“As the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) continues to warn us, we need to act now: the coming years are crucial for the future of our planet,” comments Edie Mukiibi, president of Slow Food. “The best way to celebrate International Mother Earth Day on April 22 is to acknowledge this final warning and put the solutions we have into practice by changing our food systems, adopting agroecological farming methods”.
In its latest report the IPCC stressed the importance of shifting towards sustainable diets in the fight against the climate crisis and endorsed agroecology, together with the empowerment of local communities, as key climate solutions.
Slow Food maintains that agriculture, nutrition and health should be understood in relation to each other, and the roles they can all play in the fight against climate change. What we grow, how we grow it, and how we eat have an enormous impact on public health and the health of the planet. In an era plagued by malnutrition it is essential to remember the complex relationships between soil, oceans, plants, animals and humankind. Agroecology considers all these elements together.
Soil and Seas
It is worth noting that soil is the greatest source of biodiversity in the world, with two-thirds of all living beings hidden under its surface, while oceans are our main ally against global warming, having absorbed 93.4% of excess heat produced over the last 40 years.
With over half of the Earth’s soil now being used by humans, we cannot afford to exploit and degrade it any longer. “It is now essential to change direction. The laws of soil biology and the physiology of plants and animals must be respected. We must stop subsidizing an intensive agricultural model practiced on a large scale, which has compromised soil ecosystems. We must focus on the health and fertility of the soil, valuing agricultural methods that preserve biodiversity and restore the microbiome. That is: agroecology!” Mukiibi underlines.
Regarding the seas, more than 190 countries have recently signed a historic agreement to protect life in the world’s oceans. The new global treaty aims to safeguard biodiversity and convert 30% of all international waters into marine protected areas by 2030. This is an important step forward considering that today only 1.2% of these areas are protected. Like the soil, oceans cannot be seen as an economic resource at our disposal, but must be considered a common good to be managed collectively.
We all need healthy food. But we can only count on being able to produce it if the ecosystems of the soil and the seas are healthy. “The Slow Food movement knows that the only way we can overturn the injustice of a food system based on the plundering of natural resources is a transition to agroecology,” adds Mukiibi. “This set of agricultural practices is also a vision, a science that focuses on the conservation of biodiversity, ecosystems, and the needs of communities. This is our model to ensure long-term food security for everyone on this planet.”