Tunis social forum: the climate space

by GRAIN | 15 Mar 2013

In the upcoming World Social Forum, to be held in Tunis, 25-30 March, a lot of attention will focus on the climate crisis. One element of the debate is how to change the food system to deal with the climate crisis. For more information, visit:

Food sovereignty, agroecology and slow food as solutions to climate change

The past year has been witness to record-breaking extremities of weather – drought, rains, floods and extreme temperatures. These extremities of weather change have wrought havoc on crops, farmlands, livelihoods and homes. The past few years in fact, have been witness to the growing relation between climate change and the staggering increases in food prices. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the food crisis of the last few years have resulted in a “50–200% increase in selected commodity prices, driven 110 million people into poverty and added 44 million more to the undernourished.” Studies have shown that as little as 1 degree warming could mean 30 percent loss of crops in Africa. But it is not only climate change that is worsening the food crisis and dramatic increase of food prices, false solutions such as agrofuels are also deepening the crisis. The production of biofuels have been diverting crops to fuel instead of food. The US alone diverts 40 percent of its corn harvest annually into biofuel production. Then TNCs and banks, like Cargill, Wal-Mart and Monsanto are using these moments of food scarcity and volatility as an opportunity to earn more profits through financial speculation on food derivatives. The continued speculation will then lead to a further increase in food prices, fueling a vicious cycle of further speculation and a further increase in prices. Peasants and small farmers who are suffering the most from the climate crisis, are the ones who hold the solutions and are doing something real on the ground. Agroecology, a system of farming that peasants and small farmers has been using and developing, has even been proven by scientists to not only feed people better, healthier food but it also has the ability to cool down the planet. Food sovereignty, genuine agrarian reform, agroecology, respecting the rights of Mother Earth, defending peasant seeds varieties, slow food – these are all real solutions to not only the food crisis but to the climate crisis as well. But how do we bring these solutions to the forefront and put a stop to the harmful false solutions like genetically modified organisms, synthetic biology and “climate smart” agriculture? This is our challenge, come join the discussion.

Author: GRAIN
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