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Small-But-Mighty Delegation Carries the Regeneration International in Madrid

MADRID, Spain — Our Madrid delegation carried the Regeneration International banner at the official COP25 event, participating in official events, representing Regeneration International at the 4 per 1000 Initiative meeting and strengthening our network and partnerships.

In this video, Precious Phiri, Regeneration International steering committee member and coordinator of all things Africa-based, talks with Oliver Gardiner about her work in various regions in Africa training ranchers in holistic management techniques, and how regenerative grazing practices restore degraded grasslands. A great message, delivered on International Farmers Day!

Phiri also participated in the official UNFCC Side Event, “Transforming our Food System to Support Natural Carbon Sinks.” The event focused on how farmers, pastoralists, marine biologists, scientists and food advocates are collaborating in new ways to regenerate ecosystems to meet the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Phiri described the  drought situation and other struggles facing farmers in Southern and East Africa, and the work being done by pastoralists and cropping farmers. 

“Regenerative farmers are influencing and leading the way in regional policy decisions,” Phiri said. “That is the value they bring, along with building strong partnerships to help amplify the voices of farmers and spread the message of regenerative agriculture’s social and economic benefits, in addition to its healing impact on Earth’s ecosystems and climate stability.”

The side event was organized by Regeneration International,  International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Biovision – Foundation for Ecological Development (BV) and Shinji Shumeikai (Shumei).

Phiri also spoke on behalf of Regeneration International at the official 4 per 1000 Initiative meeting, co-sponsored by Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. As part of her presentation, she read a statement developed at the Regeneration International Assembly, held in Santiago. The statement called on global governments to adopt a four-prong strategy to solving the climate crisis. 

According to the statement:

“The current global emergency and eco-social crisis that is now at our doorstep urgently demands that we immediately implement all four of these strategies if we hope to avert a total collapse of our ecosystem and global society as we know it.”

The strategy includes: 

  1. Public education and movement-building
  2. Implementation of existing regenerative agriculture practices that promote ecosystem restoration, carbon-capture in soils, and food security 
  3. Reorientation of public policies to support regenerative agricultural practices
  4. Incentivization of massive public and private investment for regenerative practices

Also representing Regeneration International in Madrid was our roving reporter, Oliver Gardiner. Gardiner conducted a series of interviews (you’ll find all of them here), including this one with Dr. Martin Frick, senior director of policy and program coordination for the United Nations Framework on Climate Change.

Frick didn’t mince words when it comes to the link between healthy soils, healthy food and a healthy climate. “I think soils are absolutely instrumental in fixing the climate,” he said. And with over half the world’s arable land moderately to severely degraded, the restoration potential is “enormous,” he said.

As for who will lead the soil restoration efforts, Frick said farmers can do it—but they’ll need to be paid for not only growing healthy food but for restoring healthy soils so that those soils can sequester the carbon drawn down by healthy plants.

Though the Regeneration International Madrid delegation was small, Phiri said it generated “amazing synergy” and was able to have a presence at all  the right events and to serve as a bridge between the meetings in Chile and those in Madrid.

As for the overall outcome of the COP25 global summit, Phiri said: “Even though the main government negotiation rooms didn’t come up with solid conclusions, the COPs remain a useful space for everyone to stand in solidarity and rekindle the passion to keep regenerating. But it’s clear that the people are no longer waiting for governments to act. There’s a huge uprising from civil society, farmers and the world’s youth. This is how change will happen—the people will lead, from the grassroots up, and the governments will follow.”

 

Katherine Paul is communications director for Regeneration International. Subscribe to Regeneration International’s newsletter to keep up with our work.

