Applying Rock Dust to Croplands Could Absorb up to 2 Billion Tonnes of CO2 from the Atmosphere, Research Shows

  • Major new study shows adding rock dust to farmland could remove carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent to more than the current total emissions from global aviation and shipping combined – or around half of Europe’s current total emissions
  • Research identifies the nation-by-nation potential for CO2 drawdown, as well as the costs and the engineering challenges involved
  • Findings reveal the world’s highest emitters (China, India and the US) also have the greatest potential to remove CO2 from the atmosphere using this method
  • Scientists suggest unused materials from mining and the construction industry could be used to help soils remove CO2 from the atmosphere

Adding crushed rock dust to farmland could draw down up to two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air per year and help meet key global climate targets, according to a major new study led by the University of Sheffield.

The technique, known as enhanced rock weathering, involves spreading finely crushed basalt, a natural volcanic rock, on fields to boost the soil’s ability to extract CO2 from the air.

In the first nation-by-nation assessment, published in Nature, scientists have demonstrated the method’s potential for carbon drawdown by major economies, and identified the costs and engineering challenges of scaling up the approach to help meet ambitious global CO2 removal targets. The research was led by experts at the University of Sheffield’s Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation, and the University’s Energy Institute.

Meeting the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global heating to below 2C above pre-industrial levels requires drastic cuts in emissions, as well as the active removal of between two and 10 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This new research provides a detailed initial assessment of enhanced rock weathering, a large-scale CO2 removal strategy that could make a major contribution to this effort. 

The authors’ detailed analysis captures some of the uncertainties in enhanced weathering CO2 drawdown calculations and, at the same time, identifies the additional areas of uncertainty that future work needs to address specifically through large-scale field trials.

The study showed that China, the United States and India – the highest fossil fuel CO2 emitters – have the highest potential for CO2 drawdown using rock dust on croplands. Together, these countries have the potential to remove approximately 1 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, at a cost comparable to that of other proposed carbon dioxide removal strategies (US$80-180 per tonne of CO2).

Indonesia and Brazil, whose CO2 emissions are 10-20 times lower than the US and China, were also found to have relatively high CO2 removal potential due to their extensive agricultural lands, and climates accelerating the efficiency of rock weathering.

The scientists suggest that meeting the demand for rock dust to undertake large-scale CO2 drawdown might be achieved by using stockpiles of silicate rock dust left over from the mining industry, and are calling for governments to develop national inventories of these materials.

Calcium-rich silicate by-products of iron and steel manufacturing, as well as waste cement from construction and demolition, could also be processed and used in this way, improving the sustainability of these industries. These materials are usually recycled as low value aggregate, stockpiled at production sites or disposed of in landfills. China and India could supply the rock dust necessary for large-scale CO2 drawdown with their croplands using entirely recycled materials in the coming decades.

The technique would be straightforward to implement for farmers, who already tend to add agricultural lime to their soils. The researchers are calling for policy innovation that could support multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals using this technology. Government incentives to encourage agricultural application of rock dust could improve soil and farm livelihoods, as well as reduce CO2, potentially benefiting the world’s 2.5 billion smallholders and reducing poverty and hunger.

Professor David Beerling, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at the University of Sheffield and lead author of the study, said: “Carbon dioxide drawdown strategies that can scale up and are compatible with existing land uses are urgently required to combat climate change, alongside deep and sustained emissions cuts. 

“Spreading rock dust on agricultural land is a straightforward, practical CO2 drawdown approach with the potential to boost soil health and food production. Our analyses reveal the big emitting nations – China, the US, India – have the greatest potential to do this, emphasising their need to step up to the challenge. Large-scale Research Development and Demonstration programmes, similar to those being pioneered by our Leverhulme Centre, are needed to evaluate the efficacy of this technology in the field.”

Professor Steven Banwart, a partner in the study and Director of the Global Food and Environment Institute, said: “The practice of spreading crushed rock to improve soil pH is commonplace in many agricultural regions worldwide. The technology and infrastructure already exist to adapt these practices to utilise basalt rock dust. This offers a potentially rapid transition in agricultural practices to help capture CO2 at large scale.”

Professor James Hansen, a partner in the study and Director of the Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions Program at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, said: “We have passed the safe level of greenhouse gases. Cutting fossil fuel emissions is crucial, but we must also extract atmospheric CO2 with safe, secure and scalable carbon dioxide removal strategies to bend the global CO2 curve and limit future climate change. The advantage of CO2 removal with crushed silicate rocks is that it could restore deteriorating top-soils, which underpin food security for billions of people, thereby incentivising deployment.”

Professor Nick Pidgeon, a partner in the study and Director of the Understanding Risk Group at Cardiff University, said: “Greenhouse gas removal may well become necessary as we approach 2050, but we should not forget that it also raises profound ethical questions regarding our relationship with the natural environment. Its development should therefore be accompanied by the widest possible public debate as to potential risks and benefits.”



Sophie Armour, Media & PR Officer at the University of Sheffield: 07751 400 287 / 0114 222 3687 / 


Embargoed study available here: 

FAQs on carbon drawdown with enhanced weathering developed by the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation are available here:

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

About the Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust was established by the Will of William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers. Since 1925 the Trust has provided grants and scholarships for research and education.

Today, it is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, currently distributing £100 million each year. The Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at the University of Sheffield is part of a network of seven Leverhulme Trust research centres based in universities throughout the UK.

For more information about the Trust, please visit  and follow the Trust on Twitter @LeverhulmeTrust

Perspectivas de Chad, África: COVID-19, cambio climático y conocimiento indígena

REPÚBLICA DEL CHAD, África – Si bien el COVID-19 ha forzado a la mayor parte del mundo al confinamiento, tenemos la suerte de informar que nuestra serie de videos “Caminos de Regeneración” continúa viva y con buena salud. En los últimos meses nos hemos centrado en informar acerca de los efectos que la pandemia ha tenido sobre los agricultores, ganaderos y pueblos indígenas de todo el mundo.

En nuestro último episodio de “Caminos de Regeneración”, “Perspectivas de Chad, África: Covid-19, cambio climático y conocimiento indígena”, presentamos con orgullo a Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, una activista ambientalista galardonada y mujer indígena de la comunidad pastoral de Mbororo en Chad, que practica el pastoreo nómada de ganado.

