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in the diversity of cultivated crops, crop wild relatives and domesticated breeds mean that agroecosystems are less resilient against future climate change, pests and pathogens,” the report states. Large-scale trade, increased agricultural operations, market preferences and loss of knowledge from local farmers have all contributed to the loss of these breeds. The report notes that there are communities that have worked with certain breeds, sometimes over millennia, and indigenous communities around the globe are one of the last places where people are raising (and know how to raise) certain breeds. The report indicates, however, that protections of these areas has deteriorated. It’s not better in the oceans — onethird of fish stocks are over-fished, while another 60 percent are at their max. In response, industrial fisheries, comprised of mainly a few countries and corporations, have fished in deeper waters and farther out than they had previously. On top of that, one-third of the world’s global catch is illegal, the report states. And this is all being done with the backdrop of global food insecurity: 11 percent of the world’s population is undernourished. So what do we do? Fortunately, the report has a few answers. Feeding the undernourished and making our food system more sustainable “are complementary and closely interdepenBOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE PHO HOUSE dent,” the report’s authors write. Both can be done through major policy changes that mandate and incentivize sustainable landscape planning and agricultural procedures, and empowering consumers and food producers to transform supply chains. That may sound like wonkish jargon, but here’s an example: Major commodity farm producers in the U.S. have access to insurance and subsidies while small, organic, sustainable farms don’t. In a bad year, commodity farmers have options to recoup some of their losses, sustainable farms often go out of business. As for the ocean, the report’s authors suggest implementing stricter fishing quotas, increasing protected areas and using the legal system to punish violators. Is there global political will to implement these changes? Is there consensus the need is dire? Are these changes actionable? A better question is: Do we have a choice? “This essential report reminds each of us of the obvious truth: the present generations have the responsibility to bequeath to future generations a planet that is not irreversibly damaged by human activity,” said Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO, in a press release. “Our local, indigenous and scientific knowledge are proving that we have solutions and so no more excuses: we must live on Earth differently.” I

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Profile for Boulder Weekly

5.9.19 Boulder Weekly  

5.9.19 Boulder Weekly