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“Have you anything here to eat?” - Luke 24:41
Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue
New Rochelle NY
In Association with Edmund Rice International
Presentation for Regional Gathering of the Daughters of Charity at the United Nations November 2016
Sprout Creek Farm September 19, 2015
A Food Story
805 million people chronically undernourished--- FAO 2014
Sub –Saharan Africa has highest prevalence of undernourished, about 24%
Asia holds 2/3rds of the world’s hungry
Latin America and Caribbean have been the most successful in fighting hunger since 2000.
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY
"-Farming is the World's Largest Endeavor
-Only 55% of global crops go to nourish people
- 48 million Americans rely on food assistance
-65% of Africa's labor force works in agriculture
- One in eight persons go to bed hungry each night : 805 million people”
Learn more at:
World Land and Farming
In 2005, scientists with the University of Wisconsin-Madison estimated that humans used around 40% of the world’s land area already for farming (an additional 3% of land area is taken up by urban development).
75% of our agricultural land area is currently devoted to growing crops for livestock consumption. The amount of land required for agriculture today could be drastically curtailed – but only if people eat significantly less meat and livestock products,
Help for the Hungry
Food Security USA
More than 48 million Americans rely on what used to be called food stamps, now SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Average monthly benefit was $133 per person (about $1.50 per meal)
Qualification: less than $31,000 income for family of 4
Local Food. The " local food" movements in North America have been attempting to change things, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and food co-ops bring local farmers closer to consumers.
Food Security/Food Sovereignty
Energy used intensely in agro sector
Food and Energy Links
Agro production must increase by 70% in 40 years
Only 10% of the increase will come from expansion of arable land
Consumption of energy-intensive foods (e.g. beef) must be reduced
Concern at production of biofeuls
"Food sovereignty” asserts that the people who produce, distribute, and consume food should control the mechanisms and policies of food production and distribution, rather than the corporations and market institutions they believe have come to dominate the global food system.
Food and GHG Emissions – How they are linked
From Grain, a non profit organization with a focus on small holder agriculture…
Industrial agriculture is pushing into savannas, wetlands and forests, ploughing under huge amounts of land.
The FAO says the expansion of the agricultural frontier accounts for 70-90% of global deforestation,
Half of that for the production of a few agricultural commodities for export.
Farming: 11-15% ghgs
It is generally acknowledged that farming itself contributes 11-15% of all greenhouse gasses produced globally.
Most of these emissions result from the use of industrial inputs, such as chemical fertilisers and petrol to run tractors and irrigation machinery,
as well as the excess manure generated by intensive livestock keeping.
Crops for animal feed
may be grown in Argentina
fed to chickens in Chile
exported to China for processing
eaten in a McDonald's in the US.
Processing & packaging: 8-10% ghgs
transformation of foods into ready-made meals, snacks and beverages requires energy
packaging and canning of these foods
generates a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions – some 8 to 10% of the global total.
Freezing & Retail: 2-4%
Industrial food system needs
Cooling is responsible for 15 percent of all electricity consumption worldwide,
Leaks of chemical refrigerants a major source of GHGs; refrigeration of foods accounts for some 1-2% of all GHG emissions.
The retailing of foods accounts for another 1-2%.
FOOD WASTE The industrial food system discards up to half of all the food that it produces, thrown out on the long journey from farms to traders, to food processors, and eventually to retailers and restaurants.
Between 3.5-4.5% of global GHG emissions come from waste, and over 90% of these are produced by materials originating within the food system.
21% of food at the consumer level went uneaten (2010)
1,160lbs is average annual food loss for family of four in USA
One year of food loss accounts for 25% of all water used for agriculture in the US
Food and Climate Change
There is growing recognition that food is central to climate change. The latest IPCC reports and international summits have recognised that food and agriculture are major drivers of GHG emissions and that climate change poses tremendous challenges to our capacity to feed a growing global population.
“Or maybe we could give up saving the world and start to live savingly in it. “ - Wendell Berry
A way Forward
Care of Earth and Agriculture
Care of Soil
The expansion of unsustainable agricultural practices over the past century has led to the destruction of between 30-75% of the organic matter on arable lands, and 50% of the organic matter on pastures and prairies.
