Climate Change, Agriculture, and the Right to Food
Minnesota Ranks High in Many Green State Practices PDF Print E-mail


But Did You Know It Ranks in the Middle

on Its Contribution to Climate Change?


jon watsonsonja trom eayrsWe’d like to thank the many people who attended the April Think Again Brooklyns Forum, “Reaching for Clean Air and Water in MN’s Cities and Countryside.”  Our speakers shared excellent information, Sonja Trom Eayrs on the impact of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) on the family farmers in Dodge County and Jon Watson on the aquifers that serve as the sources of water for Brooklyn Park and the filters through which it passes.  Our attendees asked many thoughtful questions.

Brooklyn Park’s water comes from 10 municipal wells that draw most of their water from the Quaternary glacial drift aquifer.  The water from this aquifer has high levels of manganese, iron, magnesium, and calcium.  The water is transmitted to Brooklyn Park’s water treatment facility where it is run through filters for 72 hours which remove the manganese and iron.  However, the calcium remains and is removed through water softeners at the point of use.  The calcium could be removed and is removed from water by the city of Minneapolis, but Jon Watson noted that it would raise the cost of water from $2.20 per thousand gallons of water to over $6 per thousand gallons.

A rating of the green status of the states, “2019’s Greenest States,” was published a few days after the forum.  Though MN ranked high in many green practices such as recycling, the number of LEED’s buildings, renewable energy consumption, smart meters, and green transportation, it ranked towards the middle on its climate change contributions.  Though MN has reduced its carbon emissions 15% through the use of renewable energy, both wind and solar, its methane emissions have increased a substantial 10% due to MN's having the 2nd highest number of CAFO's of all states.  This lowers MN’s net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GhG’s) to just 5%.


factory farms - leading states

If you haven’t seen it, for a quick introduction to the impact of CAFOs on traditional family farms, Watch the 6 minute video on Newberg Township’s battle to keep CAFOs out of Karst Country.






Food Production Today Takes 20 Times as Much Fossil Fuel as 100 Years ago PDF Print E-mail

michaelpollanA 4 minute interview with Professor Michael Pollan also emphasizes the importance of the method of production for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He points out that 100 years ago it took 1 calorie of fossil fuel to produce two calories of food. Today in the U.S. it takes 10 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of food. Michael Pollan is Director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, author, and critic of the global industrial food complex. Watch Professor Pollan's interview on

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 October 2011 19:27
Global Food Problems about Justice, not scarcity PDF Print E-mail

Anna Lappé, has just released Diet for a Hot Planet, which shows how much our global food system  drives the climate crisis—even more than transportation.  The destructive planet-heating food production and distribution we now experience are consequences of the centralizing control of farmland, processing, and distribution by global mega-corporations.  Providing food for the world's population does not have to be that way.  Agriculture itself can be part of the solution since ecological farming actually binds carbon in the soil.  Such earth-friendly, hunger-ending farming is proving its potential from Ethiopia to Brazil to India to the U.S.  Read Lappe's mother's article at Yes, a nonprofit publication that supports people’s active engagement in building a just and sustainable world.

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 October 2011 19:28
Issues of Justice: Inequity and the Right to Food PDF Print E-mail

Shalini Gupta and Cecilia Martinez, IATP; Olivier De Schutter, UN; BBC

There is a huge difference between wealthy nations and poorer ones in their contribution to the global warming crisis facing the Earth and in the impact global warming is currently having on these countries.  Shalini Gupta and Cecilia Martinez of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy point deschutterout that government policies created the disparities we see today in development, energy use, and CO2 emissions

In a video recorded talk, Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, advocates rethinking the relationship between the climate change agenda and the human rights agenda, especially the right to food.  "The effect of climate change on the right to food will be massive in the next few years . . . whole regions will find it more difficult to feed themselves as the result of changes in temperature and more extreme weather related events." Listen to his talk on finding ways to make the right to food and climate mitigation mutually complementary.

Climate Change and the Right to Food

The BBC reports on how climate change is affecting food security in Africa right now. Across the Horn of Africa, 20 million people need food aid. Droughts that used to come every few years are now a regular occurrence. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi led the African delegation to the Copenhagen Summit. He said, "Africa is going to be hit hardest,and it's going to be hit first."

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 October 2011 04:11
Agriculture and Climate: The Critical Connection PDF Print E-mail

The agricultural sector accounts for a substantial portion of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Direct agriculture worldwide is responsible for 13.5 percent of GHG. In addition, deforestation accounts for another 17.4 percent of GHG, making agricultural activities accountable for almost 31 percent of GHG. This is of course substantial and a reason that agriculture needs to be part of the plan for reducing these emissions.

jimkleinschmit_thumbJim Kleinschmit, Director of Rural Communities at the Institute for Trade and Agriculture Policy, reports on the multiple ways agriculture impacts and is impacted by climate change. He notes that achieving “climate-friendly” agriculture systems requires a shift in focus, research, and investment away from industrialized input and fossil-fuel dependent agricultural practices toward more resilient low-input systems that increase carbon sequestration in the soil and lessen output of greenhouse gases. Kleinschmit explains that the focus needs to be on the kinds of foods we produce and how we produce them because 50 to 83 percent of emissions are produced before food leaves the farm gate.  Read Jim Kleinschmit's excellent 7 page report.

or you can listen to highlights on Jim's six minute YouTube on Agriculture and Climate Change.

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 October 2011 03:31
Food, Inc. PDF Print E-mail

Director/Producer Robert Kenner reveals how highly subsidized commodities of wheat, corn, and soybeans and chicken, pork, and beef are produced by industrialized agriculture that is controlled by a few food conglomerates.  While the system produces cheap food, Kenner shows the hidden costs which are very high.  They include destruction of our environment, poisoning of our water supplies with chemicals and pesticides, and serious health problems, including 73,000 people suffering illness as a result of ecoli bacteria and a surge in obesity and diabetes.  Six years in the making, the 100 minute film is available on DVD and can be viewed online:

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 October 2011 19:28


MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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