They’re blaming agriculture for killing the planet. And that may be true. But we don’t trust the UN about food at all. Here’s why
By Diane Small
The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference is more commonly referred to as Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, or COP. It’s widely supported by governments, universities, big business, and the likes of the World Economic Forum.
Although some think this meeting is the greatest hope to save the planet, others think it’s corrupt to the core. That corruption is manifested in many ways. But for us, it’s most clearly seen in the UN’s approach to agriculture.
Here’s how we think the UN and its supporters are destroying healthy food and agricultural practices in favour of big business interests. All in the name of saving the planet from climate change.
Why We Don’t Trust The UN About Food
A Brief History Of Agriculture
For over 12,000 years, we humans were masters of farming. We knew how to recycle animal dung into fertilizers. Companion planting – that is, putting plants together that complemented their growth – was common. We ate local, seasonal foods. Most people had their own vegetable gardens and knew how to work them. We had a strong connection to animals and the Earth.
But the Industrial Revolution changed all that.
The British ushered in large-scale industrial agriculture in the mid 1800s. This is the intensive production of crops and animals, often involving:
- chemical fertilizers on crops
- the routine, harmful use of antibiotics and growth hormones in animals
- inhumane, filthy conditions for farm animals
- heavy use of pesticides, and other practices that deplete the land, mistreat animals, and increase various forms of pollution
The main driver behind the Industrial Revolution in farming wasn’t that we needed more food. Instead, it was that industrialists wanted farmers to work in factories, not on the land. Which meant that more machines than people needed to be employed in the countryside.
In other words, it was driven by greed.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
Today, consolidation in the industry has intensified as agriculture has undergone what is known as “vertical integration.” This is the transition from small, diverse farms producing a variety of crops to an industrialized system dominated by a handful of multinational corporations and the supermarkets they sell to.
These corporations reap the benefits while farmers see their profits evaporate. All the while, we lose our connection to the Earth and food production, and the health threats of industrial agriculture increase.
The World Economic Forum, a major COP27 partner, now wants to usher in a Fourth Industrial Revolution. And like its 1800s counterpart, it’s driven by greed, not need.
Corporations will still dominate our food production. But this time, wifi technologies, vaccinations for animals, genetic alteration of plants and animals and the creation of synthetic foods will play huge roles. And we take even further steps away from all that is natural and connected to the Earth.
All of this sums up more about why we don’t trust the UN with our food supply.
A Web Of Corporate Corruption
So, guess who is sponsoring the UN’s COP27 meeting? Basically, many corporations that are behind the Fourth Industrial Revolution, mentioned above. Which is yet another main reason we don’t trust the UN with our food.
For decades, the COP has been riddled by corporate vested interests that put profits over people and the planet. If you’re wondering if COP27 will be an exception to this rule, don’t. The list of organizations involved suggests the contrary.
Here are but of a few of the worst players:
- CropLife International, the pesticide industry’s lobby group
- PepsiCo, known for its destruction of rainforests to obtain palm oil and massive plastic pollution
- McDonald’s, known for deforestation for its cattle and massive plastic pollution
- JBS, the world’s largest meat company, also known for destroying rainforests
- Coca-Cola, the world’s number one producer of fossil fuel-based plastic waste and user of local freshwater sources to create soda for profit
- NEOM, the Saudi Arabian “smart city” whose construction displaced thousands of native Bedouin nomads
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, makers of weapons of mass destruction, rockets and industrial machinery
- The World Economic Forum, an undemocratic, powerful entity that proudly infiltrates governments to have politicians push their radical, technocratic agendas
How can we take the UN/COP seriously when those are their sponsors?
Ignoring The Real Issues
Since the Industrial Revolution, there can be no doubt that agriculture is now one of the worst, if not THE worst, industries for pollution. That’s mainly down to large-scale, industrial farming, which uses:
- Massive amounts of chemical fertilizers
- Huge amounts of chemical pesticides and herbicides
- Plenty of GMO seeds
Industrial farming also hugely contributes to a lack of biodiversity, the displacement of indigenous people, deforestation, animal suffering and the depletion of soil health.
While the players at COP27 are suggesting the solutions to this are another Industrial Revolution, Slow Food strongly disagrees. This group believes that in order to build a more resilient and ecological food system, we need to go back to more ancient agricultural practices.
As highlighted in Slow Food’s Climate Declaration, organic food and permacultural farming are part of the solution. And yet these ideas are not even on the table at COP27. That’s another main reason we don’t trust the UN.
Instead, proposals are being put forth for more harmful – but profitable – ‘solutions’. These include:
- GMOs, which are now evidently killing bees, birds and destroying soil health
- High-cost wifi devices stuck into soil that can monitor water and other factors. These frequencies also do damage to wildlife, especially pollinating insects
- Synthetic, lab-grown foods, which can harm human health, but which are potentially highly profitable
- Insect proteins, which are not only disgusting, but can cause serious health issues in humans
Climate Change…And Nothing Else?
Oddly enough, while the COP focuses on ‘saving the planet’ from climate change, there’s no focus whatsoever on chemical pollution.
