Farming initiatives at COP27 will be dominated by agri-business players and will lack farmers’ voices, sustainable campaigners and small-holders organisations have warned ahead of the global summit’s day devoted to agriculture. For the first time, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gathered in these days in Egypt will address food systems and agriculture. A dedicated Agriculture and Food Pavillion at the COP27 premises has been set by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the global partnership Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and the philanthropic organisation Rockefeller Foundation.
Scientific evidence shows that Indigenous people understand and manage their environment better than anyone else: 80% of Earth’s biodiversity can be found in Indigenous territories. The best way to protect biodiversity is therefore to respect the land rights of Indigenous peoples – the best conservationists. Nevertheless, the mainstream conservation model today is still, just as in colonial times, “Fortress Conservation”: a model that creates militarized Protected Areas accessible only to the wealthy on the lands of Indigenous peoples. This “conservation” is destroying the land and lives of Indigenous peoples. But this is where most of the Western funding for nature protection is going. Why? Because the myths that sustain this model of conservation are reproduced in school texts, media, wildlife documentaries, NGO adverts, etc.
Ecovillages are intentional communities designed to be environmentally, socially, and/or economically sustainable. The concept gained popularity in the 1960s and 70s when communes became more widespread, although many traditional, rural communities have long engaged in these practices. Following the publication of the landmark study “Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities” by Robert and Diane Gilman in 1991, the first ecovillage conference took place in Findhorn, Scotland (where there is now a thriving ecovillage). Now, more than 400 such communities exist all across the globe.
During their American stopover, the crew of the Nomade des Mers went to the rolling plains of Virginia to meet the Living Energy Farm. An intentional community of a dozen people who have achieved an impressive level of energy and food autonomy thanks to low-tech! When we arrived in the United States, the presentation of our project often resulted in a smile accompanied by the following question: “Are you sure you’re in the right country? We have to admit, this is not the first image that comes to mind when talking about the “States”. However, even in the country of the triumphant consumerism, some people have chosen a sober and happy life.
So what does this new paper say? Well, in essence, some very similar things to our report What Lies Beneath: The underestimation of existential climate risks, written with my Breakthrough colleague Ian Dunlop. When that report was first published in 2017, and then expanded in 2018 with a foreword by Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, it had a significant impact, especially in Europe, with German and Slovenian translations, and a front-cover interview with the German energy magazine, Energiewende Magazin (translation here). It was a key document in the successful campaign to have the Club of Rome adopt a climate emergency position, and its subsequent advocacy which morphed into its Planetary Emergency campaign.
Does it make economic sense to cut down a rainforest? What influence should trade have on social policy? How much is the future worth? Is all value equivalent? These are all questions common to ecological economics, a cross-disciplinary science that is attempting to reclaim the field of economics from flawed models and unscientific assumptions. An important act within itself, but one made integral as mainstream economics is driving the planet’s sixth mass extinction (Wagler). Economics is often defined as ‘the allocation of scarce resources to satisfy infinite desires’, but this seemingly impossible aim itself belies many unfounded assumptions. Why should we assume everyone’s desires are infinite, or why should we believe all economic ‘resources’ to be inherently scarce when it is often their economic allocation that creates scarcity?
The IPBES Assessment Report on the Diverse Conceptualization of the Multiple Values of Nature and Its Benefits was approved on Saturday by representatives of the organization’s 139 member states. The approval came days after the IPBES — which is considered the IPCC of biodiversity — approved another report showing just how much humanity relies on wild species. The most recent report is the work of four years and 82 experts from around the world. It follows a 2019 IPBES report warning that one million species are at risk of extinction, partly because of the drive to economic growth. It also comes ahead of the next meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal, Canada, which will decide biodiversity targets for the next decade.
A new report from the The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) – which is often described as the “IPCC for biodiversity” – found that billions of people depend on 50,000 wild species for food, medicine, fuel and income from activities like tourism. “70% of the world’s poor are directly dependent on wild species. One in five people rely on wild plants, algae and fungi for their food and income; 2.4 billion rely on fuel wood for cooking and about 90% of the 120 million people working in capture fisheries are supported by small-scale fishing,” assessment co-chair Dr. Marla R. Emery said in a press release.
