Forward on Climate: Join OCA in DC!
On Feb. 17, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) will march with thousands of people from more than 80 organizations to demand that President Obama live up to his promise to address climate change. We'll bring our message of hope to what we believe will be the largest climate rally ever: Cook organic, not the planet!
Please RSVP below to join the OCA at the Forward on Climate rally in Washington, DC, on February 17, 2013. We're meeting at 11:30 AM at the Smithsonian Metro on the National Mall in Washington, DC to gather before joining the noon rally.
OCA is taking action in solidarity with rural communities around the country that are fighting mountaintop removal, tar sands, fracking and factory farms. The foundation of our very existence is at stake: the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil our food grows in. We must stop the corporations that insist on trading drinking water and topsoil for fossil fuels, packing billions of animals into feedlots, and wreaking havoc with the climate.
If we fail to act it will be, as NASA climate scientist James Hansen has said about the tar sands, "game over for the climate."
The good news is that we all have the power to do something about climate change today. And it's right at the end of our forks.
The industrial food system is responsible for at least half of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The main culprit of climate change is the factory farm production of milk, meat and eggs, estimated to emit up to 51% of greenhouse gases. Factory farms contribute to global warming in many ways:
* Deforestation: Factory farming is the #1 cause of forest destruction as farms clear trees to make way for livestock grazing and to grow feed crops
* GMO Crops: Most livestock feed comes from genetically engineered crops, which require the heavy use of pesticides and fossil-fuel-based fertilizers
* Pollution: Factory farms are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide from feed production, livestock and animal waste. The U.S. produces 100 times more factory farm waste than human waste.
* Energy Use: The transportation, processing, packaging, refrigeration and cooking required for factory farmed meat, milk and eggs is greater than that for other foods
* Inefficiency: Livestock supply 13% of energy to the world’s diet but consume 50% the world’s grains
Bill McKibben of 350.org, wrote in his article, The Only Way to Have a Cow, "We should simply stop eating factory-farmed meat, and the effects on climate change would be but one of the many benefits. ... shifting from feedlot farming to rotational grazing is one of the few changes we could make that’s on the same scale as the problem of global warming. "
McKibben explained that well-managed grazing lands can sequester "stupendous amounts of carbon and methane from out of the atmosphere." McKibben points out that "methane-loving bacteria in healthy soils will sequester more of the gas in a day than cows supported by the same area will emit in a year."
If we can save our farmland from dirty energy and factory farm pollution, we can use organic methods of farming and pasture management to trap greenhouse gases in the soil. According to the Rodale Institute, if all the world's farmland were transitioned to organic, the carbon-rich soil would sequester 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Soil scientist Rattan Lal has shown "the potential of carbon sequestration in soils and vegetation together is equivalent to a draw-down of about 50 parts-per-million of atmospheric CO2 by 2100" -- enough to bring CO2 back down to the safe level of 350 ppm.
We can turn the climate crisis around without sacrificing food production. In fact, according to the UN, we could double food production in 10 years using organic practices and other agroecological farming methods.
Boycotting products that come from factory farms, eating more local, organic produce and eating less meat – these are empowering actions that we all should take. But converting climate-friendly eaters one at a time will make for very slow going. We need to take this movement out of the kitchen and into the streets to get control of the companies that profit from factory farming.
On the consumer end, we need laws that require JBS, Dean & Tyson to tell us the truth about how they're producing our food. We need mandatory labels on meat, milk and eggs from factory farms.
On the production end, workers, local communities, and family farmers -- the people who experience the harsh realities of factory farm abuses, pollution and economics first hand -- need to be empowered to have a say in how things are done on the farm.
When Barack Obama was running for president, he said:
"As president, I would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to strictly monitor and regulate pollution from large factory farms, with tough fines for those that violate environmental standards. I also support efforts to provide more meaningful local control over these factory farms."
Let's hold him to it!
Please join us on Feb. 17 to spread the word: "Cook Organic Not the Planet! Boycott Factory Farmed Food!" We'll be handing out sticker with the "Cook organic" slogan. More important, we'll be taking a stand for action on climate change. Hope to see you there!
Event LocationSmithsonian Metro Station on the National Mall
Elevator Exit: 12th Street and Jefferson Drive
Washington, DC 20004
Look for the "Cook Organic Not the Planet" banner at the top of the elevators outside the station.