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Land Restoration in Latin America Shows Big Potential for Climate Change Mitigation

Land restoration in Latin America and the Caribbean is picking up pace and scaling up projects will help the region meet its pledges under the Bonn Challenge, which aims to restore 350 million hectares of degraded and deforested land worldwide by 2030. A new study led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and Wageningen University supplies a first map of restoration projects in Latin America and shows their potential to mitigate climate change through restoring forests.

Researchers took stock of the location, goals and activities of 154 projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, starting a database to guide practitioners in scaling up restoration. They mapped projects under five initiatives working towards the Bonn Challenge goals – the 20×20 Initiative, the Global Environment Facility, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the Forest Investment Program (FIP) and independent local projects – in tandem with mapping the potential biomass increase that forest restoration could achieve across the region’s various ecosystems.

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Best Way to Remove Carbon: Sequestering It in Its Natural Sinks

There is one thing that worries climate scientists universally: the positive feedback loop. This is a process where changing one quantity changes the second one, and the change in the second quantity, in turn, changes the first. Scientists fear a positive feedback loop may spiral the climate crisis out of control.

Desertification is an example of a positive feedback loop, just as the melting of the Arctic ice cap, thawing of the Siberian permafrost, and the large-scale release of methane from methane hydrate lying on the sea and ocean floors.

The climate crisis is causing desertification and, in turn, desertification is exacerbating the crisis. The cycle continues.

Let me explain this, but first a disclaimer: this is an oversimplified version of an extremely complex process.

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El Nuevo Acuerdo Verde de Bernie Sanders cambia las reglas del juego para la alimentación y la agricultura

El alcance del desafío que tenemos por delante comparte similitudes con la crisis que enfrentó el presidente Franklin Delano Roosevelt en la década de 1940. Combatiendo una guerra mundial en dos frentes, tanto en el este como en el oeste, Estados Unidos se unió y, en tres años, reestructuró toda la economía para ganar la guerra y derrotar al fascismo. Como presidente, Bernie Sanders adoptará con valentía el imperativo moral de abordar la crisis climática y actuará de inmediato para movilizar a millones de personas en todo el país en apoyo del Nuevo Acuerdo Verde (NAV) … una transformación total de nuestra sociedad, con el apoyo a las comunidades de primera línea y vulnerables e inversiones masivas en energía sostenible, eficiencia energética y una transformación de nuestro sistema de transporte … [y] nuestro sistema agrícola para luchar contra el cambio climático, proporcionar alimentos locales sostenibles y romper el dominio corporativo de los agricultores y ganaderos … proporcionando 200 mil millones de dólares estadounidenses al Fondo Verde del Clima, reincorporándose al Acuerdo de París y reafirmando el liderazgo de los Estados Unidos en la lucha global contra el cambio climático … reducir las emisiones domésticas al menos un 71% para 2030 y reducir las emisiones entre las naciones menos industrializadas un 36% para 2030, el equivalente total de reduciendo nuestras emisiones domésticas un 161%… [e] invertir en conservación y tierras públicas para sanar nuestros suelos, bosques y praderas … “. – de “The Green New Deal”, Campaña de Bernie Sanders, 22 de agosto de 2019.

Más allá del pozo negro de la administración Trump y sus aliados fascistas en todo el mundo, los poderosos vientos de rebelión y regeneración están cobrando impulso.

Es probable que este año sea recordado como el momento en que los Estados Unidos y las bases mundiales finalmente comenzaron a reconocer la crisis terminal que plantea el calentamiento global. Con la comunidad científica global finalmente abandonando su cautela habitual y señalando que el “fin está cerca” en términos de cambio climático irreversible, los medios de comunicación, un número significativo de formuladores de políticas globales y cientos de millones de personas comunes y corrientes comenzaron a despertar simultáneamente alrededor del mundo.

Los jóvenes activistas en los Estados Unidos, liderados por Sunrise Movement, apoyados por un grupo de insurgentes radicales en el Congreso de los Estados Unidos, liderados por Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, lideran la nueva resistencia y piden el fin de los negocios como siempre han hecho, y un Nuevo Acuerdo Verde.

Desde que se presentó la Resolución del Nuevo Acuerdo Verde en el Congreso en febrero, con el apoyo de más de 100 miembros del Congreso, millones de nosotros hemos estado esperando un plan de acción concreto. Contrariamente al mensaje estándar “lentamente / cambio pequeño” de la clase dirigente perpetuado por los medios de comunicación, una encuesta de la Universidad de Yale en abril encontró que un abrumador 93% de los votantes demócratas (e incluso una minoría de republicanos) apoyan un plan agresivo como el Nuevo Acuerdo Verde.

Finalmente, tenemos una verdadera declaración de guerra contra la contaminación por combustibles fósiles y el calentamiento global, un programa legislativo radical que puede evitar la catástrofe climática y sobrealimentar una transición justa hacia una comunidad verde del siglo XXI, gracias al plan del Nuevo Acuerdo Verde presentado por el senador por Vermont y candidato presidencial, Bernie Sanders.

Lanzado el 22 de agosto de 2019, el Nuevo Acuerdo Verde de 67 páginas de Bernie presenta un paquete integral de políticas y programas financiados por el gobierno de 16.3 billones de dólares, así como proyecciones realistas sobre cómo estos nuevos programas realmente se amortizarán en los próximos 15 años.

Con el tiempo, el NAV se pagará a sí mismo creando nuevas fuentes de ingresos masivas a través del aumento de los ingresos por impuestos sobre el empleo y los ingresos (2.3 billones de dólares) y mediante la venta de billones de kilovatios-hora de energía solar y eólica renovable cada año a partir de las nuevas y ampliadas Administraciones Federales de Comercialización de Energía (6.4 billones de dólares), siguiendo el modelo del actual programa hidroeléctrico federal americano.

Mientras tanto, el NAV reducirá los gastos del gobierno federal al recortar los gastos militares (1.2 billones de dólares) y reducir los costos de energía del gobierno, entre otros beneficios. El plan de Sanders también exige “hacer que la industria de los combustibles fósiles pague por su contaminación, a través de litigios, tarifas e impuestos, y eliminar los subsidios federales a los combustibles fósiles … [reduciendo la] necesidad de gastos federales y estatales en seguridad social debido a la creación de millones de empleos bien remunerados y sindicalizados … [y] hacer que las grandes y ricas corporaciones paguen su parte justa “.

