by Mark Schlosberg and Peter Hart
Editor’s Note: This content originally appeared on Food & Water Action’s website (our affiliated organization) at an earlier date.
With the Western United States engulfed in megadrought and climate change supercharged weather disasters increasing everywhere, the future can seem bleak. This is especially true given that our dysfunctional Congress has failed to pass any meaningful climate legislation.
But now isn’t the time to surrender. It’s time to double down to advance a bold food, water, and climate agenda. This moment calls for visionary plans that will inspire people across the country and meet the challenges we face.
We need to organize around the real solutions that will address our food, water, and climate problems.
A Proven Theory To Address Climate Change And Resource Problems
At Food & Water Action and our affiliated organization, Food & Water Watch, we’ve never backed down from a fight. Our theory of change — how we believe real change happens — is two-fold. First, we propose bold policies that will solve real problems that people face. And just as importantly, we organize around those solutions, even when others say they are politically unreasonable.
It’s how we’ve:
- Changed the national debate on fracking and won a ban in New York, Maryland and communities nationwide.
- Blocked water privatization attempts in dozens of communities.
- Begun changing the debate around factory farms.
At the federal level, we cannot afford to waste time on industry schemes like carbon capture and so-called “renewable” biogas. These are delay tactics that will lock us into decades of fossil fuels, incentivize the spread of factory farms and subsequently pollute our water. We need to advance legislation that takes on the fossil fuel industry, big agribusiness, and the water privatizers. That’s exactly what we’re doing.
Climate Change Is Inseparably Connected With Food And Water Concerns
The issues of food, water and climate are deeply connected. The historically punishing drought in the West, for example, is driven by climate change. Climate change, in turn, is being fueled by greenhouse gasses from factory farms and fracking and drilling. Industrial agriculture is also a massive water user and polluter in dry western states, as is the fossil fuel industry.
So we have a reckless cycle:
- Fracking and factory farms use and pollute water.
- The greenhouse emissions they create drive climate change.
- Climate change leads to drought and less water, which also affects food supply.
All the while, a small number of giant corporations and wealthy titans profit while ordinary people suffer.
This Climate Change Cycle Can Only Be Broken Through Systemic Shifts In Policy
We need to break this cycle. And that’s what we aim to do with three landmark pieces of legislation in Congress. Passing the Future Generations Protection Act, the Farm System Reform Act, and the WATER act will not happen in the current weak Congress. But laying the groundwork now is critical. Real federal solutions are essential to avoid worsening climate chaos, depleted water systems, and a further consolidated food system that hurts everyone, including family farmers.
THREE LANDMARK BILLS
The Farm System Reform Act (FSRA) will make our food system safe, healthy, and sustainable. This critical legislation will ban the construction of new factory farms and the expansion of existing ones. The FSRA will phase out existing factory farms by 2040. It will also ensure we’re enforcing environmental laws on existing factory farms, including holding Big Ag companies responsible for their pollution.
Our aging water systems are crumbling. Meanwhile, giant corporations are scrambling to privatize public water systems to profit from the basic human right to water. The Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act will provide a long-term, comprehensive solution to the current water-funding gap. It will achieve this by rolling back a small portion of the Trump’s administration’s corporate income tax cuts. The WATER Act will significantly fund the protection of our drinking water and create almost one million jobs. The WATER Act will help renew our commitment to public water, ensuring everyone has access to affordable water service.
The Future Generations Protection Act (FGPA) is groundbreaking legislation that would move us toward the fossil-fuel-free future we need. The FGPA will:
- Ban greenhouse gas emissions from all new power plants
- Ban fracking
- Ban crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids exports
It’s the only bill in Congress that would ban fracking nationally — a critical step to ending climate chaos.
Your Support Is Needed In The Fight To Preserve Our Resources
The first step is having the right solutions to the problems that face our generation. Now that we have those, we need your support at all levels to build the power over the long-term to enact them. Will you add your name to show Congress the power these solutions have?
Urge Congress to support the Future Generations Protection Act!