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“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.

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El Ministerio de Agricultura de Japón reconoce el papel de la agricultura regenerativa en la solución climática

Una conferencia innovadora sobre agricultura y cambio climático tuvo lugar del 13 al 15 de mayo en Japón, y Regeneration International estuvo allí.

Si bien el contenido y la interacción de la conferencia “La agricultura es la solución al cambio climático” en Otsu, Japón, fue dinámico e importante, quizás la conclusión más importante de la conferencia fue quién organizó el evento en primer lugar.

La conferencia fue copatrocinada por el Ministerio de Agricultura, Silvicultura y Pesca de Japón en lo que podría interpretarse como un reconocimiento tácito por parte de la tercera economía más grande del mundo que la agricultura debe desempeñar un papel clave en la mitigación del cambio climático.

La conferencia también fue patrocinada por la Iniciativa 4 por 1000, y fue apoyada por el Panel Intergubernamental sobre Cambio Climático (IPCC), la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura (UNFAO), el Banco Mundial, el Consejo Empresarial Mundial para el Desarrollo Sostenible (WBCSD), Rothamsted Research y los gobiernos de Francia y Alemania, entre otros, y tuvo lugar solo un día después de que el IPCC concluyera su 49a sesión en Kioto, a solo 13 kilómetros de Otsu.

Los oradores clave de 4 por 1000 y las principales organizaciones y gobiernos que apoyan esta iniciativa confirmaron la importancia de construir la salud del suelo para combatir el cambio climático. Fue la primera conferencia internacional en Asia sobre el cambio de la agricultura al adoptar sistemas de gestión que aumentan la materia orgánica del suelo como una solución de reducción y adaptación a la crisis climática.

El arroz es el cultivo básico más importante en Asia, y el director internacional de RI, Andre Leu, hizo una presentación magistral sobre Sistemas de Intensificación del Arroz (SRI).

El SRI puede duplicar los rendimientos de arroz y reducir enormemente las emisiones de metano, gracias a su menor uso de agua, y cuando se combina con cultivos de cobertura, el SRI puede dar como resultado un secuestro significativo de carbono en el suelo. El SRI es una solución poderosa para los productores de arroz de todo el mundo que enfrentan crecientes amenazas de sequía, tifones y marejadas ciclónicas costeras.

Varios socios de RI, como la Asociación Biodinámica de India y la Liga de Municipios y Ciudades Orgánicas de Filipinas, también participaron en la conferencia y dieron presentaciones sobre las mejores prácticas para mitigar el aumento de carbono natural en los suelos de las tierras agrícolas.

Durante una entrevista con Regeneration International, Paul Luu, Secretario Ejecutivo de 4 por 1000, dijo que los responsables políticos y los agricultores están poniendo cada vez más énfasis en la agroecología. Luu habló sobre la fuerte necesidad de que se realicen más investigaciones sobre agroecología, agricultura biodinámica y agricultura regenerativa, para que sea útil para asesorar a los agricultores convencionales en transición de acuerdo con sus requisitos.

A pesar de que no se menciona el cambio climático en la reunión de ministros de agricultura del G7 celebrada unos días antes en la cercana Tokio (debido a la abstención del gobierno de los Estados Unidos), el gobierno japonés está trabajando con la Iniciativa 4 por 1000 para incluir el marco de 4 por 1000 en el trabajo conjunto de Koronivia sobre agricultura (KJWAc). KJWA es una decisión tomada en la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Clima (COP23) en noviembre de 2017, para reconocer oficialmente la importancia de los sectores agrícolas en la adaptación y mitigación del cambio climático.

La implementación de KJWA cuenta con el apoyo de la UNFAO en asociación con otros actores a nivel nacional e internacional. En virtud de esta decisión, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura (UNFAO) apoya a los países que brindan apoyo técnico para adaptarse y mitigar el cambio climático, trabajando en estrecha colaboración con la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático (CMNUCC) y otros socios.

