Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Real Green Solution to Climate Change - No to the Agro Industrial Complex by Nickglais‏






In an recent exchange on Radical Wales a contributor was told he had to choose between Corporate Industrial scale Windmilling or Corporate Fossil Fuel Mining in Wales.

The reply was that these were the false dicotomies posed by Corporate Capitalism and were not the real choices offering fundamental and long lasting solutions to our ecological problems.

The real ecological choices are between the real solution from the ground up and community based or the top down fake "green" corporatism posing as a solution.

The Green market economy is in disarray if anybody cares to take a closer look, with carbon trading on verge of collapse and a well deserved prison sentence looming for one of the founders of this carbon trading scam.

Utimately the ecological prolem is a social problem and not a technical one of windmills or coalmines.
 
The clear advocates of a ground up community ecological solution are the International Peasant Movement of Via Campesina who have developed an alternative based on the science of agroecology as opposed to agro industrial agriculture.

This grassroots movement has the real possibiity of contributing to the revolutionary transformation of the world and putting in place a series of solutions that will avert the impending global climate catastrophe imposed on us by the neo liberal capitalist economy.


1. Introduction to Agroecology

The Real Green solution from the Ground Up


Olivier De Schutter the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in a report submitted in 2010 gave a clear description of Agroecology and how it works.
 

"Agroecology is both a science and a set of practices.It was created by the convergence of two disciplines: agronomy and ecology.

As a science, agroecology is the application of ecological science to the study, design and management of sustainable agroecosystems.

As a set of agricultural practices, agroecology seeks to enhance agricultural systems by mimicking natural processes, thus creating benefical biological interactions amongst the components of the agroecosystem.
 
It provides the most favourable soil conditions for plant growth , particularly by managing organic matter and by raising soil biotic activity.
 

The core principles of agroecology include recycling nutrients and energy on the farm, rather than introducing external inputs; integrating crops and livestock; diversifying species and genetic resources in agroecosystems over time and space; and focusing on interactions and productivity across the agricultural system rather than focusng on individual species.
 

Agroecology is highly knowledge intensive, based on techniques that are not delivered top down but developed on the basis of farmers knowledge and experimentation".
 
 
De Schutter looked at scientific studies into the effectiveness of agroecology.
 
The most systematic study yet, carried out by Jules Pretty and others compared the impacts of 286 projects in 57 developing countries.


It found that productivity increased by 79% on average under agroecological system, whilst "environmental services" (for example, insect polllination, fish stocks, water supply and crop pollination) also improved.
 
Citing additional evidence from other studies De Schutter affirmed that agroecology reduces rural poverty, improves nutrition, increases resilience to climate change and inproves gender equality.
 
He concluded by calling on all states to include agroecology in their plans to reduce poverty and to mitigate climate change.

Other studies have found that agroecology has a startling potential with respect to global warming.The Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania carried out a 10 year study comparing organic agriculture (comparable to agroecology in that no chemical inputs are used) with fields under standard tillage using chemical fertilisers.
 
It found that the organically farmed fields could sequester (capture)up to 2000lb of carbon per acre per year from the atmosphere.
 

By contrast fields relying on chemical fertilisers lost in the atmosphere almost 300lb of carbon per acre per year.

These findings are extraordinary. In 2006 US carbon dioxide emmissions from fossil fuel combustion were estimated at nearly 6.5 billion tons.

At a global level according to similar calculations by non-governmental organisation GRAIN, if traditional systems of mixed farming were adopted throughout the world, about two thirds of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be captured in the next 50 years.


Agroecology is more than a theoretical construct. Farmer movements across the world are now implementing their own programmes to introduce agroecology in local communities.


2. What we can say is that Industrial Agriculture and the Industrial Food systems are major causes of the climate crisis.


Numbers on how these processes warm the planet are variable, but about global emissions we can say that :
 

Agricultural activities are responsible for 11 - 15 %
Land Clearing and deforestation cause another 15 - 18 %
Food processing, packing and transportation cause between 15- 20 %
Decomposition of organic waste 3- 4 %


TOTAL EMISSIONS OF FOOD SYSTEM




44 - 57 % OF TOTAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

EMISSIONS COULD BE REDUCED OR OFFSET BY

1. By Recuperating Soil Organic matter 20- 35 %
2. By reversing the concentration of meat production and re integrating animal and crop production
5-9 %.
3. By putting local markets back into the centre of food production 10 - 12 %
4. By halting land clearing and deforestation 15 - 18 %

IN TOTAL THESE CHANGES COULD PROVOKE A REDUCTION of
1/2 to 3/4 OF CURRENT GLOBAL EMISSIONS

3. HOWEVER THE GLOBAL FORCES AGAINST THE AGRO ECOLOGICAL SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE OF VIA CAMPESINA ARE THE AGRO INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX AND ITS CLIENT GOVERNMENTS WHO PROMOTE THE "GREEN" MARKET ECONOMY.


The Ago Chemical companies continue to expand with industry figures suggesting that the combined sales of agrochemical products in Latin America and Asia have now for the first time surpassed combined sales in North America and Europe.

In the dog eat dog world of corporate competition, companies either buy up their rivals or are bought up themseleves.

The agro chemicals sector has been going through - and is still going through - an intense process of concentration.

By the end of 2007 the top 10 companies were responsible for 89% of agrochemical sales.

The Agro Industrial Complex

The World's top 10 Agrochemical companies in 2007
Sales US$ millions market share

1. Bayer (Germany) 7,458 19%
2. Syngenta ( Switzerland) 7,285 19%
3. BASF (Germany) 4,297 11%
4. Dow AgroSciences (USA) 3,779 10%
5. Monsanto (USA) 3,599 9%
6. DuPont (USA) 2,369 6%
7. Makhteshim Agan (Israel) 1,895 5%
8. Nufarm (Australia) 1,470 4%
9. Sumitomo Chemical (Japan) 1,209 3%
10. Arysta Lifescience (Japan) 1,035 3%
TOTAL 34,396 89%