WESPAC Foundation supports Environmental and Food Justice with a separate listserv used for promoting upcoming events and discussion. WESPAC opposes fracking and two of our members have produced a documentary that highlights Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives on fracking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdwCKzqVRdQ. We have cultivated an extensive cooperative network of food justice activists around the county who seek to expand access to fresh, local food. We also partner with the Wassaic Community Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture): http://wassaiccommunityfarm.com. To get involved or for more information, please contact the office at 914.449.6514 or by email at [email protected]
To accomplish this, a youth climate strike coalition has come together to collaborate on the campaign. The youth strike coalition, coordinated by Future Coalition, includes national youth-led groups such as Zero Hour, Earth Uprising, Fridays For Future USA, Sunrise, US Youth Climate Strike, and Extinction Rebellion Youth.
The climate crisis is the largest threat of our time, and we’re counting on our collective power to demand immediate and decisive action. This is our opportunity to move beyond the traditional climate bubble and expand the table of who is involved in this movement. It is time to lift up the voices and stories of young people on the frontlines of this crisis and ensure we are creating an intergenerational and intersectional climate justice movement. To join the New York Climate Strike, please click here.
“Stewarding our own land, growing our own food, educating our own youth, participating in our own healthcare and justice systems, this is the source of real power and dignity,” writes Leah Penniman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY. Her brand new book, “Farming While Black” is the centerpiece for a special gathering at WESPAC.
Come hear Amani Olugbala, Assistant Director of Programs at Soul Fire Farm, tell how our most cherished sustainable farming practices – from organic agriculture to the farm cooperative and the CSA – have roots in African wisdom. She is a gifted storyteller and food justice advocate with over 15 years of experience in youth education and community outreach and a vital part of Soul Fire Farm.
Soul Fire Farm is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid.
Books will be available for sale. This event is free and open to the public. Plenty of free parking on site. Contributions to support this work will be gratefully accepted.
The public consultation on the proposal closed yesterday.
Brexit fears played a key role in the reactivation of plans to develop a massive liquid natural gas (LNG) deepwater terminal in the Shannon estuary. Irish government ministers were alarmed that in a post-Brexit situation, LNG being piped into Ireland from the UK via interconnectors could be subject to tariffs.
The proposed terminal, which would be capable of docking the world’s largest LNG carriers, is to include four massive LNG storage tanks, each with a capacity of 200,000 cubic metres. Some 23 environmental groups from Ireland, Germany, Belgium and the US have united to oppose the terminal, with the principal objection being that its principal source of LNG would be from fracked gas fields in the US.
Last year, Ireland became one of only three countries in Europe to introduce a total ban on onshore fracking.
According to Friends of the Earth: “we banned fracking in Ireland, it would be absurd to import fracked gas instead. It would lock us into fossil fuel dependence and blow our chances of containing climate change”.
Friends of the Earth added that the Irish planning regulator, An Bord Pleanála “should not extend the planning permission for Shannon LNG. The Government and the EU should not support or subsidise it”. Permission was originally sought for the project in 2008, but the original backer, theUS investor, Hess, pulled out after wrangles with the regulators over compulsory contributions towards the cost of linking to the Ireland-UK interconnector.
Some 99 percent of the total Irish gas supply is currently imported via the UK through the two undersea interconnectors.
Another anti-fracking group opposing the terminal, ‘Not Here, Not Anywhere’ pointed out the “quite hypocritical position that Ireland, having introduced a domestic fracking ban, thinks it’s fine to import fracked gas from the US”, spokesperson Ciara Barry told DeSmog UK.
“The promotion of natural gas of any kind as a ‘transition fuel’ is deeply flawed, and ignores for instance the highly damaging methane emissions associated with extraction”, Barry added. “This also locking us in to infrastructure with a 40-50-year life span, which makes any transition to a low carbon economy in the time scale needed completely impossible”.
The spectre of Brexit has breathed new life into a once-mothballed terminal proposal. Among the strongest advocates for it has been Irish MEP, Seán Kelly. Largely due to his lobbying, the project has now been designated as a European Project of Common Interest. This means, crucially, that the project, with an estimated cost of €500 million, may become eligible for investment from both the European Investment Bank and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.
“This project is not just an option, it is becoming an imperative We’re actually by far and away the most vulnerable of all the 28 member states in the EU now”, Kelly told the Irish Examiner. “The countries that are vulnerable in terms of energy requirements across the EU are well advanced on plans to sort that out by building their own energy terminals but we’re not doing that”.
According to the NGO Food and Water Europe, The Shannon estuary, the proposed site of the LNG terminal, has been declared by the EU an Estuaries Special Protection Area (SPA); however, Ireland has a very poor record of enforcing protection for its EU-designated SPAs and has frequently faced EU legal enforcement actions on SPAs, most notably sensitive peatlands.