Regeneration International mostrará el progreso realizado por la Iniciativa 4 por 1000 para alentar a los países a unirse a una Revolución de la Salud del Suelo en la agricultura (denominada la Revolución Marrón) en su próxima Asamblea General en Chile en diciembre de 2019, que se realizará junto con la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático COP25 en Santiago de Chile del 2 al 13 de diciembre.

Oliver Gardiner es el reportero itinerante de la Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos y Regeneration International.

Japan’s Ministry of Ag Acknowledges Role of Regenerative Farming in Climate Solution

A breakthrough conference on agriculture and climate change took place May 13-15 in Japan, and Regeneration International was there.

While the content and interaction of the “Agriculture Is the Solution to Climate Change” conference in Otsu, Japan, was dynamic and important, perhaps the most important takeaway from the conference was who organized the event in the first place.

The conference was co-sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in what could be interpreted as a tacit recognition by the world’s third largest economy that agriculture must play a key role in climate-change mitigation.  

The conference was also sponsored by the 4 per 1000 Initiative, and was supported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO), the World Bank, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Rothamsted Research, and the governments of France and Germany, among others – and it took place just one day after IPCC wrapped up its 49th session in Kyoto, just 13 kilometers from Otsu.

Key speakers from 4 per 1000 and the major supporting organizations and governments all upheld the importance of building soil heath to fight climate change. It was the first-ever international conference in Asia about changing agriculture by adopting management systems that increase soil organic matter as a drawdown and adaptation solution to the climate crisis.

Rice is the most important staple crop in Asia, and RI’s international director Andre Leu gave a keynote presentation on Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI).

SRI can double rice yields, and massively reduce methane emissions, thanks to its lower water usage – and when combined with cover crops, SRI can result in significant soil sequestration of carbon. SRI is a powerful solution for rice farmers all around the world faced with increasing threats of drought, typhoon and coastal storm surge.

A number of RI partners, such as the Biodynamic Association of India and the League of Organic Municipalities and Cities of the Philippines, also took part in the conference, and gave presentations on best practices for mitigating the natural carbon increase in farmland soils.

During an interview with Regeneration International, Paul Luu, Executive Secretary of 4 per 1000, said policymakers and farmers are putting more and more emphasis on agroecology.  Luu spoke about the strong need for more research to be carried out on agroecology, biodynamic farming and regenerative agriculture – for it to be useful in advising transitioning conventional farmers in accordance to their requirements.

Despite there being no mention of climate change in the G7 meeting of agriculture ministers held a few days earlier in nearby Tokyo (because of abstention by the United States government), the Japanese government is working with 4 per 1000 Initiative to include 4 per 1000’s framework in the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA). KJWA is a decision reached at the UN Climate Conference (COP23) in November 2017, to officially acknowledge the significance of the agriculture sectors in adapting to and mitigating climate change.

The implementation of KJWA is supported by the UNFAO in partnership with other actors at national and international levels. Under this decision the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) supports countries providing technical support to adapt to and mitigate climate change, working in close collaboration with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other partners.

Regeneration International will showcase the progress made by the 4 per 1000 Initiative to encourage countries to come on board with a Soil Health Revolution in agriculture (dubbed the Brown Revolution) at its next General Assembly in Chile in December 2019, to be held in conjunction with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 25 summit in Santiago de Chile December 2-13.

Oliver Gardiner is the Organic Consumers Association and Regeneration International’s roving reporter.To keep up with news and events, sign up here for the Regeneration International newsletter.

RI’s Mexico Team Takes Part in First Mexican Congress of Agroecology Conference

On January 1, 1994, Mexico’s Zapatista revolution exploded onto the world stage and instantly grabbed the attention and imagination of progressives and activists around the world.  Among those caught up in the Zapatista revolution were activists and academics pushing back against an almost global corporate takeover of agriculture.  Suddenly a new, different world was possible.