 

 

 

Organizaciones regenerativas continuarán con los eventos agendados en torno a la COP25 en Chile, y también enviarán delegaciones a Madrid

Regeneration International, Savory Institute, Organic Consumers Association y muchas otras organizaciones comprometidas a apoyar el movimiento regenerativo en América Latina

Contacto:

América Latina: Ercilia Sahores, ercilia@regenerationinternational.org, +52 (55) 6257 7901

Estados Unidos: Katherine Paul, katherine@regenerationinternational.org; 207-653-3090

SANTIAGO, Chile – 7 de noviembre de 2019 – En una demostración clara de solidaridad con el creciente movimiento regenerativo en Chile y en América Latina, Regeneration International anunció que llevará a cabo la asamblea anual de la red y participará de otras instancias claves y estratégicas sobre el clima y la agricultura en Chile y regiones, a pesar de la decisión del gobierno de Chile de no ser anfitrión de la Conferencia climática COP25.

Regeneration International y aliados claves también enviarán delegaciones a la COP25 oficial, que ahora tendrá lugar en Madrid. 

“Este es un momento histórico de profundo simbolismo para Chile,” afirmó Ercilia Sahores, Directora para América Latina de Regeneration International. “Nuestra decisión de continuar con las reuniones que hemos organizado durante meses junto con otras organizaciones de la sociedad civil, refleja nuestro compromiso de asegurar que las voces ciudadanas, no solo las institucionales, puedan unir fuerzas y tener una plataforma en la COP25. Creemos que el Movimiento Regenerativo ofrece una esperanza que se traduce en soluciones políticas, ambientales y socio-económicas prácticas ante la crisis sistémica que se está viviendo en este momento en Chile y otras partes del mundo.”

“Regeneration International está inspirado y con nuevas fuerzas por el surgimiento de resistencia de base y por la regeneración que se está contagiando en todo el planeta, declaró Ronnie Cummins, co-fundador y miembro de la junta de Regeneration International.” Los levantamientos que hemos visto en Chile, Hong Kong, Moscú, el Líbano y otras naciones y el rápido crecimiento de Extinction Rebellion en Europa y el movimiento Sunrise en Estados Unidos, son claros llamados para que el sistema cambie como condición clave para enfrentar la crisis climática y la crisis social, política y económica que están claramente relacionadas. Desde Regeneration International y en conjunto con organizaciones aliadas estamos esperando con ansias ir a Santiago en diciembre para, junto con nuestros colegas en América Latina y Chile, construir un movimiento fuerte a través de América y lograr un Nuevo Acuerdo Verde transcontinental con un fuerte foco en la reforestación, la agricultura y la alimentación regenerativa, así como la restauración de ecosistemas..” 

“La hora esperada ha llegado, luego de años de practicar y capacitarnos activamente en la regeneración eco-social en nuestras manos, mentes y corazones,” compartió Javiera Carrión, co-fundadora de El Manzano Permacultura, organización afiliada a Regeneration International. “El contexto ha cambiado de una manera rápida y violenta en Chile, y lo mismo está ocurriendo en otras partes del mundo“. Estos son tiempos interesantes y de gran incertidumbre. Es también el momento adecuado para que el Movimiento Regenerativo se reúna y vuelva a pensar su estrategia. Tenemos mucho trabajo por hacer y estamos muy agradecidos del apoyo de Regeneration International en este momento crítico.”

” En Savory nos llena de entusiasmo unir fuerzas con Regeneration International para esta COP25,  tanto en Chile como en España” señaló Daniela Howell, CEO del Savory Institute,” Los líderes de nuestros Hubs en Sudamérica y en Europa se unirán para expresar el apoyo y el compromiso hacia el movimiento regenerativo en esta región y de manera global. Queremos participar como un frente unido en sesiones claves para apoyar la promoción de la agricultura orgánica y la iniciativa global  4×1000, compartiendo también tiempo para inspirarnos, conectarnos y generar amistades.”

Regeneration International llevará a cabo su Asamblea General en Santiago el 9 y 10 de diciembre.

Regeneration International es una organización sin fines de lucro 501 (c) (3) dedicada a promover, facilitar y acelerar la transición global a la alimentación, la agricultura y la gestión de la tierra regenerativas con el propósito de restaurar la estabilidad climática, poner fin al hambre en el mundo y reconstruir los sistemas sociales, ecológicos y económicos deteriorados. Visite https://regenerationinternational.org/.