El NAV multimillonario de Bernie establece una estrategia de 10 años para transformar el sector de la energía y servicios públicos de EE. UU., Pasando de nuestros niveles actuales de 17% de energías renovables a 100% de energía renovable entre 2030-2050; creando 20 millones de empleos verdes bien remunerados; forjando nuevas relaciones exteriores y reduciendo el gasto militar como parte de una cooperación global con Rusia, China, India, la UE y otras naciones; e implementando un programa de billones de dólares de prácticas orgánicas y regenerativas (que secuestran el carbono) en el sector alimentaria, la agricultura y el manejo de la tierra.

El manifiesto de Sanders supera con creces lo que cualquiera de los otros candidatos presidenciales líderes se ha atrevido a proponer hasta ahora. Debido a que el NAV de Sanders es esencialmente un plan radical diseñado para abordar una emergencia social y global radical, por supuesto, ya ha generado terabytes de críticas y ridiculizaciones por parte de los defensores de los combustibles fósiles y de los políticos y corporaciones “en el medio del camino, no vaya demasiado rápido”.

Por supuesto, como Bernie nos recuerda constantemente, nunca podremos implementar un NAV que cambie el sistema sin una “revolución política” en las urnas impulsada por las bases, comenzando con el ciclo electoral 2020 y más allá, por el cual elegimos a un presidente pro-NAV e inspiramos, incorporamos o persuadimos a una mayoría tanto en la Cámara como en el Senado para respaldar un NAV.

A principios de este año, David Roberts, escribiendo para la revista Vox, señaló las realidades políticas de implementar un Nuevo Acuerdo Verde:

“Esta es la única forma en que esto funciona: desarrolla una visión de la política que coloca a la gente común en el centro y les da una participación tangible en el futuro del país, una participación en su enorme riqueza y un papel que desempeñar en su mayor propósito. Luego organice a las personas en torno a esa visión y exíjala a los representantes elegidos. Si los representantes elegidos no presionan por ella, asegúrese de que sean derrotados. Si quiere el bipartidismo, consígalo porque los políticos en los distritos y estados morados (estados donde tanto el candidato Republicano o Demócrata dependiendo de la elección)  tienen miedo de cruzarse con usted, no porque los haya llevado a la dulce luz de la razón.

Cuatro grandes cambios en el NAV de Bernie

Podría escribir un libro completo sobre este tema, y de hecho tengo “Grassroots Rising” (El levantamiento de las bases), que será publicado en enero de 2020 por Chelsea Green Publishing.

Pero por ahora, veamos cuatro aspectos del NAV de Bernie que lo hacen diferente y revolucionario.

No. 1: El NAV es un plan de renovación y regeneración estadounidense y global en la escala de movilización de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El NAV de Sanders es el único plan en el mundo industrializado que establece una meta lo suficientemente alta como para revertir el calentamiento global (con emisiones netas negativas significativas proyectadas para 2030) y eliminar la injusticia económica, la destrucción del medio ambiente, el deterioro de la salud pública y la pobreza global y los conflictos en el mundo al mismo tiempo.

Los principales ejes impulsores del plan incluyen una economía de energía renovable verde, de altos salarios y pleno empleo, complementada por un sistema agrícola y de gestión de la tierra con poco o ningún uso de combustibles fósiles y la absorción masiva de carbóno natural y el secuestro del exceso de CO2 atmosférico en nuestro suelos, bosques y humedales. Esta Gran Transición será financiada por una infusión multimillonaria de fondos públicos (15.3 mil millones de dolares en 10 años) que en realidad puede “reducir a cero” las emisiones de combustibles fósiles en el corto período de tiempo que nos queda (2019-2030) antes de que nuestra actual crisis climática se transforme en un calentamiento global descontrolado y una catástrofe climática.

Mientras que Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee, Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Tim Ryan, Tulsi Gabbert, Marianne Williamson y otros han expresado la urgente necesidad de resolver la crisis climática, ninguno ha ofrecido un plan de alto nivel comparable, ni ninguno se ha atrevido a proponer más de unos pocos billones de dólares en la próxima década para solucionar nuestra emergencia climática y el colapso social.

No. 2: El NAV de Bernie ofrece la primera evaluación realista y el cronograma de lo que debe hacerse en el plazo limitado que nos queda para evitar la catástrofe climática, tanto a nivel nacional como internacional. Como dijo Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez poco después de ganar las elecciones primarias al Congreso en Nueva York en 2018: “El Nuevo Acuerdo Verde que estamos proponiendo será similar en escala a los esfuerzos de movilización vistos en la Segunda Guerra Mundial o el Plan Marshall … La mitad de las medidas no funcionarán … El momento para los esfuerzos lentos e incrementales ya pasó hace mucho tiempo “.

La mayoría de los políticos que reconocen que efectivamente existe una crisis climática todavía están hablando en términos bastante vagos acerca de pasar a emisiones nacionales netas cero para 2050, abogando por la financiación nacional privada y pública en miles de millones de dólares, mientras que Bernie está hablando de billones en fondos públicos. incluyendo 200 mil millones de dólares para ayudar al Sur Global a descarbonizar sus economías y, naturalmente, secuestrar miles de millones de toneladas de carbono atmosférico mediante la reforestación y la agricultura regenerativa.

Al asignar recursos masivos tanto a nivel nacional como internacional, el NAV reducirá la huella de carbono de los EE. UU. (que incluye tanto las emisiones liberadas dentro de las fronteras estadounidenses como las emisiones emitidas en el extranjero para suministrarnos recursos, importaciones y productos de consumo) en “el equivalente total de … 161%” dentro de una década. Como subraya el NAV de Sanders, necesitamos cambios drásticos en nuestra política exterior y en nuestra política interna:

Como presidente, Bernie proporcionará un liderazgo estadounidense fuerte e inclusivo para no solo transformar nuestro propio sistema energético, sino también para llegar a países de todo el mundo y cooperar en la crisis global del cambio climático. Debemos reconocer que las personas de todos los países del mundo – Rusia, India, China, Japón, Brasil – están juntas en esto. En lugar de aceptar que los países del mundo gastarán 1.5 billones de dólares anuales en armas de destrucción, Bernie convocará a líderes mundiales para redirigir nuestras prioridades para enfrentar a nuestro enemigo compartido: el cambio climático.

