I went to the SF Green Festival all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Put on by Global Exchange and Co-op America, it is one in a series of Green Festivals across the United States.
I got to see many great speakers, such as Chuck D from Public Enemy, Dr. Cornel West, Van Jones, Reverend Lennox Yearwood (who presides over the hip-hop caucus in D.C.) Daniel Pinchbeck, and Greg Palast, who spoke about the overall state of our world and how we need to empower ourselves to keep fighting the good fight.
I don't want to make light of Obama winning the election, because it was truly amazing, but it doesn't mean that any of our work is over. It is up to us to make sure he doesn't turn out to be just another version of politics as usual once he gets in there. All the rhetoric of change and inspiring speeches have been truly amazing, and have inspired a people desperately in need of something positive to hold on to, but it does not end with him in the White House. We must take that inspiration and continue to use it to make sure that change really does happen. If it does not, it will not be just because of Mr. Obama. It will be because we failed to speak up loudly enough for him to hear us, because we failed to keep him in check, and because we failed to stand up together, despite our differences and fight for the preservation of human life and this planet we have been graced to live upon. So while this victory is indeed a glorious one, we must watch carefully. Especially when there is discussion of him appointing people like Mr. Monsanto to be the Secretary of Agriculture. Putting someone with ties that close to Monsanto in charge of the life force which we depend on to nourish life on this planet would be a dire mistake. They want to genetically modify everything and destroy the natural properties of our foods. We cannot allow this to happen.
We must stand together and fight, because as one of the speakers said,"If we fail, there will be no 22nd or 23rd century to see the symbols of our fight for justice."
One great talk I saw was "Agroecology and Food Sovereignty in the Age of Biofuels and Climate Change" by Eric Holt-Gimenez, Miguel Altieri, and Raj Patel. It was about how the globalized economy has placed conflicting demands on the world’s croplands, which must produce food for a growing population and meet increased demands for biofuels. With the huge number of pressures on dwindling arable ecosystems, farming is overwhelming nature’s capacity to meet our food needs. We need an alternative agricultural development paradigm that encourages more biodiverse, sustainable and socially just forms of agriculture. All 3 of them were amazing. Altieri gave well-documented proof that small farms are much more sustainable than commercial farms, which is not news to me, but it was great to see so much documented proof to silence the naysayers. Holt-Gimenez talked about agro-fuels and how the myth behind the bio-fuel hype. And Patel was so succinct in bringing everything together. When the talk is available online, I will post it here.