It was only fitting then that the First Mexican Congress of Agroecology was held May 12 to 17 this year in San Cristobal de las Casas, capital of the Mexican state of Chiapas, and ground zero for the vision of a new Mexico launched by the Zapatista revolution. The Congress brought together more than a thousand people from peasant, academic, student and activist communities, and organizations from all over Mexico and around the world—including Regeneration International.

The cross-cutting premise of the Congress was to bring academia and existing grassroots agroecological processes together in a social and collaborative way, while creating the opportunity for rural communities themselves determine their real needs and implement actions to address those needs.

The Intercultural University of Chiapas (UNICH) and the College of the Southern Border (ECOSUR) were the prime movers and organizers of the Congress.  Since 2018, UNICH and ECOSUR have worked closely together to strengthen the exchange of traditional knowledge and experience between rural communities and academia.

From the very beginning and throughout the Congress, during discussions on the origin and history of agroecology in Mexico, peasant communities were spoken of as guardians of agrobiodiversity and as the driving force behind the survival of many of the seeds and plants that have existed in the Americas from pre-Hispanic times until today.

The Congress grappled with the history of agroecology, with an emphasis on the need to build a common future based on the great potential that Mexico has in implementing agroecological techniques.

Participants also worked on organizing a common front to present proposals that feed state and national public policies beneficial to the community at large—policies that create resilience and can reverse the harmful effects that the agro-industrial model has on food quality, food sovereignty, soil, water, air and ecosystems as a whole.  There was also much discussion of agro-industry’s substantial contribution to climate change, and resultant forced migration, an issue that has dominated the news and galvanized public opinion in Mexico, the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.  

The wide variety of program topics and the heterogeneity of Congress participants underlined the need to reconcile the multiple perspectives that exist on agroecology in Mexico, in particular the Mayan vision, which from generation to generation has opted for a construction of knowledge and resistance, as well as the academic vision, in Mexico represented by the figure of the well-known late Mexican ethnobotany teacher Efraim Hernández Xocolotzi .

With this goal in mind, of integrating and weaving together Mexico’s many rich and diverse perspectives, Congress roundtables discussed these principal topics: food sovereignty, international experiences in agroecology and good living, farmers’ markets, agroecological production strategies, agroforestry systems, silvopasture and wildlife management, milpa systems, family gardens, pest management, public policy and governance, soils and seeds, women, agroecology and feminism, maize under siege, water and soil, seeds and resilience, and peasant schools, among other topics.

The closing ceremony was held at the historic Teatro Zebadúa in the center of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Speakers at the closing roundtable included Dr. Víctor Suárez Carrera, Mexican Undersecretary of Food Self-Sufficiency of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Dr. Crispim Moreira, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative to Mexico; and Dr. Luis García Barrios, director of the southeast region of the National Commission of Science and Technology.

In a packed auditorium, the public peppered authorities with questions on the real capacity for change posed by the Fourth Transformation, a broad proposal put forth by the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador to solve the problems that the Mexican Revolution—the Third Transformation—left unresolved. It became clear that agroecology must be part of the real transformation of the Mexican Republic, and that this will occur to the extent that a strong and organized society demands the necessary changes so that the public policies that the government implements integrate agroecology as a substantial part of that change.

Ercilia Sahores is a member of the Regeneration International steering committee and Latin America Director. To keep up with news and events, sign up here for the Regeneration International newsletter.


The 9% Lie: Industrial Food and Climate Change

The Climate Emergency is finally getting the attention of the media and the U.S. (and world) body politic, as well as a growing number of politicians, activists and even U.S. farmers.

This great awakening has arrived just in time, given the record-breaking temperatures, violent weather, crop failures and massive waves of forced migration that are quickly becoming the norm. Global scientists have dropped their customary caution. They now warn us that we have to drastically reduce global emissions – by at least 45 percent – over the next decade. Otherwise, we’ll pass the point of no return – defined as reaching 450 ppm or more of CO2 in the atmosphere sometime between 2030 and 2050 – when our climate crisis will morph into a climate catastrophe. That’s when the melting polar ice and Arctic permafrost will trigger catastrophic sea rise, fueling deadly forest fires, climate chaos, crop failures, famine and the widespread disintegration of society as we know it.