N ° 3: Centrarse y proporcionar 841 mil millones de dólares en dinero del programa para transformar nuestro sistema de alimentación y agricultura industrial destructivo del clima, controlado por los monopolios / corporaciones, en un sistema de agricultura y ganadería regenerativo equitativo y basado en el modelo de granja familiar. El NAV de Bernie proporcionará los fondos y recursos para revitalizar la América rural y extraer miles de millones de toneladas de CO2 en exceso y almacenarlo en nuestros suelos y pastizales, al mismo tiempo que mejorará la calidad de los alimentos, la salud pública, los medios de vida rurales y la calidad de vida.

Entre los componentes de alimentos, agricultura y gestión de la tierra sin precedentes que el NAV incluye, se encuentran:

• 410 mil millones de dólares para agricultores y ganaderos, incluidos los agricultores primerizos, indígenas, pertenecientes a minorías y desfavorecidos, para evitar o hacer la transición de métodos industrials, intensivos y que usan químicos, a prácticas “ecológicamente regenerativas” amigables con el clima.

• 160 mil millones de dólares en pagos a agricultores y ganaderos para secuestrar y hacer aumentar el carbono del suelo.

• 25 mil millones de dólares para la conservación de tierras agrícolas.

• 1.25 mil millones de dólares para acceso y adquisición de tierras tribales.

• 1.4 mil millones de dólares en nueva investigación y desarrollo.

• 1.4 mil millones de dólares para energía renovable en las granjas.

• 36 mil millones de dólares para establecer una “iniciativa de cesped y jardines de la victoria” para ayudar a los estadounidenses residents en áreas urbanas, rurales y suburbanas a “transformar sus jardines de césped en espacios productores de alimentos o reforestados que secuestran carbono y ahorran agua”

• 14 mil millones de dólares para aumentar el número de tiendas de comestibles de cooperativas

• 31 mil millones de dólares para fortalecer la infraestructura para el procesamiento de alimentos en la misma granja y a nivel local

• 160 mil millones de dólares para ayudar a los estados a eliminar el desperdicio de alimentos y a hacer compostaje de materiales orgánicos

• 500 millones de dólares para ayudar a los agricultores a obtener la certificación orgánica, así como fondos para incentivar a las escuelas a adquirir alimentos producidos localmente.

Más allá de los subsidios y subvenciones financieras, el NAV promete:

• Usar los recursos del gobierno y el poder legal para hacer cumplir las leyes antimonopolio

• Desintegrar las grandes empresas agrícolas que tienen un control absoluto sobre los agricultores y las comunidades rurales.

• Asegurar que los agricultores reciban un precio justo por sus productos con herramientas como la gestión del suministro y las reservas de granos

• Restablecer y fortalecer la Administración de inspección de granos, empacadoras y corrales.

• Garantizar que los agricultores tengan derecho a reparar sus propios equipos.

• Reformar las leyes de patentes para evitar demandas predatorias de los agronegocios masivos como Bayer / Monsanto

• Reformar el sistema de subsidios agrícolas para que más dinero vaya a las granjas pequeñas y medianas.

• Fortalecer los estándares orgánicos.

• Hacer cumplir el etiquetado del país de origen y permitir que la carne sacrificada en las instalaciones inspeccionadas por el estado se venda fuera de las fronteras estatales.

• Crear un camino hacia la ciudadanía para los trabajadores agrícolas migrantes y mejorar sus salarios y sus condiciones de trabajo y poner fin a la exclusión de los trabajadores agrícolas en las leyes laborales.

• Inviertir en comunidades históricamente desatendidas para aumentar el número de agricultores de color.

No. 4: El NAV de Bernie no rehuye el hecho de que debemos luchar contra el poder de las corporaciones de combustibles fósiles, el complejo militar-industrial y la élite económica que mantienen nuestro negocio degenerado y destructivo del clima instaurado como de costumbre. Como dice el NAV de Sanders en su introducción:

Necesitamos un presidente que tenga el coraje, la visión y el historial para enfrentar la codicia de los ejecutivos de combustibles fósiles y la clase multimillonaria que se interponen en el camino de la acción climática. Necesitamos un presidente que reciba su odio. Bernie liderará a nuestro país para promulgar el Nuevo Acuerdo Verde y unir al mundo para vencer la amenaza existencial del cambio climático.

Ya es tarde, pero todavía tenemos tiempo para cambiar las cosas. Nuestro trabajo en 2019 y más allá es llegar y educar a nuestros conciudadanos estadounidenses sobre el NAV y la revolución política que debe tener lugar, a partir de ahora. No llores, organiza.

Ronnie Cummins es el director internacional de Organic Consumers Association (OCA) y miembro de la junta directiva de Regeneration International (RI). Para mantenerte informado de las noticias y alertas de RI, regístrate aquí.  

Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal is a Game-Changer for Food & Farming

The scope of the challenge ahead of us shares similarities with the crisis faced by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940s. Battling a world war on two fronts—both in the East and the West—the United States came together, and within three short years restructured the entire economy in order to win the war and defeat fascism. As president, Bernie Sanders will boldly embrace the moral imperative of addressing the climate crisis and act immediately to mobilize millions of people across the country in support of the Green New Deal… a wholesale transformation of our society, with support for frontline and vulnerable communities and massive investments in sustainable energy, energy efficiency, and a transformation of our transportation system… [and] our agricultural system to fight climate change, provide sustainable, local foods, and break the corporate stranglehold on farmers and ranchers… providing $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund, rejoining the Paris Agreement, and reasserting the United States’ leadership in the global fight against climate change… reduce domestic emissions by at least 71 percent by 2030 and reduce emissions among less industrialized nations by 36 percent by 2030—the total equivalent of reducing our domestic emissions by 161 percent… [and] Investing in conservation and public lands to heal our soils, forests, and prairie lands…”. – from “The Green New Deal,” Bernie Sanders Campaign, August 22, 2019

Beyond the cesspool of the Trump administration and his fascist allies across the globe, powerful winds of rebellion and regeneration are gathering momentum.

This year will likely be remembered as the time when the U.S. and global grassroots finally began to acknowledge the terminal crisis posed by global warming. With the global scientific community finally dropping their customary caution and pointing out that the “end is near” in terms of irreversible climate change, the mass media, a significant number of global policymakers and hundreds of millions of ordinary people simultaneously began to wake up across the world.

