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Click here to listen to Part 1 of our conversation with Michele Merkel.

This week on Rootstock Radio, host Theresa Marquez continues her conversation with Michele Merkel, co-director of the legal arm of Food and Water Watch. This is the second part of a two-part interview, so if you haven’t heard part one yet, you can listen to it here.

Today, Michele and Theresa discuss the importance of political involvement for the health of our planet, the quality of our food, the cleanliness of our water, and so much more.

“Everyone should be voting for sure, but in between elections I think people should be really trying to engage their elected officials, and making food and water issues a priority for them,” says Michele. She believes that participation in democracy is more crucial now than ever before. “Profits shouldn’t take priority over people,” she emphasizes, continuing, “it’s the government’s job — even though corporations have a role to play in our society — to regulate them [corporations] in a way that our water and our food is being protected.”

Michele and Theresa also talk about the increasing importance of building “coalitions that are as broad as possible.” That is, fostering collaboration between environmental groups, labor and justice-focused organizations, internationally-focused organizations and other movements that are similarly connected. Michele feels that people are starting to get more traction when they link things like environmental concerns with agriculture contributions, or fracking concerns with climate change, and that this intersection could be a key to enacting positive change in our world.

So what’s the bottom line on food and water? “Everyone needs it. Everyone,” says Michele. And, she adds, “If you eat, you have a stake in our food system. So everyone has the right to engage.”

Get engaged right here and right now by listening at the link above or on-the-go via iTunes or Stitcher!