Most people now understand that we must quickly move to renewable forms of energy, such as wind and solar, and reduce our fossil fuel emissions as much as possible. But it’s far less widely understood that energy conservation and renewables can’t do the job alone.

Alongside the massive political and economic campaign to move to 100% (or nearly 100%) renewable energy as soon as possible, we must put an end to the massive emissions of our corporate-dominated food and farming system and start drawing down and sequestering in our soils and forests billions of tons of “legacy” CO2 from the atmosphere, utilizing the enhanced photosynthesis of regenerative farming, reforestation and land restoration.

Regenerative Agriculture” refers to farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity. This results in both carbon drawdown and improved water infiltration and storage in soils. Regenerative practices include:

  • Reduction/elimination of tillage and use of synthetic chemicals.

  • The use of cover crops, crop rotations, compost, and animal manures.

  • Integrating animals with perennial and annual plants to create a biologically diverse ecosystem on the farm.

  • Grazing and pasturing animals on grass, and more specifically using a planned multi-paddock rotation system.

  • Raising animals in conditions that mimic their natural habitat.

If regenerative food, farming and land use – which is essentially moving to the next stage of organic farming, free-range livestock grazing and eco-system restoration – are just as essential to our survival as moving beyond fossil fuels, why aren’t more people talking about this? Why is it that moving beyond industrial agriculture, factory farms, agro-exports and highly-processed junk food to regenerating soils and forests and drawing down enough excess carbon from the atmosphere to re-stabilize our climate is getting so little attention from the media, politicians and the general public?

The International Food Information Council Foundation released a poll on May 22, 2019, that found that “22 percent [of Americans] had heard of regenerative agriculture and 55 percent said they had not heard of it but were interested in learning more.”

Why don’t more people know about the incredible potential of regenerative agriculture, or more precisely regenerative food, farming and land-use practices, to fix our climate, restore the environment, improve the livelihoods of farmers and rural communities and produce more nutritious food? Why is it that the U.S. and global climate movement until recently has focused almost exclusively on reducing emissions through renewable energy?

Our collective ignorance on this crucial topic may have something to do with the fact that we never learned about these things in school, or even college, and until recently there was very little discussion of regeneration in the mass media, or even the alternative media.

But there’s another reason regeneration as a climate solution doesn’t get its due in Congress or in the media: powerful corporations in the food, farming and forestry sector, along with their indentured politicians, don’t want to admit that their current degenerate, climate-destabilizing, “profit-at-any-cost” production practices and business priorities are threatening our very survival.

And government agencies are right there, helping corporate agribusiness and Big Food bury the evidence that these industries’ energy-intensive, chemical-intensive industrial agricultural and food production practices contribute more to global warming than the fossil fuel industry.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) repeatedly claim that industrial agriculture is responsible for a mere 9 percent of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. As the EPA explains, GHG “emissions from agriculture come from livestock such as cows, agricultural soils and rice production.”

After hearing this 9-percent figure regurgitated over and over again in the media, most people draw the conclusion that food and farming aren’t that important of a factor in global warming, especially when compared with transportation, electricity generation, manufacturing and heating and cooling our buildings.

What the EPA, USDA, Big Ag, chemical, and food corporations are conveniently hiding from the public is that there’s no way to separate “U.S. agriculture” from our “food system” as a whole. Their faulty math (i.e. concealing food and farming emissions under the categories of transportation, manufacturing, etc.) is nothing but a smokescreen to hide the massive fossil fuel use and emissions currently belched out by our enormously wasteful, environmentally destructive, climate-destabilizing (and globalized) food system.

USDA and EPA’s nine-percent figure is ridiculous. What about the massive use of petroleum products and fossil fuels to power U.S. tractors and farm equipment, and to manufacture the billions of pounds of pesticides and chemical fertilizers that are dumped and sprayed on farmlands?