Campaigners against the LNG project point to the decision in November 2017, by BNP Paribas, a leading European and global financial services provider to “no longer do business with companies whose principal business activity is the exploration, production, distribution, marketing or trading of oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands”.
BNP Paribas explicitly singled out “LNG terminals that predominantly liquefy and export gas from shale” as being among the projects it would no longer provide finance for. This is a hugely significant shift, as major banks and financial institutions like BNP Paribas switch to: “financing and investment activities in line with the International Energy Agency (IEA) scenario, which aims to keep global warming below 2°C by the end of the century”.
Ireland’s energy and ‘climate action’ minister, Denis Naughten is understood to see the Shannon LNG project as an important tool in maintaining security of supply for energy, the Irish Examiner reported. Domestic political anxiety about Ireland being at the very end of a gas pipeline network stretching thousands of miles across Europe has been heightened by the political and economic uncertainties posed by the shambolic Brexit process.
Ireland’s largest coal-fired power station, the 915 megawatt Moneypoint facility is located just across the Shannon estuary from the site of the proposed new terminal. The Irish government is under pressure to exit from both coal and peat burning, and while renewables are now providing around a fifth of electricity production (with over 2,800 megawatt wind energy capacity), it still leaves major gaps in supply, with both gas and biofuels being touted in government circles as so-called ‘bridge’ fuels.
The energy and environmental landscape has shifted significantly since the original Shannon LNG project was granted planning permission in 2008. Three years ago, the Irish parliament passed the Climate Action law to give effect to government policy of reducing Irish carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
A subsequent Energy White Paper adopted by government upped the target for the energy sector of cutting emissions by 80 to 95 percent by 2050. Campaigners point out that these ambitious but essential targets for decarbonising Ireland’s energy system would be impossible to realise if costly new LNG infrastructure is locked into place for the next several decades.
A ruling on the public consultation that closed yesterday is expected in the coming weeks.”
-- Andy Gheorghiu - Policy Advisor - Food & Water Europe Stechbahn 9 34497 Korbach Germany Tel.: +49 5631 50 69 507 Mobil: +49 160 20 30 974 Skype: andy.gheorghiu2 www.foodandwatereurope.org
Conflict and civilisational threats likely unless action is taken to reduce the stress on rivers, lakes, aquifers, wetlands and reservoirs
The comprehensive annual study warns of conflict and civilisational threats unless actions are taken to reduce the stress on rivers, lakes, aquifers, wetlands and reservoirs.
The World Water Development Report – released in drought-hit Brasília – says positive change is possible, particularly in the key agricultural sector, but only if there is a move towards nature-based solutions that rely more on soil and trees than steel and concrete.
“For too long, the world has turned first to human-built, or ‘grey’, infrastructure to improve water management. In doing so, it has often brushed aside traditional and indigenous knowledge that embraces greener approaches,” says Gilbert Houngbo, the chair of UN Water, in the preface of the 100-page assessment. “In the face of accelerated consumption, increasing environmental degradation and the multi-faceted impacts of climate change, we clearly need new ways of manage competing demands on our freshwater resources.”
Humans use about 4,600 cubic km of water every year, of which 70% goes to agriculture, 20% to industry and 10% to households, says the report, which was launched at the start of the triennial World Water Forum. Global demand has increased sixfold over the past 100 years and continues to grow at the rate of 1% each year.
This is already creating strains that will grow by 2050, when the world population is forecast to reach between 9.4 billion and 10.2 billion (up from 7.7 billion today), with two in every three people living in cities.
Demand for water is projected to rise fastest in developing countries. Meanwhile, climate change will put an added stress on supplies because it will make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier.
Drought and soil degradation are already the biggest risk of natural disaster, say the authors, and this trend is likely to worsen. “Droughts are arguably the greatest single threat from climate change,” it notes. The challenge has been most apparent this year in Cape Town, where residents face severe restrictions as the result of a once-in-384-year drought. In Brasília, the host of the forum, close to 2m people have their taps turned off once in every five days due to a unusually protracted dry period.
By 2050, the report predicts, between 4.8 billion and 5.7 billion people will live in areas that are water-scarce for at least one month each year, up from 3.6 billion today, while the number of people at risk of floods will increase to 1.6 billion, from 1.2 billion.
In drought belts encompassing Mexico, western South America, southern Europe, China, Australia and South Africa, rainfall is likely to decline. The shortage cannot be offset by groundwater supplies, a third of which are already in distress. Nor is the construction of more dams and reservoirs likely to be a solution, because such options are limited by silting, runoff and the fact that most cost-effective and viable sites in developed countries have been identified.