Regeneration Movement Will Hold Scheduled COP25 Events in Chile, Also Send Delegations to Madrid

Regeneration International, Savory Institute, Organic Consumers Assoc. among other regenerative organizations committed to supporting the Regeneration Movement in Latin America

Contact:

Latin America: Ercilia Sahores, ercilia@regenerationinternational.org, +52 (55) 6257 7901

US: Katherine Paul, katherine@regenerationinternational.org; 207-653-3090

SANTIAGO, Chile – November 11, 2019 – In a show of solidarity with the growing Regeneration Movement in Chile and throughout Latin America, Regeneration International today announced it will hold the regeneration network’s annual general assembly and related global climate events in Santiago and regions, as planned, despite the recent announcement that Chile has pulled out of hosting the COP25 Global Climate Summit.

Regeneration International and key partners will also send delegations to the official COP25, which has been relocated to Madrid. 

“This is a historical and deeply symbolic moment for Chile,” said Ercilia Sahores, Regeneration International Latin America director. “Our decision to proceed with the meetings we’ve spent months organizing on the ground with Latin American civil society organizations reflects our commitment to ensuring that citizen voices, not just institutional voices can join forces and have a platform at COP25. We believe that the Regeneration Movement offers hope, in the way of practical, environmental, socioeconomic and political solutions to the systemic crisis occurring now in Chile and other parts of the world.”

“Regeneration International is inspired and energized by the unprecedented upsurge of grassroots resistance and regeneration spreading across the globe, said Ronnie Cummins, Regeneration International co-founder and steering committee member. “The recent uprisings in Chile, Hong Kong, Moscow, Lebanon and other nations, and the rapid growth of the Sunrise and Extinction Rebellion movements in the U.S. and Europe, are calling for system change as the only way to address the Climate Emergency and the related political, social and economic crises bearing down upon us. Regeneration International and our allied NGOs look forward to traveling to Santiago in December to participate with our Chilean and Latin American partners in building up a strong network throughout the Americas for a transcontinental Green New Deal with a strong focus on regenerative food, farming, reforestation and ecosystem restoration.” 

“The time we expected has arrived, years of training and active experimentation for eco-social regeneration in our hands, hearts and minds,” said Javiera Carrión, co-founder of El Manzano Permaculture, a Regeneration International affiliate. “The context has changed rapidly and violently here in Chile, as is happening in other parts of the world“. These are interesting and uncertain times. It is also time for the Regeneration Movement to gather and re-strategize. We have much work to do, and are grateful to have the support of Regeneration International at this critical moment.”

“Savory is excited to join forces with Regeneration International,” said Daniela Howell, CEO of the Savory Institute,” in both Chile and Spain during COP25, with our Hub leaders in South America and Europe joining in an expression of our committed support to the regenerative movement in these regions and globally. We look forward to participating as a united front in key sessions to advance the support for regenerative agriculture and the global 4×1000 initiative, as well as shared time of inspiration and friendship.”

Regeneration International will hold its General Assembly in Santiago December 9-10.

Regeneration International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to promoting, facilitating and accelerating the global transition to regenerative food, farming and land management for the purpose of restoring climate stability, ending world hunger and rebuilding deteriorated social, ecological and economic systems.

Step Aside Agribusiness, It’s Time for Real Solutions to the Climate Crisis

This week’s UN Climate Action Summit will be tricky for agribusiness CEOs. With forest fires raging in the Amazon, a damning new report about the food system by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and millions of young people out in streets clamouring to shut down fossil fuels and factory farming, it will be hard for the world’s largest food and agribusiness companies to get away with another round of voluntary pledges to reduce their gigantic emissions.

At the last UN summit on climate, held five years ago in New York, agribusiness dazzled everyone with two initiatives on deforestation and agriculture, both of which are now in shambles.

Their initiative on deforestation, a New York Declaration on Forests, championed by the world’s largest buyer of palm oil, Unilever, was supposed to put a major dent in tropical deforestation. Instead, rates of tree cover loss have soared, the Amazon is in flames, and those trying to defend forests from agribusiness companies are being killed in record numbers. Now we are learning that the Brazilian Cerrado, a biodiversity hot spot on par with the Amazon and one of the main frontiers for agribusiness expansion, is also burning at a record rate. Agribusiness is responsible, but so are the big global financial firms that having been buying up vast swaths of Cerrado lands and converting them to mega-farms, such as the Swedish national pension fundBlackstone and the Harvard University endowment.

