From New Zealand with love
All the way from New Zealand, Oxfam staff member Jason Garmen gives us a guest blog about his experience at the first gig in a while for Coldplay and Oxfam on tour.
I love food. And I hate injustice. Well, to be accurate, I don’t hate anything – it’s counter to my belief system. But injustice is wrong. It’s not natural, it’s not inevitable, and it’s up to us to do everything we can to move beyond it.
Today was one giant leap in the right direction. 40,000 people from all overNew Zealand, here to see an epic show by Coldplay – a band that loves food and hates injustice. And our charged-up posse of Oxfam staff in veggie costumes got to talk to so many fans last night so thanks to every single one of you who signed up to support the GROW campaign and find out more about how you can help Oxfam end the injustice of poverty.
There were so many good conversations about food in that arena – where it comes from, what’s in it, how much do we need, should GM ingredients be labelled, how lucky we are to have enough to eat (even if it does seem expensive), how many places in the world there still are where people don’t have enough, and most importantly, all the ways that Oxfam is helping people to have a better food future, from Vanuatu to Niger and beyond.
While there is great work being done on sustainable agriculture, stopping land grabs, reigning in food commodity speculation that drives prices out of reach, and more, the news is not all good. Climate change drives food insecurity. Unpredictable weather means people don’t know when to plant, yields are low, or crops fail altogether.
Here inNew Zealand, our government has just locked in rules that make our Emissions Trading System functionally useless. Adding insult to injury, we’ve just found out thatNew Zealandwill not sign up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. That means this country no longer has a legally-binding commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution…which is among the five worst per capita in the developed world.
Climate change is already making it harder for vulnerable communities to grow the food they need. But while our government is moving in the wrong direction, so many of you that we talked to today are moving in the right direction. And that’s cause for optimism, because the power of the people is stronger than the power of any government. And what powerful people tonight! Chris kept commenting from the stage how amazing you were. So if you want to help more in New Zealand keep an eye out on Oxfam New Zealand website and any emails you will get from us in the future.
Incidentally, if you ever get a chance to dress up like a tomato and talk to strangers about food, I recommend it. Good conversation starter.
So thank you Coldplay for putting on such a great show. And most importantly thanks to all the fans for not only listening to the music, but listening to the ways you can get involved and help make this planet the kind of place where no one goes hungry, no matter where they happen to have been born.