Blog Posts

May 13th, 2016

Quiet Win Keeps Factory Farms in Check

By Eve Mitchell

We're Stoppint Factory FarmsUK Government silliness just took a big hit. Thank goodness.

Those of you with long memories will know about ongoing UK plans to let business regulate itself. From the Business Focus on Enforcement, to the Red Tape Challenge, to the current Cutting Red Tape project, it’s pretty much the same story: The government asks Big Business if it would like less enforcement of fewer regulations, and, no surprise, Big Business says, “Yes, please!”

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March 16th, 2016

Super Mario Bros Vs. the European Commission

By David Sánchez

FoodandWaterEuropeActNowRightToWaterEvery Tuesday evening, an office in the second district of Rome opens its doors in an old cinema to provide information to families whose water supply has been cut-off for not being able to pay the bills. This self-organized group called Bastadistacchi puts families in touch with Super Mario and his patrol of water activists, who break the seal installed by the water company so those families can have their right to water.

A few months ago, the regional Ombudsman from Andalusia, in southern Spain, published a new report stating that water poverty is a severe problem after many years of austerity policies. Some sources estimate around one million water cut-off warning letters are sent every year in Spain. Just one company, Agbar-Suez, admitted that they initiate 12.000 water cut-offs per month. The regional ombudsman was concerned about the situation suffered by many families who cannot afford to pay water bills, and advocated for regulation guaranteeing that nobody can be deprived from access to water for economic reasons.

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January 28th, 2016

How Does Big Oil & Gas Get Its Way?

By Geert Decock

Food & Water Europe's Geert Decock

Food & Water Europe’s Geert Decock

Last week, I received a couple of calls and emails about the announcement that the gas sector will receive EUR 207 million for a total of nine so-called “Projects of Common Interest”. The bulk of this taxpayers’ money – just under EUR 180 million – will go to a project of a Romanian gas distribution company to build a gas pipeline connecting Member States in the southeastern part of the EU to a gas hub in Austria. To put this in context, six “Projects of Common Interest” investing in better-connected grid infrastructure received EUR 10 million. What can explain this grotesque difference? And how does Big Oil & Gas get its way?

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January 21st, 2016

Fracking: How Bad Is It?

By Geert Decock


Fracking is a bad idea. But how bad is fracking? Pretty awful, particularly if you are confronted with dozens of rigs, fracking equipment, trucks and spills, … But exactly how bad is fracking? Stubborn scientists are digging deep to find out more about the dirty secrets of the fracking industry. The scientists that advised the US Environmental Protection Agency about the impacts of fracking on water rejected the greenwashing communication about their report, which “does not reflect the uncertainties and data limitations described in the body of the Report”. Just before Christmas, other scientists published an article confirming that oil and gas operations in Texas leak almost twice as much gas as has been estimated. That gas, so-called fugitive methane, is a very powerful greenhouse gas and even a little bit of leakage calls into question the status of gas as low-carbon or a transition fuel. To top it off, researchers at Yale University found that many of the fluids used in and created by fracking have been linked to reproductive and developmental health problems.

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January 20th, 2016

Nitrogen On The Table, Nitrates In The Tap

By David Sánchez

FoodandWaterEuropeDangerousNitrogenFactoryFarmsNitrogen is a basic component of our food and a vital nutrient for plants and crops to grow. But high concentrations are harmful to people and nature. Last week, the presentation of a scientific report in the European Parliament, “Nitrogen on the Table”, tried to call attention to this problem. In this report, the authors considered the major benefits of reduced meat and dairy consumption in Europe, since so far more focus has been put on the supply side, developing technological solutions. And I fully agree; we need to reduce European consumption of meat and dairy, and we need to look beyond those “miraculous” technological solutions.

But I always have some concerns when the political debate focuses too much on individual solutions, like reducing meat consumption. For me, that means we are missing one key question: Who is really causing the mess?

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January 4th, 2016

To a New Year Full of Victories for Our Food and Water!

