During the 2018 EU Green Week, the ORGANIKO LIFE+ project organized an event titled “Climate Change Mitigation, Organic Agriculture and Human Health: Status Quo and New Data” on 23 May, in the European Parliament in Brussels. The aim of the event was to showcase organic agriculture as a means to mitigate climate change and present scientific evidence of possible links between organic diet and human health.
Five distinguished members of the European Parliament (including the Cypriot MEPs, Mr. Mavrides, Mr. Sylikiotis, Mr. Papadakis and Mr. Hadjigeorgiou) attended our event. The event was organized in three sessions with speakers from the EU Parliament, the EU DG Environment, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture in Europe (IFOAM), NGOs and university members. During the event, the following points were highlighted:
- Climate data predict an exponential growth in extreme meteorological events in the years to come affected by the global temperature increase between 1.5°C and 2°C.
- A maximum of 2°C increase in air temperature has been considered as politically safe, but IPCC has proposed an even lower temperature level. Climate change manifestations are dividing Europe into half, where temperature increases or precipitation volumes are drastically differentiated from north to south. The Paris agreement on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) will take effect in 2020, but the goal of holding air temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre industrial levels may not be feasible.
- Some control measures for holding the increase in air temperature to a maximum of 1.5°C are: No new coal power plants and decrease in the use of existing power plants, no deforestation and last fossil fuel car to be sold before 2035.
- Lowering carbon emissions is now a technically feasible control option with a reasonable cost but a massive political will is needed at all scales to implement it in every country.
- Negative climate change impacts are already occurring in Cyprus and priority needs to be given to climate mitigation and adaptation programs.
- Improvement in soil quality and other parameters through organic farming practices was one of the main findings of the study implemented by the Agricultural Research Institute (Dr M. Omirou), as part of the ORGANIKO LIFE+ project.
- The soil dimension is crucial for climate change mitigation and adaptation purposes and more actions need to be set in territorial planning to protect European soils and take into consideration their rich diversity.
- Based on the SOLMACC project results, GHG emissions in organic farms have been significantly reduced compared to average farms, under similar climatic conditions and each farms’ ability to adapt to the negative effects of climate change has improved significantly.
- Initial results of the ORGANIKO LIFE+’s children’s health trial, that was run and coordinated by the Cyprus International Institute for Environmental and Public Health (CII), shown that the majority of participating children had detectable levels of pesticides in their urine before the organic diet intervention, while their chemical pesticide body burden was significantly reduced at the end of the organic diet intervention period. The eating habits and lifestyle of children living in Cyprus are characterized by low daily intake of fruits and vegetables and preference for sedentary (TV, tablets, mobile phones) than for physical activities.
This EU Parliament event allowed for the policy makers to interact with scientists that work on climate change mitigation projects in South Europe. The social cost and impact of such climate change-mitigating measures that are based on organic agriculture and organic diet were extensively discussed with EU officials.
For more information:
Phone no: +357-25002398 (CII)