Ibrahim es una experta en adaptación y mitigación de los pueblos indígenas y las mujeres en relación con el cambio climático, los conocimientos tradicionales y la adaptación de los pastores en África. Es fundadora y coordinadora de la Asociación de Mujeres y Pueblos Indígenas de Chad (AFPAT), que trabaja para empoderar las voces indígenas y mejorar la calidad de vida mediante la creación de oportunidades económicas y la protección de los recursos naturales de los que dependen las comunidades de pastores.

Recientemente Ibrahim fue nombrada  Explorador Emergente 2017 por National Geographic. Ha trabajado por  los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y la protección del medio ambiente a través de las tres Convenciones de Río, sobre Biodiversidad, Cambio Climático y Desertificación, que se originaron en la Cumbre de la Tierra de 1992.

La comunidad pastoral de Mbororo reside cerca del lago Chad, ubicado en el extremo oeste del Chad y el noreste de Nigeria. Alguna vez fue la reserva de agua más grande de África en la región del Sahel, abarcando 26,000 kilómetros. Sin embargo, se estima que con el tiempo el tamaño del lago ha ido disminuyendo hasta llegar a una quinta parte de su tamaño original.

Los expertos dicen que el culpable es el cambio climático, el crecimiento de la población y los sistemas ineficientes de represas y riego. La pérdida de agua en el lago Chad está teniendo serios efectos adversos en las comunidades, como el pueblo Mbororo, que se ve obligado a desplazarse mayores distancias en busca de agua y pastos verdes.

En una entrevista de Zoom con Regeneration International, Ibrahim explicó que en un año, la gente de Mbororo puede viajar hasta mil kilómetros o más, confiando únicamente en la naturaleza y la lluvia. Ibrahim nos dijo:

“La naturaleza es nuestro principal sistema de salud, alimentación y educación. Representa todo para nosotros. En nuestra cultura, los hombres y las mujeres dependen igualmente de la naturaleza en sus actividades diarias. Los hombres conducen el ganado hacia el agua y los pastos, mientras que las mujeres recolectan leña, comida y agua potable para la comunidad. Esto le da a nuestra comunidad un equilibrio de género socialmente fuerte”.

Sin embargo, la degradación de los recursos naturales está amenazando estas tradiciones, lo que lleva a conflictos humanos, particularmente entre agricultores y pastores cuyo ganado a veces deambula por tierras de cultivo cercanas y causa daños. Estos conflictos han obligado a los hombres e Mbororo a desplazarse a zonas urbanas en busca de un nuevo trabajo. A veces no regresan, y las mujeres, niños y ancianos se quedan atrás obligados a valerse por sí mismos, comparte  Ibrahim.

En un esfuerzo por preservar la forma de vida nómada de los Mbororo y ayudar a resolver los conflictos entre agricultores y pastores, Ibrahim estableció un proyecto en 2012 con el Comité Coordinador de los Pueblos Indígenas de África, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura, y la Organización Meteorológica Mundial. El proyecto utiliza conocimiento indígena y tecnología de mapeo 3D para mapear la región Sagel de Chad, hogar de 250,000 personas Mbororo.

A través de sus mapas 3D, el proyecto reúne a agricultores y pastores que compiten por los recursos para, de manera colectiva, trazar líneas de propiedad de la tierra y llegar a acuerdos sobre caminos y corredores de pastoreo. El trabajo ha ayudado a los agricultores y pastores a ponerse de acuerdo sobre los límites de la tierra, así como a establecer un sistema de calendario para coordinar los patrones de pastoreo con la cosecha de cultivos.

El resultado es una solución beneficiosa para todos donde el ganado fertiliza y enriquece la tierra mediante el pastoreo planificado. Esto evita el daño a los cultivos y ayuda a mitigar el cambio climático. Según Ibrahim:

“Cuando experimentamos el cambio climático, utilizamos nuestra forma de vida nómada como solución. Cuando vamos de un lugar a otro, descansando dos o tres días en cada lugar, el estiércol de nuestro ganado fertiliza la tierra y ayuda a que el ecosistema se regenere naturalmente.

“Nuestro conocimiento tradicional se basa en la observación de la naturaleza, que es el denominador común de todos los conocimientos indígenas tradicionales en todo el mundo. Vivimos en armonía con la biodiversidad porque observamos insectos que nos brindan información sobre la salud de un ecosistema.

“Observamos los patrones de migración de aves para predecir el clima y aprendemos del comportamiento de nuestros animales, que nos dan mucha información. Nos fijamos en el viento. Cuando el viento transporta muchas partículas de la naturaleza durante la estación seca, sabemos que vamos a tener una buena temporada de lluvias. Esta es información gratuita que utilizamos para ayudar a equilibrar la salud de la comunidad y el ecosistema y adaptarnos al cambio climático ”.

Ibrahim cree que eventos extremos como el cambio climático y la pandemia de COVID-19 son la manera que tiene la naturaleza de hacernos saber que está enojada porque la estamos maltratando. Para sanar el planeta, debemos escuchar nuestra sabiduría y respetar la naturaleza, dice ella.


Oliver Gardiner es el productor y coordinador de medios de Regeneration International en Asia y Europa. Para mantenerse al día con las noticias de Regeneration International, suscríbase a nuestro boletín.


What Kelp Forests Can Do for the Climate

Sixty years ago, Tasmania’s coastline was cushioned by a velvety forest of kelp so dense it would ensnare local fishers as they headed out in their boats. “We speak especially to the older generation of fishers, and they say, ‘When I was your age, this bay was so thick with kelp, we actually had to cut a channel though it,’” says Cayne Layton, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. “Now, those bays, which are probably at the scale of 10 or 20 football fields, are completely empty of kelp. There’s not a single plant left.”

Since the 1960s, Tasmania’s once expansive kelp forests have declined by 90% or more. The primary culprit is climate change: These giant algae need to be bathed in cool, nutrient-rich currents to thrive, yet regional warming in recent decades has extended the waters of the warmer East Australian Current into Tasmanian seas to devastating effect, wiping out kelp forests one by one. Warming waters have also boosted populations of predatory urchins, which gnaw on kelp roots and compound the loss.

Tasmania isn’t the only site of destruction. Globally, kelp grow in forests along the coastlines of every continent except Antarctica; most of these are threatened by climate change, coastal development, pollution, fishing, and invasive predators. All of this matters because these ecosystems provide huge benefits: They cushion coastlines against the effect of storm surges and sea level rise; they cleanse water by absorbing excess nutrients; and they also slurp up carbon dioxide, which can help drive down ocean acidity and engineer a healthy environment for surrounding marine life. These forests—which in the case of the giant kelp species that grows in Tasmania, can reach heights of 130 feet—also provide habitat for hundreds of marine species.

