Future Policy Award 2017: Desertification

We must not let our future dry out! These seven laws and policies demonstrate that land restoration can be a reality. They work towards a land degradation-neutral world as envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goal 15, and tackle desertification, one of the most pressing challenges of our time.

Farming Has Changed Climate Almost as Much as Deforestation

Agriculture has contributed nearly as much to climate change as deforestation by intensifying global warming, according to U.S. research that has quantified the amount of carbon taken from the soil by farming. Some 121 billion tonnes (133 billion tons) of carbon have been removed from the top two metres of the earth’s soil over the last two centuries by agriculture at a rate that is increasing, said the study in PNAS, a journal published by the National Academy of Sciences.

Teaching Agroecology in the Himalayan Foothills

Navandya encourages a mix of ancestral and modern farming techniques through the practice of agroecology. The teaching is based on simple science and economics—farmers don’t need to bury themselves in debt to tend their crops. Healthy soils and climate-adapted, local seeds can generate adequate yields and well-fed children. Navdanya’s method isn’t anti-modern, but it is based on ancestral wisdom.