In farming, high crop yields are often associated with the use of human-made fertilizers. But what if these abundant results could instead be achieved by using farming practices that were more environmentally friendly? An extensive new study of 30 farms in Africa and Europe has shown that the combination of small amounts of fertilizer with natural farming methods like mixing compost or manure with the soil, cultivating a wider variety of crops and cultivating plants like clover or beans that amplify soil’s fertility can result in high crop yields while maintaining the harmony of agricultural ecosystems, a press release from Rothamsted Research said. The study found that a significant amount of chemical fertilizers could be replaced by adopting these more natural techniques, which would have multiple benefits.
On paper, a Community Land Trust [C.L.T.] is a non-profit organization first, but not necessarily foremost. Indefinite land leases within inflated financial and real estate markets are most desirable for the procurement of actual wealth equity. C.L.T.’s are a proactive model for sustainability and break the vicious cycle of our archaic Colonial past. The sociological relevance of a C.L.T. is in developing a community orientation for living a life aligned with autonomous Degrowth and the promotion of New Local Post-Capitalism. New localism is therefore characterized by a cautious devolution of power to the local level in an attempt to better implement national goals. It emphasizes the devolution of managerial over political power — the aim is generally to allow local managers to meet national priorities more effectively, rather than to allow local politicians to derogate from national goals.
Global food systems are at a breaking point. Not only are they responsible for roughly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, they are also the top contributors to water pollution and biodiversity collapse. On top of that, many aspects of our food systems are extremely vulnerable to disruptions from climate change and other shocks, as we saw in the first months of the pandemic. Agroecology — an approach to farming long practiced by Indigenous and peasant communities around the world — could transform our food systems for the better. And agribusinesses in the Global North are actively looking to agroecology to rebrand and build new markets under the banners of carbon farming and regenerative agriculture.
When the United Nations published its 2022 ‘Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction’ (GAR2022) in May, the world’s attention was on its grim verdict that the world was experiencing an accelerating trend of natural disasters and economic crises. But not a single media outlet picked up the biggest issue: the increasing probability of civilizational collapse. Buried in the report, which was endorsed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, is the finding that escalating synergies between disasters, economic vulnerabilities and ecosystem failures are escalating the risk of a “global collapse” scenario. This stark conclusion appears to be the first time that the UN has issued a flagship global report finding that existing global policies are accelerating toward the collapse of human civilization. Yet somehow this urgent warning has remained unreported until now.
New York City, New York - At Maison Jar – a new grocery store located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in New York City – silos of dry goods line one wall. Dried beans, grains, pasta, nuts, and coffee are beside bins of cooking staples like flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar. A refrigerator on the wall opposite holds industrial-sized jars of olives, racks of eggs, and metal trays of fresh produce, and a freezer is stocked with plastic bins of frozen fruit and vegetables. Prepared snacks like dried mangos, wasabi peas, gummy bears, and chocolate-covered nuts fill glass jugs on the center tables. The back of the store has shelves of metal dispensers filled with oil and liquid condiments – like soy sauce and vinegar – glass jars of loose spices, and a table of multi-gallon pump bottles of laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, and other personal care products.
In their new report titled, “The right track for Green Jobs” Possible, Autonomy UK and Safe Landing present scenarios for showing that cuts to aviation can more than compensate for job losses to the aviation sector. No more excuses, green jobs are possible especially when people are willing to fly less. While we at Stay Grounded and those in our network have proposed numerous strategies for reducing climate impacts from aviation, we also realize the need to emphasize a just transition towards a grounded future that helps counter some of the negative impacts of reduced flying. The Covid-19 pandemic has given many of us a taste of what a reduced ability to travel, and especially to fly, for leisure and to visit loved ones feels like.
We live in an era of mass overproduction. Offices, apartments, cars, ships, aeroplanes, mobile phones, laptops, batteries, televisions, furniture, air fryers, hot tubs, elevators and escalators. A countless multitude of objects that belong to the anthroposphere – a term for everything that people have made and how it all interacts with the planet. Many of these products end up as waste, buried in landfill, incinerated or dumped – with catastrophic environmental consequences. At the same time, mining companies continue to pollute the planet, exploit local communities and produce huge CO2 emissions in the drive to make more products. But what if there was a way to use what we already have, instead of mining for more raw materials?