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Organic Consumers Association

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If We Don't Fix the Climate, It Won't Matter What Kind of Food We Eat

The climate emergency is big. It touches on every aspect of human survival, from food security to what George Monbiot described this week as record temperatures that "test the thermal limits of the human body."

Let’s be honest. If we fail to throw the climate-change engine into reverse, and fast, it won’t much matter if we’re eating GMOs, or if our food is drenched in cancer-causing chemicals.

We’ll have bigger fish to fry, so to speak. 

The good news is, if we think big, if we expand our understanding of what’s causing the climate crisis (it’s not just the fossil fuel industry, it’s Big Ag, too), and if we expand our understanding of how to fix the crisis (reduce emissions, yes, but also scale up regenerative ag practices that can draw down and sequester the CO2 already up there), we might stand a chance of slowing down the climate-crisis train—and we’ll get healthier food, cleaner water and stronger rural communities in the bargain.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we’ll never succeed in preventing an all-out ecosystem failure unless we take on both Big Oil and Big Ag. And do it in a big way.

Fortunately, thanks in large part to a younger generation that has the most to lose, politicians are feeling the pressure to at least talk about climate change.

Now, if we can just get them to do something.

It won’t be easy. The path to Washington, for most politicians, anyway, is paved deep in lobbying dollars—millions and millions and millions of them. As Monbiot writes, those dollars buy protection for Big Oil, whose sole interest is, well, self-preservation:

But in many nations, governments intervene not to protect humanity from the existential threat of fossil fuels, but to protect the fossil fuel industry from the existential threat of public protest.

It’s no different in the world of Big Ag, where people are jailed for exposing the widespread animal brutality and environmental violations perpetrated by factory farms. And where local laws protect the corporate factory farm operators, not the citizens whose health is compromised when their air and water is polluted by a toxic soup of factory farm run-off.

But protest we must. And at the same time, we must also make it clear that we have a roadmap to a better place.

We’ve taken a fair amount of heat for our unabashed support for the Green New Deal. But we think this resolution, which aims to address so many of the crises we face, is our best shot at creating a detailed roadmap to a better place—a place where air and water are clean, where abundant nutritious food grows in healthy soil, where farmers and food workers earn a decent living, where biodiversity fosters resiliency.

Big Oil and Big Ag don’t want a Green New Deal. If we do, we’re going to have to build a movement so massive and so powerful that politicians will have no choice. They’ll either get to work and get it done. Or we’ll put them out to pasture—where maybe they'll learn a little something about how nature works.

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