Having spent years studying these benefits, Layton is now trying to bring a patch of Tasmania’s struggling kelp forests back to life. Every few weeks, he dives out to inspect three 39-by-39-feet plots he’s created off the coast, each containing fronds of baby kelp, springing from ropes that are tethered to the ocean floor. These kelp nurseries are part of Layton’s project to determine whether climate-resilient “super-kelp” that has been raised in a laboratory will fare better in Tasmania’s changing seas. But his experiment also brings attention to the extraordinary potential of kelp to absorb carbon and help tackle climate change.

Climate-Forward Kelp

The capacity to draw CO2 from the atmosphere has added “climate mitigation” to kelp’s list of benefits. When we talk about ways oceans can sequester carbon, the conversation typically revolves around mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass meadows. But “the magnitude of carbon sequestered by algal forests is comparable to that of all those three habitats together,” says Carlos Duarte, a professor of marine science at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. “Algal forests should not be left behind. They have been hidden for much too long.”

There’s a lot we still don’t understand about how kelp store CO2. But researchers are starting to build a better picture of this giant seaweed and how we might improve its capacity to help tackle climate change.

The dilemma is that kelp itself is also under siege from warming seas—which is the focus of Layton’s work. Of Tasmania’s original forest, only around 5% remains. Researchers think these plants have survived through natural variation and selection.

“There do seem to be individuals that are adapted and capable of living in the modern conditions in Tasmania that we have created through climate change,” Layton explains.

From this remaining pool of wild giant kelp, he and his colleagues have identified what Layton calls “super kelp” that may be more resilient against the effects of warming seas. From these he has harvested spores, embedding them in twine to be wound around the ropes that are rooted into the sea floor. The hope is that these super kelp spores will develop into saplings that will in turn set their own spores adrift on ocean currents, seeding new mini-forests nearby.

“For giant kelp restoration to work at the scale of the coastline, we’ll need to plant many of these seed patches,” Layton explains. “The idea is that, over time, those will self-expand, and eventually coalesce—and there’s your giant kelp forest back.”

Other kelp restoration projects around the world are tackling different threats. In Santa Monica Bay, California, conservationists are trying to save local kelp forests from voracious purple urchins, whose population has exploded since a major predator—the sea otter—dramatically declined decades ago. The urchins’ unchecked appetite has contributed to the loss of three-quarters of the bay’s former kelp forest. But fishers are carefully hand-clearing urchins—the draw being that as kelp is restored, fisheries are too. So far they’ve managed to clear 52 acres (21 hectares), which the kelp forest has reclaimed.

“All we had to do is clear the urchins out of the way,” says Tom Ford, executive director of The Bay Foundation, which is leading the effort.

The project’s success has caused others to ponder its carbon sequestration potential, Ford says. The city of Santa Monica recently established a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, and asked The Bay Foundation how kelp restoration could factor into that. A nonprofit called Sustainable Surf has also launched a program enabling people to invest in the kelp restoration project to offset their own carbon footprints.

“These kelp forests grow so fast and suck in tremendous amounts of carbon,” Ford says. In California, there’s a focus on preserving wild lands with carbon credits, he explains. But the uptick in regional wildfires means that land-based forests might no longer seem like the safest bet. “Now, working off the coast is becoming perhaps a more important option.”

Similarly, in the United Kingdom, a plan known as “Help Our Kelp” aims to restore a 70-square-mile tract of historic kelp forest along the country’s southern Sussex Coast. It has attracted the interest of two local councils and a water company, which are intrigued by its potential to provide a new carbon sink. “All three organizations are interested in carbon, but also interested in the wider benefits [of kelp forests],” explains Sean Ashworth, deputy chief fisheries and conservation officer at the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities, a partner on the project.

Captured Carbon?

Yet key questions remain about where all the stored carbon ends up. Trees stay in one place, so we can reasonably estimate how much carbon a forest stores. Kelp, on the other hand, can float off to unknown destinations. If it begins to decompose, its stored carbon may be released back into the atmosphere, explains Jordan Hollarsmith, a marine ecologist at Simon Fraser University and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Canada. “Truly removing that carbon from the global carbon budget would require that those kelp fronds somehow be buried, or transported to the deep sea,” she says.

In fact, emerging research is beginning to paint a picture of seaweed’s journey through the ocean. A 2016 study estimated that about 11% of global macroalgae is permanently sequestered in the ocean. The bulk of that, about 90%, is deposited in the deep sea, while the rest sinks into coastal marine sediments.

“If the algae reaches below the 1,000-meter horizon, it is locked away from exchange with the atmosphere over extended time scales, and can be considered permanently sequestered,” says Dorte Krause-Jensen, a professor of marine ecology at Aarhus University in Denmark and author on the 2016 study along with Duarte. Still, the challenge of tallying this up remains. Compared with mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes, which deposit carbon directly and reliably into the sediments below, the inherent changeability of a kelp forest makes the sequestration harder to accurately quantify. But this could change, Duarte say, if kelp forests came under strict human management—something that’s already happening with smaller species of seaweed that are being farmed worldwide for food products and fertilizer.

Future Kelp

Could we similarly bring vast kelp forests under human control for the benefit of the planet? Brian Von Herzen, executive director of the nonprofit The Climate Foundation, thinks so. The Climate Foundation is a partner on Cayne Layton’s project for climate-resilient kelp, and Von Herzen is a major player in the field of marine permaculture, a type of open-ocean seaweed farming that mimics wild kelp forests to regenerate marine ecosystems, boost food security and sequester carbon.

Von Herzen is now trying out prototype arrays in the Philippines to help make seaweed farming more resilient to climate change. Central to Von Herzen’s vision is an array on which kelp would grow, hovering about 80 feet below the ocean’s surface. Using solar, wind, and wave energy to drive their motion, hoses fixed beneath the structure would siphon up colder, nutrient-rich water from the depths below. This cool water infusion would re-create an ideal micro-environment for the tethered kelp to thrive; the kelp would then oxygenate the water and create new fish habitat—all while capturing carbon, Von Herzen explains.

While these deepwater kelp forests are only hypothetical, Von Herzen is now testing prototype arrays in the Philippines to help make seaweed farming more resilient to climate change. Seaweed farmers there have suffered major losses because of warm ocean currents that sweep in and decimate their crops. But with the upwelling of cooler water generated by the new arrays, seaweed is starting to flourish again.

