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  • Rashida Kabanda

Agroecology, the Critical Solution to Restoring our Planet.

Each year on April 22, billions of people across the globe join together to raise awareness about environmental protection. Earth Day was first celebrated in the United States on April 22, 1970. Today around 1 billion people in 193 countries take part in Earth Day and resolve to protect the environment and biodiversity.

Healthy ecosystems, rich with biodiversity, are fundamental to small-scale farming communities’ existence as their entire life depends on nature. Ecosystems sustain small-scale farmers’ lives in a myriad of ways, ensuring the availability of nutritious foods, source of genetic planting materials, cultural celebrations, and reducing the occurrence of disasters. Article 39 0f the 1995 constitution provides that every Ugandan has a right to a clean and healthy environment. Consequently, the state, therefore, has an obligation to ensure the same: But less has been done to ensure the obligation of taking care of nature.

As we look back over the past half-century, we can gain significant insights into the evolving human imprint on Earth’s biophysical systems and the role of science and scientists in driving societal transitions toward greater sustainability. Science is a foundation for such transitions, but it is not enough. Rather, it is through wide collaborations across fields, including law, economics, and politics, and through direct engagement with civil society, that science can illuminate a better path forward. This is illustrated through a number of case studies highlighting the role of scientists in leading positive societal change, often in the face of strong oppositional forces. The past five decades reveal significant triumphs of environmental protection, but also notable failures, which have led to the continuing deterioration of Earth’s natural systems. Today, more than ever, these historical lessons loom large as we face increasingly complex and pernicious environmental problems. The theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in Our Planet.”

Climate change and other environmental degradations have broken our natural systems, leading to new and fatal diseases as well as a breakdown of the global economy. But just as climate change and COVID-19 painfully remind us of the harm we have caused, this Earth Day reminds us of the opportunities that lay ahead. We must Restore Our Earth not just because we care about the natural world, but because we live on it. Every one of us needs a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, health & survival, and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option but a necessity for all.

ESAFF Uganda understands that farming thrives when it works with local ecosystems, for example, improving soil and plant quality through available biomass and biodiversity, rather than battling nature with chemical inputs. Small-scale farmers are employing agroecological farming techniques that assist in addressing climate change as well as improving yields and earnings. These practices also reduce dependence on off-farm materials that harm the environment.

“Agroecology preserves and conserves all living organisms on the earth’s surface, I call upon the Government to put up strict penalties for those that degrade the earth through the destruction of forests and wetlands”– Wauya Raymond, Small scale farmer, Mbale district

Small scale farmers further emphasize that Agroecology is the best answer to climate change and protecting mother Earth because it employs agricultural methods, such as diversification of crops, conservation tillage, green manures, natural fertilizers, biological pest control, rainwater harvesting, and production of crops and livestock in ways that store carbon and protects natural resources.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People working in Rural Areas stresses that small scale farmers have a right to protect and conserve and protect their earth and the productive capacity of their lands. Small-scale farmers unanimously urge Parties to support the domestication of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) in order to provide platforms for rural communities' concerns to be heard.



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