Temperatures are rising and so are the oceans. Fires are decimating forests and lakes are drying up. The intensity, as well as frequency, of droughts and hurricanes, are predicted to escalate. And as if this weren’t enough, the climate crisis is claiming the lives of the world’s most efficient pollinators – bumblebees. Research from the University of Ottawa, which focused on 66 bumblebee species across North America and Europe, revealed that extreme temperatures and changes in precipitation are risking their survival. One is half as likely to spot a bumblebee in places where they were once a ubiquitous sight – and this has happened within one human generation.
Despite many events having been canceled due to Coronavirus, the Pesticide Action Week is back once again celebrating its fifteenth year online. The upcoming ten days from March 20 to 30 are dedicated to raising awareness around chemical pesticides and the dangers of their use both for human health and the environment.
For over 20 years, the French organization “Generations Futures” has been working on the issue of chemical pesticides and the harm they cause. Every year, at the beginning of spring, it calls farmers, organizations and institutional actors together, grouping of over 50 international partners, including Slow Food.
Slow Food, in its feedback to the European Commission’s consultation on the Farm to Fork Strategy, asserts that the strategy needs to fundamentally shift the narrative, away from one of needing to “feed the world” and towards ensuring everyone has access to good, clean and fair food. The strategy is a key component of the European Green Deal and is expected to be officially launched at the end of March.*
In a joint letter to the European Commission, Slow Food Europe, along with other 20+ civil society organizations, calls for less meat, dairy, and eggs in the Farm to Fork Strategy. The strategy has neither addressed the inherent unsustainability of current animal farming in Europe nor included clear consumption reduction strategies to tackle the public health emergency.
As the European Commission is expected to launch the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy this March, Slow Food Europe urges the Commission to take the necessary measures to drastically reduce the use of pesticides and industrial farming to ensure the protection of pollinators. In its recent feedback on the new strategy, Slow Food Europe also draws attention to agricultural land, which should become “part of the solution to address the biodiversity crisis” and demands that the EU provides support to farmers to transition toward agroecology.
Slow Food Europe, along with more than 100 civil society organizations, denounces the European Commission’s statements on EU-US trade talks. In the joint letter, organizations urge the Commission not to succumb to the Trump’s administration pressure and not to make risky concessions, jeopardizing promises of the European Green Deal.
Ever since the foundation of the European Union, agricultural subsidies have formed the largest single element of its financial plan, accounting €50 billion annually, over a third of the total budget. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has lots of faults, which Slow Food has talked about on numerous occasions over the years, but it’s worth reminding ourselves of one such flaw: the system is designed to reward farmers purely in terms of quantity—how much land they own—and not in terms of the quality of the food produced. This means that today 80% of all the subsidy money goes to the largest 20% of the farmers.
This weekend, Slow Food joins tens of thousands gathering in Berlin for the annual “Wir Haben Es Satt! (We are Fed Up) demonstration, which will call on decision-makers to take immediate and consistent actions to protect biodiversity and stop the climate crisis. Protesters from all over Germany and beyond will use the opportunity to voice their discontent with the current industrial agricultural system, demanding healthy food, family farms, organic and agro-ecological agriculture, and fair trade.
Slow Food Europe has joined 30+ organizations calling on the new European Commission leadership to improve the Farm to Fork Strategy. The strategy, which is part of the European Green Deal and is due to be officially presented in spring 2020, aims to design “a fair, healthy, and environmentally friendly food system.” The undersigned organizations highlight that the strategy lacks clear, ambitious targets and urge the Commission to create “a robust monitoring and evaluation framework that includes corrective measures when targets are missed.”