Activist youth in America, led by the Sunrise Movement, supported by a group of radical insurgents in the U.S. Congress, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are leading the new resistance and calling for an end to business as usual—and a Green New Deal.

Ever since the Green New Deal Resolution was introduced in Congress in February, supported by more than100 members of Congress, millions of us have been waiting for a concrete plan of action. Contrary to the standard “go slow/small change” establishment message perpetuated by the mass media, a Yale University poll in April found that an overwhelming 93 percent of Democratic voters (and even a minority of Republicans) support an aggressive plan like the Green New Deal.

Finally, we have a true Declaration of War against fossil fuel pollution and global warming, a radical legislative program that can head off climate catastrophe and supercharge a just transition to a 21st Century Green Commonwealth—thanks to the Green New Deal plan laid out by Vermont Senator and presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders.

Released on August 22, 2019, Bernie’s 67-page GND lays out a comprehensive $16.3-trillion package of policies and government-funded programs, as well as realistic projections on how these new programs will actually pay for themselves over the next 15 years.

The Green New Deal will pay for itself over time by creating massive new revenue streams through increasing employment and income tax revenue ($2.3 trillion) and through selling trillions of kilowatt hours of renewable solar and wind energy every year from new, expanded Federal Power Marketing Administrations ($6.4 trillion), patterned after our current federal hydropower program.

Meanwhile the GND will reduce federal government expenditures by slashing military spending ($1.2 trillion) and reducing government energy costs, among other benefits. Sanders’ plan also calls for “making the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees and taxes, and eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies… [reducing the] need for federal and state safety-net spending due to the creation of millions of good-paying, unionized jobs… [and] making the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share.” 

Bernie’s multi-trillion-dollar GND lays out a 10-year strategy to transform the U.S. energy and utilities sector, transitioning from our current levels of 17 percent renewables to 100 percent renewable energy between 2030-2050; creating 20 million well-paid green jobs; forging new foreign relations and cutting back military spending as part of a global cooperation with Russia, China, India, the EU and other nations; and implementing a trillion-dollar program of organic and regenerative (carbon-sequestering) food, farming and land use practices.

Sanders’ manifesto far exceeds what any of the other leading presidential candidates have so far dared to propose. Because Sanders’ GND is essentially a radical plan designed to address a radical societal and global emergency, it has, of course, already generated terabytes of criticism and ridicule from proponents of fossil fuels and “middle of the road, don’t go too fast” politicians and corporations.

Of course as Bernie constantly reminds us, we’ll never be able to implement a system-changing GND without a grassroots-powered ballot-box “political revolution,” starting with the 2020 election cycle and beyond, whereby we elect a pro-GND president and inspire, co-opt or cajole a majority in both the House and the Senate to get behind a GND.

Earlier this year, David Roberts, writing for Vox magazine pointed out the political realities of implementing a Green New Deal:

Here’s the only way any of this works: You develop a vision of politics that puts ordinary people at the center and gives them a tangible stake in the country’s future, a share in its enormous wealth and a role to play in its greater purpose. Then organize people around that vision and demand it from elected representatives. If elected representatives don’t push for it, make sure they get primaried or defeated. If you want bipartisanship, get it because politicians in purple districts and states are scared to cross you, not because you led them to the sweet light of reason.

Four major game-changers in Bernie’s GND

I could write a whole book on this topic, and in fact I have, “Grassroots Rising,” which will be published in January 2020 by Chelsea Green Publishing.

But for now, let’s look at four aspects of Bernie’s GND that make it different—and revolutionary.

No. 1: The GND is a U.S. and global Renewal and Regeneration plan on the scale of a World War II mobilization. The Sanders GND is the only plan in the industrialized world that sets a goal high enough to actually reverse global warming (with significant net negative emissions projected by 2030) and eliminate economic injustice, environmental destruction, deteriorating public health and global poverty and conflict at the same time.

The primary drivers of the plan include a green, high-wage, full-employment renewable energy economy complemented by an agricultural and land-management system with little or no use of fossil fuels and massive natural carbon drawdown and sequestration of excess atmospheric CO2 in our soils, forests and wetlands. This Great Transition will be financed by a multi-trillion-dollar infusion of public funds ($15.3 billion over 10 years) that can actually “net zero out” fossil fuel emissions in the short timeframe we have left (2019-2030) before our current climate crisis morphs into runaway global warming and climate catastrophe.

While Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee, Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Tim Ryan, Tulsi Gabbert, Marianne Williamson, and others have spoken out on the urgent need to solve the climate crisis, none have offered a comparable high-bar plan, nor dared to propose more than a few trillion dollars over the next decade to fix our Climate Emergency and societal breakdown.

No. 2: Bernie’s GND offers the first realistic assessment and timeline for what needs to be done in the limited timeframe we have left to avoid climate catastrophe, both nationally and internationally. As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said shortly after she won her Congressional primary election in New York in 2018: “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.”  

Most politicians who acknowledge that there is indeed a climate crisis are still talking in rather vague terms about moving to domestic net-zero emissions by 2050, advocating domestic private and public funding in the billions of dollars, whereas Bernie is talking about trillions in public funds, including $200 billion to help the Global South decarbonize their economies and naturally sequester billions of tons of atmospheric carbon through reforestation and regenerative agriculture.

By allocating massive resources both nationally and internationally, the GND will reduce the U.S. carbon footprint (which includes both the emissions released within our borders and the emissions released overseas to supply us with resources, imports and consumer products) by “the total equivalent of… 161 percent” within a decade. As the Sanders GND emphasizes, we need drastic changes in our foreign policy as well as our domestic policy:

As president, Bernie will provide strong, inclusive American leadership to not only transform our own energy system, but to reach out to countries all over the world and cooperate on the global crisis of climate change. We must recognize that people from every country in the world — Russia, India, China, Japan, Brazil — are all in this together. Instead of accepting that the world’s countries will spend $1.5 trillion annually on weapons of destruction, Bernie will convene global leaders to redirect our priorities to confront our shared enemy: climate change.

No. 3: Focusing on, and providing $841 billion in program money to transform our climate-destructive, corporate/monopoly-controlled, factory-farm food and farming system into an equitable family farm-based, regenerative system of farming and ranching. Bernie’s GND will provide the funding and resources to revitalize rural America and draw down billions of tons of excess CO2 and store it in our soils and pastures, while simultaneously improving food quality, public health, rural livelihoods and quality of life.

