Extinction Rebellion Oxford (XR Oxford) will carry out peaceful actions at the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) outside the Exams Schools, High Street, Oxford (and other locations in the city centre) (1),(2). XR Oxford aims to highlight how the majority of our intensive food and farming systems, represented by the Oxford Farming Conference, pollute the land and add appreciably to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.

More than 70% of UK land is farmland and food and farming accounts for around 20% (3) of our emissions. Farmers are being blamed for the Climate and Ecological Emergency even though, for the majority, the global markets control how they manage their land. They are at the mercy of powerful food retail, manufacturing and agrochemical industries, dictating what they produce and the methods they use. (4)

The Oxford Farming Conference 2020 (OFC) is sponsored by big industry corporations including: five agrochemical companies - one of which is Syngenta, the world’s largest; McDonalds and two major supermarkets: Sainsbury’s and M&S. They all have immense lobbying power, on behalf of their shareholders, that locks farmers into ‘business as usual’ and disadvantages family run farms (5)

Jane King, Arts Coordinator, Extinction Rebellion Oxford comments:

“The Oxford Farming Conference has been running since 1936. Today it seems to be less about farming and more about the interests of the UK’s multi-billion pound industries that control farming and therefore the land. Nature is our life support system. Restoring our ecosystems and natural carbon sinks (e.g. soil, woodland, wetland, species rich permanent pasture, moorland, peatland and oceans) to capture carbon from the atmosphere, is at this time the only feasible solution to avoid climate catastrophe. No man-made means of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is currently working at sufficient scale (6).”

Till Weidner, PhD researcher in urban agriculture at the University of Oxford comments:

“The industrial food system degrades our living world and climate stability. We have the solutions e.g. agroecology and a more plant-based diet but they require coordinated political will and a shift in focus from corporate profits to farmer and ecosystem wellbeing.”

He adds: “Extinction Rebellion demands that OFC removes its links with polluting industries which are implicated in maintaining the Climate and Ecological Emergency.” 


Further information: Till Weidner, Extinction Rebellion Oxford on 07500 960240; Jane King, Extinction Rebellion Oxford on 07779 704288

Image: Oilseed Rape Crop. Credit: Extinction Rebellion Oxford

Note to Editors:

(1) The OFC is taking place at the same time as the larger Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC – 8th-9th January) organised by the Campaign for Real Farming https://orfc.org.uk/

(2) See https://www.ofc.org.uk

(3) Globally emissions from food & farming are at 30% WWF-UK: http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/how_low_report_1.pdf

(4) 50% of farm business income depends on subsidy and 64% of farmers earn less than £10,000 a year: See Peoples’ Food Policy: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B00GeyvZdIaJY1VnNlptTFlzOFE/view

(5) See https://www.ofc.org.uk/conference/sponsors

(6) The IPCC says that switching to renewables to decarbonise our economies will not be enough to achieve net zero emissions in time to avert climate catastrophe. To achieve any net-zero target we also need to extract CO2 from the atmosphere

Extinction Rebellion is calling for all UK political parties and MPs to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (better known as the Three Demands Bill), and do all in their power to ensure it becomes law. The Bill calls for the following:

Tell the truth: Tell the truth by declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency and do all in their power to communicate the urgency for change, including working with government and other institutions.

Act Now: Promote policies to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

Beyond Party Politics: Help the government create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Pressat Wire, on Wednesday 18 December, 2019. For more information subscribe and follow https://pressat.co.uk/

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