Food Agenda 2020: A National Petition on Agricultural Solutions for Climate Change and Health
To stabilize our already chaotic climate and to avoid catastrophic global warming of 2-7 degrees centigrade or more, we must reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) pollution from our current unsustainable global level of 389 parts CO2 per million to 350 ppm or below. Otherwise, we face massive crop failures, starvation, water shortages, pestilence, and unending wars for dwindling natural resources. In practical terms, this means reducing current fossil fuel use (especially in the food, transport, housing, military, and utilities sectors) by 90% by 2050; while sequestering or storing as much CO2 as possible in the soil through organic soil management and reforestation.
By the year 2020, the U.S. needs to generate at least 25% of its energy from solar, wind, and other renewable sources (currently at 6%, while Denmark is at 20%). By 2020, 25% of our food needs to be certified organic (currently it is 4%), while drastically reducing the most-devastating greenhouse gases spewed out by industrial food and farming, methane and nitrous oxide. Only 1% of the U.S.'s 435 million acres of cultivated farmland are currently certified organic. In addition to drastically reducing fossil fuel energy use and slashing GHG emissions, each acre of farm, pasture, or range land brought under organic cultivation or management can safely sequester or store the equivalent of 7,000 pounds of climate-destabilizing CO2 per year. If all of U.S. farmland (not to mention pasture) were managed organically, we would be able to sequester almost 25% of all current GHG emissions, while significantly reducing fossil fuel use.
(1) Implement Truth in Labeling
Give consumers the opportunity to freely choose sustainable, climate-friendly, humane, and healthy products by requiring GMO, pesticide, antibiotic, hormone, CAFO, GHG, and country-of-origin labels on foods and products sold in grocery stores and restaurants. At the same time we must safeguard consumer choice by maintaining strict certification and labeling standards for products which are organic, Fair Trade, or genuinely healthy and sustainable.
(2) Stop Subsidizing Destructive Policies
Stop subsidizing industrial food and farm production, fossil fuels, and resource wars, and instead use these funds to promote and qualitatively fast-track clean energy, a green jobs economy, and organic farming. It is currently estimated that U.S. taxpayer subsidies to the fossil fuel and industrial food and farm sectors amounts to $60 billion a year, while wars for oil and strategic resources in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing us $200 billion annually. The money wasted on wars and industrial agriculture by the U.S. alone is enough to fast-track the conversion of the U.S. and global economy to organic agriculture and clean energy and save the world from climate catastrophe.
(3) Build an Organic and Green Economy
Begin the phase-out of industrial agriculture's most energy, GHG-intensive, and hazardous practices. These practices include the massive over-production of livestock and animal products, Genetically Modified (GM) crops and biofuels, toxic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, sewage sludge on farm lands, and slaughterhouse waste in animal feed. Ban factory farm CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) and all inhumane confinement of farm animals.