This project, and others being developed off the coasts of Europe and the U.S., are laying the groundwork for Von Herzen’s ultimate ambition: To dramatically scale up kelp arrays, eventually spanning great tracts of deep ocean where they could collectively absorb billions of tons of CO2 while also providing food security in the form of shellfish aquaculture and fish habitat and providing what he calls “ecosystem life support.”

Kelp could be buried in the deep sea to sequester carbon or be harvested to produce low-emissions biofuel and fertilizers, he says. “We use the thriving wild kelp forest as the ecosystem model for what we can scale in the oceans,” Von Herzen says.

Current Benefits

On the back of her research, Krause-Jensen is optimistic about the carbon sequestration potential of kelp and the possibility that it could be dramatically enlarged by sustainable farming. But practically speaking, in nations such as Australia and the United States, Duarte says, “it’s harder to get a concession for a seaweed farm than for oil and gas exploration.” And global systems for providing compensation for sequestering carbon are not yet set up to accommodate kelp.

Christophe Jospe, the chief development officer at Nori, a company that is working to make it easier to fund carbon removal initiatives, argues that with such a powerful sequestration tool at our disposal, we should accelerate its acceptance—even if seaweed farmers are only able to guarantee sequestration for, say, 10 years.

“We are throwing ourselves into a heated environmental debate where people say, well, that’s not permanent. But nothing is permanent—and it’s the reservoir of carbon that we need to increase because of the climate crisis that we’re in,” he says. “So actually, it’s a huge environmental value for a program to ensure 10 years of permanence.”

Things might gradually be moving in that direction. Working with Oceans 2050, a global alliance to restore the world’s oceans led by Alexandra Cousteau, Duarte is now helping to develop a carbon credit program that could be applied to seaweed farming. This makes it possible to imagine a world where we might one day invest carbon credits in kelp farms or where wild forest restoration might count as mitigation.

Meanwhile, back in Tasmania, Layton continues to watch over his nurseries of infant kelp, and he urges us to be cognizant of what kelp forests are already doing for us right now.

“They’re exactly like forests on land. There aren’t many people questioning their value,” he says. “Some people might not be interested in seaweed. But they may be interested in fishing, or their beachfront property not getting washed away, or making sure that their coastal waters are clean. All of those things are intimately tied to kelp forests.”

Reposted with permission from Yes Magazine

Regenerative Products Just Might Save the Planet – and the Economy

With the help of science, we’ve come to understand our impact on the planet that is our home. With each item we produce, building we construct, forest we cut down, acre we plow, and journey we make — enabled by resources we derive from our planet’s prehistoric past — we do small amounts of harm to the fragile balance of nature that sustains life. As we’ve replicated our capabilities and developed our ability to scale, those tiny harms have multiplied to the point that the cumulative damage now threatens our planetary life-support system.

Efforts to address this situation have so far consisted of denial, modest efficiency improvements, recycling, and, in some cases, the substitution of products less harmful than their predecessors. But these well-intentioned actions are not nearly enough to stop, let alone reverse, the effects of global climate change. What we need is a way to rewind the ecological tape — a regenerative approach — and the leadership to make it happen.


The Path Beyond Extinction and Escape: Return to Earth, Regenerate and Share

Message for World Environment Day, June 5, 2020  

By Dr Vandana Shiva

On May 31, while people were dying during the coronavirus pandemic, while millions had lost their livelihoods and were going hungry during the “lockdown,” while millions were marching in city after city in the USA to protest against police brutality and police violence after the killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis, billionaire Elon Musk launched Space X.

For me this was a brutal display of the hubris, indifference and power of the 1% who have pushed ecosystems, communities, countries and humanity to the brink.

Musk wants to create a “self sustaining” Space X city on Mars over the next century for a privileged faction of humanity. He ignores the fact that there is no Planet B, that the Earth is our only living planet, she is Gaia, she is alive.

Musk talked about being emotional during the launch of Space X. Powerful men have “emotions” for their machines, not for people or other beings. They talk of humans becoming a “space bearing civilization and a multi-planetary species.” They are still in denial that we are all earthlings who share life with other beings on the earth, our common home.

The billionaires who have violated planetary boundaries and contributed to the destruction of the earth and injustice and inequality in society, seem to want to “escape” from their humanity and the threat of extinction they helped create.

As members of the earth community they have the responsibility to care for the earth, not exploit her and when the damage is done, decide to abandon her to colonize other planets.

With the money Musk is pouring into Space X, millions would be fed and engaged creatively in regenerating the Earth, our common home, making it livable for present and future generations, everywhere.

The sixth mass extinction is a manmade phenomenon:  It is driven by the limitless greed of the few.

Take just one example, even when it is painted “green” – the limitless appetite of Musk’s electric car industry for Lithium has led to the expansion of lithium mines in Northern Tibet, Southern America and Chile, and Bolivia. With the demand for electric cars, the demand for lithium is expected to more than double by 2025 with exponential damage to the environment and surrounding communities.

According to Evo Morales, the former President of Bolivia, the coup against him was a lithium coup. The coup came a week after Morales nationalized lithium on November 4, 2019, saying it belongs to the Bolivian people, not to multinationals, and cancelled the December 2018 agreement with Germany’s ACI Systems Alemania (ACISA) following weeks of protests from residents of the Potosí areawhich has 50% to 70% of the world’s lithium reserves in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. ACISA provides batteries to Tesla owned by Leon Musk and the coup resulted in a massive rise in the company’s stock. [1] [2]

When the rich and powerful destroyed the binding Climate Change treaty in Copenhagen in 2009, Evo Morales addressed the Conference of Parties, reminding everyone that governments were supposed to be negotiating ways to protect Mother Earth, not the rights of polluters.

As a countermeasure, he announced he would call a people’s Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. I was honored to work with the group created by the Government of Bolivia to prepare a Draft Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.[3]

As Earth Citizens we have a choice – to either follow the market’s laws of greed and unlimited profit or the laws of the Earth.

As we make shifts to a post COVID-19 economy, we need to take into account the full ecological, social, and political costs of what is being offered and what choices we make.

Rendering invisible the real costs to the earth and people is how the mega corporate world accumulates its wealth, polarizing society further, denying millions their fundamental rights, undermining democracy, and increasing their ecological footprintleaving these costs to be born by the earth and vulnerable communities.

