“If you must do one thing before COP26, please visit a farm”
By Mateusz Ciasnocha | September 29, 2021
Mateusz Ciasnocha is a Regenerative Agriculture Fellow for the UN Climate Champions and Champion of the UN Food Systems Summit. He is a farmer & CEO of European Carbon Farmers.
Here is his contribution to Our World in Your Hands.
To the World Leaders gathering in Glasgow for COP26,
As an active farmer on a mission to put farmers at the centre of climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in a profitable way – I have just one request to you before we meet at in Glasgow:
Please, please, please visit at least one farmer at their farm before you board your plane to Glasgow.
We, the farmers, are not theoretical about fancy “key phrases”, like: climate change, climate change adaptation, climate change mitigation and increasing resilience.
Instead, as stewards of our ecosystems and those in charge of feeding the world, we live and adapt to those realities every day.
While each one of us is affected by climate change, and most of us are taking whatever action we can to sustainably future-proof our farms, there is no doubt that more must be done on all levels. And for this we need your help.
Before we get to work, let’s take a moment to come together to understand the realities that farmers are facing and create and enhance one-on-one relationships. And when all of us come back to work after COP26, we — the farmers in the fields, markets and offices — and you in the negotiation halls and press conference rooms – start to pull in the same direction.
Let’s run together towards our common north star: a net-zero and nature-positive world — that we can reach long before 2050. Long before it is too late.
We, the farmers, can do this!
We, the farmers, want to do this!
The farmers are in and so are our farms!
However, for this global race – Race to Zero and Race to Resilience – to be truly on, we must trust each other. That is why I welcome you to our farms so that we can begin, strengthen, and continue this race to a better world.
As you visit and engage with at least one farmer before COP26, please bear in mind two things:
Firstly, please build bridges and not walls, nor seed doubt. It is all too easy to say: “we are already doing so much, but what are THEY doing?” or “Why should we do more, while some many still are reluctant to act?”
Instead, show us positive and real examples of ambition to reach a net-zero and nature-positive world by 2050 at the very latest, which lasts long into the future. Narrative matters and your inclusive narrative can make or break this.
Secondly, there are some difficult, but critically important, changes that can happen only with your leadership. The most critical of these is stopping harmful agricultural subsidies, which do not work for the farmer, society at large, nor our Mother Earth. We must simultaneously transition agricultural support policies away from action-based to result-based schemes centred on soil carbon maintenance and enhancement.
We are grateful for the leadership so many of you – the Leaders of the World – have, are, and will be showing. And we hope that COP26 serves as your ultimate test of true leadership.
Before we all go back to work, let’s come together in meaningful, open-minded, honest, and constructive one-on-one encounters at farms all over the world.
It will be our family’s in Poland – and every other agricultural family’s from across the world – pleasure to welcome you to our farm.
Please visit us before Glasgow, so that together we make COP26 matter and ensure that farmers’ voices are present in a meaningful way.
And when you have secured all of our futures with meaningful and bold action which you, with our input, will deliver at COP26, please revisit our farms so that together we can celebrate each other’s leadership towards the world we are striving for — for us, our children, and our grandchildren to come.
Farmer & CEO, European Carbon Farmers
Regenerative Agriculture Youth Fellow, COP26 – Race to Zero
Champion, United Nations Food Systems Summit