What about the ethanol industry that eats up 40 percent of our chemical- and energy-intensive GMO corn production? Among other environmental crimes, the ethanol industry incentivizes farmers to drain wetlands and damage fragile lands. Taking the entire process into account, corn production for ethanol produces more emissions than it supposedly saves when burned in our cars and trucks.

What about the massive release of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide from factory farms and the GMO, monocrop industrial grain farms that supply these feedlots and CAFOs with animal feed?

What about the methane emissions from the fracking wells that produce the natural gas that is used in prodigious amounts to manufacture the nitrogen fertilizer dumped on farmlands – fertilizer that then pollutes our waterways and creates oceanic dead zones as well as releasing massive amounts of nitrous oxide (300 percent more damaging than even CO2) into our already oversaturated atmosphere?

What about the 15-20 percent of global fossil fuel emissions that come from processing, packaging (most often non-recycled plastic), refrigerating and transporting our highly processed (mainly junk) food and agricultural commodities on the average 1,500 miles before they reach the consumer?

What about the enormous amounts of GHG emissions, deforestation and ecosystem destruction in the international supply chain enabling Big Box stores, supermarket chains and junk food purveyors to sell imported cheap food, in many cases “food-like substances” from China and overseas to undernourished and supersized U.S. consumers?

What about the enormous emissions from U.S. landfills where wasted food (30-50 percent of our entire production) rots and releases methane, when it could be used to produce compost to replace synthetic fertilizers?

A more accurate estimate of GHG emissions from U.S. and international food, farming and land use is 44-57 percent, not the 9 percent, as the EPA and USDA suggest.

We’re never going to reach net zero emissions in the U.S. by 2030, as the Green New Deal calls for, without a profound change, in fact a revolution, in our food, farming, and land use practices.

This essay is part of The Organic Consumers Association’s Regenerative Agriculture campaign. To sign their petition in support of a Green New Deal that puts regenerative food, farming, and land use front and center, sign here if you’re a farmer, and here if you’re an activist or a green consumer.

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association and a member of the Regeneration International steering committee. To keep up with RI’s news and alerts, sign up here.

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams

Plant Sentience and the Impossible Burger

What is consciousness? It is awareness of self, others and our surroundings. What is sentience? It is the ability to perceive, experience and feel things.

The concept of sentience is a key part of animal rights. This is because it is necessary for animals to be sentient in order to experience pain and distress and the reason why reasonable people oppose animal cruelty. It is also part of the concept of the sanctity of life.

Scientific research shows that plants possess these same attributes. Plants are conscious, sentient beings.

In 1973, The Secret Life of Plants, by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird documented experiments that showed plant sentience. The book gave many examples of plant responses to human care, their ability to communicate, their reactions to music, their lie-detection abilities and their ability to recognize and to predict. It was a best seller. However, despite quoting from a range of research, it was met with skepticism by many scientists and academics.

Since then, thousands of published studies present a body of evidence that plants are conscious, sentient beings.

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Can Meat Actually Save The Planet?

Meat has had a rough few years. Since a shocking 2006 report found that livestock are a major contributor to climate change, there has been a nationwide ― if not global ― movement to eat less meat.

But many experts say that the war on meat is missing the point. There is an extensive body of research suggesting that livestock should not shoulder blame for the climate crisis. In fact, these experts would argue that grazing animals are a crucial part of the solution.

“The current methods of meat production are absolutely unacceptable from an environmental and animal welfare standpoint, but that doesn’t logically lead us to the conclusion that we should get rid of meat,” said Nicolette Hahn Niman, an environmental-lawyer-turned-cattle-rancher and author of “Defending Beef.” “The conversation tends to miss this basic point: It’s not whether or not we have animals, it’s how they’re managed.”

Niman’s bookexplains in great scientific detail how, through proper management systems, livestock have the potential to positively impact ― even reverse ― the effects of climate change.