Among the unprecedented food, farming and land use components of the GND are:

• $410 billion for farmers and ranchers, including first-time, indigenous, minority and disadvantaged farmers, to avoid or make the transition from chemical, energy-intensive, factory farm methods to “ecologically regenerative,” climate-friendly practices

• $160 billion in payments to farmers and ranchers to sequester and increase soil carbon

• $25 billion for farmland conservation

• $1.25 billion for tribal land access and acquisition

• $1.4 billion in new research and development

• $1.4 billion for renewable energy on farms

• $36 billion to establish a “victory lawns and gardens initiative” to help urban, rural and suburban Americans “transform their lawns into food-producing or reforested spaces that sequester carbon and save water”

• $14 billion to increase the number of co-op grocery stores

• $31 billion to strengthen the infrastructure for on-farm and local food processing

• $160 billion to help states to eliminate food waste and compost organic materials

• $500 million to help farmers get certified as organic, as well as funds to incentivize schools to procure locally produced foods.

Beyond financial subsidies and grants, the GND promises to:

• Use government resources and legal power to enforce anti-trust laws

• Break up big agribusinesses that have a stranglehold on farmers and rural communities

• Ensure farmers are paid a fair price for their products with tools like supply management and grain reserves

• Re-establish and strengthen the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration

• Ensure farmers have the right to repair their own equipment

• Reform patent laws to prevent predatory lawsuits from massive agribusinesses like Bayer/Monsanto

• Reform the agricultural subsidy system so more money goes to small and medium-sized farms

• Strengthen organic standards

• Enforce country-of-origin labeling and allow meat slaughtered at state inspected facilities to be sold across state lines

• Create a pathway to citizenship for migrant farmworkers and improve wages and working conditions and end exclusions for agricultural workers in labor laws

• Invest in historically underserved communities to grow the number of farmers of color.

No. 4: Bernie’s GND doesn’t shy away from the fact that we must fight the power of the fossil fuel corporations, the military-industrial complex, and the economic elite that maintain our degenerate and climate-destructive business as usual. As the Sanders GND states in its introduction:

We need a president who has the courage, the vision and the record to face down the greed of fossil fuel executives and the billionaire class who stand in the way of climate action. We need a president who welcomes their hatred. Bernie will lead our country to enact the Green New Deal and bring the world together to defeat the existential threat of climate change.

The hour is late, but we still have time to turn things around. Our job in 2019 and beyond is to reach out and educate our fellow Americans about the GND and the political revolution that must take place, beginning now. Don’t mourn, organize.

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.

Regeneration International, Filipino League of Organic Municipalities Cities and Provinces Sign ‘Regeneration Philippines’ Pact

BISLIG, PHILIPPINES – If anyone knows first-hand what the global climate crisis is all about, it’s the people who live in the Philippines. In 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan, the second-strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Eastern Hemisphere, slammed the island nation with winds of 195 miles/hour, leaving 6,300 dead. 

It was a devastating event. But the nation of islands is fighting back.

Inspired by the country’s high level of local autonomy, 200 municipalities in the Philippines are taking the extraordinary step of signing an agreement among themselves, and with Regeneration International (RI), to create new policies that both recognize soil health as a powerful tool in addressing the climate crisis and reward farmers for drawing down greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering them in their soil.

When fully implemented in 2022, the agreement will cover 1.2 million hectares of land—almost 3 million acres. As a representative of RI, I’ve had the good fortune to be involved in this unprecedented endeavour almost from its beginning.

The plans for this project culminated June 14, at the 11th General Assembly of the Filipino League of Organic Municipalities Cities and Provinces (LOAMCP), where I gave a presentation on agricultural climate mitigation and signed a Memorandum of Understanding between LOAMCP and RI, dubbed the “Regeneration Philippines (RP)” Memorandum.

This story really began back in 2017, in my London office when I received a call from a business contact in the Philippines who was working with LOAMCP (at the time it was LOAMC). He said, “Oliver, I think I have something newsworthy for you.” Then he passed me on to a contact who asked whether I could help generate press on an event that was happening during the 2017 AGRILINK trade fair, one of Asia’s biggest agricultural trade fairs.

Assuming he was going to pitch me on the latest industrial chicken feeding unit, I said, “Okay, great, who do you represent and what’s the event?”

“My name is Patrick Belisario of the Organic Producer and Trade Association of the Philippines,” he said.  “We work with a group of 200 mayors who are going to sign an agreement to implement new laws in their constituencies that would ban the use of toxic agrichemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).”

I paused a second and said, “Really? How would that work?”

He then explained that local governments in the Philippines could write their own laws without going through the central government (a bit like in the U.S., but very different from other Asian countries).

As it happened, it turned out to be both an interesting, and an exclusive, news tip.

Three months later I flew to the event to produce video coverage of the signing ceremony, which took place at the home of one of the most influential senators in the Philippines, Senator Cynthia Villar.

It was there that I met with the Hon. Rommel C. Arnado, mayor of the city of Kauswagan Lanao Del Norte on the Island of Mindanao and president of the League of Organic Municipalities and Cities (which has since expanded to Provinces). During an interview with Mayor Arnado I quickly learned that these policymakers were deadly serious. The use of toxic agrichemicals and GMOs is not allowed, he told me, and we have sanctions in place that could lead to imprisonment for those who break the laws.

Mayor Arnado’s community had suffered decades of heavily armed conflict, and through tough politics of care for his people, he put in place an award-winning conflict resolution and insertion program, “From Arms To Farms,” that brought Christian and Islamic rebel fighters to surrender  a part of their arsenal in exchange for education around organic food and farming, made available to all.

Mayor Arnado has since become a world leader for the organic movement, one who doesn’t mince his words and who puts radical action in place for the highest benefit of his citizens’ health and wealth.

Our coverage of the event was a success—we produced a three-minute video that reached more than 1 million people worldwide.

In 2019, I headed back to the Philippines to visit the Arms To Farms program and produce coverage for ‘Trails of Regeneration,’ an ongoing RI series produced in collaboration with Kiss the Ground.

During my trip I met up with LAOMCP Executive Director, agronomist and farmer Victoriano Tagupa, whom I had met in 2018 through the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)[LR2]  Asia at a summit of the Asian Local Governments for Organic Agriculture.

