The great climate robbery

by GRAIN | 17 Nov 2015

The great climate robbery:
How the food system drives climate change and what we can do about it

A new book by GRAIN published in December 2015

(How to order)

(Download the pdf of the book here)

From the introduction:

In 2012 GRAIN published 'The great food robbery’. We thought it was high time to do a sequel.

Over the past twenty-five years, GRAIN has worked with social movements and organisations around the world to defend local food systems and cultures from the advance of industrial agriculture. Part of our work has involved documenting the ill effects of this industrial food system – the growing hunger, the destruction of rural people's livelihoods, the loss of biodiversity and cultures, the exploitation of labour and a range of health calamities – and analysing the ways through which this system expands, from seed laws to free trade agreements to secretive land deals.

But another important part of our work has involved connecting this analysis of the food system to larger issues affecting the planet and linking peoples' struggles situated within the food system to those happening in other areas. Climate change is one important example of this.

During the pasts five years, we have pulled together the available data to show how the industrial food system is a major driver of climate change and how food sovereignty is critical to any lasting and just solution. With governments, particularly those from the main polluting countries, abdicating their responsibility to deal with the problem, it has become ever more critical for people to take action into their own hands. Changing the food system is perhaps the most important and effective place to start.

The various articles on climate change selected for this book should provide readers with solid information about how the industrial food system causes climate change, how food and agribusiness corporations are getting away with it and what can be done to turn things around. Other chapters provide a picture of how this climate-killing food system is expanding through the consolidation of corporate control over lands, seeds and markets, and how struggles are under way to stop it.

We hope this book will help readers to better understand the ways in which corporations seek to increase their control over the food system so that this control can be more effectively challenged. We hope it will inspire people to take action and we hope that it will provide readers with some information and analysis that they can use directly in their own work.

Table of contents:

1. Food and climate change: the forgotten link

  • How the industrial food system contributes to the climate crisis
  • Food sovereignty: five steps to cool the planet
  • The Exxons of agriculture
  • How REDD+ projects undermine peasant farming and real solutions to climate change
  • Trade deals boosting climate change: the food factor

2. Hungry for land

  • The solution to climate change is in our lands
  • Family farm stories are not the fairy tales we’re being told
  • Hungry for land: small farmers feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland
  • Squeezing Africa dry: behind every land grab is a water grab
  • Asia’s agrarian reform in reverse: laws taking land out of small farmers’ hands
  • The landgrabbers of the Nacala Corridors
  • Socially responsible farmland investment: a growing trap

3. The struggle for seeds

  • Seed laws that criminalise farmers
  • Trade deals and farmers' seeds
  • GMOs: feeding or fooling the world?
  • Yvapuruvu Declaration: seed laws – resisting dispossession

4. Controlling the food system

  • Corporations replace peasants in China's new food security agenda
  • Defending people’s milk in India
  • Food sovereignty for sale: supermarkets and dwindling people’s power over food and farming in Asia
  • How does the Gates Foundation spend its money to feed the world?
  • Planet palm oil: peasants pay the price for cheap vegetable oil
  • Free Trade and Mexico’s junk food epidemic

What others have to say about the book:

This book is a must read for movements addressing climate change as well as Seed and Food Sovereignty. It shows that industrial corporate agriculture is a major part of the climate crisis, and small scale ecological farming is a significant solution. It also alerts us to the false solutions being offered by those who created the problem — the Exxons of Agriculture.
Dr Vandana Shiva, author of Soil, Not Oil and Who really feeds the world

Food, land and seeds: protecting them is as essential to climate justice as rooftop solar, wind co-ops, or democratic public transit. This book lifts up the voices of indigenous and peasant farmers around the world, comprehensively explaining why their fight to stop the industrial food juggernaut is the same as the fight for a habitable, just planet.
Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine

It's about time that the role agriculture plays in the climate crisis--and the role it could play in the solution--got a concentrated dose of attention. This is fine work that will provoke much new activism!
Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

We welcome the efforts of our colleagues at GRAIN to put Via Campesina's proposals to cool the planet and fight false solutions at the centre of the debate. The time has come to change the system, not the climate. Our farmers and indigenous peoples can cool the planet!
Edgardo García, International Coordinating Committee, La Via Campesina

GRAIN takes on the key challenge of our time and lays the scaffoldings for the construction of a livable future. Climate crisis, toxic industrial agriculture and dirty energy: this publication shows the linkages as not being incidental but orchestrated by a warped system that must be straightened out.
Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, author of To Cook a Continent: Destructive Extraction and the Climate Crisis in Africa

This book is the fruit of a GRAIN’s long experience in the field. It is based on solid evidence and excellent analysis. The link between climate and agricultural activities is essential to contribute to a solution and GRAIN does not hesitate to denounce responsibilities and to indicate efficient ways for action.
Dr François Houtart, Professor, National Institute of Higher Studies (IAEN), Ecuador

This publication is an instrument of great analytical value providing an alternative for moving forward in the fight for sustainable human development and for the right to life on the planet.
Víctor Hugo Jijon, Commission for the Defense of Human Rights, Quito, Ecuador

This is a very timely book, particularly for readers in developing countries where elites may be actively promoting industrial agriculture or may be pressured to open their countries' markets to it. The capital-driven industrial agriculture and food system is a totalising enclosure of the commons that affect not only land, but almost every factor in food production, particularly seeds. This book is very valuable to all those who are concerned about the changes in the food system and its linkage to climate change. It captures and analyses the critical forces and dynamics in industrial agriculture and food system, as well as offering ways to change it.
Yan Hairong, Department of Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China

How to order:

The book is now in it's second edition, published by the New Internationalist. It is also available at Daraja Press and other electronic book outlets.

French and Spanish editions are also available

Author: GRAIN
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