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The Green New Deal Must Include Regenerative Agriculture and an End to Factory Farming

This week, a petition signed by more than 100,000 people was delivered to Congress, outlining issues that should be addressed in Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey’s (D-MA) Green New Deal. This petition shows overwhelming support for the Green New Deal, and calls for more attention to be brought to how our food system can be reformed to combat climate change. With the food and farming sector being the United States’ largest employer, and the country being one of the highest contributors toward climate change, citizens are calling for action to be taken to protect our world.

As someone in their mid-twenties, I have grown up seeing how climate change is actively impacting me and my community. Here in California, I expect droughts in the summer and extreme wildfires or mudslides in the fall; learning from a young age to always conserve water because the next shortage is just around the corner. Young activists from all across the U.S. have seen similar changes in their home states, and we recognize that our future depends on action being taken to stop the climate crisis before it is too late.

A unique opportunity to address climate change can be found in our agriculture sector—an area which must be made sustainable if we’re going to survive. Climate scientists have identified agriculture as one of the largest contributors to climate change. This an opportunity to shift agricultural practices away from the large scale, conventional farms that currently dominate our food system to a regenerative, locally-focused, small-scale system that values the welfare of the land and those who work it. CFS has identified several focus points that should be implemented with the passing of the GND resolution to cut back greenhouse gas emissions and create a healthier, more sustainable food system.

1. Invest in regenerative, local agriculture

The future of agriculture lies in the shifting of practices away from large scale monocultures towards small and medium-sized diversified farms. We must wean away from the mass amounts of toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers being used, and instead integrate regenerative practices such as cover cropping, the use of compost, and the implementation of hedgerows as alternatives that not only add nutrients into the soil, but provide many other ecosystem services. Among these, regenerative agriculture protects biodiversity, including the native bees and pollinators that are currently being decimated by conventional agriculture. Our “Regenerating Paradise” video series covers many practices currently being practiced in Hawai’i—including several that can be implemented nationwide—to reduce carbon emissions and protect our soils. Implementing these practices can sustain our food production all while sequestering carbon, protecting pollinators, and promoting on-farm biodiversity.

Switching to these regenerative agriculture practices will not be easy, but it will be beneficial. Despite research showing the vast benefits that come from cover cropping and other regenerative practices, farmers have been slow to start implementing them. Government and university grants, technical assistance, and further research should be funded to help promote these practices, transition farms, and aid the continuous education of farmers and farmworkers. This investment will have far-reaching effects on farms—preserving native pollinator habitat, sequestering carbon, and providing climate-smart food to local communities.

2. Cut meat consumption and shut down environmentally-harmful animal factory farms

Disinvestment from factory farms is necessary, not only from a climate standpoint, but from a larger human and environmental health perspective as well. Large scale animal operations pollute the water, lead to a higher risk of disease in humans, and contributelarge amounts of methane and other greenhouse gases into the air. Cutting back meat consumption, purchasing meat from local sources, and shifting toward plant-based sources of protein are all ways that individuals can help. More people than ever, especially young people, have recognized the harmful impacts of meat consumption and we are turning toward a flexitarian diet, vegetarianism, and veganism as a way to cut back on our carbon footprint. The government has the opportunity to support this effort on a larger scale by providing financial support and technical assistance to ranchers to help them transition to pasture-based and integrated livestock operations that reduce livestock’s impact on climate change and help sequester carbon in the soil.

CFS’s recently launched EndIndustrialMeat.org, a website that highlights some of the negative impacts that come with factory farming, including the vast amount of carbon released into the air and heavy metals being drained into the ground; serious consequences that disproportionately affect rural populations and disadvantaged communities. The GND’s goal to secure clean air and water, healthy food, and a sustainable environment for all communities mean that shutting down these harmful operations is imperative.