As always, colonizers leave the places and spaces they have destroyed and polluted, and find new colonies to occupy and extract from, touting them as the next step of progress, as solutions to the ecological and poverty crises they have contributed to, finding other places and other people to dominate and plunder.

Cecil Rhodes who colonized Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) stated frankly:

“We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave labour that is available from the natives of the colonies. The colonies would also provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories”.[4]

This is still the model of the economy of the 1%. The tools of extraction, and the colonies might change but the patterns of colonization remain unchanged – grab and steal what belongs to others, make it your own property, collect rents from the original owners, transform the displaced  into cheap slave labour to provide cheap raw materials, and turn them into consumers for your industrial products.

For Elon Musk, the colonies are both other planets like Mars and countries rich in lithium. For Bill Gates and Big Tech, the new colonies are our bodies and minds – as spelled out in WIPO’s patent no. WO2020/06060 which the billionaire has just been granted at the peak of the coronavirus and in the midst of lockdown at the end of March.

This Is the next step in the tech giants’ plan for the digitalization of the world where people and their work are being rendered “useless” and are being reduced to “users” of the “machines.”

A digital dictatorship based on the premise that 90% of humanity is disposable has no obligation to social justice and human rights. A digital dictatorship is not a life generating and livelihood supporting economy. It can work through extraction of data from our minds and bodies for a few years as “surveillance capitalism,” but because it does not create the generative conditions that support life in nature’s economy and the sustenance economy of people, because it does not nourish our health, our bodies and minds, or our creativity, our freedom or our earth being – it will destroy the ecological and social base of the economy and our future as a species.

Denial of ecological processes that support the economy, and externalizing social and ecological costs, creates conditions for ecological collapse.

Economy and ecology are both derived from the same word “oikos” our home, both our planetary home as well as the particular places we call home. Yet what is called economy today is destroying our common home.

Aristotle defined “oikonomia” as the “art of living.” He differentiated it from the “art of money making” which he referred to as “chrematistics.”

The game billionaires play is not worthy of being called economy, either as care for the home, or as the art of living. It is extractive, naked money making, at war with life and creativity.

The Digital Giants are misleadingly creating the language of “dematerialization,” as if the digital economy will run on thin air, with no resources, no energy. However, a digital economy is very energy intensive and has a very heavy social and ecological footprint. Digital technologies now emit 4% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and its energy consumption is increasing by 9% a year.

Data traffic is responsible for more than half of digital technology’s global impact, with 55% of its annual energy consumption. Every byte transferred or stored requires large scale and energy-greedy terminals and infrastructures (data centers, networks). This traffic is currently increasing by more than 25% a year. How long will it take before the ecological load of the digitalization of every aspect of our life will push the remaining ecosystems to collapse, driving the surviving species to extinction?[5]

All democratic societies and citizens need to assess these costs, and ensure that the “precautionary principle” and “polluters pays principle” are applied to the digital economy. That polluters do not “escape” their ecological and democratic responsibilities, and dictators do not impose their “surveillance capitalism.”

There are options beyond colonization, beyond extinction ,which first pushed other species and other cultures to extinction – and is now threatening the extinction of the entire human species.

Instead of the rich ignoring and fleeing  from the Earth, the path as humanity we should be following is to Return to Earth, in our minds, our hearts, and in our lives – as one Earth Community with a potential to co-create, coproduce, and regenerate and allow the earth to provide for all.

This is the path to reclaiming our creative powers to shape our economies and democracies from the bottom up. This is the practice of Earth Democracy.

We need to shift from Anthropocentrism to the recognition that all humans and all beings are members of one Earth Family. The assumption of superiority of humans over other species, and some humans over others of a different color, gender, or religion is at the root of violence against women, blacks, and indigenous people. It has justified extermination of species and cultures. It is what led to the brutal killing of George Floyd, and many others before him. And this assumption of anthropocentrism is at the root of the extinction crisis.

We need to shift from the assumption that violating planetary boundaries, ecosystem boundaries, species boundaries, and human rights is a measure of progress and superiority – to creating economies based on respecting ecological laws and ecological limits, and respecting the rights of the last person, the last child.

We need to shift from seeing money and technology as masters in a new religion of money making, ”chrematistics,” to recognizing they are mere means that must be governed and regulated democratically for higher ecological and human ends.

We need to shift from extractivism as the basis of the economy to solidarity and giving as the basis of circular, solidarity economies of permanence.

We need to shift from enclosure of the commons by the 1 % to recovery of the commons for the common good and well being of all.

Humanity must opt for staying alive by caring for our common home, the Earth and each other, rejuvenating the Planet, and through it sowing the seeds of our common future.

“Only as one earth community and one humanity, united in our diversities, can we hold ourselves together and step away from the precipice, and escape the destructive, ecocidal, genocidal rule of the 1% and the hallucinations of the mechanical mind. The 1% have brought us to this point, like sheep to slaughter. But we can turn around and walk away, to our freedom. To live free. To think free. To breathe free. To eat free. Seeding the Future is in our minds, our hearts, our hands.”

(Oneness vs 1% – Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom, Women Unlimited, New Internationalist, Il pianeta di tutti – Come il capitalismo ha colonizzato la Terra, Fetrinelli, El Planeta es de todos: Unidad contra el 1%, Editorial Popular, 1 % – Reprendre le pouvoir face à la toute-puissance des riches, Rue de l’échiquier)





[4] (Pg 116  Terry Gibbs, Why the Dalai Lama is a Socialist)

[5] (Source:

Reposted with permission from Navdanya

A Vision for the Social and Ecological Regeneration of Mexico City’s Xochimilco Wetlands

By Mayra Rubio Lozano

MEXICO CITY – Xochimilco is a city south of Mexico City best known for its canals. The area’s wetlands,  recognized for their important biological and cultural value, are why Xochimilco is named as a World Heritage Site (UNESCO) and Site of Agricultural Importance (FAO). 

Humedalia is a Mexican organization that works for the conservation and restoration of the Mexican wetlands. It is part of the Regeneration International partner network and as such, has applied for the Scientific and Technical committee evaluation program of the 4 per 1000 initiative

Humedalia’s work focuses on the chinampas of Xochimilco. (Chinampas refers to a system of growing crops in floating gardens created in shallow lake beds, using farming techniques developed by the Aztecs).

Agricultural production in chinampas, or islands of arable land, started over 800 years ago.  When the first tribes that settled in the Mexico basin, they were able to produce 4t/ha of crops. These high yields allowed the development of big urban settlements, such as what we have today in Mexico City. These cities generated a big demand for water resources, and ultimately led to the transfer of agriculture to urban soil.