The other initiative at the last summit, a Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture, was the handiwork of Yara, the world’s top nitrogen fertiliser producer and one of the planet’s worst emitters of greenhouse gases. It was the fertiliser industry’s PR response to the growing movement for a real climate solution based on fertiliser-free agroecological farming. The trick worked, for a while. Global production of nitrogen fertiliser rose steadily over the next few years. But the most recent IPCC report pointed to nitrogen fertilisers as one of the most dangerous and underestimated contributors to the climate crisis, and new research is showing that the industry has vastly underestimated its own emissions.

Right now, climate activists are mobilising in Germany for the first mass climate action against Yara and the fertiliser industry. They are targeting Yara because of its multi-million euro lobbying efforts to green-wash industrial agriculture, which they say is one of the main drivers of the climate breakdown.

The big meat and dairy companies are also in trouble. These companies, such as Tyson, Nestlé and Cargill, have emissions levels that approximate their counterparts in the fossil fuel industry. The top 20 meat and dairy companies emit more greenhouse gases than Germany, Europe’s biggest climate polluter. But none of these companies have credible action plans to reduce their emissions and only 4 of the top 35 companies are even reporting their emissions! Instead of taking meaningful action to cut back on production, several companies have been making a lot of noise about their minor investments in plant-based alternatives. People are not being fooled. On the eve of last week’s global climate strike, more than 200 representatives of Indigenous Peoples, workers, academia, environmental and human rights groups adopted a landmark declaration that singled out the “fossil fuel industry and large-scale agribusiness” for “being at the core of the destruction of our climate”.

Big food and agribusiness companies are desperate to portray themselves as part of the solution. But there is no way to reconcile what’s needed to heal our planet with their unflinching commitment to growth. We cannot address the climate crisis if these companies are allowed to keep on sourcing, processing and selling ever more agricultural commodities, be it meat, milk, palm oil or soybeans. Their massive supply chains are what drives the food system’s catastrophic emissions—which the IPCC now says stands at up to 37% of global human-made GHG emissions.

Yet, if we look beyond the public relations of Big Food and Ag we will see that there are plenty of real solutions that can feed the planet perfectly well. All kinds of alternatives are flourishing, especially in the global South, where small farmers and local food systems still supply up to 80% of the food people eat. The industrial food system only exists today because of the support it gets from governments which march in lockstep with corporate lobbyists. Public subsidies, trade deals, tax breaks and corporate-friendly regulations are all designed to prop up the big food and agribusiness companies—and facilitate the growing criminalisation of affected communities, land defenders and seed savers resisting these corporations on the ground. We urgently need to send agribusiness out of the room and demand that governments shift support to small food producers and local markets which would actually save us from planetary collapse.

 

Posted with permission from Common Dreams

Corporate Agribusiness Is Blocking Important Action on the Climate

Climate change action plans often call for less fossil fuel usage, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and a shift toward renewable energy sources. But one area that hasn’t received the broader attention it deserves is industrial farming.

The latest report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) determined that the turning over of more and more land to commercial agriculture has resulted in increasing net greenhouse gas emissions, the loss of natural ecosystems and declining biodiversity. And so, “sustainable land management can contribute to reducing the negative impacts of multiple stressors, including climate change,” the report finds.

This IPCC offering followed on the heels of the National Academies of Sciences study into negative emissions technologies and carbon sequestration, which also found that efforts to store more carbon in agricultural soils generally have “large positive side benefits,” including increased productivity, water holding capacity and yield stability.