3. Reverse the trend of consolidation within the agriculture sector

For decades now, there has been increasing consolidation of seed, livestock, and other agriculture-related companies. These mega-corporations have purchased vast quantities of land and set the rules for how a farm has to run, undercutting disadvantaged farmers and farmworkers, and wrecking rural communities. GND policies can be used to break up these mega-farms, and empower local communities to take back the food system. Breaking up these predatory mega-farms would not only reinvigorate the economies of rural areas, but it would also give these communities access to the healthy, climate-friendly food necessary to slow the rate of climate change.

The growth of small and medium-sized farms would allow farmers and farmworkers to set fair wages and provide safe and humane conditions for themselves and a future for their children. Doing so would not only allow current farmers to continue their operations, but also would open the door for young farmers to have access to the land, resources, and funds needed to operate for a viable, sustainable farm. 

4.  Support young and disadvantaged farmers

Finally, we must utilize the GND to support disadvantaged and young farmers, paving the way for a climate-friendly food future. For a long time, people have been turning away from farming, instead opting for job opportunities found in cities. For the past several years, there has been a renewed interest in working the land in a regenerative, holistic manner. We must support these new farmers, along with the farmworkers who have been subjugated to the abuses of industrial agriculture, to forage a community-focused, regenerative food system.

The principles of equity and justice outlined in the GND must guide our transition away from industrial monocultures, and toward a food system that supports and uplifts disadvantaged groups, providing the economic assistance and infrastructure needed to improve these communities, and ultimately improving our economy as a whole. Likewise, many young and disadvantaged farmers have limited access to the equipment and mentorship needed to run a successful farm enterprise. Having grants and training programs available to take on the huge costs of tractors, land, and resources necessary to start a farm should be central to the Green New Deal.

Young people have paved the way for the Green New Deal and our future depends on immediate action being taken to stop climate change. Not only will this resolution allow for the huge changes needed to prevent climate change, but will allow for new opportunities for farmers. While the challenge ahead of us won’t be easy, there are many things that can be done to mitigate current greenhouse gas emissions that aren’t being implemented. The GND is an opportunity to reform our way of farming to allow for huge cuts to current emissions, all while creating a more equitable food system.

Posted with permission from Common Dreams

Cambio climático: ¿esta solución natural es la más efectiva para combatir el calentamiento global?

Un nuevo estudio asegura que existe un área del tamaño de Estados Unidos disponible para plantar árboles en todo el mundo, y que esto podría tener un impacto dramático en la lucha contra el cambio climático.

El estudio muestra que el espacio descrito para sembrar nuevos árboles es mucho mayor de lo que se pensaba anteriormente, y reduciría el dióxido de carbono (CO2) en la atmósfera en un 25%.

Según sus autores, se trata de la solución más efectiva para el cambio climático de que dispone el mundo en este momento.

Pero otros investigadores dicen que los resultados de la investigación son “demasiado buenos para ser verdad”.

La capacidad de los árboles para absorber el dióxido de carbono hace que sean un arma valiosa en la lucha contra el aumento de las temperaturas.

El Panel Intergubernamental sobre el Cambio Climático (IPCC, por sus siglas en inglés) dijo que si el mundo quisiera limitar el aumento a 1,5 °C para 2050, se necesitaría un millón de hectáreas adicionales de árboles.

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How Farming Can Change to Feed Us All While Saving the Planet — and No, You Absolutely Won’t Have to Become Vegan

Sir David Attenborough and most of the elite of the scientific community are now telling us that we only have 10 years to act if we are to avoid irreversible climate change. They’re also saying that farming must play a leading role in helping us achieve net zero emissions.

It’s not surprising that most farmers and landowners are asking how they should respond.

Most experts agree that the only way we can actually take CO2 out of the atmosphere is to rebuild the soil carbon that 50-plus years of continuous arable farming has removed. To do that, we need to switch to mixed farming systems that include a crop rotation with pastures grazed by cows or sheep.

The key question is how could such a switch be profitable, especially in a country whose younger generation — including our own children — is reducing its intake of red meat, believing it’s the right thing to do, both for their health and the health of the planet, in some cases going vegetarian and vegan?

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