Giuseppe Li Rosi

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INTERVIEW WITH Giuseppe Li Rosi
(Terre Frumentarie, Sicilian Farmer;  http://www.terrefrumentarie.it/Terre e Tradizioni, Member and President; http://www.terretradizioni.it/)
 
Premise
Since the second half of the nineteenth century, humanity has observed a dangerous loss of agricultural biodiversity, not only in terms of  cultivated species (inter-specific biodiversity) but also in terms of existing varieties within the same species (intra-specific biodiversity). The use of a limited number of uniformed agricultural plant species, in defense of an industrialized and centralized high yield agricultural model,  has led to a fatal genetic flattening of the seeds.  This process can’t ensure the genetic diversity needed to address the following future challenges: climate change, population increase, resistance to new diseases and insects. 
Why is humanity  pursuing an agricultural model based on the homogenisation of seeds? Why is it important to protect the biodiversity of seeds? What are “native seeds”? What kind of benefits could rise from a sustainable agriculture based on the principle of free seed sharing? Giuseppe Li Rosi, a Sicilian farmer who is dedicating his life to the organic cultivation of Sicily’s ancient grains, answered to these and other questions.
 

Ramón Vera Herrera

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INTERVIEW WITH Ramón Vera Herrera
(GRAIN, Researcher;  http://www.grain.org/, BIODIVERSIDAD, General Manager, http://www.biodiversidadla.org/Autores/Ramon_Vera_Herrera)
 
Premise
From the second half of the nineteenth century, humanity is headed toward a dangerous loss of agricultural biodiversity that has affected not only the cultivated species but also existing varieties within the same species. The trend in the use of a limited number of uniformed agricultural plant species, in defence of an industrialized and centralized high yield agricultural model, has led to a fatal genetic flattening of the seeds. This process can’t ensure the genetic diversity needed to address the following future challenges: climate change, population increase, resistance to new diseases and insects.  Why is biodiversity so important for us? Why are we losing it? What is the current regulatory framework on seeds property and in which way it is affected by the UPOV Convention?  Why in Latin America local communities are so highly opposing to the effects of the UPOV convention in their countries? What is the current situation in these countries? Ramón Vera Herrera, the overall editor of Biodiversidad and one of GRAIN’s members for Latin America, answered to those and other questions.
 

Oliver Tickell

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INTERVIEW WITH Oliver Tickell
("The Ecologist," Operetional Editor, http://www.theecologist.org/) 

Premise
Born as a field of study in the second half of the nineteenth, “Ecology”, over time, has triggered the establishment of several movements and has long been the subject of a strong debate between an holistic approach and a reductionist one. Now Ecology has split in two main branches: “Superficial Ecology”, whose objective is to reduce pollution and preserve the natural environment without changing the “worldview” of Western culture (anthropocentric approach) and “Deep Ecology” (term coined by Arne Næss in 1973), that proposes a radical change in Western Culture, moving definitely from an anthropocentric approach to an eco-centric one. In 1970 Edward Goldsmith, one of the most important ecologist of the past century, founded “The Ecologist”, a magazine that now is widely recognized as the leading one on environmental issues. Over time, more and more publications (not only by “The Ecologist”) have showed the incompatibility between the current lifestyle of Advanced countries and the preservation of our planet. Could Ecology be the answer to global issues like climate change and sources depletion? How much progress the science and movements of ecology has made since the 1970s? Can  movements like “Degrowth”, “Transition Town”, “Permaculture” be an answer towards a more ecological words? Are emerging countries a threat to climate change? What are the main plans of “The Ecologist” in order to break new ground in the environmental debate? Oliver Tickell, the new Editor of “the Ecologist” website at www.theecologist.org, and author of “Kyoto2” (a book setting out a blueprint for effective climate governance), answered to those and other questions.
 

Douglas Tompkins

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INTERVIEW WITH Douglas Tompkins
("Foundation for Deep Ecology ," Head, http://www.deepecology.org/index.htm; "Tompkins Conservation," Head, - http://www.tompkinsconservation.org/home.htm)

Premise
Born as branch of study in the second half of the nineteenth, Ecology, over time, has triggered the establishment of several movements and has long been the subject of a strong debate between who proposes an holistic approach and who proposes a reductionist one. Now it is possible to distinguish between “Superficial Ecology”, whose objective is to reduce pollution and preserve the natural environment without changing the “worldview” of Western culture(anthropocentric approach) and “Deep Ecology” (term coined by Arne Næss in 1973), that proposes a radical change in Western Culture, moving definitely from an anthropocentric approach to an eco-centric one. Many scientists, politicians and entrepreneurs are skeptics about the role “Deep Ecology” can play in improving human wellness and solving global problems. The reality is that the modern anthropocentric view is damaging human social and environmental relations. Can “Deep Ecology”, both as a discipline and as a movement, play a key role in redefining the position of the humankind on our planet? What are the main ecological questions we are going to face? Douglas Tompkins, head of both “The Deep Ecology Foundation” and “The Tompkins Conservation” answered to those and other questions.
 

Erik Assadourian

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INTERVIEW WITH Erik Assadourian
("Worldwatch Institute," Senior Fellow; Director of The "Transforming Cultures Project", and Co-director of four editions of "Worldwatch’s State of the World report" - http://www.worldwatch.org/)

Premise
Since 1980 global real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown by 175% (that means now global economy is almost three times higher than in 1980); in the meantime global CO2 emission has grown by 73,6% leading CO2 concentration in the atmosphere reaching 400 parts per million (ppm) (in pre-industrial times it was 280 ppm) and the ratio between the Ecological Footprint and Earth biocapacity is 1.5; that means Earth is not big enough to satisfy human needs and wants and, at these rates of consumption, Earth resources and ecosystem services are facing a progressive decline. The annual average growth of the Advanced countries between 1980 and 2012 was 2.3%, while the BRICS’ one was 6.2%; even in Sub-Saharan countries real GDP in this period grew (3.6% annually). Nevertheless, human wellness (in terms of health, social relations, happiness, social equality and so on) is shrinking: chronic illnesses are increasing, in both advanced and developing countries; infectious diseases once tamed are starting to spread again as the climate changes and as antibiotics are overused and become less effective; social relations are weakening while crime rate are increasing; wealth and consumption of resources are unequally distributed around the world. Why hasn’t a “growth-based” system worked in increasing real human wellness? Is a “degrowth-based” system the solution to the world’s biggest ecological and social problems (climate change, resource depletion, inequity, chronic poverty, and so on) humans are facing? What can be done in order to make a degrowth-based system a reality? Erik Assadourian, Senior Fellow at Worldwatch Institute, director of two important annual Reports (Vital Signs and State of the World), answered those and other questions.