Water quality is also deteriorating. Since the 1990s, pollution has worsened in almost every river in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and it is expected to deteriorate further in the coming two decades, mainly due to agriculture runoffs of fertiliser and other agrochemicals that load freshwater supplies with nutrients that lead to the growth of pathogens and choking algae blooms. Industry and cities are also a significant problem. About 80% of industrial and municipal wastewater is discharged without treatment.
Crucially, the report emphasises a shift away from watershed management towards a wider geographic approach that takes in land use in distant areas, particularly forests. Although farmers have long seen trees as a drain on water supplies, the authors recognise more recent studies that show vegetation helps to recycle and distribute water. This was apparent in the São Paulo drought of 2014-15, which the city’s water authorities and scientists have linked to Amazon deforestation.
The key for change will be agriculture, the biggest source of water consumption and pollution. The report calls for “conservation agriculture”, which would make greater use of rainwater rather than irrigation and regularise crop rotation to maintain soil cover. This would also be crucial to reverse erosion and degradation, which currently affects a third of the planet’s land, a different UN study found last year.
Perhaps the most positive message of the report is that the potential savings of such practices exceed the projected increase in global demand for water, which would ease the dangers of conflict and provide better livelihoods for family farmers and poverty reduction.
Nature-based solutions can be personal – such as dry toilets – or broad landscape-level shifts in agricultural practices. The report contains several positive case studies that show how environments and supplies can improve as a result of policy changes. In Rajasthan, more than 1,000 drought-stricken villages were supported by small-scale water harvesting structures, while a shift back towards traditional soil preservation practices in the Zarqa basin in Jordan are credited with a recovery of water quality in local springs.
The authors stress the goal is not to replace all grey infrastructure, because there are situations where there is no other choice, for example in building reservoirs to supply cities with water. But they urge greater take-up of green solutions, which are often more cost-effective as well as sustainable. They also encourage more use of “green bonds” (a form of financing that aims to reward long-term sustainable investments) and more payments for ecosystem services (cash for communities that conserve forests, rivers and wetlands that have a wider benefit to the the environment and society).
Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of Unesco, which commissioned the report, noted two-thirds of the world’s forests and wetlands have been lost since the turn of the 20th century – a trend that needs to be addressed.
“We all know that water scarcity can lead to civil unrest, mass migration and even to conflict within and between countries,” she said. “Ensuring the sustainable use of the planet’s resources is vital for ensuring long-term peace and prosperity.”
The World Water Forum is the biggest single gathering of policymakers, businesses and NGOs involved in water management. It is being held in the southern hemisphere for the first time, and is expected to draw 40,000 participants.
Among them are indigenous and other grassroots activists who believe the event is too close to government, agriculture and business. They are staging an alternative forum in Brasília that puts greater emphasis on community management of water as a free public resource.”
40 Percent of Countries with Largest Shale Energy Resources Face Water Stress
Dozens of countries are deciding whether or not to develop their shale gas and tight oil resources, as shale gas could boost recoverable natural gas resources by 47 percent, cut greenhouse gas emissions compared to coal, create new revenue and jobs, and raise national energy supplies. However, extracting natural gas and tight oil from shale poses water risk. We analyzed water stress levels in the 20 countries with the largest shale gas and tight oil resources, and found that 40 percent face high water stress or arid conditions.
Protecting Water Security, Promoting Energy Security
This infographic, based on the related report’s data, depicts the following key findings:
38 percent of the world’s shale resources face high to extremely high water stress or arid conditions.
386 million people live on land above shale plays—increased competition for water and public concern over hydraulic fracturing is more likely in densely populated areas.
In China, 61 percent of shale resources face high water stress or arid conditions.
In Argentina, 72 percent of shale resources face low to medium water stress.
In the United Kingdom, 34 percent of shale plays face high water stress or arid conditions.
A huge thank you to Tracy for submitting these minutes:
Minutes Food Justice Meeting WESPAC March 13, 2018
In attendance: Nada, Angel, Christina, Tracy, Chloe, Delia, Natalie, Lydia, Louise and Brianne.
— Angel began giving the latest information about the struggles of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their allies to get Wendy’s to sign on to the Fair Food Program like all of its fast-food competitors have done. Today, Thursday, March 15, marks day 5 of a 5-day fast happening now in NYC led by the Coalition of Immokolee Workers to bring attention to Wendy’s refusal to sign on to the agreement which would ensure safe and clean working conditions for the farmworkers and a method to report sexual abuse. Instead, Wendy’s has chosen to exploit farmworkers in Mexico for their tomatoes instead of signing on. Join them if you can today at the Dag Hammarkjold Plaza, 245 East 47th Street at 5:00 pm for the concluding rally.
