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AGROECOLOGY describes a social movement, academic discipline, and agricultural practice. They all share the notion of adapting agriculture to prevailing natural conditions, cycles, and local needs. As an approach, agroecology combines traditional and local knowledge with modern scientific methods.*

BIODIVERSITY describes biological diversity, such as the diversity of species.*

CARBON FOOTPRINT is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by the activities of a person, organization, event, service, or area. It includes direct emissions, such as those that result from fossil-fuel combustion in, for example, transportation. It also includes indirect emissions required to produce the electricity needed for the provision of goods and services.

CLIMATE CRISIS describes the consequences of global warming due to the heavy CO2 emissions of specific countries. The increasing occurrences of droughts or floods have already been noticeable for years, especially for countries in the GLOBAL SOUTH.**

CLIMATE JUSTICE implies that countries which bear the primary responsibility for global warming must be held accountable for their impacts on a global scale. The global upper and middle classes contribute most to climate change. However, the ones who suffer from its consequences most acutely tend to contribute the least to global warming. Currently, it is mostly the populations of the GLOBAL SOUTH who suffer from the effects of the climate crisis, despite their small contribution to global warming.**

COMMON GOOD is something that belongs to or is shared by all (like clean air and water). Doing something for the common good means doing it for the benefit of all people in a society.

FOOD SECURITY/SOVEREIGNTY is the right of all people to decide over the processes of food production, distribution, and consumption. Key to this concept is the development of a socially just and sustainable form of agriculture.*

GLOBAL NORTH/GLOBAL SOUTH describe the different position of countries in the global political and economic order. They are not geographic terms. Global South describes countries and places in a disadvantaged social, political, and economic position in the global system. Global North, on the other hand, defines an advantaged, privileged position.*

GOOD FOOD PHILOSOPHY is an umbrella term used in some parts of Europe for concepts such as agroecology, regenerative agriculture and food sovereignty. Its main idea is that food should be good for the environment (because of the way it is produced), good for the food producers (who can earn enough to live well, and who are appreciated much more by society for the essential work that they do), good for the local economy, and good for the consumer and their health.

TARIFF ESCALATION describes a customs policy often used by economically powerful nations. Nations, or common markets such as the European Union, usually impose tariffs on the import of foreign goods. In the case of tariff escalation, they set a low tax on the import of unprocessed products (such as raw coffee beans) but a high tax on processed products (such as roasted coffee).
In this way, many African countries, for example, can easily sell their raw coffee beans to the EU. However, if they choose to export roasted coffee to the EU, this becomes unprofitable due to the higher tariffs on processed coffee. This leads to a situation in which poorer countries sell the cheap raw coffee beans to the EU, while companies in the EU then roast these coffee beans and sell the more expensive roasted coffee to other countries.
Thanks to this mechanism, Germany is the fourth largest exporter of coffee, while Tanzania, where the coffee is grown, is “only” the 28th largest. This also implies that the coffee industry in Germany earns more money than the coffee industry in Tanzania.
Although there are other details to this policy (so called “least developed countries” are exempt from paying tariffs on most goods, but may still face non-tariff barriers to trade such as compliance with costly regulations), tariff escalation is a policy that economically strengthens the GLOBAL NORTH and weakens the GLOBAL SOUTH.

GOOD LIFE FOR ALL is a concept that describes the solidarity-based coexistence of all people in respectful interaction with the environment. It represents an alternative concept to Western development models which focus on economic growth and material prosperity. The concept is based on the philosophy of Buen Vivir of the indigenous cultures of the Andean countries in Latin America.*

GREENWASHING means that a company or an organization presents itself as environmentally conscious and sustainable for marketing purposes, while it is in fact not really acting sustainably.

INDIGENOUS peoples/communities are the descendants of a region’s original inhabitants before the region was colonized by a group that dominates it until today. Human rights specifically for indigenous peoples guarantee their right to be able to meet their social, cultural and economic needs, and their right to land.*

INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE aims for efficiency in production instead of caring for animals, the environment, and people. Monoculture fields and mass production, as well as the use of chemical fertilizers, characterize the system. It promotes large agricultural corporations instead of smallholder farming. Instead of catering to regional demand, this form of agriculture is often strongly export-oriented.*

LAND GRABBING is a term for the heightened economic interest in agricultural land and the global increase in large-scale land buy-ups. Frequently, while being formally legal, they lack democratic control over land access.*

PERMACULTURE is an approach to agriculture and land management that deals with ecosystems in a sustainable and self-sufficient way. Permaculture takes inspiration from natural ecosystems and focuses on plant diversity and resilience. Permaculture is based on holistic thinking and beliefs that understand nature and human activities interrelated and goes beyond the scope of agriculture itself to include, for example, the well-being of human communities. Often the term is used in contrast to INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE.


POLLINATOR is any animal that helps carry pollen from the male part of the flower to the female part of the same or another flower. The movement of pollen is necessary for plants to become fertilized and produce fruits, seeds, and young plants.

PROTEST is a public gathering organized by a group of people or a community to express their demands or their dissatisfaction with a current issue in their society. At protests people often carry signs or shout out slogans to communicate their ideas or demands.

SUBSIDY describes money that is paid by a government to an industry or business as support. It can be implemented to serve various purposes: To increase the companies’ ability to stay in the market, to keep the price of their commodity or service low, or to achieve self-sufficiency of a country or region.

SUSTAINABILITY means that current generations of people can meet their needs in a way that doesn’t compromise the needs of future generations (for example by exhausting sources of food or destroying the quality of air).


* Cited from and/or based on the publications by the I.L.A. Collective: “At the expense of others? How the imperial mode of living prevents a good life for all” (2019) and “Das Gute Leben für Alle” (The Good Life for All) (2019)
** Based on the #YoungMuseum texts of the Grassi Museum of Ethnography Leipzig.

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