KEEP READING ON TRUTHOUT

Deforestación potencia crisis climática global, advierte IPCC

El Informe Especial sobre Cambio Climático y Tierra, dado a conocer el 8 de agosto por el Grupo Intergubernamental de Expertos sobre el Cambio Climático (IPCC por sus siglas en inglés), advierte que la deforestación exacerba los efectos del cambio climático, tales como la escasez de agua, sequías y falta de alimentos. La deforestación puede abrir tierras vírgenes para la agricultura, pero esta pronto se seca y se deteriora, advierten los autores del reporte.

En promedio, el área de tierra que sufre de sequías ha crecido apenas por encima del uno por ciento al año desde 1961, señala el reporte. Esto se añade al impacto del calentamiento global, con áreas de suelo que se han calentado el doble del promedio de la temperatura superficial mundial – lo cual incluye a los océanos – y los suelos deforestados probablemente sean más cálidos, asegura el documento.

Cerca de 500 millones de personas viven ahora en áreas que experimentan desertificación, indica el informe, y probablemente sufran más escasez de alimentos y agua

Valérie Masson-Delmotte, directora de investigación de la Comisión Francesa de Energías Alternativas y Energía Atómica, y coautora del reporte, indicó en una conferencia de prensa en Ginebra que “el riesgo de la deforestación y la degradación de suelos para la seguridad alimentaria ha crecido, con base en nuevas evidencias presentadas en el reporte.

SIGUE LEYENDO EN BIODIVERSIDADLA

“I’m Not a Climate Change Guy, But…”: Farmers Reckon with New Reality in the Heartland

Walking over soggy lifeless crops, Brett Adams, a fifth generation Nebraska farmer, paused to catch his breath. Under the dark grey clouds of the Midwestern spring, he was forced to come to terms with an alarming reality: 80% of his farmland was under freezing floodwater. 

In March 2019, record-breaking floods inundated America’s breadbasket, a region that’s also a key exporter of corn and soybeans to the world. Much of the Midwest was overwhelmed with floods as a result of torrential rains, frozen ground unable to absorb more water, heavy snowmelt, and a series of extreme weather events that culminated in a major winter storm—described by meteorologists as a “bomb cyclone.”

“Winter was colder than normal, overall. We also had a wetter-than-normal winter as well as fall, so the soils were at or near saturation,” Nebraska State Climatologist Martha Shulski said. 

The floods damaged public infrastructure and led to the loss of crops, livestock and the evacuation of thousands of people from their homes.

KEEP READING ON CBS NEWS

Climate Change Being Fuelled by Soil Damage – Report

Climate change can’t be halted if we carry on degrading the soil, a report will say.

There’s three times more carbon in the soil than in the atmosphere – but that carbon’s being released by deforestation and poor farming.

This is fuelling climate change – and compromising our attempts to feed a growing world population, the authors will say.

Problems include soils being eroded, compacted by machinery, built over, or harmed by over-watering.

Hurting the soil affects the climate in two ways: it compromises the growth of plants taking in carbon from the atmosphere, and it releases soil carbon previously stored by worms taking leaf matter underground.

The warning will come from the awkwardly-named IPBES – the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – a panel studying the benefits of nature to humans.

The body, which is meeting this week, aims to get all the world’s governments singing from the same sheet about the need to protect natural systems.

KEEP READING ON BBC NEWS

El Green New Deal de Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: cómo es el ambicioso plan contra el cambio climático de la congresista más joven de EE.UU.

“¡La gente se está muriendo! ¡Están muriendo!”.

La congresista más joven de Estados Unidos, la demócrata Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, realizó esta semana una apasionada defensa del Green New Deal (Nuevo Acuerdo Verde), una propuesta elaborada por ella y el senador demócrata Ed Markey para combatir el cambio climático al tiempo que promueve medidas para reducir la desigualdad económica en Estados Unidos.

La intervención de Ocasio-Cortez se produjo como reacción a las críticas del senador republicano Sean Duffy, que calificó la propuesta de “hipocresía elitista”durante una sesión en el Senado el pasado martes en la que el documento fue ampliamente rechazado en una votación que los demócratas calificaron de “montaje político”.

“¿Le quieren decir a la gente que su preocupación, su deseo de tener agua y aire limpios es elitista? Díganselo a los niños del Bronx que sufren de las tasas más altas de asma infantil en el país“, expuso Ocasio-Cortez indignada.

