Scientists Demand Stop to Tree Burning as Climate Solution

This article which first appeared at Common Dreams takes up the argument against biomass as a solution to climate change and explains why trees are more valuable alive than dead both for climate and for biodiversity.

“Companies are shifting fossil energy use to wood, which increases warming, as a substitute for shifting to solar and wind, which would truly decrease warming.”

EON's biofuel power station in Lockerbie, Scotland with timber supplies. The power station is fueled 100% by wood sourced from local woodlands.

EON’s biofuel power station in Lockerbie, Scotland with timber supplies. The power station is fueled 100% by wood sourced from local woodlands. (Photo: Ashley Cooper/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)

A group of over 500 international scientists on Thursday urged world leaders to end policies that prop up the burning of trees for energy because it poses “a double climate problem” that threatens forests’ biodiversity and efforts to stem the planet’s ecological emergency.

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The Oxford Real Farming Conference

The Oxford Real Farming Conference is over and was apparently a great success, though you wouldn’t even know it had taken place from the mainstream media.
We reproduce below a report of it from Wicked Leeks – an online magazine published by Riverford Organic Farmer. This article gives a flavour of the activity that ORFC gives a platform to.
The key themes they showcased in advance were:
  • Resilience and the road to COP26
  • The importance of healthy soil
  • Resisting corporate take-overs of seed and food systems
  • The value of indigenous knowledge
  • Redressing racial inequity in our food system
  • The future of UK farming
  • Biodiversity loss and the impact on our health

A melting-pot of change makers

https://wickedleeks.riverford.co.uk/news/environment-ethics-biodiversity-diversity-ethical-business/melting-pot-change-makers
ORFC small farms
Indigenous farming perspectives, land ownership, agroecological farming and how to enact change were some of the key themes from the seven-day Oxford Real Farming Conference, which took place between 8-13 January.The alternative farming event, which this year went global and virtual for the first time, was attended by thousands of visitors from 75 countries, and was described as a “melting pot” of thinkers and change-makers.

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For public ownership of seeds

This fascinating article in The Guardian points to a burgeoning movement of seed-sharing and exchanging and makes the case for public ownership of seed. Certainly something which should be discussed widely in the Labour and environmental movement.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/dec/28/seed-saving-movement-calls-for-seeds-to-be-publicly-owned

Covid has made people see how the food system is dominated by large corporations, say campaigners

An allotment

The pandemic encouraged an interest in allotments and seed saving. Photograph: Bill Allsopp/Alamy Stock Photo

Alexandra Genova

Seeds need to be brought back into public ownership, rather than belonging to a small group of agrochemical companies, say campaigners, after a year in which seed-swapping and saving has reached new heights of popularity.

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Labour- get your wellies on!

In this overview, Charlie Clutterbuck, who describes himself as a socialist soil zoologist, and author of Bittersweet Brexit: The future of Farming, Food Land and Labour, looks  at what lies in store for food and farming in the UK.

There was much post-Referendum talk about the opportunity to green our farming. There would be ‘public money for public goods’ and we thought that meant improving the earth. There would be a new ‘Environmental Land Management Scheme’ (ELMS) that would replace the old EU system of paying subsidies by land area.

False promises. The real news is not good.  Our author raises the alarm at the way some environmentalists are still seduced by the notion that ‘public money will go to public goods’. He also stresses how supine Labour and the unions have been in general and calls for make food and farming central to our political agenda from now on.

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Public consultation on gene editing lauched

From Beyond GM

https://beyond-gm.org/public-consultation-on-genome-editing-is-launched/

 

 

 

 

The UK government’s public consultation on the deregulation of genome editing is now open.

The plans for the consultation will be set out today by Environment Secretary George Eustice in his speech at the Oxford Farming Conference. Eustice is expected to tell the conference:

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Stop the destruction of Alaska’s Arctic wildlife refuge

As the Guardian article below explains, one of climate denier Trump’s last acts in office is to sell off Arctic wilderness to oil companies. We demand the incoming Biden administration reverse this disastrous policy and we stand with the  Gwich’in in defence of their ancestral home. See: https://ourarcticrefuge.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/DefendtheSacredAK/videos/394254038319376

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/05/trump-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge-lease-sales

Sales of drilling rights are the climax to one of the nation’s highest-profile environmental battles

Rivers run through the lush tundra valleys of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
 Rivers run through the lush tundra valleys of Alaska’s Arctic national wildlife refuge. Photograph: Acacia Johnson

In one of its last strikes against the American wilderness, Donald Trump’s administration will on Wednesday auction off portions of the Arctic national wildlife refuge to oil drillers.

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Gene-edited crops unlikely to make food system more sustainable

This article which first appeared at GMWatch.org and details failures of first-generation GM crops and points to unintended effects of new GM.

https://www.gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/19596

Report by Claire Robinson

Will genetically modified gene-edited crops, foods and animals improve the sustainability of food and farming? A comprehensive new scientific review addresses this question by investigating the record of old-style transgenic GM crops and the potential and reality of newer gene-edited crops and animals.
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Re-designing farms systems for the climate crisis

Ben Lilliston argues that the new Biden-Harris administration needs to go much further than its predecessors to build a climate resilient farming system and puts forward a series of policies which have a wider application than just the US.

Re-posted from the Institute Of Agriculture and Trade Policy blog:

https://www.iatp.org/blog/202012/roadmap-biden-harris-administration-re-designing-farm-systems-climate-crisis

As the Biden-Harris transition team rapidly fills key cabinet positions and senior leadership, it also is setting priorities for the first 100 days. If the “Build Back Better” mantra is to become reality, particularly in advancing equitable solutions to the climate crisis, the transition team will have to think systemically — not just agency by agency. Systems thinking is especially critical to create a just transition for farming. Our current policy framework supports an industrial system of production that is pushing out farmers while increasing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate risk to the food supply. We need a coordinated approach across multiple agencies to support a more resilient farming system.

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The importance of India’s farmers protests

Reposted from Labour Hub this article by the South East Asia Solidarity Group explains the significance and importance of the ongoing protests by farmers in India and why ecosocialists in the West should stand in solidarity.

India’s Farmers Protests: Why they are important and why the British left must show solidarity

In India, in the middle of the pandemic, a unique struggle is taking place. Hundreds of thousands of farmers from across the country are occupying the borders of Delhi in a protest against the combined forces of corporate power and an ultra-right wing government. On the whole an estimated 2 million people are said to be involved.

It is, however, not only its magnitude, which make it significant. The farmers’ protest represents a potentially transformative moment in the struggle against fascism which has been sweeping India over the last year – fuelled by growing anger against the Modi regime.

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Making Rewilding Part of a Socialist Future

Alex Lee argues that a programme of rewilding is vital for a future ecosocialist strategy to restore the natural world and halt catastrophic biodiversity loss, and humans should be at the centre of this.

Republished from Socialist Resistance

 Photo:Tim Dennell

If you look in any popular bookstore these days, you’ll find books on rewilding…. There are books about rewilding your garden, rewilding your mind, rewilding your life. The word entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2010 (1) and has seen a stratospheric increase in use (2). In 2019 it was even a contender for the Collins Dictionary Word of the Year (3). But is it just another capitalist marketing ploy?

Well, yes and no. The origins of the word are in ecology, but in capitalism’s drive to market new products, companies have latched onto the word “rewilding” as the latest desirable thing. In recent years there has been a plethora of products that are “fair-trade”, “natural”, “low-carbon”, “sustainable” and “organic”, trends that have a component of a critique.

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