Today, Xochimilco’s wetland and its landscape of chinampas retain only 2 percent of the fresh water that was originally in the basin. This agricultural landscape is highly threatened by processes linked to urbanization and the devaluation of the farmers’ labor. About  80 percent of the chinampas are abandoned, and water pollution has deteriorated the soil’s fertility. The few agricultural producers that remain face steep competition and low profits, because the intensive agricultural model, mostly subsidized, has forced these producers to lower the prices.

Despite the negative impact of urbanization, Xochimilco’s wetlands remain vital for Mexico City. They provide multiple environmental benefits, such as microclimate regulation, water catchment and recharge of the groundwater reserves, oxygen and food production, nutrient recycling and carbon sequestration. In a city where air pollution levels usually exceed healthy standards, carbon sequestration is fundamental for the city’s resilience. Wetlands sequester large amounts of carbon (0.4-32 Mg ha-1 year-1) in their sediments because of their anaerobic conditions, which slow the rate of decay of organic matter, facilitating carbon accumulation. In turn, carbon sequestration can be optimized by using traditional farming techniques (sustainable) in the chinampas in combination with new organic farming techniques, such as the biointensive method. 

This project seeks to increase carbon sequestration through a water-soil systemic approach. By restoring canals and rehabilitating hectares of idle land, the quality of the water available for watering will improve, and the chinampas’ soil will be regenerated, leading to an increase in the amount of the ecosystem’s carbon sequestration.

The project also will contribute to the local endemic flora and fauna’s habitat protection, such as the axolotl Ambystoma mexicanum, a type of salamander known as the Mexican walking fish. Protecting local flora and fauna will help restore the cultural identity linked to ancestral agriculture that survives in the hands of traditional farmers.

This project for regenerating the chinampas soil (rehabilitation, growing and maintenance) will provide the local community opportunities to increase family income and engage multiple generations, creating a space for the exchange of knowledge and experiences about ancestral farming techniques. Women and children who typically don’t participate directly in food production can become involved in marketing, sales and processing. 

In turn, regenerated chinampas will produce healthier foods. 

As part of the Regeneration International partner network, and applying for the 4 per 1000 initiative, Humedalia project helps improve socio-ecological conditions of Xochimilco’s wetland. Carbon sequestration will have a positive direct impact on the air quality of one of the most polluted cities in the world. But the project will also focus on the social aspect, improving the wellbeing of the community by generating self-employment at the chinampas, and creating the right conditions for social participation through collaborative networks that strengthen the community. 

Mayra Rubio Lozano is director of scientific research and sustainable development for Humedalia A.C. To keep up with Regeneration International news, sign up for our newsletter.


Regenerative Agriculture Could Save the Planet. Why Doesn’t Everyone Know About It?

Food giant General Mills recently announced that the company is set to partner with farmers to advance regenerative agriculture practices on one million acres of farmland by 2030. The company committed to the idea after researching information about Will Harris’ cattle ranch in Georgia. His ranch, White Oak Pastures, uses targeted agricultural methods that have turned the land into a carbon sink, absorbing the majority of emissions caused by the beef production.

The Climate Reality Project explains that “regenerative agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that seeks to rehabilitate and enhance the entire ecosystem of the farm by placing a heavy premium on soil health with attention also paid to water management, fertilizer use, and more. It is a method of farming that improves the resources it uses, rather than destroying or depleting them.”

In North Dakota, rancher and farmer Gabe Brown has helped lead this agricultural movement.


Natural, Biodiverse Forests More Reliable at Fighting Climate Change than Plantations

How reliable are long-lived plantations composed of a few species for carbon capture, when compared with natural tropical forests that comprise many species?

Fighting climate change through reforestation activities, such as large-scale plantations, has gained global traction over recent years. To reduce carbon emissions, international efforts such as the Bonn Challenge and Paris Climate Accord have promoted tapping into the power of trees that suck in and sequester carbon in multiple ways.

Researchers conducted a study in one of India’s biodiversity hotspots, the Western Ghats. They compared carbon storage and rates of carbon capture of mature mono-dominant plantations, with those of neighboring natural forests harbouring a diverse mix of native species.

Although mono-dominant plantations could match natural biodiverse forests in terms of carbon capture and storage potential, the latter were more stable and hence more reliable in their ability to capture carbon over the years, particularly in the face of droughts.


Will Pandemic Push Humans into a Healthier Relationship with Nature?

ROME, May 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Daniel Wanjama had everything ready for this year’s first seed fair in the Kenyan town of Gilgil, an important event where poor farmers exchange seeds of nutritious, hardy local crops they cannot easily buy in shops or markets.

But a week before the fair Wanjama had organised for late March, the government banned gatherings in a bid to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Farmers who were ready to deliver seeds are stranded with them, and those who were to obtain seeds have not planted (their crops),” he said by email.

“This is a serious situation because not planting means not having food,” added the founder of Seed Savers Network-Kenya, a social enterprise based in Gilgil, about 120 km (75 miles) north of Nairobi.



El levantamiento de los movimientos de base: un llamado a cambiar el mundo

En esta entrevista, Ronnie Cummins, fundador de la Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos, habla sobre su nuevo libro “Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food and a Green New Deal”.

“Gran parte del libro habla de cómo necesitamos transformar nuestro sistema alimentario y agrícola, no solo en los Estados Unidos sino en todo el mundo, para poder resolver muchos de los problemas a los que nos estamos enfrentando: contaminación ambiental, problemas de salud, la crisis climática y el hecho de que tenemos tanta pobreza en las zonas rurales … “, dice Cummins.

La agricultura orgánica regenerativa es la respuesta a muchos problemas

Cummins hace un llamado a una transformación basada en la transición a la agricultura ecológica regenerativa, un tipo de prácticas agrícolas que tienen la capacidad de resolver muchos, si no la mayoría de estos problemas de forma simultánea.

Por ejemplo, uno de los argumentos principales a favor de los cultivos y alimentos genéticamente modificados (GE) era que iban a resolver el hambre en el mundo. La realidad, sin embargo, ha demostrado que este argumento es falso.

