Paradigm Shift Urgently Needed In Agriculture – UN Agencies Call for an End to Industrial Agriculture & Food System · Biodiversity, Community Projects, Compost, Deforestation, Desertification, Economics, Food Shortages, ...
Record breaking heat waves sweeping over both hemispheres this summer have put global warming back into the headlines, and with it, the problem of survival under climate change. The most urgent item on the agenda is how to produce food without adding even more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, which can also withstand the increasingly frequent extreme weather events.
It is generally acknowledged that industrial agriculture and our globalized food system is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, up to 50% if proper account is taken of emissions from land use change and deforestation, most of which are due to agriculture, and for food-related transport, processing, storage, and consumption (see Figure 1) . Nevertheless, it is also generally recognized that agriculture holds tremendous promise for mitigating climate change, and much else besides.
The solution for food security under climate change is a radical transformation of the agriculture and food system that would at the same time eliminate poverty, gender inequality, poor health and malnutrition. The 320 page TER — the work of 63 authors from organisations around the world — provides a coherent, closely argued case backed up by evidence from numerous case studies and surveys showing that these interrelated problems could all be solved by a paradigm shift away from the current industrial agriculture and globalized food system to a conglomerate of small, biodiverse, ecological farms around the world and a localized food system that promotes consumption of local/regional produce. The TER proposal is not dissimilar to that made in ISIS’ special report  Food Futures Now: *Organic *Sustainable *Fossil Fuel Free published in 2008, and in the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) , which resulted from a three-year consultative process involving 900 participants and 110 countries around the world. The same message was reinforced in several key publications from the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) [for example, 5, 6] and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme)  to name but a few.