Equal Exchange is proud to launch our new Climate Justice Initiative!
As Vandana Shiva explains in her new book, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis, the solution to climate change lies not only in our ability to exercise our collective will to immediately reduce the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that we emit INTO the air, but in our willingness to support, and thereby benefit from, the regenerative capacity of small-scale, organic agriculture to actually pull existing CO2 out of the air - back into the soil.
Equal Exchange now joins an emerging movement of farmers, scientists, researchers, and activists who advocate this new perspective to combat climate change.
To this end, we have joined the growing global Divest-Invest movement of universities, religious organizations, foundations, businesses, NGOs and individuals taking the Divest-Invest pledge to reduce their financial ties to the top 200 fossil fuel companies within the next five years and instead invest their money in climate solutions like the solidarity economy, where our money meets our values. It is imperative that we demonstrate our numbers before the COP21 UN Climate Talks happening in Paris this December.
Secondly, we are committed to raising $100,000 in the next 12 months to support climate change solutions that also build resilience, on the ground at our partner cooperatives. Small farmers are already working to reverse the impacts of climate change, despite suffering most from the damage that has already incurred.
We in the North owe it to them, to ourselves, and to the planet to stand up and take action!
Please join us to create a more just and sustainable food system, economic model, and planet.
Global warming, while a threat to all mankind, is already undermining the lives and livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable populations in the Global South. Our farmer partners are feeling the impact of erratic weather patterns, record-breaking temperatures, and new challenges to agriculture caused by changes in the climate.
- At CECOVASA, in Peru, and the Chajul Co-operative in Guatemala, coffee farmers have seen catastrophic losses- up to 75% on some farms - due to “La Roya” (coffee rust); a fungus previously unknown in the highland coffee regions, which has recently migrated to higher elevations due to warmer temperatures and high humidity.
- At APRAINORES cashew co-operative in El Salvador, 3 days of relentless hurricane-like winds caused farmers to lose 70% of their harvest; subsequent unusually high tides destroyed 100 acres of cashew trees on the Island of Montecristo; the resulting salinity of the soil makes future replanting impossible.
- At the Potong Tea Garden, a worker-owned, collectively managed tea garden in Darjeeling, extremely low rainfall during the last monsoon season crippled soil rehabilitation and planting projects, and led to losses of nearly five tons on first and second-flush tea.
We, in the developed countries of the North, are among the greatest culprits responsible for climate change. Our societies contribute the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions, enjoy the benefits of mass consumption and the behemoth fossil fuel industries that drive CO2 emissions from factories, cars, and industrial agriculture. The disparity between those who most benefit from the industries deepening the climate emergency and those who most suffer from the impacts of climate change, and ultimately pay the highest costs, is one of the greatest social injustices on the planet today.
On the bright side, there is increasing evidence that real solutions exist that can not only mitigate climate change by pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and storing (sequestering) it in the soil, but simultaneously help vulnerable farming communities adapt to a changing climate and strengthen their resilience. The solutions lie in the basics of photosynthesis (a product of which is returning CO2 to the soil, when it isn’t accompanied by petroleum-based fertilizers and chemical pesticides), and in organic agriculture and traditional methods of land management. The very act of growing food organically can reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, build healthier soil, and provide sustainable livelihoods for millions.
Small-scale farmers, our partners among them, are already implementing these techniques and proving their viability; but they fight an uphill battle, for their own survival and for the world’s. We in the North must now step up and find ways to take meaningful action.
The first step in creating lasting solutions to climate change is to stop emitting CO2 into the atmosphere; that responsibility lies squarely on northern consumers who account for the vast majority of global emissions. That means ending our reliance on fossil fuels, non-renewable energy, and industrial agriculture.
Divest-Invest Individual is counting pledges from people across the globe, building commitments along the road to Paris and inviting you to take action today. Join Divest-Invest and help Equal Exchange participate in a powerful and determined global grassroots movement demanding an end to the fossil fuel companies' hold over our economy, our politicians, and our planet. Rather than sign a petition to ask someone else to do something, this pledge invites you to recognize your own personal power to fuel change. Together, thousands of our personal pledges inform and influence the broader power holders, structures, and systems.
The second step is to support the farmers on the frontlines of climate change. They need our support, to develop new strategies to cope with changing weather and climate patterns, to explore and invest in soil rehabilitation strategies that reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, and to strengthen their own resilience and livelihoods. At the same time, they need us to take a stand against non-renewable energy, and those who profit from it.
Please help us to reverse climate change, support small farmers, and build an alternative, solidarity economy by taking action today!
Members of CECOVASA Co-op in Peru.