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May 4, 2015

Organics leader says latest IPCC Report a wake-up call for NZ farming


The chair of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand, Brendan Hoare, says that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest Assessment Report, released in Yokohama on March 31, shows that industrial farming systems are part of the cause of climate change, and will not be able to adapt to it. It is already past time that we moved to more sustainable ways of growing food.

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The chair of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand, Brendan Hoare, says that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest Assessment Report, released in Yokohama on March 31, shows that industrial farming systems are part of the cause of climate change, and will not be able to adapt to it. It is already past time that we moved to more sustainable ways of growing food.

Mr Hoare will be speaking on the urgent necessity to mainstream organic food production on Saturday April 5 at the Go Green Expo in Auckland. (http://www.gogreenexpo.co.nz/auckland/speaker-presenter-enquiry/)

“We already need to get toxic chemicals out of our farming systems and our bodies,” says Mr Hoare, “so that is Reason # 1 for mainstreaming organics.”

“Reason # 2 is that we can not continue with high energy fossil fuel-based farming and food distribution systems. These systems are major emitters of greenhouse gases that are warming and destabilising the global climate, making it harder and harder to grow quality food reliably. They are also using up and polluting precious ground water, making some parts of the world no longer viable for agriculture.”

This is the message in Chapter 7 of the latest assessment report, on Food Security and Food Production Systems, which shows that yields of the world's major crops (wheat, rice, maize and soy) are already dropping with less than one degree of global warming, and will drop much further with two degrees or more. Chapter 25, which deals with impacts on New Zealand and Australia, says that national pasture production in New Zealand is expected to suffer in a warmer world. Importing feed is not a sustainable alternative, while the increased frequency and severity of storms will lead to more erosion and other damage to agro-ecosystems.

“Organic farming methods help prevent climate change,” says Mr Hoare, “and they also help mitigate it and will enable successful adaptations to it. The sooner we start shifting New Zealand to these methods the better it will be for our environment and our economy.”