The first Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, 1970, gathered 20 million American citizens who marched for a cleaner environment. Since then, every year on the same day, a wealth of initiatives celebrate the earth all over the world. They remind us that it is becoming ever more urgent and necessary to safeguard the health of our planet with concrete actions taken at various levels to fight climate change. And they remind us of the value of what we step on, breathe, use, eat, admire and inhabit.
As Slow Food, once again, we want to confirm our efforts to fight climate change through the promotion of a good, clean and fair food system which could have a great impact in controlling the changes under way. Several studies have highlighted the significant role of food production in terms of carbon emissions. From agronomic practices to intensive farming, from food treatment and processing methods (including packaging) to transport and distribution, the impact of agribusiness on global warming is huge. Intensive farming contributes to the massive degradation of ecosystems, although the agricultural future of the world depends on their preservation.
However, far too often the relationship between global warming and food production is left at the margins of the debate. And far too often, we forget to make the proper distinction between different types of agriculture. If industrial farming warms the planet, agroecology (which includes a wide variety of concepts, such as sustainable farming, ecological farming, eco-friendly cultivation, eco-farming, low input farming, organic farming, permaculture and biodynamic farming) reduces the damage. In addition, it offers other great advantages, such as the opportunity to provide for a more balanced diet and to produce more food per hectare if compared to conventional farming methods.
So what can we do – on April 22 and all the days that follow – to embrace the earth, treat it with respect, and remember that its resources are not limitless? We can choose a climate-friendly diet, helping to create the world we want with each purchase: choosing a plant-based diet,and organic, and biodynamic products or food from eco-friendly farming practices; purchasing from farmers and buying local products… And let’s make sure that we are informed on what we eat. Awareness is a weapon of mass construction. And there is a huge need of such awareness, for the earth, ourselves and of those who produce the food we eat.
For more information, download Slow Food’s position paper on climate change.