Victoriano—nicknamed Vic 1.0, as there are two other Vics in his family—is a true soil advocate. On his farm on the Filipino island of Mindanao, Tagupa combines biodynamics and natural agriculture within a fully integrated system using indigenous seeds, cover crops and holistic livestock management. In an interview, Tagupa said LOAMCP had a plan to convert 1.2 Million hectares of land to completely organic production by 2022. Tagupa discussed the significance this would have in mitigating and adapting to climate change, and about the possible needs and opportunities to implement new policies to train and reward farmers.

One month later Tagupa and I met again, but this time it was in Japan with Andre Leu, RI’s international director, for “Agriculture is the Solution to Climate Change,” an event organised by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the 4 per 1000 Initiative. Before the event, Tagupa, Leu and I worked together on a joint presentation promoting rice intensification systems.

At that event we quickly identified how LOAMCP could be instrumental in contributing to new policies on agricultural climate mitigation and could help inspire the international community through the 4 per 1000 Initiative.

Things progressed further when LOAMCP invited RI to give a presentation at the next LOAMCP General Assembly, and Tagupa and I suggested we sign an MoU that would contain all the elements we had been discussing. So, I got onto my laptop and drafted the “Regeneration Philippines” Memorandum, which was then sent to the RI board of directors, where it received swift approval.

I then flew to Bislig City for the LOAMCP General Assembly and met with LOAMCP’s officers before the day of the event to present to them the freshly minted “Regeneration Philippines” Memorandum. The memorandum content was adopted by the entire assembly. Many LOAMCP members were very supportive of LOAMCP moving beyond protecting the public from dangerous agrochemicals and into directly confronting the dangers of climate change. 

At the General Assembly I was able to point out the pressing issues we face with the climate crisis, its threat to human civilization and the need to act fast. I then showcased how by using regenerative agriculture to switch back on the soil microbiome, we can turn conventional farms into carbon sinks. I also spoke of the great hope that farmers represent in mitigating climate change through soil health. I also presented the 4 per 1000 Initiative—its purpose, its background and RI’s involvement—followed by the 4p1000 video “Farmers for Climate,” and an account of our[LR1]  recent LOAMCP RI trip to Japan with 4p1000.

I discussed the great potential LOAMCP could have in helping shape new policies on agricultural climate mitigation by using the 4p1000 framework, and then the LOAMCP officers and I presented the MoU. I it read aloud and asked the audience whether anyone had any objections, comments or suggestions. Hearing no objections from the audience, we launched the signing ceremony with LOAMCP President, Mayor Rommel Arnado.

LOAMCP has become a powerful organization in the Philippines, and this year it has expanded from the island nation’s cities and municipalities to its provinces. LOAMCP is an important organization that brings lawmakers together to protect human health and the environment from corporate greed in the agricultural sector.

There is an organic agriculture law in the Philippines that requires 5 percent of all the country’s farmland to be organic, and many in LOAMCP are fighting to push that figure to 100 percent. In a very encouraging move, the Department of the Interior for Local Governments (DILG) has officially asked every municipality in the Philippines become a LOAMCP member.

This development is particularly interesting, as it came just a few weeks after the Filipino government announced $614 million USD in subsidies for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides originating from Qatar—and Mayor Librado Navarro of Bislig City opened his address to the LOAMP 11th General Assembly by stating that under his mandate, Bislig will never accept these subsidies. Navarro’s comments were welcomed with an uproar of cheers and applause from the General Assembly.

In more good news, RI and LOAMCP are now collaborating to create “Regeneration Philippines,” a branch within LOAMCP designed to help steer LOAMCP’s efforts toward concepts of, and implementation of, regenerative agricultural development. LOAMCP’s next general meeting will be in November 2019 in Cebu, Philippines. RI plans at that meeting to officially launch Regeneration Philippines and set up a Regeneration Philippines office alongside those of LOAMCP and IFOAM Asia.

With the climate crisis bearing down on the Philippines, the country is taking bold steps to confront the crisis. The future looks good for these efforts to forge a national consensus around regenerative agriculture as a key factor in climate mitigation.

Oliver Gardiner represents Regeneration International in Europe and Asia. To keep up with news and events, sign up here for the Regeneration International newsletter.

Regeneration International, Regenerativa Chile y otros grupos se reúnen en preparación para la cumbre climática de la COP25

SANTIAGO, Chile – Para medir el creciente interés de Chile en la agricultura regenerativa, es suficiente ver la convocatoria que tuvo un encuentro celebrado en Santiago, ciudad capital de Chile, donde una participación inesperadamente alta llenó completamente el lugar. El cupo completo hizo que algunos tuvieran que regresar al frío del invierno chileno y muchos se amontonaran, buscando calor, en el bonito jardín donde tuvo lugar el encuentro.

¿El mensaje general que surgió de la charla del 19 de julio celebrada en la oficina de Santiago de Regenerativa Chile? El siguiente: la agricultura regenerativa está ganando terreno en Chile y en toda Sudamérica, pero aún queda mucho trabajo por hacer. Lo que se necesita para llevar el movimiento de regeneración al siguiente nivel es una mayor coordinación y cooperación entre los involucrados en esta tarea y en esta zona.

El evento formó parte de las sesiones de Ideas para la Acción (IPA) de Regenerativa Chile. Los organizadores incluyeron Regenerativa Chile; Carnes Manada, una empresa chilena que promueve la producción de carne regenerativa; el Departamento de Agronomía de la Universidad Católica de Chile; El Manzano, un centro de investigación ecológica y educativa para la sostenibilidad en Bío Bío parte de la red de Regeneration International Chile; y Efecto Manada, el Centro Global del Instituto Savory en Chile.

La charla fue la primera de una serie de eventos organizados por Regeneration International y aliados locales en el período previo a la Cumbre del Clima COP25, que se celebrará en Santiago del 2 al 13 de diciembre.

Los ponentes de la conferencia incluyeron a Javiera Carrión, cofundadora y codirectora de El Manzano, una granja de más de 160 hectáreas comprometida con la gestión de la tierra. El Manzano es un líder de la universidad GAIA-América Latina y una de las organizaciones pioneras en Chile que ofrece talleres sobre permacultura, diseño de eco aldeas, gestión sostenible de la tierra y desarrollo humano. Carrión reflexionó sobre los muchos años de su trabajo con agricultura regenerativa en Chile y la necesidad de esfuerzos más amplios y coordinados para hacer que el movimiento de agricultura regenerativa sea más fuerte y cohesionado.