One Thousand Years per Centimetre.
According to the FAO, human pressure on the resource has left a third of all soils on which food production depends degraded worldwide.
Without new approaches to better managing soil health, the amount of arable and productive land available per person in 2050 will be a fourth of the level it was in 1960 as the FAO says it can take up to 1,000 years to form a centimetre of soil.
Natural farming, no chemicals
Small farmers have the knowledge and the diversity of crops and animals to farm productively without the use of chemicals by diversifying cropping systems, integrating crop and animal production, and incorporating trees and wild vegetation.
Cut Food Miles--- Focus on Fresh
Much of the food system's GHG emissions can be eliminated if food production is reoriented towards local markets and fresh foods, and away from cheap meat and processed foods.
Return to Small Holder Farms
Small farmers are squeezed onto less than a quarter of the world's farmlands, but they continue to produce most of the world’s food – 80% of the food in non-industrialised countries says the FAO.
“Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us…
Economies of scale, especially in the agricultural sector, end up forcing smallholders to sell their land or to abandon their traditional crops.
Their attempts to move to other, more diversified, means of production prove fruitless because of the difficulty of linkage with regional and global markets, or because the infrastructure for sales and transport is geared to larger businesses. (Laudato Si’ #129)
Farm to Factory ---Where the Workers Went
1970 -California 2.2 million tons
45, 000 workers needed
2000- California 12 million tons
5,000 workers needed
Agriculture vs. Manufacturing USA
1904 Agriculture :41% of all workers
2004 Agriculture : 2 % of all workers
1950 Manufacturing: 24% of all non-farm jobs
2015 Manufacturing : 8.4% of all non-farm jobs
CAFOs – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
Factory Farms Get Bigger, Pollution Grows, but Regulators Don't Even Know Where They Are
Link to Inside Climate News
North Carolina, USA
The USA Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that about 11 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from agriculture, and about
https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/Downloads/ghgemissions/US-GHG-Inventory-2016-Main-Text.pdf12 percent of total methane emissions comes from manure management, a rise of about 65 percent since 1990.
Hurricane Matthew 2016
After Hurricane Matthew churned across North Carolina earlier this year, swollen rivers deluged poultry and swine farms, killing millions of chickens and thousands of hogs and sending potentially toxic animal waste coursing into waterways.
Thousands of industrial farms across the country release contaminants into the nation's water and airways, but in many states like North Carolina, the public has limited access to information about them.
Federal authorities can't gauge the scope of the pollution, either, because in some states they have very little idea of the number and location of farms. This makes regulatory oversight weak and in some cases, nonexistent.
The latest decision in a long-running legal war over CAFO information disclosure came in September 2016 when a federal appeals court
http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/16/09/151234P.pdfruled that the EPA violated the privacy of CAFO operators by releasing information about their farms,
Info had been requested by three environmental groups through the Freedom of Information Act in 2013.
The ruling was a victory for the
https://www.meatinstitute.org/index.php?ht=d/sp/i/47465/pid/47465$186 billion meat-and-poultry industry.
Iowa, the state with the most CAFOs in the country, has a "work plan" with the EPA to improve improve regulations,
but in its latest
http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Land-Quality/Animal-Feeding-Operations/EPA-DNR-Workplan-Materialsannual report, the state's Department of Natural Resources said it had identified more than 5,000 feeding operations "that need further investigation to determine their regulatory status."
Of those 5,000, the department estimated as many as 1,266 could be big enough to classify as CAFOs, but none are in the EPA's tally.
Civil authorities have the right and duty to adopt clear and firm measures in support of small producers and differentiated production. To ensure economic freedom from which all can effectively benefit, restraints occasionally have to be imposed on those possessing greater resources and financial power.
( Laudato Si’ # 129 )
Re: Agriculture--Laudato uses terminology of “Stewardship” only twice
But “care” comes up dozens of times… a relationship that goes beyond management and accountability and the impersonal mechanics of the marketplace.