By Geert Decock

FoodandWaterEuropeRomaniaFrackdownHere at Food & Water Europe, we’re not only celebrating the New Year, but also the 10th anniversary of our sister organisation, Food & Water Watch.

Together we have grown into a powerful advocate for healthy food and clean water for all, with nearly 1 million supporters in the US and thousands here in Europe demanding that our democracy work to improve people’s lives and protect the environment. Thanks to YOU, our allies, activists and grassroots partners, we’re proving that when we bring people together, we can overcome even the most powerful corporations.

You are a wonderful part of our celebrations, and I want to share just some of the important victories you made happen right here in Europe:

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December 18th, 2015

European Parliament Asks: Can Fracking “Be A Viable Technology” in The EU?

By Geert Decock

Admittedly, political processes move slowly. But when it comes to the position of the European Parliament on plans to turn the European Union into an Energy Union, it was worth the wait, all ten months of it.

After the European Commission announced its ideas for an Energy Union, the Parliament decided to respond to these plans. We were all holding our breath, when we learned that a conservative right-wing Member of the European Parliament, Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, got appointed in March as a rapporteur and the pro-business Industry, Energy and Research Committee was going to handle the file. In the European Parliament, it is standard procedure for rapporteurs to write a first initial draft. After that, other Committee members can submit their amendments.

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December 17th, 2015

Looking Back at the Paris Agreement: A Ban on Fracking Was Never More Urgent

By Geert Decock

The Paris agreement on climate change is less than a week old, yet its contents have already been intensely analysed. Below, we want to share the top five analyses that we have read so far.

The Paris agreement and the promises by 196 governments do not offer any guarantee that the world will limit global warming to a safe level: Even if all parties kept their promises, “the planet would warm by an estimated […] 3.5 degrees Celsius, above preindustrial levels. And that is way, way too much,” says Bill McKibben of in the New York Times.

The Paris agreement offers too little, too late. “By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster. […} In fairness, the failure does not belong to the Paris talks, but to the whole process. […] The talks in Paris are the best there have ever been. And that is a terrible indictment,” says George Monbiot in The Guardian.

One of the main reasons why we remain deeply critical of the Paris agreement is one glaring omission in the text, as Food & Water Watch pointed out in its statement (also pointed out by Naomi Klein on her Twitter feed). How is it – after 21 years of climate summits – that we STILL cannot name the elephant in the room?


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December 14th, 2015

You Say, “Commitment.” I Say, “Convince Me.” – UK Fracking Policy Failure

By Eve Mitchell

Ban Fracking

I’m one of those women who doesn’t like fracking. I’m pretty sure my gender has nothing to do with it, and I’m irked by the dismissal of my considered objection as some frail, fearful failure to understand (and the rest of the bogus lines trotted out by vested interests, which are pretty insulting to men, too).

I’m not daunted by “an awful lot of facts”, but it is true that “more facts are not going to make any difference” to my views on fracking.

It’s quite simple really.

Fact: In January 2015, hot on the heels “streamlining” UK planning policy for infrastructure projects that promised to “make it fairer and faster for communities and applicants alike”, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced a “commitment to an outright ban on fracking in National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.

Hooray! (Ish – that leaves a lot of other places to go “all out for shale”.)

Fact: Days later, DECC Minister Amber Rudd wobbled: “[I]t might not be practical to guarantee that fracking will not take place under them [protected areas] in all cases without unduly constraining the industry.”

By July the DECC confirmed it would be “impractical” to honour its January commitment. Instead there’s a new “clear commitment to ensure that fracking cannot be conducted from wells that are drilled in the surface”, but drilling under them is just fine, and the definition of protected area excludes SSSIs altogether.

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December 10th, 2015

Science Fiction in a Fish – GM Salmon Is NOT Food

FoodandWaterEuropeObamaCANStopGMSalmonBy Eve Mitchell

You’d be forgiven for missing the news, but the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved AquaBounty’s genetically modified (GM) salmon for human consumption few days ago.

We’re fighting to get that decision revoked. You can help. In case natural revulsion isn’t enough of a prompt, a few reminders:

It’s a serious environmental hazard

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