Sure, there’s a lot of talk about ‘reducing emissions’. But what about the greatest source of pollution in the world: agrichemical use? Not a damn peep.
How can we take these people and their meetings seriously, when they’re not even discussing major issues, such as:
- The impact of GMOs on soil, animal, and human health
- How EMF radiation from wifi is affecting pollinators
- The impact of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides on human, soil and animal health
- Emissions due to food being flown around the world instead of consumed locally
“The COP is becoming a round table for industrial agriculture and polluting co-operations to negotiate their right to pollute, putting the livelihood of millions of people at stake”, says Edward Mukiibi, President of Slow Food. And we’d agree! That’s yet another reason we don’t trust the UN to make policies on agriculture.
But another reason we don’t trust the UN is their total obsession with climate change. Believe it or not, the planet is facing all kinds of other urgent environmental issues! But a focus on climate change alone is driving some insane policies.
For example, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (who has strong ties to the WEF) announced his intentions to cut nitrogen emissions from livestock farms in half by the year 2030 in order to help stop climate change.
However, what Rutte doesn’t seem to realise is this. There’s excess nitrogen and ammonia from animal feces because we no longer use it as fertilizer, as we used to before the Industrial Revolution. Chemical fertilizers are far more popular today.
While, as a vegan, I don’t support the eating of animal products at all, I do recognise that billions of people disagree. I can’t change that. But I can call for change in animal husbandry.
Instead of being utterly destroyed, farmers should be subsidized to practice regenerative agriculture, which puts good use to animal waste, and replaces industrial animal farms with holistic ones.
World Food Shortages?
The result of Rutte’s radical policies – which are strongly supported by not only the UN, but also the WEF – involve the forced relocation of farms and the seizure of up to 600 farms deemed to be the heaviest nitrogen emitters.
The immediate result? Thousands of farmers protested throughout the country. The long term implications? Possible food shortages in the future, thousands of people out of work, and ever-increasing corporate ownership of farmland.
Without a doubt the Dutch should do more to protect nature. The country produces four times more nitrogen pollution than the European average, due to its intensive animal agriculture. However, seizing farms isn’t the solution. Teaching agro-ecology to farmers is.
But it’s not only Holland that’s applying such radical measures. Sri Lanka, Canada and other nations are following Holland’s extreme policies, despite the threat of looming food shortages. Additionally, the UK is paying farmers up to £100k to retire, to ‘save the planet.’
But wait….we still need food, don’t we?
It’s hard not to conclude that politics and green ideology, more than science and reason, are driving these government’s decisions.
Old Fashioned Approaches Beat Technology
Agro-ecology should be recognized as a central tool to tackle the multiple planetary crises we face. Agro-ecology is rooted in rebuilding relationships between agriculture and the environment, and between food systems and society.
Evidence shows that agro-ecological systems have many benefits, including:
- supporting biodiversity
- rebuilding soil fertility
- sustaining better yields over time
- providing a basis for secure farm livelihoods and healthy diets for all
Yet, although food and agriculture had a more prominent place at COP26 last year in Glasgow, solutions that came out of it aimed at keeping the current, highly polluting system in place.
One sad example amongst others was the Koroniva joint work on agriculture. This does not address the food system as a whole. Instead, it only focuses on the adaptation to climate impacts, and puts agro-chemical pollution and deforestation aside. Just another reason why we don’t trust the UN.
Marta Messa, Secretary General of Slow Food, comments: “The need to tackle food systems as whole and the solutions offered by agro-ecology are clear and supported by a growing body of scientific evidence. We cannot afford to let agro-ecology be captured by vested interest or be used loosely as a term to legitimize pathways that ultimately maintain the status quo.”
It’s Time For Real Change
We don’t trust the COP, and neither to millions of others. People are starting to wake up to how corrupt the United Nations and its various branches are. There are massive protests planned for the COP27. So much so, the surrounding area of the meeting has now been described as a ‘police state’.
(How is sending in the military to stop protestors ‘inclusive’ to all ‘stakeholders’, as the COP pretends to be? But I digress….)
What’s more, questions around sustainability have dogged UN climate meetings for years. For example, during their meeting in Poland in 2018, hot air was pumped into the prefabricated buildings to keep participants warmer. Last year in Scotland, the plastic wrapping of sandwiches and drinks being stored in open refrigerated units raised eyebrows. And don’t even get us started about all the pollution emitted by the private jets of the attendees! Do these people really care about the environment? Or are they more concerned about making money from climate change ‘solutions’?
If we want real change, the demands of the people and the Slow Food Climate Declaration must be heard. Good, healthy, organic food and farming is part of the solution.
Here are some other proposals we’d love to see:
- Farmers should be encouraged to use bio-based pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides
- Homeowners should be taught how to grow their own food, and subsidies should be given to transform grass lawns into food gardens
- Supermarkets should be penalized for plastic packaging
- Restaurants and supermarkets should be penalized for throwing out edible food instead of donating it or setting it out for free
We must act today if we want to stop the UN from destroying healthy food forever.
We don’t trust the UN at all, but what do you think? Do you have any other suggestions for a healthier food supply? Let us know in the comments, below!