Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Why 10,000 Farmers Have Gotten Behind the Green New Deal

Farmers and Ranchers for a Green New Deal (Credit: Caroline Brehman / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
A coalition that unites farmers and ranchers behind the Green New Deal hopes to set a new tone for how the agriculture sector relates to policy solutions to address the climate crisis, and ensure farmers have a voice in the debate.

Farmers and Ranchers for the Green New Deal (GND) officially launched on Wednesday with a press conference at the Capitol and a letter to Congress urging members to support the GND resolution.

Leaders of the coalition say it represents nearly 10,000 farmers and ranchers who want to be part of the conversation as Congress considers how and whether to move forward with the GND.  Farmers from across the country spoke at the press conference, as did a member of Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate action group, and several members of Congress.

A major theme of the press conference was the essential role of farmers in addressing the climate crisis.  Agricultural and land use practices have been identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as major contributors to climate change.  And climate-friendly strategies like sequestering carbon in the soil and expanding the use of regenerative farming practices require buy-in from farming communities.

“We’re not going to solve the climate crisis without addressing agriculture,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution and a longtime advocate for local and sustainable food.

Speakers also noted the urgent challenge farmers face as the effects of climate change — such as rising temperatures, drought, irregular and severe storms, and flooding — become more commonplace.

“The debate about whether or not to act on the climate crisis should have ended a long time ago,” said Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts. “Our farmers are the ones who live every day with the impacts of the crisis. … Our farmers should be the ones who get to have a say in our future, not the people who want to maintain the disastrous status quo.”

The Green New Deal resolution calls for a 10-year mobilization to transition away from reliance on fossil fuels and boost the economy by creating jobs in clean energy and other climate-friendly sectors. The resolution was introduced in the House in February by New York City Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and now has 95 cosponsors.

Read more at Why 10,000 Farmers Have Gotten Behind the Green New Deal

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