Newsletter n.89


1. TIME TO GET ANGRY!: COP26, what a disgrace! 


3. NEWS ON THE SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS: The new EU strategy for the soil has landed!

4. WE ARE NOT ALONE!       


COP26, what a disgrace! 

Numerous reactions to the failure of COP26 serve to underline the gulf between the world of politics and institutions, and the real world. Even though the Emperor is clearly naked, people continue to bow before him as though he was wearing the most sumptuous garments imaginable.

Some people continue to attempt to apply the “glass half full” approach to COP26. We believe that only righteous anger can allow people to retake control of their own lives. This is why we reproduce in its entirety below the Children’s Charter which a number of children accompanied by their parents – all of them obstructed by the police – attempted to present to the Lord Mayor of London on 13 November, the final day of the international climate negotiations. We believe that every community can and must immediately pass on these few simple requests to their own local authorities, demanding that they be put into action.


“We are here representing the next generation, the generation that has been forgotten by world leaders. We stand here the day after COP26, which has failed to bring about the action necessary to tackle the climate and ecological emergency, to call on you to prioritise the next seven generations above the short term greed that focuses on wealth accumulation right here in the City of London.


Tell the truth

The City of London Corporation must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, being transparent about its reserves and relationships with all other institutions and first truly facing up to the depth of our failure so far.

Act Now

Protect the next seven generations – stop funding all new fossil fuel projects NOW. The City of London Corporation is a root cause of the climate and ecological emergency. If the City were a country it would be the 9th biggest carbon emitter on the planet. Our addiction to fossil fuels must end if we are to protect children from the worst of the crisis that is already happening. We know the first road block the government will meet as they try to wean the UK off them will be right here in the City, claiming it’s too costly and they just need a few more years.

But enough is enough. Because change is coming whether we like it or not. We have so far to go, this is the first obvious step.

Continua a leggere “COP26, what a disgrace! “

The soil: new lessons from an innovative debate

The SIP Forum’s round table Soil is Life is Food is Future was held on 28 June 2021. The main points that emerged from the discussion were published and sent out in September as The Highlights of the event, focusing on the common points to be kept in mind for future actions on the soil, and available in EN, SP, FR, IT . Now the SIP Forum has made available the records of the meeting, published in English with the title: “Soil: new lessons from an innovative debate“. 

The document is about 100 pages long and records the entire discussion in detail (the recording is available on YouTube ) while offering useful pointers for greater understanding both of the method used for the dialogue between different speakers and the content of the discussions during the meeting.

The document is in PDF format and can be requested from suolo.europa@gmail.com or downloaded HERE


EEB Report on carbon farming for the climate, nature and farmers         

We remind readers that the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe’s largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations. Its report Carbon farming for climate, nature, and farmers – Policy Recommendations, published on 21 October, deals with the subject of organic carbon in relation to the climate from the starting position that “Soils are at the heart of the climate and nature crises”.

In our view this document could form an integral part of the GNDE report, in order to complete the environmental aspects which currently receive insufficient coverage. We therefore invite the EEB and the GNDE’s compilers to meet and talk, if they haven’t already, and then to get in touch with the 4per1000 Initiative.

Below are some points from the summary of the EEB’s report that we regard as crucial, but we invite you to read the whole document, at least the version dedicated to the decisions recommended to politicians.

“The new focus on soil carbon in the EU through the “carbon farming” initiative presents opportunities to drive a new positive agenda for soils, with benefits for climate, but also for biodiversity, farm profitability, and resilience, provided the right policy and regulatory framework is in place. This will require, first, to clarify the meaning and scope of carbon farming. The EEB defines carbon farming as land management practices which reduce GHG emissions and increase the sequestration and storage of carbon in soils and vegetation. To do so while also benefitting biodiversity, water, and farmers’ livelihoods, carbon farming must adopt a holistic approach towards healthy soils and healthy ecosystems, grounded in the framework of “nature based solutions”.

That means rewetting and restoring drained organic soils (peatlands); managing grasslands in nature-inclusive ways; massively re-integrating trees in agricultural landscapes; and adopting agroecological, or regenerative, farming practices on arable land. Deploying these win-win-win solutions could turn agricultural land into a large carbon sink by 2050, while also restoring biodiversity and helping farmers adapt to climate change.”

