The Lofoten Declaration: A New Bar for Climate Leadership
By Hannah McKinnon
For a good part of the past three decades, climate action has been planned, measured, judged and implemented based on tackling emissions where they come out of the chimney or the tailpipe.
Most countries have suites of policies designed to reduce their emissions: cue electrification of transportation, building efficiency codes, carbon pricing, etc. While these are important efforts, keeping emissions within climate limits will be extremely hard unless we also tackle the industry behind them.
The climate equation has two sides, and while great attention has been paid to the demand side ("How do we reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions?"), much less has been paid to the supply side ("How do we rein in production of fossil fuels that the climate can't afford?") The climate movement knows this—look no further than fossil fuel infrastructure resistance around the world, with some communities that have been standing up to the sector for decades.
But politicians, by and large, either don't get it, or are choosing to ignore it.
The result is a dangerous imbalance. An imbalance that allows many fossil fuel producing countries (think Norway, Canada, the UK, etc.), to insist they are showing climate leadership while they continue to explore, expand and exploit massive fossil fuel reserves with no meaningful plan for how they are going to stop it in line with safe climate limits.
5 Nobel Peace Laureates Urge Norway PM Candidates to Show Climate Leadership https://t.co/CyFwxBnW2U @worldresources @climatesavers— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1504230308.0
In a world of unprecedented climate impacts, we need unprecedented climate leadership. Instead of passing the buck by ignoring the lock-in of massive new fossil fuel infrastructure that is designed to produce for decades to come, we need action, leadership and policy that plans for climate safety.
Today, in an unprecedented call, over 220 organizations from 55 countries are calling for just that. The Lofoten Declaration calls for a managed decline of the fossil fuel sector in line with the Paris climate goals. The declaration demands a just transition, it demands leadership in this phase-out from the countries that can afford it first, and it confirms that the movement to stand up to dangerous fossil fuel development must be led by those on the front lines.
The declaration is named after the Lofoten Islands of Norway, a region where the oil industry has been lobbying to drill for decades, but has thus far been blocked by a growing movement to protect the region and the climate.
The Lofoten Declaration also points out that the energy revolution is already well underway and that energy access and demand can be met by safer, cleaner, renewable energies.
In a time when clean energy is outpacing everyone's expectations, it seems incredibly obtuse to want to be a part of a competition where the "winners" are among the last fossil fuel producers in the world. It is akin to wanting to be the last person with huge investments in making fax machines, video tapes, or 8-tracks. The world is moving on and there are incredible risks for countries that chose to ignore it.
The declaration is being launched just a few days ahead of Norway's next national elections. Norway has all of the characteristics of a country that must be a first mover in the managed decline of its fossil fuel sector, and they are feeling the heat (see here, here, and here). Instead of being the world's seventh largest emissions exporter, Norway should join the small but growing list of countries (France and Costa Rica so far) that are planning a climate-defined end to their fossil fuel sectors.
This is the new bar for climate leadership and it's very clear: you can't call yourself a climate leader if you are ignoring half of the problem.
You can read and sign onto the declaration at www.LofotenDeclaration.org
Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
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By Andrea Germanos
A new report released Tuesday details the "shocking" state of global land equality, saying the problem is worse than thought, rising, and "cannot be ignored."
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