Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Share Your Thoughts on the Climate Crisis

Asia is particularly vulnerable to the climate crisis. According to the UN, Asia is the region most affected by natural disasters, almost 70% of which are climate-related. We have been experiencing the effects of climate change in the form of erratic rainfall, unpredictable flooding, rising sea levels, storms and hurricanes, droughts, rapid snow melt, mudslides and other climate variations. All of this is affecting our food production, its diversity and the quality of our crops and seeds. In fact, the majority food producers – small peasants, fisherfolk, pastoralists and gatherers - are the worst sufferers from the effects of climate change.

In the international discussions and agreements on climate change, agriculture has been identified as one of the causes of climate change. What do you think about this? Are small farming systems based on low- or no-chemical inputs contributing to climate change? If the answer is no, then we need to speak out. We need to emphasize that high input, chemically intensive, export-oriented agriculture is leading to cash crop monocultures and adding to the problems of climate change.

In fact, industrialization of agriculture has been adding to the climate crisis in several ways: through the establishment and operation of chemical-producing and polluting factories and through extensive fossil fuel-based road, air and sea transportation to carry both agriculture inputs and outputs (food products) over long distances (known as food miles). It is clear that if we wish to address the climate crisis, we need to have less corporate agriculture. But what is the alternative?

Biodiversity-based ecological agriculture (BEA), local food production and local consumption are practical solutions for mitigating as well as adapting to the climate crisis. These practices release lower amounts of greenhouse gases and allow the soil, water and air to recoup. Consumption of locally produced food minimizes transportation costs – both in terms of money and food miles. Moreover, locally and ecologically produced food is fresh, healthy and nutritious, and provides livelihood options for small food producers. Overall, this helps build community resilience against the impacts of climate change on food and the economy.

What are your thoughts on agriculture and the climate crisis? How should we address these problems? What are some strategies for promoting BEA and local food consumption? How can we promote safe, healthy, local food and link it to national and international advocacy initiatives?

Do you think people are becoming more concerned about the food they are eating and how it is reaching them? Do you feel the need to promote healthy local food availability? Do you feel it necessary to tell people what eating packaged food from the supermarket really means? Do you notice people missing some old food habits and items which have either been lost or are difficult to find, which need to be revived? Perhaps some traditional and local crops which were tasty and nutritious or were possible to grow in arid or flood conditions even? Do you think local food consumption would help local food producers? Is there a need to bring local food producers and consumers together?

Are you doing anything about it?

Please post your thoughts, comments, concerns and ideas. We’d welcome on this blog any information from your region – on climate change impacts, local resilience initiatives, ecological agriculture, safe food habits, local food traditions lost that need to be revived, including photographs.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Update on Global Climate Change Activities: UNFCCC and CSOs in Bangkok

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) will hold its last major intersessional meeting before the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen in December 2009. The Post-2012 Climate Negotiation Session will be held from the 29th September to 9th October in Bangkok and represents a critical event for people’s organizations and climate activists. Leading up to COP 15, Bangkok should be used as a venue to push for real, pro-people solutions to climate change.

In parallel to the UNFCCC meeting, networks and CSOs have organized events in Bangkok under the name “Asian Peoples Solidarity for Climate Justice.” In addition to daily events, a one day conference entitled the Climate Conference of Asian Peoples Movements will be held on 3rd October. Organizers include: NGO COD, Kalikasan-PNE, Roots for Equity, APWLD, IBON Foundation, People’s Movement on Climate Change, Centre for Environmental Concerns, International League of People’s Struggle, PAN AP, Philippine Climate Watch Alliance in coordination with People’s Action on Climate Change (PACC).

Additional events include a People’s Parade (28 September), Media Conference and Oars Parade (29 September), Youth Kite Flying (30 September), Women’s Quilt (1 October) and Solidarity March (5 October).

Solidarity is needed to consolidate the position of different sectors, such as peasants, indigenous people, women and youth on climate change and related issues towards the formulation of a unified position regarding the formulation of the post-Kyoto Climate Agreement and COP 15.

Interested participants, sponsors, grassroots organizations/movements or volunteers can contact PACC at: pacc.secretariat@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

See PAN AP Staff in Action

The Conference flickr site is up and running! Click on the photo to link to our first album - PAN AP Staff in Action. Be sure to check back regularly, we will be updating the photostream with new pictures from our partners, conference speakers and the latest PAN AP activities.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Greetings of Solidarity and Welcome!

With just over a month to go before the opening of the Asia Pacific Conference on Confronting the Food Crisis and Climate Change, PAN AP would like to welcome you to the official conference blog. Here you can find information on the speakers, plenary sessions, workshops and special events as well as updates from our partners, photos, videoclips, links and the latest news on climate change and the food crisis. You will also be able to find live updates of the sessions and workshops once the conference is underway.

The interrelated issues of climate change and the food crisis call for a united response from the people. Given the challenges faced by peasants, indigenous people, agricultural workers, women, fisherfolk, and consumers we must consolidate our strengths and lead the way forward in confronting the crises and bring about change.

The Asia Pacific Conference on Confronting the Food Crisis and Climate Change will provide a platform for learning and discussion featuring:

· The Threats and Challenges Posed by the Food Crisis and Climate Change
· People’s Movements, Resistance and Alternatives
· Consolidation of Plans and Strategies: Impacts and Actions for the Next 4 Years
· Cultural Presentations and Solidarity Building

More information can be found on the BEA Conference Webpage at: www.panap.net

Please check back regularly and post your comments as we countdown to September 27, 2009, in Penang!