There is more to agriculture than profits and losses
Cardinal Peter Turkson in Catholic Rural Life ---Summer 2015
Laudato Si’ and “Small Producers”
…“the progressive disappearance of small producers, who, as a consequence of the loss of the exploited lands, are obliged to withdraw from direct production”. The most vulnerable of these become temporary labourers, and many rural workers end up moving to poverty-stricken urban areas.
The expansion of these crops has the effect of destroying the complex network of ecosystems, diminishing the diversity of production and affecting regional economies, now and in the future. ( Laudato Si’ # 134)
Foods Bees Pollinate
Ackerman study on regional food for NY:
Only 30% of food could be produced for NYC from local land within 100 miles of NYC.
Not even close to 30% now.
Region issues: Apples from NY end up in Texas. Washington apples end up in NYC.
Grains cannot be provided at scale locally.
NYC will be pushed by climate change on food needs.
NYC Local Food?
Small scale farmers
Trees and shrubs in livestock fields
Benefits of Agroecology
Sequester carbon in soil
Avoid fossil fuel-based fertilizers
Use less carbon for transport
Better resilience to extreme weather
Less vulnerable to price shocks in global system
“Small Farmers Cool the Planet” (La Via Campesina)
Links to climate
“ A large segment of the scientific community now acknowledges the positive impacts of agroecology on food production, poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation…”
--Olivier DeSchutter, Special Rapporteur on The Right to Food, United Nations
The problem is even with the Green Revolution, starvation continues, particularly in India, where the revolution was most intense.
Hunger is not about the amount of food around, it’s about being able to afford and control that food.
After all , the U.S. has more food than it knows what to do with, and still 50 million people are food insecure. (Raj Patel : Stuffed and Starved)
Laudato Si’--- seed preservation
In various countries, we see an expansion of oligopolies for the production of cereals and other products needed for their cultivation. This dependency would be aggravated were the production of infertile seeds to be considered; the effect would be to force farmers to purchase them from larger producers. # 134
Seeds of Change Oct 9-11 Omega Center
Solving the Hunger Problem
GMO Labeling (EWG, UCS)
Last year the state of Vermont passed a strong GMO labeling bill
USA Federal Regulations being worked out
Federal legislation passed in July 2016 will require most food packages to carry a symbol or an electronic code readable by smartphone that shows whether the food contains genetically modified organisms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has two years to work out the details, including whether beet sugar will need a GMO label.
USA and GMOs
Several scientific organizations in the US –”no evidence that GMOs present unique safety risks compared to conventionally bred products.”
National Research Council,
http://www.loc.gov/law/help/restrictions-on-gmos/usa.php#_ftn12 the American Association for the Advancement of Science,
http://www.loc.gov/law/help/restrictions-on-gmos/usa.php#_ftn13 and the American Medical Association.
Groups in the US opposed to GMOs include some environmental organizations,
http://www.loc.gov/law/help/restrictions-on-gmos/usa.php#_ftn15 organic farming organizations,
http://www.loc.gov/law/help/restrictions-on-gmos/usa.php#_ftn16 and consumer organizations.
http://www.loc.gov/law/help/restrictions-on-gmos/usa.php#_ftn17 A substantial number of legal academics have criticized the US’s approach to regulating GMOs.
GMO sugar beets
The first genetically modified sugar beet seeds went into the ground in 2008 in Colorado and the other 10 states that produce the sucrose-packed root vegatables. The genetic modification makes the plant resistant to
http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/glyphogen.htmlglyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup.
Sugar yield per acre has increased by 30 percent, and farmers are reporting using one third as much water because they aren’t wasting it on weeds or tilling the soil to get rid of weeds, which causes moisture in the dirt to evaporate.
Instead of spraying multiple herbicides up to seven times a year, sugar beet farmers need only Roundup.
Sugar yield per acre has increased by 30 percent, and farmers are reporting using one third as much water because they aren’t wasting it on weeds or tilling the soil to get rid of weeds, which causes moisture in the dirt to evaporate. Instead of spraying multiple herbicides up to seven times a year, sugar beet farmers need only Roundup. http://www.denverpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/sugarrj1_6220.jpg?w=620
Sugar beet yield Europe (orange line ) vs USA (blue line) 2005-2014.
