Land Grab Campaign: 1 month on
Jack Dangerfield Media Intern for Oxfam in the South East
6th Nov 2012
Imagine, for a second, being kicked out of your home. There's no time to collect your possessions, no time to say goodbye to friends and family and you must give up everything you know and start again with nothing. This is the reality for millions of communities and small-scale farmers living in developing countries.
Almost a month has now passed since we emerged from our Victoria office in London on our way to the Houses of Parliament to launch the Land Grab campaign. Myself and about a dozen others dressed as construction workers (land grabbers) and land girls went down to Westminster to pose with bulldozers for the media and get the campaign started.
Smart-phones at the ready, it was only 9.30am and already we were trending higher than Jeremy Kyle on Twitter. Add to that, a tweet in support of our campaign from Stephen Fry to his 5 million followers, and everyone could see the word was getting out there. After a few hours driving the bulldozers around London stopping to make impromptu grabs of key landmarks, the campaign was well and truly up and running.
In the month that has passed since the launch, we have seen overwhelming support for the campaign. Already over 7,000 people in the UK have signed the petition calling for an end to Land Grabs (http://tinyurl.com/8fav6pe) and activists up and down the country have been staging their own land grabs locally to raise awareness of the issue (http://youtu.be/W2CTeu7Seko).
When I think about it, it's no wonder people are so supportive of such an outrageous injustice. I find it hard to even begin to imagine someone knocking on my door tomorrow and forcing me to leave my home and give up everything. To think that if this happened to a group of people in this country it would be headline news. The reality is that an area the size of London is sold off every six days, or an area the size of the South-East every 73 days, pushing millions into poverty. In fact, land grabs are happening at such a fast rate that they are one of the
main causes of hunger in the world today. This is no minor issue.
Oxfam is campaigning against land grabs as part of the Grow campaign which aims to see a world where no one goes to bed hungry. We are calling on the UK government to use their influence on the World Bank to put a freeze on big land deals to prevent further people being pushed into lives of poverty.
Now is our chance to work together to ensure a brighter future for millions of the world's farmers. For further information on land grabs please read Oxfam's recent report, "Our Land, Our Lives" (http://tinyurl.com/9zufaf4).