Author: Fiona Harvey | Published: October 28, 2016
Prince Charles urged governments, individuals and businesses to take greater care of the world’s soils as part of an initiative aimed at keeping carbon locked in soil, rather than escaping into the atmosphere and causing global warming.
The “4 per 1000” project is a pledge to reduce the amount of carbon leaked from soils by 0.4% a year, which would be enough to halt the rise of carbon dioxide levels in the air. Nearly 180 countries have signed up to the initiative that was set up by the French government as part of its efforts to make the Paris agreement on climate change, signed last year, a success.
At a ceremony this week to celebrate the initiative, the prince said that the preservation of farmland, forests and soils were of “absolutely critical importance – for, in my experience, the fertility and health of the soil is at the heart of everything”. Drawing on his own work as an organic farmer, he contrasted organic methods with the “previously conventional” farming systems which he called “toxic”.
The 4 per 1000 initiative does not require farmers to adopt organic methods, but does encourage more attention to farming techniques, which are currently contributing to the erosion of soils around the world.