— Nada is exploring ways to make a green stretch of land that exists at Exit 5 of highway 287 into a White Plains/Greenburgh food forest with fruit and nut trees and other bee-friendly plantings. She is investigating with the NY Dept of Transportation and it was suggested to also contact Westchester Community College’s Native Plants department who has done a past program on roadside regeneration.
— Tracy and Bri shared information about a new venture that WESPAC is taking a lead role in – The Mobile Community Café Initiative. Under the umbrella of the Westchester Food Justice Collective, Nourish Food Truck will be hitting the road this summer offering up freshly prepared, healthy meals to low-income, food-insecure families. Making stops at community centers, senior centers and shelters in White Plains and Greenburg, the truck is on a mission to serve nutritious plant-based meals at no cost to under-served communities.
Unlike mobile food pantries, the truck is like a café on wheels that supports local farmers, functions as a platform for rising young chefs, educates the public, and reduces food waste. The truck’s owner, Brianne Brathwaite will be the main chef. WESPAC, the lead organization in the Collective, sees the non-profit work of the mobile community cafe to be a transformative shift toward more equitable communities where there is less hunger and greater social justice. We have submitted two grant proposals seeking start-up funding for this exciting initiative.
Calling volunteers: we need help cleaning up the commercial kitchen at the Memorial United Methodist Church, which will function as the prep kitchen and storage kitchen for the food truck. Look for an email announcement coming soon for a date in late March.
Hi Nada,Thank you for helping to spread the word about Good Food Farmers – we really appreciate it!Please feel free to be in touch with any questions!Many thanks,Hilary————-Good Food Farmers Network is comprised of small-scale and beginning farmers anchored by more experienced growers committed to regenerative agriculture. We work hard to produce and deliver the best quality foods grown with the highest standards of care for the earth and all who inhabit it. We welcome your support and the opportunity to grow food for you!A few Good Food Farmers highlights:
- We are farmer-owned and farmer-led – a farmer cooperative in essence but not quite structured that way yet – all purchases directly support our farms.
- Our commitment to producing and delivering good food is unwavering. All our foods are incredibly fresh, grown and harvested with great care, and produced without pesticides, w
ithout synthetic fertilizers, without genetically modified organisms, and with the highest degree of animal welfare and environmental stewardship.
- You pay by the week (there’s a $45 order minimum to help make sure we’re covering our delivery costs), and you can cancel if needed.
- You can put your delivery on hold anytime, whether you’re going out of town or simply feel overwhelmed by the bounty of the seasons.
- When you sign up, you pick a Farmer’s Choice default bag. Each week, we choose items for the default bags based on what’s looking good in the fields. We announce the items in the Weekly e-Newsletter sent out on Fridays each week. If you do nothing, you will receive the default bag. But, you can also log-in to your online account and completely customize your order if desired. We have 35+ items available each week during the winter months and 65+ items during the main growing season, so there’s lots of flexibility to build a bag that suits you. About half of our members choose to customize, and about half choose to get the default bag, often remarking that they like the mix of seasonal items and don’t want to bother customizing. Either way, it’s up to you! The order deadline for holds and customizing is Sunday nights at 11:59 pm.
- We deliver to Mt. Kisco each week with pickup at the Khader Center available each Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm. We also offer home and office delivery in some parts of lower Westchester from Pelham to White Plains and neighborhoods in between.Thank you for your interest, and we are happy to answer any questions whether technical or simply to learn more about us and all of our farms. Please feel free to be in touch!– Hilary, on behalf of all your Good Food FarmersHilary CorsunDog Wood Farm& GFF Coordinator518-821-4282 farm officec/o Dog Wood Farm, 85 Hartigan Road, Old Chatham, NY 12136Good Food Farmers is farmer-owned and works to support sustainable agriculture and small-scale and beginning farmers by delivering good food into the hands of more people.
Join us as we raise awareness about the negative financial and environmental impacts that would result from privatization of the county airport.
The bids from private companies to take over the Westchester Airport are due shortly before the rally. Speakers include: George Fuss, Legislator Parker (Dist.-7), Jonathan Wang, and a public health expert. After the rally, we will attend the Board of Legislators regular meeting in the 8th floor of the building, where representatives plan to speak during the public comment period. The rally is permited.
Sponsored by Citizens for a Responsible County Airport, Westchester for Change, WESPAC, Sierra Club, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Purchase Environmental Protective Association, Food & Water Watch, Grassroots Environmental Education, We Persist, and Indivisible Westchester.
Citizens for a Responsible County Airport is a nonpartisan grassroots group committed to sustainable, conscientious management and improvement of the airport by holding our government accountable. crcairport.org