02 Dec 2022
Feeding the planet
As campaigners, we’re all aware of the environmental impact of what ends up on our plate. We also know the issue isn't population – it's possible to healthily feed every person on the planet. Food and feeding people are political issues with political solutions.
Thanks to the sprawling system of supply chains that feeds many of us in the UK, we know too that food production is a global issue. It's no surprise then that some of our groups are taking action on it and incorporating an international approach.
Local to global
Liverpool Friends of the Earth has been doing some brilliant campaigning against the expansion of Liverpool Port. The area doesn't have the infrastructure for this expansion, which would lead to a significant decrease in air quality standards.
On top of that, soya bean products come into Liverpool Port to later be processed into hen feed. These products are linked to massive deforestation in the Brazilian Cerrado. With this in mind, Liverpool Friends of the Earth formed a coalition to fight the port expansion and managed to gain the support of a local MP.
During the COP26 Global Day of Action rally in Liverpool, the group also read out a statement from a Brazilian community affected by the deforestation arising from soya bean farming. This is textbook stuff for how a group can link local and international issues to make their campaigns as impactful as possible.
As our Liverpool group highlighted, large-scale industrial farming isn't just a calamity for our lands and forests but also often involves land grabbing and the displacement of people. As part of its food sovereignty programme, Friends of the Earth International supports communities to fight against this practice and defend their homes. It also supports the solution: the small-scale, low-meat, local farming that still feeds the majority of people in the world today.
Also known as agroecology, this is much more environmentally sound and empowering for communities. Read more on agroecology and take a look at a map of where it's being practised.
Agroecology as a solution is very much in line with the activity of Climate Action Lewisham. As part of Veganuary, the group promoted local vegan eating and members supported one another to do this through holding regular cook-along sessions.
Of course, coming together to eat is also exactly the type of activity that builds the relationships that keep our groups and communities strong. There's even greater strength in coming together internationally. This is what Friends of the Earth International is doing through the Nyéléni Process – a plan to bring together hundreds of thousands of people in 2023 to discuss the collective struggle for food sovereignty. Groups can be a part of responding to our shared, global food challenges too. Find out more and join the Nyéléni Process.
Be it the consumption patterns many of us in the UK have, or the presence and activity of multinationals here, it’s never hard to trace UK links to international injustices.
As such we're very well placed to think about and affect international change through our local activity, so it's great to see Liverpool Friends of the Earth and Climate Action Lewisham do just that.