La agricultura transgénica en realidad hace todo lo contrario. Destruye nuestros suelos y hace que los alimentos sean más tóxicos y menos nutritivos. La agricultura regenerativa, por otro lado, ha demostrado ser superior con respecto al rendimiento y la nutrición, todo sin usar productos químicos tóxicos. Como Cummins señaló:

“La forma en que tradicionalmente hemos cultivado alimentos durante los últimos 10,000 años y la forma en que hemos criado animales en los últimos 20,000 o 30,000 años es realmente orgánica y de pastoreo.

Este experimento salvaje al cual la industria nos ha expuesto desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial, utilizando productos químicos tóxicos, fertilizantes sintéticos, semillas genéticamente modificadas y granjas industriales de animales, ha demostrado ser un desastre, no solo para los granjeros, los animales y la tierra, sino también para nuestra salud pública.

Nuestro llamado a cuidar de su salud y de su dieta está directamente relacionado con cuidar de nuestro medio ambiente y de todo nuestro sistema económico, y transformar este sistema degenerativo de alimentos, agricultura y uso de la tierra en un sistema orgánico y regenerativo “.

Cuatro impulsores del cambio

En su libro, Cummins detalla cuatro factores principales de cualquier sistema, ya sea, como en este caso, el sistema degenerativo que tenemos actualmente o el sistema regenerativo que nos gustaría tener:

  1. Educación y sensibilización: esto también incluye poner en práctica la información, es decir, cada vez que saque su billetera, está decidiendo si su dinero va a apoyar un sistema degenerativo o regenerativo. El verdadero cambio se produce cuando las personas trasladan sus creencias en el mercado.
  2. Innovación: esto incluye las innovaciones de los agricultores, ganaderos, personas que cuidan nuestros bosques y humedales y personas innovadoras en el área de la educación pública.
  3. Cambios en las políticas: esto incluye cambios de política desde las juntas escolares locales y los distritos de parques hasta la Casa Blanca. En la actualidad, nuestras políticas favorecen intereses especiales corporativos como Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, la industria farmacéutica y Wall Street. Una vez que obtengamos políticas que apoyen los productos orgánicos, la agricultura regenerativa y la salud natural, el crecimiento de estas áreas será mucho más fácil y rápido.
  4. Financiación e inversión: esto incluye tanto a inversores privados como a fondos públicos.

Como señaló Cummins, “educación, innovación, cambios en las políticas e inversión son los cuatro factores que impulsan este cambio de paradigma”. Sin embargo, a menudo el cambio es lento, y una de las razones por las que Cummins escribió “Grassroots Rising” fue para inspirar optimismo y esperanza.

“Obviamente, todavía estamos en una fase degenerativa, pero podemos salir de esto”, dice. “Creo que este año, el 2020, va a ser el comienzo de un enorme despertar global”.

Aumentar las mejores prácticas

Cummins es codirector de una granja orgánica de investigación y centro de conferencias a las afueras de San Miguel de Allende, México, donde coordina un sistema agrícola regenerativo que integra la producción orgánica de vegetales, semillas y forraje con el manejo integral regenerativo de aves, ovejas, cabras y cerdos. Él y otros buscan constantemente las mejores prácticas que se puedan ampliar e implementar con éxito en millones de granjas. Cummins explica:

“Llevamos 10 años dirigiendo una granja de investigación y educativa [Vía Orgánica] a las afueras de San Miguel de Allende, justo en el centro de México. Es la zona alta del desierto …

Si nos fijamos en las estadísticas, el 40% de la superficie del mundo corresponde a zonas semiáridas o áridas, y ese es el tipo de área donde nos encontramos aquí, … de hecho, este un paisaje muy común a nivel global.

Lo que es difícil como agricultor o ganadero, si vives en las partes semiáridas o áridas del mundo, es que no solo la lluvia es estacional y no recibes mucha, sino que es casi imposible de cultivar en la mayor parte de este terreno.

Lo que la gente ha hecho durante cientos de años es pastorear ganado en estas tierras áridas y semiáridas degradadas. El problema es que han sobrepastoreado gran parte de este 40% de la superficie del mundo”.

Las innovaciones simples pueden resolver problemas complejos

Durante uno de los talleres facilitados por Cummins sobre composta orgánica, dos granjeros locales se le acercaron diciendo que habían desarrollado una técnica muy simple usando el agave y los árboles de mezquite para producir forraje para animales sumamente económico y nutritivo.

Estas dos plantas, que crecen juntas de manera natural en áreas áridas y semiáridas, no requieren riego, y la fotosíntesis del agave se encuentra entre las más eficientes del mundo. El agave crece rápidamente, produce grandes cantidades de biomasa y secuestra y almacena enormes cantidades de carbono, tanto por encima como por debajo de la superficie del suelo, al mismo tiempo que produce alimento para animales o forraje económico y nutritivo y restaura la tierra.

Como señaló Cummins, el hecho de que los agaves y los mezquites (u otros árboles fijadores de nitrógeno) crezcan juntos de forma natural es la manera que tiene la naturaleza de reparar los paisajes erosionados. Las raíces del árbol de mezquite pueden alcanzar los 38 metros, fijan nitrógeno de la atmósfera en el suelo y absorben minerales desde las profundidades del suelo.

Mientras tanto, el agave agrega enormes cantidades de biomasa a la tierra cada año, de manera que se reduce el exceso de CO2 de la atmósfera, y extrae nitrógeno y otros minerales del suelo para alimentar su rápido crecimiento. Es más, cuando se cultiva junto a un árbol fijador de nitrógeno, se obtiene un sistema de biodiversidad que continuará creciendo y prosperando de forma continua.

El agave fermentado es un alimento para animales muy económico

El agave fermentado producido por este sistema es un alimento para animales que solo cuesta 5 centavos por kilo. La clave es la fermentación. Para los animales, las hojas crudas de agave son desagradables y difíciles de digerir debido a sus niveles de saponinas y lectinas, pero una vez fermentadas se vuelven digeribles y sabrosas.

La fermentación también aumenta el valor nutricional. Estaba tan impresionado con lo que Cummins me contó que coseché alrededor de 100 kilos de plantas de sábila y les apliqué este proceso para ver si las podía convertir en un alimento excelente para mis seis pollos. Este es un resumen del proceso:

  • Corta algunas de las hojas inferiores del agave y pícalas en trozos grandes con un machete. Uno de los agricultores, Juan Frías, inventó una máquina simple que muele la hoja y la deja fina como una ensalada de col.
  • Coloque las hojas de agave picadas en un balde grande y cuando esté lleno a la mitad presiona las hojas para eliminar el oxígeno. Continúa llenando el balde hasta arriba. Presiona de nuevo las hojas y ponle una tapa. (Como se explica más adelante, agregar vainas de mezquite a una tasa óptima del 20% aproximadamente duplicará el contenido de proteínas del producto final).
  • Déjalo reposar 30 días. El proceso de fermentación convierte las saponinas y lectinas en azúcares y carbohidratos naturales. El puré resultante se mantendrá fresco por hasta dos años.