“… we call on the EU to:

1. Ensure carbon delivers nature-based solutions, benefitting climate, biodiversity, and rural communities.

2. Set legally-binding targets on climate, nature, and soils.

3. Establish mandatory baselines, monitoring systems, and safeguards.

4. Develop a coherent policy mix of effective incentives, mobilising private and public funding strategically.

5. Invest in the enabling factors for behavioural change: knowledge, culture, and infrastructure.”

More info here: https://eeb.org/library/105401/ https://eeb.org/library/carbon-farming-policy-recommendations-to-deliver-win-win-wins-for-climate-nature-and-farmers/


EUSO  – Meeting of 21 October (continued)

In last month’s newsletter we wrote about our participation in the EUSO’s online session “Citizen Engagement – Soil Literacy (with Soil Mission)”. 

Some of our readers, who also took part, were disappointed at the small amount of space given to presenters drawn from civil society, while a great deal of time was given to national and European institutions.

We understand where they are coming from and share their disappointment.

We believe, however, that the EUSO Forum is still trying to find its role and position and that it will continue to do so, including by repeating the classic errors of the European institutions. These institutions impose on themselves a choice of “insiders” as principal speakers (drawn from other DGs or EU institutions), followed by those representing Member States, and in last place, if there is space (or time) representatives of  civil society.

As the SIP Forum, our contribution (attached) shows that we tried to map out an alternative approach that we think (hope?) the EUSO could adopt in future.

The complete recording of the EUSO afternoon meeting on 21 October can be found here: https://webcast.ec.europa.eu/euso-stakeholder-forum-day-3


The 6th IPCC Report – August 2021

We ask those who were disappointed by the results of COP26 not to be afraid to face reality. In order to find the energy to carry on and to demand changes in individual and collective behaviour, we have to be aware of where we are going. Last June’s IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) report tells us this in all the possible forms of environmental language, from the simplest to the most highly scientific. Nevertheless, and despite being published in time for COP26, it did not have the effect of producing an increased sense of responsibility in our politicians and representatives. We are still in thrall to lobbies and multinational companies.

So all that remains is for us to take ownership of this report and keep it on the table in order to make clear the need to act immediately.


Senza categoria

The new EU strategy for the soil has landed!

On 17 November 2021 the Environment DG published the EU’s Strategy for the Soil for 2030. So far attention has mostly focused on the sentence in the document that indicates the preparation of a dedicated legislative proposal on soil health by 2023. We would like to focus instead on the Strategy’s content.

We realise that trying to put together a logical and – as far as is possible – simple picture of the soil is like trying to square the circle. The work of the Environment DG staff was like walking a tightrope over a chasm. We can conclude that they succeeded without falling into the void and this is in itself a highly positive thing. Another plus is that they managed to bring together the different “strands” of the European Commission whose Directorates are like ministries in nation states and just as bad at communicating with one another. We think that this is the added value of this document.

We could stop here, by inviting everyone who is interested to read and study the Strategy.

Instead we would like to share some observations and doubts.

While the Strategy is excellent from the point of view of the European institutions, our position outside the EU “machine” gives us a more detached perspective.

The first thing we notice is the lack of any strong emphasis on “awareness”. The short section dedicated to it, 6.2 Soil literacy and societal engagement, does not in our view respond to the real needs. It should be the fulcrum on which all the other actions rest. The actions set out in the Strategy can only be democratically controlled by a public that is informed and active. The hope that it will be possible to demand that Member States create good laws, specific structures and concrete actions is nothing more than that, a pious hope that will lead to frustration, lack of action, and the uncontrolled rise of environmental and soil degradation. Raising awareness requires programmes, dedicated structures and adequate funding.

Continua a leggere “The new EU strategy for the soil has landed!”

Farming Simulator – France

The French Agriculture Ministry has launched an unusual initiative: a virtual competition to spark young people’s interest in the world of farming. With half of all farmers due to retire in the next decade, the Ministry believes that the competition could “inspire players to find out about farming and food production “.

The Ministry launched a big online competition open to all French residents over 12 years of age: “Farming Simulator: the Tournament”.

It involves a videogame called Farming Simulator – developed by a Swiss technology firm – about the world of farming that, in short, puts the player in the role of a farmer. There are prizes for all finalists, as well as a cash prize (to be decided) for the winner. The competition ran from 27 November to 6 December.