EU does not allow GMOs. USA introduced GMO beets in 2005.
US House of Representatives (July 2015 ) voted 275 to 150 to pass H.R. 1599, “Monsanto's Poison Pill”, to appease Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers to prevent GMO labeling
The same food companies that have fought to kill GMO labeling here in the U.S. - Pepsi, Coke, Kraft, General Mills and Kellogg’s - are preparing to comply with the Vermont GMO law when it goes into effect next year and they're now desperate to get the Senate to pass this House bill 1599 to make it illegal for Vermont or any other state to ever label GMOs.
Laudato Si’ and GMOs
. It is difficult to make a general judgment about genetic modification (GM), whether vegetable or animal, medical or agricultural, since these vary greatly among themselves and call for specific considerations. The risks involved are not always due to the techniques used, but rather to their improper or excessive application…
Seeds of Doubt
GMO stands for “God Move Over”, (2014)
Changes in Agriculture in India
2015 , it produces 200 million tons , much of it for export.
In 1966 , India imported 11 million tons of grain
Breeding vs. GMO
Today, we insert genes from one species to another
Nearly all the plants we cultivate, corn, wheat, rice, roses, -- have been genetically modified via breeding..
GMO cotton now has inserted the insecticide into the plant (Bt cotton) now in 90% of all Indian cotton fields. Pesticide costs 50% lower. Formerly sprayed dozens of times, now once per month
25% of insecticides in the world used for cotton plants
Some Problem Foods Remain Common Fare
BEEF often requires replacing tropical forests with fields of genetically modified corn and soy,
which are laced with pesticides that pollute local waters.
"It takes 10 to 14 pounds of grain-based feed for a cow to gain 1 pound of flesh,
Takes 3 million gallons of water to raise a beef cow to maturity
Thus 4,000 gallons of water to produce one burger
breaking nutrient cycles,
polluting air and water,
contaminating native maize varieties
requires more pesticides and fertilizers over time as soil is depleted
Palm Oil in about 50% of all processed foods
Grows only in tropical or subtropical regions
Vast swaths of Indonesia and South America forest razed to make room
In Indonesia, deforestation-related carbon emissions—most of which are from expanding palm plantations—surpass the amount of pollution caused by all U.S. cars, trucks, planes, and ships.
As tropical forests are cleared to make way for palm oil plantations, carbon is released into the atmosphere, driving global warming and shrinking habitats for endangered species.
Tropical deforestation currently accounts for about 10 percent of the world's heat-trapping emissions.--- Union of Concerned Scientists
Packaged Foods/Palm Oil
Company Example Brands
Nestlé Toll House, Power Bar
Kellogg's Pop Tarts, Nutri-Grain
Unilever Ben & Jerry's,
General Mills Pillsbury
Mondelez Oreo, Ritz,
Kraft Cool Whip
Sustainable Development Goals and Agriculture– Hans Herren
Agriculture is the worlds largest use of land, occupying about 38% of the Earths terrestrial surface and 70% of global fresh water
More than half a billion small farms - producing much of the worlds food supply are inevitably at the core of the sustainable development goals
Western Food Supply Vulnerabilities
Western food production ultimately is dangerously resource intensive, requiring something like 12 fossil fuel calories for each food calorie.
Wester food distribution systems vulnerable to small breakdowns that could lead to larger collapse
Power failures now so rare they now cause greater disruption when they happen
Global south sees breakdown of power as routine and can improvise more readily
Ocean as Food Source
Oceans cover 70% of the earth and produce less than 2 percent of our food
To grow the rest we use almost 40% of the world’s land and nearly ¾ of our fresh water
Rates of Biodiversity Loss
Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
one third of reef building corals
one third of freshwater mollusks
one third of sharks and rays
one quarter of mammals
one fifth of reptiles
one sixth of birds
Coral Reefs Under Threat
coral cover in GBR has declined by 50% in past 30 yrs
coral cover in Caribbean has declined by almost 80% in recent decades
from half million to almost 9 million species spend part of their lives on reefs
tropical waters low in nutrients thus clearer; reefs supply nutrients from inhabitants; the architecture..
without reefs there would likely be many fewer species
Fig 1. A conceptual diagram linking stresses related to increased atmospheric CO2 (elevated sea surface temperature and ocean acidification), storms, and local stressors to coral reef condition, selected ecosystem services provided by reefs, and human dependence on these ecosystem services.