Cristóbal Gatica, cofundador de Carnes Manada, enfatizó la necesidad de crear una conexión más estrecha entre productores y consumidores. El movimiento de la carne regenerativa en Chile está ganando fuerza, dijo Gatica, y los consumidores chilenos están comenzando a reconocer la importancia de comer carne de esta procedencia.

En un diálogo e intercambio de ideas muy grato, expuso también sus ideas Isidora Molina, fundadora de Efecto Manada, organización acreditada ante la Red Savory que promueve la producción de carne regenerativa. Molina habló de los cambios que ha visto en los últimos años y de cómo Efecto Manada ha trabajado para ganarse la confianza de sus vecinos y propietarios de granjas cercanas que inicialmente se mostraron escépticos sobre el enfoque de gestión integral de Efecto Manada para la producción de carne regenerativa.

Ercilia Sahores, directora latinoamericana de Regeneration International, habló de la importancia de construir un movimiento regenerativo integrando regeneradores locales con el apoyo de un paraguas internacional como Regeneration International. Sahores también examinó los cambios recientes en las conversaciones internacionales sobre la regeneración.

El Dr. Rafael Larraín, profesor del Departamento de Ciencia Animal, Agronomía y Silvicultura de la Universidad Católica de Chile, destacó la importancia de la colaboración entre investigadores académicos y practicantes en campo. Larraín también sugirió una colaboración más estrecha entre Regeneration International, la iniciativa 4 por 1000, la Universidad Católica de Chile y el movimiento regenerativo amplio.

Las conversaciones con el público, que no estuvieron exentas de diálogo y discusión sobre la COP25 y las implicancias de Chile de ser co-organizador de este encuentro junto con Costa Rica, fortalecieron la idea de involucrarse en las negociaciones con un espíritu crítico y asertivo, apoyando los encuentros paralelos a la COP y mostrando las soluciones reales a la crisis climática desde una perspectiva de agricultura regenerativa para fortalecer el movimiento global.

La conversación fue facilitada por Mauricio Ramos de Regenerativa Chile, quien hizo hincapié en la urgencia y compromiso de ser parte del cambio global en nuestra vida diaria. Ramos resaltó la importancia de las acciones individuales reflexionando acerca del impacto directo que cada una de nuestras acciones tiene a la hora de contribuir o disminuir la crisis climática.

Ercilia Sahores es integrante de la Junta Directiva Regeneration International y Directora para América Latina. Para mantenerte informado de nuestras noticias y eventos, aquí al boletín de Regeneration International.

Regeneration International, Regenerativa Chile and Other Groups Convene in Lead-Up to COP 25 Climate Summit

SANTIAGO, Chile – To measure Chile’s growing interest in regenerative agriculture one need look no further than a one-day conference held in the Chilean capital of Santiago, where an unexpectedly high turnout filled the venue to capacity—some would-be participants were even turned away.

The overarching message to emerge from the July 1 conference held in the Santiago office of Regenerativa Chile? This: Regenerative agriculture is gaining ground in Chile and throughout South America, but there’s still much work to be done. What’s needed to take the regeneration movement to the next level is greater coordination and cooperation among those involved in this work in these regions.

The event was part of Regenerativa Chile’s IPA—Ideas Para la Accion (Ideas for Action)—sessions. Organizers included Regenerativa Chile; Carnes Manada, a Chilean company that promotes regenerative meat production; the Agronomy Department of the Catholic University of Chile; local regeneration ally El Manzano, an ecological and educational research center for sustainability in Bio Bio, Chile; and Efecto Manada, the Savory Institute’s Global Hub in Chile.

The conference was the first of many events being organized by Regeneration International and local allies in the lead-up to the COP 25 Climate Summit, to be held in Santiago December 2-13.

Conference speakers included Javiera Carrión, co-founder and co-director of El Manzano, a farm of more than 400 acres committed to land stewardship. El Manzano is a GAIA university-Latin America leader and one of the pioneer organizations in Chile offering workshops on permaculture, eco-village design, sustainable land management and human development. Carrión reflected on the many years of her regenerative agriculture work in Chile and the need for larger, more coordinated efforts to make the regenerative agriculture movement stronger and more cohesive.

Conference speaker Cristóbal Gatica, co-founder of Carnes Manada, emphasized the need to create a closer connection between producers and consumers. The movement for regenerative meat in Chile is gaining traction, Gatica said, and Chilean consumers are starting to recognize the importance of eating regenerative meat.

Other speakers included Isidora Molina, founder of Efecto Manada, a Savory Network organization that promotes regenerative meat production (unrelated to Carnes Manada). Molina spoke of the changes she has seen in the past few years and of how Efecto Manada has worked to gain the trust and confidence of its neighbors and nearby farm owners who were initially skeptical of Efecto Manada’s holistic management approach to regenerative meat production.

Ercilia Sahores, Latin American director of Regeneration International, discussed the importance of building a regenerative movement by integrating local regenerators with the support of an international umbrella such as Regeneration International. Sahores also examined recent changes in the international discussion around regeneration. 

Dr Rafael Larraín, professor in the Animal Science, Agronomy and Forestry Department of the Catholic University of Chile, stressed the importance of the collaboration between academic researchers and hands-on practitioners. Larraín also suggested closer collaboration between Regeneration International, the 4 per 1000 initiative, the Catholic University of Chile and the entire regenerative movement.

Finally, the conference’s discussions around the rapidly approaching COP 25 summit made clear the importance of having a robust presence at the official COP 25, and the importance of organizing other, parallel activities to help nourish and strengthen the worldwide Regenerative Agriculture movement.

The conference was moderated by Mauricio Ramos of Regenerativa Chile, who stressed the urgency and commitment of being part of global change—every day.  Ramos also spoke on the importance of reflecting on what we do and how we can all contribute to being 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.

Farming Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis

Could changing our land use and agricultural practices make a dent in addressing climate change? Yes, says Project Drawdown and a new report from the IPCC.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report that highlights the importance of land use and agriculture in climate change.

Good! It’s a crucial area for us to focus on, and it’s often neglected.

