Tuesday 8 December 2015

Change the model!

By Paula Sendin, Jesuit European Social Centre

7 December 2015 - A three-session workshop on environmental choices and changes was held over the weekend at the Climate Citizens' Forum in Montreuil, organised by CCFD-Terre Solidaire, CIDSE's French member organisation.
On Saturday we listened to voices explaining the models which are not only unsustainable from an agricultural perspective but also give false solutions.

Agriculture in carbon markets and agrofuels often seem to be right but in practice, these ‘solutions’ are inadequate for climate mitigation and insufficient for the protection of human rights.

Pablo Soler Villamizar, from CENSAT (Colombia) spoke about the extension of monoculture crops for the production of agrofuels. The arguments in favor of sustaining biofuels are mostly based on the decrease of fossil resource reserves but this also can displace forest communities. Guillermo Ortega, food sovereignty project manager from Base-Is (Paraguay) regretted the use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) for profit. He also explained how the use of transgenics is increasing the control of corporations over farmers.

Dwi Astuti, Director of Bina Desa (Indonesia), member of the Asia-Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS) working on REDD+ programmes, pointed out that this UN instrument was not working in practice. Theoretically the REDD+ should reduce deforestation but, by applying neoliberal laws into the traditional Indonesian frame, this has opened doors for big companies to invest in new lands. She explained that forests have been transformed into palm and oil fields which produce a lower amount of CO2 but destroy ecosystems and affect climate.

On Sunday morning, the second session of the workshop focused on ‘new practices, actors, visions’, without doubt, an opportunity to try to change the model. WoMin is an organisation working on post-extractivism and women's rights in Africa. Samantha Hargreaves underlined that inequalities and discriminated populations (mainly peasants and women) have increased.

Eros Sana works with 350.org, an environmental movement. This movement wants to change the relationship between people (coming from suburbs) and trade unions. By creating new links, they are looking at strengthening a trustful association in order to overcome antagonism. According to him, trade unions are not aware of climate related issues and they must consider the workers’ point of view.

The next speaker, Neydi Yassmine Juracan from Guatemala, works for an organisation called CCDA (Peasant farmers' Committee of the Altiplano). They aim at fighting for peasants’ land rights, to revitalise agroecology by creating a regional association and, finally, to get involved in politics. The last panelist was Diana Lopez from Texas (USA). This network wants to link different communities to share information because issues such as racism or patriarchy seem very disconnected but, in reality; they are also linked to climate justice.

Giving all this range of actors, we should be thinking about alternative approaches seeking for effective environmental solutions that strengthen local communities.

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