sowie ein nachhaltiges Konsumverhalten”
New report published by groups from Europe, the US and South America
The Round Table on Responsible Soy is seeking to legitimise irresponsible, socially and environmentally damaging soy production, according to a new report published on Tuesday 22 April, ahead of the Round Table on Responsible Soy’s third conference in Buenos Aires.
After a lot of criticism from a broad range of civil society groups the European Commission decided in september 2008 to add a review of the 2020 agrofuel targets in 2014. But the 5% target for 2015 is there and it didn't slow down the current growth of the use and productions of agrofuels. Also the surface of monoculture field planted with energy crops, like soy, oil palms and sugar cane, is still expanding rapidly. The letter to the European Commission below is giving a good update of the agrofuel developments at the EU level.