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Don’t be fooled: NO to ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’

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The Institute of Science in Society   09/28/15

No to Climate Smart Agriculture

‘Climate Smart Agriculture’ is agribusiness’ latest attempt to promote industrial farming and undermine agro-ecological approaches generally recognized as the real solution to food production under climate change

Agribusiness corporations that promote synthetic fertilisers, industrial meat production and large-scale industrial agriculture are calling themselves “Climate Smart”. The Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture was launched a year ago; Its membership of 21 nations includes only ten developing countries, three farmers´ organisations, and a large private sector (with numerous corporations), 60 % of which linked to the fertilizer industry. Monsanto, Walmart and McDonalds have launched their own “climate-smart agriculture”.

CSA claims to include all models of agriculture. However it lacks any social or environmental safeguards and fails to prioritize farmers’ voices, knowledge and rights as the key to facing and mitigating climate challenges. Most of all, CSA actually threatens to undermine agro-ecological approaches generally recognized as the real solution to food production under climate change.

There is huge opposition from all sectors of civil society all over the world. An open letter addressed to decision makers objecting to CSA has been signed by 55 international organisations and 300 national organizations (including the Institute of Science in Society). The full text is reproduced below. Please forward widely to your policy-makers.


Don’t be fooled!

Civil society says NO to “Climate Smart Agriculture” and urges decision-makers to support agroecology

We, the undersigned, belong to civil society organizations including social movements, peasants/farmers organizations and faith-based organizations from around the world. We are working to tackle the impacts of climate change that are already disrupting farming and food systems and threatening the food and nutrition security of millions of individuals. As we move towards COP21 in Paris, we welcome a growing recognition of the urgent need to adapt food systems to a changing climate, and the key role of agroecology within a food and seed sovereignty framework in achieving this, while contributing to mitigation through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

However, despite these promising signals, we share deep concerns about the growing influence and agenda of so-called “Climate-Smart Agriculture” (CSA) and the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA). Climate change is the biggest and the most urgent threat our societies face. We need a radical transformation of our food systems away from an industrial model and its false solutions, and toward food sovereignty, local food systems, and integral agrarian reform in order to achieve the full realization of the human right to adequate food and nutrition. We therefore urge decision-makers at country and UN levels to reject the dangerous rhetoric of Climate-Smart Agriculture.

Climate Smart Agriculture must not be confused with agroecology

Climate Smart Agriculture must not be confused with agroecology [1]. Agroecology is a holistic approach to agriculture, based on principles of ecology as well as food and nutrition security, food sovereignty and food justice which seek to enhance agricultural systems by using and recycling natural resources instead of relying on externally-purchased inputs. It encourages local/national food production by small food producers and family farmers, and is based on techniques that are not delivered from the top-down, but developed from farmers’ traditional knowledge and practices as well as from farmer innovations. This approach is based on farmers’ participation and makes nature a powerful ally in ensuring food and nutrition security, building healthy soils and conserving water. It increases farmers’ incomes and resilience in the face of climate change, while improving biodiversity and crop diversity. It is therefore crucial for all efforts to realize the human right to adequate food and nutrition. Governments must recognise that industrial approaches that degrade soil health and water retention, pollute water systems, poison nature and create dependency on external inputs, impoverish biodiversity and ecosystems are not only harmful and unnecessary, but also deeply misguided for a planet facing hunger, ecological crises and climate change.

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Do GMOs create gluten sensitivity disorders?

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Are Genetically Modified Foods a Gut-Wrenching Combination?

By Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director, Institute for Responsible Technology

Gluten sensitivity is currently estimated to affect as many as 18 million Americans.[1] Reactions to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, are becoming increasingly common. Gluten sensitivity can range in severity from mild discomfort, such as gas and bloating, to celiac disease, a serious autoimmune condition that can, if undiagnosed, result in a 4-fold increase in death.[2] Genetics alone cannot explain the rapid rise in gluten-related disorders, and experts believe that there must be an environmental trigger. There continues to be much debate about what that environmental trigger may be.

Some assert that a higher gluten content of modern wheat is to blame for the rising prevalence of gluten-related disorders.[3] But a 2013 review of data commissioned by the United States Department of Agriculture found no evidence to support this.[4] Others blame increased consumption of wheat overall,[4] age of wheat introduction,[5] cesarean birth,[6] breastfeeding duration,[7] or alterations in intestinal microflora.[8] All of these do offer some explanation, but they cannot completely account for the drastic increase in gluten sensitivities that we have seen in recent years.

Another possible environmental trigger may be the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to the American food supply, which occurred in the mid-1990s. GMOs are created by a laboratory process that transfers genetic material into the DNA of an organism. There are nine genetically modified (GM) food crops currently on the market: soy, corn, cotton (oil), canola (oil), sugar from sugar beets, zucchini, yellow squash, Hawaiian papaya, and alfalfa. Notice that wheat is not one of these. Although wheat has been hybridized through natural breeding techniques over the years, it is not in fact a GMO.

Most GM crops are engineered to tolerate a weed killer called Roundup®, whose active ingredient is glyphosate. These crops, known as Roundup-Ready crops, accumulate high levels of glyphosate that remain in the food. Corn and cotton varieties are also engineered to produce an insecticide called Bt-toxin. The Bt-toxin is produced in every cell of genetically engineered corn and ends up in corn chips, corn tortillas, and other ingredients derived from corn. A recent analysis of research suggests that Bt-toxin, glyphosate, and other components of GMOs, are linked to five conditions that may either initiate or exacerbate gluten-related disorders:

  • Intestinal permeability
  • Imbalanced gut bacteria
  • Immune activation and allergies
  • Impaired digestion
  • Damage to the intestinal wall

continued read entire article

see also Italian Study Finds Two-Thirds of People With Gluten Sensitivity Had No Negative Effects From Digesting Gluten