Cummins y otros campesinos orgánicos mexicanos han hecho la prueba y han alimentado a diversos animales como ovejas, cabras, pollos y cerdos con el forraje de agave, y todos lo aman.

“La importancia de esto es, en primer lugar, si usted es un pequeño agricultor que no puede permitirse el lujo de comprar alfalfa, y no puede pagar el heno durante la estación seca. Es demasiado caro … Hace que los huevos y la carne se encarezcan demasiado para que la gente los compre.

Cuando comienzas a mirar … de reducir los costos de alimentación en un 50%, o incluso tres cuartos con estas cosas que cuestan un centavo, entonces no es necesario llegar al sobrepastoreo de mis animales. Todavía pastorean porque es bueno para ellos … pero no tendrías que tenerlos al aire libre todos los días, sobrepastoreando los pastos que ya están deteriorados.

Estamos hablando de algo increíble… El análisis de laboratorio del agave fermentado [muestra] que contiene aproximadamente de 5% a 9% de proteína, lo cual es bastante bueno. La proteína de la alfalfa es de 16% a 18%.

Lo que estos agricultores, que también son científicos retirados, descubrieron es que si pones un 20% de vainas de los árboles de mezquite en tu fermentación, se disparará el nivel de proteína hasta aproximadamente un 18%, casi lo mismo que contiene la alfalfa.

Hay muchas otros factores que hacen que el agave sea mejor opción que la alfalfa. Una de las cosas sobre la alfalfa es que requiere mucha agua … El agave usa una vigésima sexta parte de la cantidad de agua que la alfalfa necesita para producir un gramo de biomasa.

Estas plantas del desierto han evolucionado durante millones de años para utilizar el agua y la humedad de una manera realmente eficiente … La apertura en las hojas, llamada estomas … solo se abre por la noche, después del atardecer.

Estas plantas literalmente succionan la humedad del aire durante toda la noche, y luego, cuando llega el amanecer, los estomas se cierran … Pueden pasar años sin lluvia, y pueden sobrevivir a temperaturas bastante duras … [y] no se requiere ni un solo químico en todo este proceso. Todo este proceso es orgánico de forma inherente”.

Otras ventajas

Un certificador orgánico ahora está evaluando una de las operaciones que utilizan este proceso de alimentación a base de agave, que puede contribuir en gran medida a crear productos orgánicos menos costosos. Por ejemplo, en lugar de gastar 45 centavos por kilo en alimento orgánico para pollos, los criadores de pollo pueden reducir el gasto a entre 5 y 10 centavos por kilo.

Al final, eso hará que los pollos y huevos de corral orgánicos sean mucho más asequibles para el consumidor promedio. Lo mismo ocurre con los productos de cerdo, oveja y cabra.

Otros beneficios incluyen una mejor función inmune en los animales, similar a la observada en humanos que comen muchos alimentos fermentados. Además, alrededor del 50% del alimento de agave fermentado es agua, lo que significa que los animales no necesitan tanta agua.

Cummins y otros defensores de las granjas orgánicas ahora están tratando de convencer al programa mexicano de reforestación para que también participe. Esto resolvería varios problemas. En primer lugar, es difícil reforestar en climas áridos, que corresponden al 60% de México, ya que incluso los árboles de mezquite necesitan agua en su primera etapa de desarrollo hasta que se establezcan. Cultivar agave en áreas que ya tienen mezquite u otros árboles fijadores de nitrógeno aceleraría el proceso y reduciría la demanda de agua.

En segundo lugar, cultivar agave y mezquite juntos con el fin de reforestar, al mismo tiempo que se cuenta con instalaciones para producir alimentos fermentados de agave para la venta, permitirá que los agricultores que no están dispuestos a cultivar sus propios agaves aún pueden beneficiarse de esta económica alternativa de alimento. En tercer lugar, este proyecto también ayudaría a reducir la pobreza rural, que es lo que está impulsando la inmigración a los EE. UU.

“Si las personas no fueran tan pobres, si no vivieran en estos paisajes tan secos y degradados, no intentarían ir a los EE. UU., solamente irían de visita”, dice Cummins.

“Podemos resolver este problema de inmigración. Podemos resolver este problema de pobreza rural. Muchos de estos pequeños agricultores, ni siquiera pueden permitirse comer su propio animal, como el cordero, regularmente.

Lo tienen para celebraciones, pero, en las zonas rurales, deberían poder comer hamburguesas de cordero de forma regular. Ahora podrán hacerlo. A la larga, si restauramos el paisaje, cultivos como el maíz, los frijoles y la calabaza volverán a crecer … ”

Otra pequeña industria artesanal también está empezando a crecer alrededor del agave. Las fibras del agave son muy fuertes, por lo que la gente ahora las está comenzando a usar para hacer bloques o ladrillos de construcción livianos.

Por último, Cummins estima que si se siembran 2.5 millones de plantas de agave en 12,000 hectáreas durante la próxima década, se podrán eliminar todas las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero creadas por el municipio de San Miguel en este momento.

Más información

Para obtener más información acerca de cómo la agricultura regenerativa puede ayudar a resolver muchos de los problemas que enfrenta el mundo en este momento, asegúrese de obtener una copia de “Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food and a Green New Deal” (estamos trabajando en la traducción al español del libro y saldrá a la venta próximamente).

“Esta práctica regenerativa en tierras secas representa un cambio de las reglas del juego”, dice Cummins. “Hay prácticas en humedales y en el norte global, [donde] ya estamos viendo cosas como el manejo holístico del ganado y prácticas orgánicas biointensivas.

Precisamente, son todas estas prácticas juntas, las mejores prácticas implementadas en diferentes partes del mundo, en diferentes ecosistemas, lo que va a marcar la diferencia.

Es usted, el consumidor, el lector, el que necesita difundir estas buenas noticias, y espero que considere comprar una copia de mi nuevo libro, ‘Grassroots Rising’, donde trato de dibujar una hoja de ruta de cómo podemos regenerar los paisajes del mundo lo más rápido posible para que podamos volver a disfrutar de la vida “.

Publicado con permiso de