Why does Food & Water Watch work on climate change?
It’s a question we hear, and there's a simple answer: our use of fossil fuels is driving climate change, which is the biggest long-term threat to our food and water. Pushing for a rapid transition to clean energy will help guarantee a sustainable food system and access to clean water for future generations. This work ties closely with our campaigns to ban fracking, which both threatens clean water AND fuels climate change: a double-whammy.
We’re fighting every day to stop corporate factory farms and fossil fuel conglomerates from destroying our food, water, and climate in their quest for profits, but we’re only as powerful as the people who support us. We can stop corporate control of what we eat, guarantee access to clean water for all, and stop the decimation of rural communities when we all work together—to hold our elected officials accountable to meet these goals.
In all our campaigns, you make change possible! Read more below about campaigns around the country you make possible that impact real people in a real way, every day.
Stop Tainting Our Produce!
We were surprised to learn recently that oil companies in California are selling wastewater from drilling operations to several local irrigation districts, which then mix it with water sold to local growers. That means toxic wastewater is used on popular products in your local grocery store. Big brands like POM, Wonderful pistachios and Sutter Home wine are selling you products grown with this polluted water. Early this year, we launched a campaign to just ban it!
So far, Food & Water Watch and partner organizations have garnered nearly half a million signatures from people opposed to the practice and calling for action to stop it. We don’t have to risk our health and can ensure the food we eat is safe from fracking wastewater.
Los Angeles Going Renewable
In early March, we officially launched the campaign to power Los Angeles with clean, renewable energy by 2030. Our study, produced by Synapse Energy Economics, provides a roadmap for the city, showing how we get to a 100% clean, renewable future. More than 75 community members and activists joined our launch, including City Council member Mike Bonin who’s committed to making L.A. renewable.
California is a leader on climate and clean energy policies but also has an entrenched fossil fuel industry that encourages oil production. Los Angeles, which has the largest electric utility in the country — bigger than many states — can be a model showing other cities and states across the country how to go 100% renewable. Los Angeles can lead the way to address climate change!
Ban Factory Farms!
If you’re like us, you’re probably more concerned than ever about where your food is coming from. Factory farms are dangerous to the health of people and are cruel to animals. They ruin rural communities by polluting water and air, and increase corporate control over what we eat every day. And factory farms are feeding the growing food processing industry that is poisoning communities like Millsboro, DE.
Food & Water Watch joined with residents of the town to announce our intent to sue factory farm polluter Mountaire to protect the town’s water supply. After our announcement, the state of Delaware has intervened, filing a suit of their own against Mountaire and has promptly settled the case. We’ve moved to intervene in the state action and are working to bring the residents of Millsboro to the table to make sure real relief for the community results from the Consent Decree by the company. We will be watching to make sure Mountaire cleans up their mess.
But this is about more than just fighting corporate food producers individually: we launched our national campaign to ban factory farms in May in Iowa with local partners and community leaders. And as a first step toward a national ban we are working in states like Iowa and Oregon to establish moratoriums on new and expanded factory farms.
Enough is enough! We can stop factory farms and have better choices about what we feed our families.
Water Affordability in Baltimore
Imagine for a moment that your home is taken from you because you can’t afford to pay your water bill. That is a reality for some people in Baltimore, Maryland who are losing their homes because they can’t afford skyrocketing water rates. People are stuck with excessive bills that often cannot be paid, sending homes, churches and rental properties to tax sale.
With families and communities and religious organizations, we are working to pass the Water for All Affordability Ordinance. Since 2010, residents’ water rates have more than doubled due to rising infrastructure needs and declining federal support. In so many cases the cost of water far exceeds the United Nations defined threshold of affordable. It’s a rising problem across the country, but cities like Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia have introduced income-based affordability programs that can be replicated in Baltimore. The Baltimore water ordinance we’re working to pass will adjust water bills to a level that’s affordable for households and cap residents’ water bill as a small percentage of income. With you, we’re working to restore fairness in Baltimore and put public health, equality and justice first.
Get Virginia Off Fossil Fuels
Last November the Virginia electorate signaled that they want a new direction for the state. With that comes an opportunity to move state policy toward clean energy! Food & Water Watch organizer Rebecca Wolf and policy analyst Elizabeth Schuster worked with Delegate Sam Rasoul to introduce legislation that would make Virginia fully powered by renewable energy by 2035 — this in a state traditionally dependent on coal from neighboring West Virginia. Once a seemingly intractable feat in places like Virginia, we are moving forward our goals for a clean energy future. Electing candidates committed to clean energy is just one way we’re working to create a more sustainable future.
Ban Fracking, Illinois!
Last year, Food & Water Watch prevented the first fracking well from being dug in Illinois. Of course, the company that sought the permits is back, and now other companies want the opportunity to drill as well. Our members, with leadership from the Illinois Food & Water Watch team, urged state lawmakers to fully ban fracking in the state. Those Illinois residents made a persuasive case, and this February a bill to ban fracking in Illinois was introduced. Two other complementary bills were also introduced — one to protect landowners and the other to force disclosure of fracking chemicals. While these bills didn’t make it out of committee this session, we’ve set the stage for more progress next legislative session. With our grassroots partners and members around the state, legislators are hearing the message loud and clear: ban this dirty practice before it gets started here!
States’ Clean Energy Drive
Want bold vision and action for a better future? In the wake of introducing the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act in Congress last September, Food & Water Watch is pushing states to commit to a clean energy future. The national OFF Act calls for stopping new fossil fuel drilling and infrastructure and implementing the transition to 100% renewable energy by 2035. In New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Virginia we’ve introduced similar OFF bills.
Your support over the years building grassroots power led to statewide fracking bans in New York and Maryland; huge victories for people and the planet. Now these states are leading the charge in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast for a clean energy future. And thanks to you, we have the community and power to back it up.
Florida Ban Fracking Update
Sometimes progress means two steps forward, one step back. That’s what happened in Florida this spring. While we’ve moved in the right direction over the past few years, legislation to ban fracking was stymied during this year’s legislative session. Rest assured, we will pick the legislation back up when the next session starts. As with most things worth fighting for, the opportunities we have to move our goals forward are strengthened by the lessons we learn.
For three years in a row, we stopped pro-fracking bills backed by Big Oil and Gas. Ninety (!) communities across Florida have passed local measures against fracking or banned it outright. And the Florida “ban fracking” bills have generated more bipartisan support every year they’ve been introduced — this year, 16 senators and 24 representatives. No small feat! People want this ban. They want clean water in Florida and safe and healthy communities. With this slight setback, we’re making the most of it by organizing further and deeper in communities throughout Florida and will come back stronger to ban fracking once and for all.