I’ve been working on this topicon and offsince the 1990s, and have been bewildered why it doesn’t get more attention. For some reason, when we think of greenhouse gas emissions, we envision factories, cars, and smokestacks — not farm fields, plantations, and cattle ranches. But, it turns out, land use and agriculture are among the biggest contributors to climate change — and can be among the biggest climate solutions.

KEEP READING ON RESILIENCE


We Can Stop the Climate Crisis

It’s time to farm (and eat!) like the world depends on it.

We can stop the climate crisis.

At least, we can start reducing the 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently attributed to agricultural activities.

The answer is regenerative organic agriculture. And the time to implement it is now.

In a report published last week, the UN concluded that humans cannot stave off the effects of climate change without making drastic changes to the ways we grow food and use land.

Conventional, industrial agriculture depends on the use of chemical inputs and fossil-fuel intensive synthetic fertilizers, in addition to heavy machinery and tillage, to grow food. Industrial farming also relies on factory farms for animals. These methods release large amounts of carbon, methane, and other greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere.

In contrast, science proves that regenerative organic systems, which prioritize soil health and good farming practices like cover cropping, crop rotations, and pasturing animals, use 45% less energy and release 40% fewer carbon emissions than conventional agriculture, with no statistical difference in yields.

KEEP READING ON BCTV

Regenerative Agriculture Is Key for a Sustainable Climate and Food System

From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn’t just that the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye—are people singing that song again?—but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.

Instead of the sunbaked, bare lanes between cornstalks that are typical of conventional agriculture, these lanes sprout an assortment of cover crops. These are plants that save soil from wind and water erosion, reduce the evaporation of soil moisture, and attract beneficial insects and birds. Like all plants, these cover crops convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into a liquid carbon food, some for themselves and some to support the fungi, bacteria, and other microscopic partners underground. A portion of that carbon stays there, turning poor soil into fragrant, fertile stuff that resembles chocolate cake.

The field rustles with larger life forms, too. Lundgren was visiting this particular field to meet up with a group of his grad students splayed among the plants, sucking insects into plastic tubes to be later identified and counted. Lundgren launched a research institute called Ecdysis back in 2016 to conduct comparative studies between conventional agriculture and regenerative agriculture, which is generally defined as agriculture that builds soil health and overall biodiversity and yields a nutritious and profitable farm product. Regenerative farmers avoid tilling so that they protect the community of soil microorganisms, the water-storing pores they create underground, and the carbon they’ve stashed there. They encourage plant diversity and plant cover that mimics nature in their fields, avoid farm chemicals, and let farm animals polish off the crop residue.

All of us are familiar with conventional agriculture: the miles upon miles of farmland growing only one crop, the destructive tillage that wafts soil and its stored carbon into the air and into our waterways; the use of hundreds of chemicals including pesticides like chlorpyrifos that have been found to cause brain damage in children; the confined facilities that are both cruel to animals and make their impact on the Earth an assault rather than a gift.

This is the kind of agriculture targeted in the most recent report, released Aug. 8, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in which a panel of 100 scientists concur not only that the food system contributes 37 percent of greenhouse gases, but also that a more sustainable agriculture can help address global warming.

Reading through the report, I can’t help but wonder whether any of those 100 scientists have visited the kind of agriculture that can turn this mess around or whether they’ve just read about it in studies. Whether they’ve ever smelled the soil that comes from these farms or seen the incredible variety of birds and insects thriving alongside the crops. Whether they’ve ever talked to the farmers who are discovering how to grow healthy food and healthy landscapes at the same time.

I first started writing about those farmers back in 2011, when there were more amazing anecdotes than studies, but that has changed. Lundgren himself published a study with his former student Claire LaCanne in 2018. The study followed 10 cornfields per farm on 20 farms over two growing seasons, half of which were regenerative and half conventional. The study tracked soil carbon, insect pests, corn yield, and profits.

The results give the imprimatur of science to the successes regenerative farmers have reported for years. Lundgren and LaCanne found that there were more pests in the conventional cornfields that were treated with insecticides and/or used GMO seeds than in the pesticide-free regenerative fields, presumably because the cover crops attracted battalions of predator insects that decimated crop pests—and because there were no insecticides to kill off those beneficials.

And while the regenerative farms used older, lower-yielding corn varieties without fertilizer and had lower yields, their overall profits were 78 percetnt higher than the conventional farmers’. Partly, this was because the regenerative farmers’ costs were so much lower, with no cash outlays for costly insecticides and GMO seeds. They also “stacked enterprises” and had two or more sources of income on the same acre—in this case, they grazed their cattle on corn residue after harvest and got a premium price for pastured beef. What was the primary factor correlating with farm profitability? The amount of carbon and organic matter in the farmers’ fields, not their yields.

The venerable soil scientist Rattan Lal was one of the first people to connect the loss of soil carbon caused by destructive farming to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In a 2018 interview with Soil4Climate, Lal said that he and his colleagues estimated that regenerating landscapes—farms, forests, coastlands, and so on—could restore up to 150 gigatons (a gigaton equals 1 billion tons) of carbon to the world’s soil in 80 years. All the extra vegetation grown to put that carbon in the soil would store 150-160 gigatons more, resulting in a terrestrial biosphere holding an additional 330 gigatons of carbon, equal to a drawdown of 150-160 parts per million of CO2 from the atmosphere. “We should encourage the policy makers that this process of restoring degraded soils and ecosystems is a win, win, win option,” Lal says. “It’s a bridge to the future.”

Several of the Democratic presidential hopefuls have added agriculture to their climate platforms—most notably Rep. Tim Ryan, who proposes policies to support regenerative agriculture and soil carbon sequestration. Just this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren added to her climate platform a sweeping plan to overhaul agricultural policy, while Sen. Cory Booker announced he would propose the Climate Stewardship Act to the Senate in September; both would pay farmers for conservation practices.

And farmers of the future are ready to take it on.

“Agriculture is perfectly poised to play a major role in the solution to the climate crisis,” says Bilal Sarwari, membership and communications manager of the National Young Farmers Coalition. “By helping young farmers gain access to land, everyone can help play a role.”

I can’t help but believe that the 100 scientists would become hopeful themselves knowing this, hopeful that humanity can turn away from the dire environmental path we’ve been treading.

Posted with permission from Common Dreams