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The Wheel of Life: Food, Climate, Human Rights, and the Economy

September 1st, 2011

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The links between climate change and industrial agriculture create a nexus of crises—food insecurity, natural resource depletion and degradation, as well as human rights violations and inequities.

While it is widely recognized that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to human activity are detrimental to the natural environment, it can be difficult to untangle the cascading effects on other sectors. To unravel some of the effects, this report focuses on three interrelated issues:

1) What are the critical links between climate change and agriculture?
2) How is the nexus of agriculture and climate change affecting human societies particularly regarding food and water, livelihoods, migration, gender
equality, and other basic survival and human rights?
3) What is the interplay between economic and finance systems, on the one hand, and food security, climate change, and fundamental human rights, on the other?

In the process of drawing connections among these issues, the report will identify the commonality of drivers, or “push” factors, that lead to adverse impacts. A central theme throughout this report is that policies and practices must begin with the ecological imperative in order to ensure authentic security and stability on all fronts including food, water, livelihoods and jobs, climate, energy, and economic. In turn this engenders equity, social justice, and diverse cultures.

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