Siga leyendo en BBC News Mundo

Why the Food and Regeneration Movement Should Support a Green New Deal

“The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan… Half measures will not work… The time for slow and incremental efforts has long past [sic].” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, then-candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, Huffington Post, June 26, 2018

“Just transitioning 10 percent of agricultural production to best-practice regenerative systems will sequester enough CO2 to reverse climate change and restore the global climate. Regenerative Agriculture can change agriculture from being a major contributor to climate change to becoming a major solution.” – Andre Leu, international director, Regeneration International, “Reversing Climate Change with Regenerative Agriculture,” October 9, 2018

Photo credit: Pixabay

The ‘Great Climate Awakening’ of 2018

The final months of 2018 will likely be remembered as the decisive moment when the global grassroots awakened to the life-or-death threat posed by global warming. With violent weather and climate disasters becoming the norm, and international scientists finally shedding their customary caution to report that we must drastically slash (by at least 45 percent) global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, hundreds of millions of ordinary people across the world seemed to simultaneously wake up.

Young climate activists under the banner of the Sunrise Movement in the U.S. and the Extinction Rebellion in the UK and other countries, sat in at politicians’ offices. They blocked streets and roadways. They demanded immediate and bold action.

The Green New Deal is born

In the U.S., an insurgent slate of newly elected members of Congress, inspired by the Sunrise Movement and led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have generated headlines and popular support by calling for a Green New Deal (GND), a 21st Century upgrade of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal carried out during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Given the severity of the climate crisis, and the deterioration of the U.S. and global status quo (economic, political, health and environment), it’s no exaggeration to state that the GND is perhaps the most significant blueprint for system change in 100 years.

The GND’s call for a mass conversion to renewable energy and zero emissions of greenhouse gases in the U.S. by 2030, is in line with what most scientists say is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.

But what’s new, and long overdue in this  evolving manifesto is that the GND also calls for the greening, “just transition” and elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from our multi-trillion-dollar food and farming system as well. That call is long overdue, especially given that our degenerative food system generates 44-57 percent  of all global greenhouse gases.

The GND draft statement calls for “eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries, including by investing in local-scale agriculture in communities across the country.” It also calls for funding “massive investment in the drawdown of greenhouse gases.”

Beyond offering comprehensive energy and agricultural solutions for our climate emergency, what is truly game-changing and revolutionary about the GND is that it calls for system-wide economic regeneration as well: full employment, $15/hr. minimum wage, universal health care, free public education, and economic justice for all—policies extremely popular with the overwhelming majority of the body politic, including students, working class communities and low-income groups.

By bringing together the concerns of youth, food, farmer, environmental and climate activists, with the bread-and-butter concerns of workers and frontline communities, the GND offers nothing less than a contemporary roadmap for survival and regeneration.

As Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association, pointed out in a recent email urging groups to sign on to the GND, it is economic injustice, the lack of money in the pockets of workers and consumers, the 80 percent of ordinary people who live from paycheck to paycheck, that has, in large part, held back the greening of America:

Who wouldn’t drive a Tesla, put up solar panels, or buy an energy efficient home in a walkable neighborhood with great public transportation? Everyone wants these things. We all want to enjoy good health, breathe clean air and drink pure water. There aren’t many families who would have to be convinced to eat locally grown organic health food if it were available and they could afford it. The problem is we’ve got student debt. Our mortgages are under water. We’ve got medical bills and childcare to pay for. And many of us have been too poor to go to college, buy a house or start a family. Our country’s struggling family farmers have the same problem. Sure, they’d love to go organic and pay their workers fairly. They want to do what’s best for their families, their communities and their environment. They just have to figure out how to avoid foreclosure and bankruptcy first.

Support grows quickly for the GND, but so do attacks

With unprecedented speed, Ocasio-Cortez, insurgent Democrats and the Sunrise Movement have stimulated massive media coverage and generated significant public support for the GND, putting radical change on the national agenda. 84 members of Congress, and 11 U.S. Senators, leading 2020 presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, hundreds of local officials, and over 600 activist organizations have already endorsed the GND.