Pendleton L, Comte A, Langdon C, Ekstrom JA, Cooley SR, et al. (2016) Coral Reefs and People in a High-CO2 World: Where Can Science Make a Difference to People?. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0164699. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164699
Fig 2. Scores of human dependence on coral reef ecosystem services, by country.
FAO REPORT 2016
"There is no doubt climate change affects food security," the FAO chief, Jose Graziano da Silva, said.
"What climate change does is to bring back uncertainties from the time we were all hunter gatherers.
We cannot assure any more that we will have the harvest we have planted.
"Crop volatility has been felt acutely this year, partly through El Nino
Harvests fell sharply in the bread baskets of Latin America, North Africa and Europe, hit by exceptional drought or floods.
Beyond 2030, though, "negative pressures on food production will be increasingly felt everywhere".
Hans Herren, an award-winning Swiss development expert who is president of the Millennium Institute, a Washington-based NGO, is a little more sanguine.
He believes the quest should be on providing better calories rather than more of them.
Slashing waste and encouraging efficiency are the key.
"Today the planet provides twice as much food than it needs—4,600 calories per person per day, whereas we only need 2,300 calories” Read more at:
Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction
Fragile ecosystems like mangroves are being replaced by fish farms, which are projected to provide most of the fish we consume within 20 years. Bottom trawlers scraping large nets across the sea floor have already affected 20 million square miles of ocean, turning parts of the continental shelf to rubble.
Thomas Berry 1914-2009
"Even as we make our transition into this new century we must note that moments of grace are transient moments.
The transformation must take place within a brief period. Otherwise it is gone forever.
In the immense story of the universe, that so many of these dangerous moments have been navigated successfully is some indication that the universe is for us rather than against us. We need only to summon these forces to our support in order to succeed. ”
-- from The Great Work
by Thomas Berry
From 6 Billion Kilometers
Links to UN Sustainable Development Goals
Food ethics/planet boundaries
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Three Year Negotiation Process (90 Member States)
SDGs to replace MDGs of 2000-2015
Co- Chairs: Kenya and Ireland (replaced Hungary)
Final Draft approved July 2015
SDGs Adopted by UN General Assembly September 2015 for period 2015-2030
Further negotiations produced Targets and Indicators for each of the Goals
Always First Priority in UN Deliberations
NB: Significant negotiation for final language re: Human Right to Water and Sanitation
Discussion forced the member states to include climate despite a separate UNFCCC negotiation already underway.
Link at International to website of kc: edmundriceinternational.org/jpic
TAKES TOO LONG TO LOAD WHEN CLICKED
From the Guardian article on E.O. Wilson proposal to set aside 50% of planet for biodiversity preservation. In an essay for Aeon, Robert Fletcher and Bram Büscher, both social scientists with Wageningen University in the Netherlands, dub Wilson’s idea “truly bizarre.”
Sugar beets harvest
Orange line is beet yield in Europe. Blue line is beet yield in USA after GMOs 2005-2014. no increase in yields with GMOs
At ETHICS is link to Crop Trust website on saving seed for diversity of agriculture
There is a hyperlink at Sixth to link to keynote on Sixth Extinction
Pale blue dot 1990 spacecraft Voyager 1The image of Earth contains scattered light that resembles a beam of sunlight, which is an artifact of the camera itself that makes the tiny Earth appear even more dramatic. Voyager 1 was 40 astronomical units from the sun at this moment. One astronomical unit is 93 million miles, or 150 million kilometers.
SMALL BUSINESS CARDS FROM UN WITH SDGS CAN BE DISTRIBUTED ALSO
KC can detail these negotiations
Many member states lack the infrastructure and institutions to realize the goals
Concern developed during deliberations re: how to pay for all this commitmentORT 2016
Fragile ecosystems like mangr