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motion for debate

Discussion / motion for debate

Local marketing reverses biodiversity loss

Explanation of the motion
In April 2002, the 193 governments who are party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) committed themselves ‘to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth’. Today, in mid-2010, it is clear that biodiversity loss is continuing at an alarming rate. The recent study ‘Global Biodiversity: Indicators of Recent Declines’ by UNEP and co-authored by staff from over 40 international organizations confirms this sad truth.

What is needed to reverse biodiversity loss? Would a change in consumption patterns be enough to reduce our ecological footprint, as The World Watch report 2010 Transforming Cultures suggests? According to the World Watch Institute ‘a new cultural framework has to be centered on sustainability: individual and societal choices that cause minimal ecological damage or, better yet, that restore Earth’s ecological systems to health’. How can consumer choices lead to restoring ecological systems? Is it enough to buy locally produced goods and food items produced with locally available resources? A study by D.G. Hole et al. (2004) ‘Does organic farming benefit biodiversity?’ compared organic and conventional agriculture and reviewed data from Europe, Canada, New Zealand and the United States and concluded that organic farming increases biodiversity at every level of the food chain. The study reviewed measured biodiversity from bacteria, plants, beetles, mammals and birds.

Sustainable societies depend on sustainable farming. So does the solution then lie in reducing globally transported food produced with fertilizers and chemicals and increasing locally, organically produced and marketed food produced by resilient communities which have strong bio-cultural relationships? A study in 2010 from IIED and Oxfam UK (Fair miles: recharting the food miles map) indicates that transportation is only responsible for 10 percent of all emissions associated with the United Kingdoms’s food chains. But it also argues against the idea that locally produced foods in the UK are necessarily better in terms of global warming, since they often require more energy to grow.

Join the debate
We invite readers to respond to the motion Local marketing reverses biodiversity loss. A selection of responses will be published in the Interacting section of the next issue of ED Magazine. Please restrict your contribution to 200 words.

Click here if you would like to post your views or send them to compas@etcnl.nl


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