In late-2018, polls indicated that 81 percent of Americans support full employment, economic justice and renewable energy, as outlined in the GND.

Yet despite initial strong support for the GND among activists and the general public, establishment politicians (both Democrats and Republicans) and the corporate media have launched a massive counter-attack, denouncing the GND (and Ocasio-Cortez and her allies) as “utopian,” “radical,” “impractical” and even “dangerous.”

The unfortunate truth is that Congress and the mass media are infected and dominated by powerful climate emergency deniers and establishment politicians taking money from fossil fuel companies, climate-destructive industrial agribusiness and Wall Street. Yet with global scientists sounding the alarm that the onset of runaway global warming (with atmospheric CO2 levels of 450 ppm or higher) is not 80 years away or even 50 years away, but more like a dozen years away unless we drastically change course, it can hardly be called “utopian” to organize around a bold emissions-reduction, drawdown and economic development plan that can avert catastrophe, and improve the lives of everyday people at the same time.

Painting Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise Movement as “radical” is not likely to derail the growing insurgency. Because a radical emergency more serious than anything humans have ever faced in our 200,000-year evolution demands a radical solution. As Cortez said in an interview on “60 Minutes” on January 6 (watched by 11 million people), she admits to being a “radical”—not unlike previous “radicals” in American history, including Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who likewise confronted severe crises demanding radical solutions.

Is it possible to achieve zero emissions in the U.S. by 2030?

On the same “60 Minutes” show, Ocasio-Cortez was pressed on the practicality of zero fossil fuel emissions by 2030. The host tried to trip her up by asking if zero emissions meant that all of us would be driving electric cars within a decade. She responded by saying that there are technological breakthroughs on the horizon that we can’t even imagine yet.

Although it’s undoubtedly true that there are technical breakthroughs in renewable energy and electric cars on the horizon, I wasn’t fully satisfied with Ocasio-Cortez’s answer (even though I admit she’s my favorite political leader of all time). Here’s how I would have answered that question:

“Millions of Americans are going to be driving electric cars in 2030. But you’re right, a lot of us will still be driving our old gasoline-powered vehicles. If you read the details of our proposed Green New Deal carefully, you’ll see that we’re not just talking about rapid reductions in fossil fuel emissions, the CO2 and other greenhouse gases we put up into the sky by burning fossil fuels. We’re also talking about drawing down these same greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, utilizing climate-friendly farming practices that qualitatively increase plant photosynthesis, soil fertility and natural carbon sequestration. These regenerative practices include farming organically, holistic grazing, improving soil health, and restoring our forests, grasslands and wetlands. In other words, we can and must reach zero net emissions in 2030 by drawing down as much atmospheric carbon as we’re still putting up.

“The Green New Deal aims to change not only our climate-destructive energy, manufacturing and transportation systems, but also our degenerative food and farming systems. The Green New Deal is designed to raise the living standards for all Americans, including low-income workers in both rural and urban communities, so that all of us can choose and afford healthier and more climate-friendly lifestyles. In the next decade we must facilitate a just transition away from climate-destabilizing factory farms and fossil fuel-intensive agriculture, at the same time as we switch, as rapidly possible, to 100-percent renewable energy. With renewable energy and regenerative food, farming and land use working in synergy, there is no doubt that we can reach zero net emissions by 2030, significant negative net emissions by 2050, and literally, along with the rest of the world, reverse global warming and avert climate catastrophe.”

We know what to do. The best practices and practitioners in alternative energy, infrastructure rebuilding and regenerative food and farming are already visible in or near our local communities. We simply need to mobilize politically to scale up these practices utilizing the power of a GND. But we’re running out of time unless we can quickly build a massive united front, elect new GND supporters to Congress and the White House in 2020, and pass federal legislation for a GND starting in 2021, as Ocasio-Cortez puts it, “similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan.”

The time to join the GND revolution is now. For more information on the Sunrise Movement’s upcoming activities, click here.

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association and a member of theRegeneration International steering committee.

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams