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Cambio climático: qué es el carbono azul y por qué es tan importante para la lucha contra el calentamiento global

Si piensas en una solución natural que ayude a combatir el cambio climático. ¿Cuál es la primera que se te viene a la mente?

Seguro pensaste algo como sembrar más árboles o proteger los bosques y las selvas.

Y es cierto, los árboles juegan un rol fundamental en producir oxígeno y capturar dióxido de carbono, uno de los principales gases que producen el efecto de invernadero que calienta al planeta.

Existe, sin embargo, una trampa que captura CO2 de manera más rápida y eficaz que los bosques.

Se trata de los ecosistemas marinos costeros como los manglares, pantanos y humedales, donde se entierran grandes cantidades de carbono.

A ese carbono atrapado bajo el agua se le llama “carbono azul” y aunque a veces pasa desapercibido, mantenerlo bien aprisionado es vital para la salud del planeta.

 

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Why It’s Time to Stop Treating the Soil Like Dirt

• We risk losing the world’s topsoil within 60 years.

• Tens of millions of farmers could provide an incremental transformation of soil care.

• Businesses are underestimating the impact of nature loss.

One of my greatest joys is to see first-hand the many solutions already created to help solve the climate crisis. One of my greatest frustrations, however, is our inability to apply these solutions at scale.

2019 was the year that nature and land use made it to the top of the global agenda. It became clear that we will not meet the Paris Agreement if we don’t solve broken food and land-use systems.

Land degradation is affecting 3.2 billion people, and for far too long this has gone under the radar. This must change in 2020. If not, we risk that all the world’s topsoil be eroded in the next 60 years.

Healthy soil is a resource of incredible magnitude. It captures and stores water and carbon, increases biodiversity, and it preserves and increases food security.

Soil Health Hits the Big Time!

It began at the pivotal UN climate summit in Paris in 2015 (COP21), which I had the honor of attending on the behalf of the Quivira Coalition and Regeneration International as an observer. As you will recall, in an effort to slow climate change delegates from 197 nations negotiated and then signed a landmark Agreement committing their governments to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2020 (alas, recent events have undercut the Agreement’s prospects).

This was big news at the time, but there was another important development that did not make headlines. It occurred on December 1st when the French government launched a plan to improve food security and fight climate change with soil carbon called the ‘4 For 1000 Initiative’ – a number that refers to a targeted annual growth rate of soil carbon stocks. “Supported by solid scientific documentation, this initiative invites all partners to state or implement some practical actions on soil carbon storage and the type of practices to achieve this.” (see)

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2020 Vision: A New Year’s Regeneration

Beyond the media smog, the 24/7 fixation on the Trump cesspool and the endless distractions of the holiday season, I probably don’t have to remind you that the end of the modern era is at hand.

As most of us realize, even as we repress this thought in order to maintain our sanity, we are fast approaching “the point of no return,” whereby our 21st century Climate Emergency and societal meltdown begin to morph into global catastrophe.

Even in the midst of enjoying a break over the holidays and celebrating with our family and friends, it’s hard to avoid thinking about the “Emergency”—and the climate criminals, indentured politicians and climate deniers who have dragged us to the precipice.

Our common house is “on fire” as Greta Thunberg reminds us. And as Arundhati Roy laments: “It is becoming more and more difficult to communicate the scale of the crisis even to ourselves. An accurate description runs the risk of sounding like hyperbole.”

But what I, and my allies in the global Regeneration Movement want to tell you, is that there is a practical, shovel-ready solution to our impasse, a Regenerative Green New Deal powered by a massive leap in grassroots consciousness, a youth-led climate movement and a 2020 ballot box- revolution.

The long-overdue transformation of our energy and agricultural systems, converting our greenhouse gas-intensive, fossil fuel economy to renewables, coupled with a massive organic and regenerative drawdown, revegetation, reforestation, re-carbonization and rehydration of our farmlands, rangelands and forests will dramatically reduce global emissions (by 50 percent or more) over the next decade, meanwhile sequestering the remaining emissions in our soils, forests and plants.

The Great Transition to renewable energy and radical energy conservation, in combination with the enhanced photosynthesis and carbon sequestration power of regenerative food, farming and land use will make it possible to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030, enabling the world to shift into net-negative emissions over the following decades, literally drawing down enough CO2 from the atmosphere to not only mitigate but to actually reverse global warming and thereby restore climate stability, soil fertility, rural livelihoods and public health.

An excess of gloom and doom has clouded our collective vision, reinforcing the walls and silos that divide us, and robbing us of the life-giving optimism and positive energy that we need to carry out a political revolution. From Main Street to the Middle East and beyond, drawing inspiration from the positive trends and best practices (alternative energy, organic and regenerative food and farming, ecosystem restoration, political insurgency and direct action) in our millions of cities, towns and rural communities across the globe, we have the power to put an end to business as usual.

We, the global grassroots, can move forward and solve the climate crisis and all the other interrelated crises that plague us: poverty, economic injustice, deteriorating public health, environmental destruction, societal conflict, endless war, the erosion of democracy and elite domination and control. The regenerative solutions we need are, in fact, manifesting themselves at this very moment, in every nation, in every region, pointing the way to transform every aspect of our lives.

The solutions we need are no farther away than the nearest solar panel, wind farm, retrofitted building, bicycle path, electric vehicle, community garden, farmers market, organic farm and holistically-managed ranch. The solutions we need lie at the end of our forks and knives, under the trees that shade us, the carbon-sequestering soil below our feet, the consumer dollars in our wallets and our nearest voting booth.

 

Regeneration and the global grassroots rising

Out on the road proselytizing for organics and regeneration, one of the most frequent questions I get goes something like this:

“Ronnie, given the current political atmosphere, and the state of the climate and the planet, why are you so optimistic?”

If we had the time and the space right now I’d be happy to give you a full book-length answer on why I’m so optimistic. In fact, I’ve just written such a book. It’s called Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal, by Chelsea Green Publishers. The book will go on sale February 11. (You can pre-order a copy here).

But in the interest of brevity, and so you and I can hopefully get back to our holiday cheer, here’s a summary of my 2020 Vision, four reasons why I’m optimistic that things are about to turn around:

  1. A radical, youth-led climate movement, the Sunrise Movement, the Extinction RebellionFridays for the Future, and others have helped make the Climate Emergency a front-burner issue—not only in North America and Europe, but across the world.
  2. A radical, democratic socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders, calling for political revolution and a fundamental transformation of the U.S. energy, socio-economic, political and food and farming system, under the banner of a Green New Deal, has a real chance to become the next president of the United States. With the whole world watching, a Bernie Sanders White House and a new balance of power in Congress, inspired by a Green New Deal, will galvanize the global grassroots.
  3. Regenerative food, farming, land use and ecosystem restoration have suddenly become the most important, exciting and talked-about topics in climate, food and farming circles. People are finally understanding that we need both a rapid transition to alternative energy and a rapid transition to organic/regenerative food and farming in order to reach net-zero emissions by 2030, as called for by world scientists, the Sunrise Movement, and the Green New Deal.
  4. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest member of Congress in history, and the most radical, charismatic leader in the U.S. since the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King in 1968, will turn 35 in October 2024, making her eligible to succeed Bernie Sanders (should he choose to serve only one term) as the first woman, and first woman of color, to become president of the U.S.

It’s true that our new world view and Movement for a Regenerative Green New Deal are still in the early stages of development. The majority of the people in the world have never heard the full story about the miraculous power of enhanced soil fertility, ecosystem restoration, holistic grazing and plant photosynthesis to draw down enough excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into our soils and biota to re-stabilize the climate, reverse global warming, raise the standard of living for small farmers and rural communities and produce enough high-quality food for the entire planet.

But the exciting thing is that when people, especially young people, women and rural and oppressed communities do hear about the amazing potential of regeneration, combined with alternative energy and environmental justice, to unite us all in a common campaign to turn things around, they are inspired. And they’re often ready to sign up, to get engaged with others—consumers, farmers, activists, progressive businesses and enlightened public officials—to move this revolution forward.

But, as this difficult and indeed frightening decade ends, to quote America’s Nobel Prize winning poet, Bob Dylan, “Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

Join us today as we build a movement to change the world.

 

Ronnie Cummins is a founding steering committee member of Regeneration International and co-founder and international director of the Organic Consumers Association. His new book, “Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food and a Green New Deal,” will be out in February 2020. To keep up with Regeneration International, sign up for our newsletter.

 

Posted with permission from Common Dreams

The Key to the Environmental Crisis Is Beneath Our Feet

The Green New Deal resolution that was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in February hit a wall in the Senate, where it was called unrealistic and unaffordable. In a Washington Post article titled “The Green New Deal Sets Us Up for Failure. We Need a Better Approach,” former Colorado governor and Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper framed the problem like this:

The resolution sets unachievable goals. We do not yet have the technology needed to reach “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” in 10 years. That’s why many wind and solar companies don’t support it. There is no clean substitute for jet fuel. Electric vehicles are growing quickly, yet are still in their infancy. Manufacturing industries such as steel and chemicals, which account for almost as much carbon emissions as transportation, are even harder to decarbonize.

Amid this technological innovation, we need to ensure that energy is not only clean but also affordable. Millions of Americans struggle with “energy poverty.”

 

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Why Fake Meat and Eliminating Livestock Are Really Bad Ideas

As noted in “Ditching Nature in Favor of Fake Food Is Not the Solution to Destructive Factory Farming” by Dr. Joseph Mercola:

“Industrial agriculture is one of the most unsustainable practices of modern civilization. The ‘bigger is better’ food system has reached a point where its real costs have become readily apparent.

Like water running down an open drain, the Earth’s natural resources are disappearing quickly, as industrialized farming drives air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, rising carbon emissions and the depletion, erosion and poisoning of soils.

The long-term answer, however, lies in the transition to sustainable, regenerative, chemical-free farming practices, not in the creation of food manufacturing techniques that replace farms with chemistry labs, which is the ‘environmentally friendly’ alternative envisioned by biotech startups and its chemists.”

As a campaigner for organic and regenerative food, and a critic of fast foodGMOs and factory farms for over 40 years, I am alarmed and disgusted by the degenerate state of food and farming in the United States.

Not only are misguided farmers, ignorant and corrupt public officials, greedy investors, food corporations and mindless consumers destroying their health and the health of their families through their everyday production practices and food choices, but our Fast Food Nation is rapidly degrading the health of the environment and the climate and life-support systems of our planet as well.

Corporate America’s trillion-dollar taxpayer-subsidized system of industrial food and farming, represented most graphically by factory farms and feedlots, is literally killing us, whether we’re talking about our food-related public health emergency or the fact that our chemical and fossil fuel-intensive system of industrial agriculture is belching out 43 to 57 percent of the greenhouse gas pollution that has dangerously destabilized our climate.1

(The percentages are estimated amounts according to the United Nations Conference on Trade of Development, 2013,2 in which the conference members added food waste, food production, processing, transport and deforestation together.)

The malevolent driving force of Big Food Inc. and their army of chemical farmers, food processors and marketers is the idea that maximizing short-term profits trumps all other considerations — including health, economic justice, animal welfare, environment and climate stability — and that convenient, cheap, artificially flavored fast food and commodities represent the pinnacle of modern agricultural production and consumption.

Boycott Factory-Farmed Food

It’s time to disrupt and take down our suicide economy and our degenerate agricultural and food system. A good starting point is to join the growing movement and consumer boycott of all factory-farmed meat, dairy and poultry products, not just at the grocery store, but in restaurants as well — and not just occasionally, but every day.

Factory farms inhumanely confine, feed and drug 50 billion of the 70 billion farm animals on the planet,3 supplying McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, et al., and the supermarket chains with the cheap, artery-clogging meat and dairy that are destroying our environment, climate and health.

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and the GMO soybean and corn farms that supply them are the No. 1 source of water pollution in the U.S.,4 as well as a major source of air pollution. Monsanto/Bayer’s GMO soybeans and corn for CAFO animal feed are the No. 1 destroyer of grasslands and forest in the Amazon basin and other areas.5,6

U.S. and international factory farm meat and dairy operations are also major drivers of global warming and climate change, spewing out massive amounts of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide emissions7 into the atmosphere from giant feedlots, hog and chicken complexes, manure lagoons and the chemical-intensive, GMO grain farms that supply “CAFO Nation” with millions of tons of taxpayer-subsidized animal feed every year.

Besides degenerating the environment and climate, CAFOs are primary drivers of our deteriorating public health as well. Filthy, inhumane, polluting, greenhouse gas-belching factory farms mass produce approximately 90 to 95 percent of the meat and animal products consumed in America today.

The average U.S. carnivore now supersizes and toxifies themselves with approximately 200 pounds8 of CAFO meat a year, loaded with bad fats (low in omega-3 and other key nutrients) and laced with antibiotic, pesticide and hormone residues that substantially increase a person’s chances of getting cancer, suffering from obesity, dying from an antibiotic-resistant infection, developing Alzheimer’s or having a heart attack.

Approximately 75 percent of all the antibiotics9 in the U.S. today are dumped into factory farm animal feed and water to keep the animals alive under the hellish conditions of intensive confinement as well as to force the animals to gain more weight.

This massive, reckless and often illegal use of antibiotics on factory farms (along with routine over-prescribing of prescription antibiotics by doctors) has begun to spread deadly antibiotic-resistant pathogens into our food, with an average of 90,000 Americans dying from antibiotic-resistant infections on an outpatient basis every year, according to the latest calculations by Cambridge University researchers, who noted that they believe the 23,000 deaths often quoted are far underreported.10

Based upon a study commissioned by the U.K. government, multidrug-resistant infections are projected kill 10 million people a year across the world — more than currently die from cancer — by 2050 unless significant action is taken.11

False Solutions No. 1: Fake Meat

Although I share the same disgust and hatred of factory farms and CAFO meat as my vegan and vegetarian brothers and sisters, I am nonetheless disturbed to see a growing number of vegan activists, Silicon Valley tycoons, genetic engineering cheerleaders and even some climate activists joining together to promote fake meat products such as the “Impossible Burger,” as a healthy and climate-friendly alternative to beef.

Even worse are the growing number of vegans, climate activists and high-tech/GMO enthusiasts who claim that abolishing livestock and animal husbandry altogether will solve our health, environmental and climate crises.

The Impossible Burger, made from a highly-processed mix of soy, wheat, coconut oil, potatoes and genetically engineered (GE) yeast, is Wall Street’s latest darling and a heavily-hyped menu item in many vegan restaurants. As Mercola has previously pointed out:

“The Impossible Burger resembles meat “right down to the taste and beeflike ‘blood,’ The New York Times notes,12 and has become a hit in some circles. So far, the company has raised $257 million from investors,13 who include Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz’s Open Philanthropy Project, Li Ka-shing (a Hong Kong billionaire) and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Temasek Holdings.”

Unfortunately, it appears the Impossible Burger and other fake meat are neither healthy nor, in the case of the Impossible Burger, even proven safe.

Mercola pointed out that fake meat such as the Impossible Burger is nutritionally inferior to real, non-CAFO meat such as 100 percent grass fed beef, which “contain a complex mix of nutrients and cofactors that you cannot recreate by an assembly of individual components.

While it’s true that millions of carnivores, especially in the U.S., are supersizing and poisoning themselves with two or three times as much CAFO meat, dairy and poultry as a natural health expert would recommend, a moderate amount of grass fed or pastured meat and dairy (especially raw milk dairy products) are actually very good for your health.

So, if you want a healthy meal, skip the Impossible Burger and other fake meat and go for a 100 percent grass fed beef, lamb or buffalo burger instead. If you prefer to get your protein boost from seafood, skip the farmed fish and go for wild Alaskan salmon.

If you’re determined to eat a veggie burger, skip the GMO yeast and fake blood and flavors and choose a healthy meat alternative such as an organic tempeh burger, made from fermented soybeans, or a bean burger, made from all natural, organic ingredients.

False Solution No. 2: Abolishing Livestock

Even more bizarre, elitist and uninformed is the recent trendy chorus basically calling for the elimination of the planet’s 70 billion livestock as a major solution to the climate crisis.

These “no livestock” fundamentalists basically ignore the fact that over a billion people, especially in the developing world, rely upon, for their food and survival, raising livestock on the billions of acres of pasture and rangeland that are simply not suitable for raising crops, but which can and do support properly grazed livestock.

Besides providing about one-third14 of the world’s protein, animal husbandry and livestock today provide 33 to 55 percent of the household income for the world’s 640 million small farmers, 190 million pastoralists, and 1 billion urban peasants, more than 66 percent of whom are low-income women.15

Shall we just tell these billion “backward” peasants to go into town and line up for their GE Impossible Burgers and forget about raising their cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, ducks and chickens like their ancestors have done for thousands of years?

Global Warming and Catastrophic Climate Change: The Animals (and Regenerative Food and Farming) Can Save Us

Perhaps the most fundamental reason why we need to preserve and promote a regenerative system of animal husbandry across the planet on millions of farms and ranches is the little-known fact that properly grazing animals (as opposed to animals imprisoned in factory farms) are the key to sequestering excess carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere and storing this carbon in the world’s 4 billion acres16 of rangelands and pasturelands. As world-renowned climate scientist James Hansen, Ph.D., puts it:17

“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current levels to at most 350 ppm…”

A growing corps of climate experts have warned us repeatedly that we must stop burning fossil fuels; eliminate destructive food, farming and land use practices; and draw down enough carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Earth’s atmosphere through regenerative farming/ranching and enhanced natural photosynthesis to return us to 350 parts per million (ppm) or, better yet, to pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm.

About half the total human greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming today come from burning fossil fuels18 (coal, oil and gas) for transportation, heating, cooling, electricity and manufacturing. The other half, however, unbeknown to most people, comes from degenerative food, farming and land use practices.19

These greenhouse gas-polluting, climate-destabilizing food, farming and land use practices include the massive use of fossil fuels and synthetic, climate-destabilizing chemicals on the farm, including diesel fuel, pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

They also include energy-intensive food processing, packaging, long-distance transportation of foods, confining billions of methane-belching animals in factory farms, dumping rotting waste food and organic garbage into landfills instead of composting it, and wasting 40 percent20 or more of all the food we grow.

These fossil fuel-intensive food and farming practices are compounded by degenerate land use practices, including clear-cutting forests, draining wetlands, degrading marine ecosystems, destructively tilling the soil, dumping soil-killing pesticides and chemical fertilizers on the land, and destroying grasslands.

These degenerate farming and land use practices degrade the natural ability of plants, pasture, rangeland, wetlands, and trees to draw down enough CO2 from the atmosphere (via photosynthesis) to keep the soil, atmosphere, ocean, carbon and hydrological cycles in balance.

So how can we avert climate catastrophe and the collapse of human civilization? Regenerative food, farming and land use, especially grazing and pasturing animals properly on the world’s 4.3 billion acres of pasture and rangeland, is the key to ending CAFO (and GMO grain) emissions and drawing down enough CO2 to reverse global warming.

As Judith Schwartz explains in detail in her recent book, “Cows Save the Planet,” holistic rotational grazing, especially in pastures where perennial trees and plants are growing, is the key to averting climate catastrophe.21 Most people do not yet understand the central role of regenerating the soil and supercharging plant photosynthesis in order to stop and then reverse global warming.

Even fewer understand that the major solution to greenhouse gas pollution and degenerative factory farm and grain-growing practices are properly grazed livestock in perennialized pastures, managed by regenerative ranchers and farmers, supported by conscious consumers who refuse to eat factory farmed meat, dairy and poultry or nonorganic vegetables, fruits and grains.

Plant Photosynthesis and CO2 Drawdown

The most important thing about regenerative food, farming, ranching and land use is that these practices qualitatively increase plant photosynthesis, with a potential to drawdown all of the excess carbon (200 to 250 billion tons of carbon) in the atmosphere that is causing global climate change.

In other words, if the levels of carbon sequestration now being put into practice by thousands of advanced regenerative farmers and ranchers (1 to 10 tons of atmospheric carbon sequestered per acre/per year) can be scaled up globally, we can draw down enough excess carbon from the atmosphere to reverse global warming and restore climate stability.22

Through the miraculous process of photosynthesis, plants (including pasture grasses) have the ability to breathe in CO2 and transpire or release oxygen, simultaneously turning atmospheric CO2 into a form of “liquid carbon” that not only builds up the plant’s above ground biomass (leaves, flowers, branches, trunk or stem), but also travels though the plant’s roots into the soil below.

Exuded or released from the plant’s roots, this liquid carbon or sugar feeds the soil microorganisms in the rhizosphere, the soil food web that not only sustains all plant and animal life, including humans, but also regulates the balance between the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and the carbon in our soils.

Regenerative food and farming, coupled with 100 percent renewable energy, not only holds the potential — through qualitatively enhanced soil health and supercharged plant photosynthesis — to mitigate global warming by drawing down several hundred billion tons of excess carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil, but also to actually reverse global warming while simultaneously restoring the environment, improving the nutritional quality of our food, and regenerating the economic vitality of small farmers, herders and rural communities.23

Michael Pollan, perhaps America’s best-known food writer, explains how enhanced plant photosynthesis, as generated through healthy soils and forests and 100 percent grass fed holistic grazing is the key to drawing down excess carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in our soils in order to reverse global warming:24

“Consider what happens when the sun shines on a grass plant rooted in the earth. Using that light as a catalyst, the plant takes atmospheric CO2, splits off and releases the oxygen, and synthesizes liquid carbon — sugars, basically.

Some of these sugars go to feed and build the aerial portions of the plant we can see, but a large percentage of this liquid carbon — somewhere between 20 and 40 percent — travels underground, leaking out of the roots and into the soil.

The roots are feeding these sugars to the soil microbes — the bacteria and fungi that inhabit the rhizosphere — in exchange for which those microbes provide various services to the plant: defense, trace minerals, access to nutrients the roots can’t reach on their own.

That liquid carbon has now entered the microbial ecosystem, becoming the bodies of bacteria and fungi that will in turn be eaten by other microbes in the soil food web. Now, what had been atmospheric carbon (a problem) has become soil carbon, a solution — and not just to a single problem, but to a great many problems.

Besides taking large amounts of carbon out of the air — tons of it per acre when grasslands are properly managed … that process at the same time adds to the land’s fertility and its capacity to hold water, which means more and better food for us …

This process of returning atmospheric carbon to the soil works even better when ruminants are added to the mix. Every time a calf or lamb shears a blade of grass, that plant, seeking to rebalance its ‘root-shoot ratio,’ sheds some of its roots. These are then eaten by the worms, nematodes and microbes — digested by the soil, in effect, and so added to its bank of carbon. This is how soil is created: from the bottom up.”

The Regeneration Revolution Is Long Overdue

After decades of working alongside vegans and animal rights activists in campaigns such as the McDonald’s Beyond Beef campaign (which I organized with Jeremy Rifkin and Howard Lyman in 1992 to 1994), the campaign against Monsanto’s recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) from 1994 until the present, and most recently working with consumers and farmers in campaigns against GMOs, pesticides and factory farm dairy, poultry and beef, I believe the time is long overdue for everyone concerned about food, farming, health, climate and humane treatment of animals to connect the dots between our common concerns and build a powerful united front to take down factory farms and carry out a global Regeneration Revolution.

Breaking through the tunnel vision and self-righteous walls between our issue silos (i.e., my issue is more important than your issue, and my solution is the only solution), and uniting to build a new “Beyond USDA Organic” system of regenerative food, farming and land use, we can bring down the factory farm and GMO behemoth.

Working together rather than rallying behind false solutions such as fake meat and abolishing livestock, we can popularize and scale-up humane, healthy and climate-friendly solutions to our hydra-headed crisis.

We can promote and implement real, positive, shovel-ready solutions rather than promoting simplistic and indeed destructive “silver bullets” such as genetically engineered fake meat and “pharm animals,” that not only fail to address the real roots of climate (and the health) crisis, but ultimately threaten the livelihoods of a billion small farmers and peasant women across the planet.

So, forget about the Impossible Burger and other fake meats and the elitist notion of getting rid of the world’s 70 billion livestock. We’re all in this together, and it’s going to take a regeneration of all living creatures — humans, wild animals, livestock, plants, trees and soil microorganisms — working in harmony to build a new world on the ruins of the old.

Given the horrors of factory farms and factory-farmed food, we need a global boycott of the multitrillion-dollar CAFO industry. Please sign up here to stay in touch with the news and campaigns of the Organic Consumers Association.

More and more of us, conscious consumers and farmers, alarmed by the accelerating climate crisis and the degeneration of the environment, public health and politics are coming together under the banner of regenerative food, farming and land use, the most important new current in the food, farming and climate movement. Please join us today.

 

About the Author

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), a nonprofit consumer advocacy and grassroots organization, and a member of the Regeneration International (RI) steering committee.

Posted with permission from Mercola

How Regenerative Agroforestry Could Solve the Climate Crisis

  • Farming is responsible for almost 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Agriculture is the root cause of 80% of tropical deforestation.
  • Regenerative agroforestry, an agricultural method that mimics natural ecosystems, could help reverse these trends.

Our world is changing. The EU has just declared a climate emergency and stated that Europe must reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – in the same year, our planet’s population is expected to hit 10 billion people. Global food production needs to prepare for an uncertain future and rising populations.

Climate, soil and farming: an intimate relationship

How we produce food is having a massive impact on our planet and driving the climate crisis. Farming is responsible for almost 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Land conversion and external inputs required for industrial agriculture lead to ecological dead-zones. Mechanization and commonly used synthetic fertilizers cause various emissions, while intensive management to raise crop yields releases carbon from the soil.

KEEP READING ON WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

Letter from Santiago: Regeneration Now

SANTIAGO, Chile – Defying the machinations of discredited President Sebastian Pinera—who abruptly cancelled the Global Climate Summit in Santiago, Chile in reaction to the nationwide grassroots uprising that erupted here on October 18—an intrepid band of North and South American farmers, food activists and climate campaigners, under the banner of Regeneration International, came together in the Chilean capital of Santiago to share experiences and ideas, and to develop a common strategy for reversing global warming and resolving the other burning issues that are pressing down on us.

With global attention focused on Madrid, which hosted the December 2-13 official COP 25 Climate Summit after Chile pulled out, a number of us decided nevertheless to hold our own North and South America mini-summit here, expressing our solidarity with the Chilean people’s epic struggle, and, at the same time, giving some of the best practitioners and campaigners in the Regeneration Movement the opportunity to focus on what’s holding us back and how we can most quickly move forward.

More and more people in Madrid this week, and all over the world, are finally talking about how regenerative agriculture and ecosystem restoration can sequester large amounts of excess atmospheric carbon in soils, trees and plants, while providing other valuable ecological, public health, and economic benefits.

Yet overall progress is still too slow. We need total system change, and a Regenerative Revolution—now—if we hope to turn things around in time.

 

Accelerating public awareness and movement-building

Public awareness of how photosynthesis works, of what agroecology and agroforestry mean, of how healthy plants and trees and properly grazed livestock draw down and sequester significant amounts of carbon in the soil, of how Big Food and Big Ag’s chemical and fossil fuel-intensive food system is a major factor driving global warming and poverty, is still in the early stages—as is public awareness of the multiple benefits of regenerative food, farming and land use.

Most climate activists are still focused narrowly on reducing fossil fuel use. They are still ignoring the fact that it will take both a rapid conversion to renewable energy and a massive drawdown of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (especially here in the Global South) if we are to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, (and net negative emissions from 2030-2050) as called for by the Sunrise Movement and Bernie Sanders in the U.S., and by various national and international coalitions for a Green New Deal.

But in order to gain critical mass, political power and sufficient resources—North and South—we have no choice but to move beyond single-issue campaigns and minor reforms to building a qualitatively stronger and more diverse Movement. To head off catastrophe and bring the world’s corporate criminals and fascist politicians to heel, we must unite all the different currents of our local-to-global resistance. We must create a world-changing synergy between our myriad demands and constituencies for economic justice, social equity and renewable energy and our demands for radical and regenerative transformations in our food, farming, forestry and land-use policies.

 

Gaining political power

Unfortunately, many organic and agro-ecological farmers, food and consumer organizations, and anti-GMO and anti-factory farm activists are still either apolitical, or afraid of being called “radical.”

For example, too many organic consumers and farmers in the U.S. are still questioning why they should support revolutionary change, such as a multi-trillion-dollar Green New Deal, or a radical presidential candidate like Bernie Sanders, who is calling for political revolution (eco-social justice, universal health care, and free public education), as well as renewable energy and a new food system based upon organic regenerative practices.

What many of our well-meaning but often naïve, timid or overly pessimistic compatriots fail to understand is that without a radical shift in political power and public policies, including finance policies—facilitating a massive infusion of public money and private investments—our growing organic and regeneration revolution will likely shrivel up and die on the vine. And of course such a dramatic cultural and political transformation will be possible only with the massive participation and leadership of youth, women, African-Americans, Latinos and workers, carrying out a Ballot Box Revolution that includes, but is not limited to, our life-or-death food, farming and climate imperatives.

Ten to 25 percent market share for organic and local food and grass-fed meat and animal products by 2030 is better than what we have now, but it’s not going to make much difference on a burnt planet. Our planetary house, as Greta Thunberg reminded us once again this week in Madrid, is on fire.

Without mass grassroots awareness and collective action, without a political revolution, as well as an energy and farming revolution and a massive influx of funds, public and private, the business-as-usual machinations of the billionaires, the multinational corporations (Bayer/Monsanto, Cargill, JBS, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Facebook, Google et al) and the one percent will drive us past the point of no return and destroy us all.

In order to replicate and scale up the game-changing, carbon-sequestering regenerative food, farming and ecosystem restoration practices that are finally taking root and spreading across the Americas and the planet—these include bio-intensive organic, agroecology, holistic grazing, agroforestry, permaculture, reforestation and biochar—we need all of the major drivers of regeneration to be operating in synergy and at full power.

As we affirmed in our Regeneration International General Assembly meeting on December 10 in Santiago:

Given the unprecedented and accelerating global-scale climate emergency that is upon us, global governments and civil society must rapidly prioritize, invest in, and scale up the following:

  • Public education on climate and regeneration and a sharp focus on grassroots movement-building
  • Rapid expansion of existing regenerative agriculture practices that promote ecosystem restoration, carbon-capture in soils, and food security
  • Reorientation of public policies to support regenerative agricultural practices and ecosystem restoration
  • Reorientation of economic priorities to facilitate a massive increase in public and private investment in regenerative practices…”

 

Despite the continuing bad news on the climate front, and the rise of authoritarian and fascist regimes in South America and across the world, our counterparts here in Santiago have been very happy to hear about some of the recent positive developments in North America, including the growing support for a Green New Deal and the campaign of Bernie Sanders for president, as well as the growth of radical, youth-led, direct action groups such as the Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for the Future.

In the short span of 12 months, the Green New Deal Resolution in the U.S. has gained massive support from disenfranchised youth, minority communities, embattled working class constituencies, the food movement and climate activists. The resolution, according to a number of polls, now has the support of more than 60 percent of the population, despite increasingly frantic opposition by Trump, the corporate mass media and the neo-liberal wing of the Democratic Party, represented by Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and billionaires like Michael Bloomberg.

The growing understanding that we need “System Change,” i.e. a political revolution, in the U.S. if we are to stop climate change and resolve our other burning crises, is echoed in the call for a “Fourth Transformation” in Mexico, in the growing movement for the overthrow of the climate-denying, Amazon-burning, fascist Bolsonaro junta in Brazil (ditto Bolivia, Honduras, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, et al), and now the thunderous demand from all sectors of the population for a New Constitution and a democratic revolution in Chile.

 

Taking it to the streets

Marching and chanting with our Chilean brothers and sisters along riot-scarred streets in central Santiago, past an astonishing number of smashed-up billboards, burnt-out subway stations, battered storefronts, broken traffic lights, boarded-up banks, hotels and businesses, it’s clear that elite control and “business as usual,” at least here in Chile, is no longer tolerable. Along the major thoroughfares such as Avenida Providencia, neighborhood or family-owned businesses, “somos pyme” have generally been spared, while colonial monuments, government buildings, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Oxxo, Domino’s Pizza the Crown Plaza Hotel, and other symbols of multinational control and consumerism have been spray painted, smashed and vandalized.

Supposedly prosperous Chile—the Latin America “free market” jewel of U.S. foreign policy (where President Nixon, Kissinger, AT&T and the CIA overthrew the democratic socialist government of Salvador Allende in 1973)—today has the surreal feeling of a post-modern dystopia. Block after block, mile after mile, with anti-government youth directing traffic at many of the intersections, every wall of the central city is covered with messages of resistance and solidarity, including heartbreaking photos of young protesters (my son’s age) murdered, blinded (the Carbineri have reportedly been deliberately shooting rubber bullets into the eyes of protestors) and imprisoned.

Chile’s workers, indigenous Mapuches, farmers and the once-middle class, led by youth and students, are rising up against the one percent, despite tremendous repression.

Meanwhile the glaciers that supply much of Chile’s water and agriculture are melting. Record-breaking temperatures, forest fires and drought are spreading here and throughout Latin America. Last Sunday, just as thousands of young protestors on bicycles converged on President Pineda’s mansion calling for his resignation and a new Constitution, a massive wildfire broke out on one of the seriously deforested and parched mountains surrounding the city. The scene reminded me of what’s happening in California, and even now in the Boreal forests of Canada and Alaska.

Our collective house, our politics and our climate, are all on fire. As India activist Arundhati Roy said:

“It is becoming more and more difficult to communicate the scale of the crisis even to ourselves. An accurate description runs the risk of sounding like hyperbole…”

The hour is late. The crisis is dire. But as those of us in the Regeneration Movement understand, heart and mind, we’ve still got time to turn things around. But the time to act, to educate, to build stronger movements, to scale up our best practices, to gain political power, is now.

 

Ronnie Cummins is a founding steering committee member of Regeneration International and co-founder and international director of the Organic Consumers Association. His new book, “Grassroots Uprising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food and a Green New Deal,” will be out in February 2020. To keep up with Regeneration International, sign up for our newsletter.

The Essential Element: Carbon is Key to Life and Hope

News Item: Here’s a fascinating story from Politico this week about the shifting attitude among farmers and ranchers toward regenerative agriculture as the effects of climate change become increasingly troublesome. It demonstrates how fast things are changing! (see)

In the previous issues, I discussed the promise of regenerative agriculture, overcoming entrenched beliefs, and working collaboratively in the radical center. In this issue, I’ll discuss the essential element needed to do all these things: carbon. Understanding carbon’s role as part of a natural, planet-wide cycle is the key to hope, in my opinion.

Carbon is the most important element on Earth and the best way to explain its significance is with the terribly essential carbon cycle. The trouble is whenever I see the word ‘cycle’ my eyes start to glaze over. It doesn’t matter if it is the water, mineral, energy, nutrient, or some other cycle critical to our existence, for some reason my attention begins to wander the instant I see the word.

KEEP READING ON RESILIENCE

Carta desde Santiago: Regeneración ahora

A contramano de la abrupta cancelación de sede de la Desafiando los planes maquiavélicos del desacreditado presidente Sebastián Piñera, que canceló abruptamente la Cumbre Mundial sobre el Clima en Santiago, Chile, en reacción a la revuelta popular a nivel nacional que estalló aquí el 18 de octubre, un grupo de determinadosi agricultores y agricultoras granjeros, activistas alimentarios y activistas climáticos de América del Norte y del Sur, bajo la bandera de Regeneration International, se reunieron en la capital chilena de Santiago para compartir experiencias e ideas, y para desarrollar una estrategia común para revertir el calentamiento global y resolver los otros problemas que son cada vez más insoslayables. candentes que nos presionan.

Con la atención global centrada en Madrid, que fue sede de la Cumbre sobre el clima oficial COP 25 del 2 al 13 de diciembre después de la retirada de Chile, algunos  decidimos celebrar nuestra propia mini cumbre de América del Norte y del Sur aquí, expresando nuestra solidaridad con la épica lucha del pueblo chileno y, al mismo tiempo, dar a algunos de los mejores practicantes y activistas del Movimiento de Regeneración la oportunidad de concentrarse en lo que nos está frenando y cómo podemos avanzar más rápidamente.

Esta semana, más y más personas en Madrid y en todo el mundo, están finalmente hablando de cómo la agricultura regenerativa y la restauración del ecosistema pueden capturar grandes cantidades de carbono atmosférico en exceso en los suelos, árboles y plantas y al mismo tiempo brindar otros valiosos servicios ecológicos, de salud pública y beneficios económicos.

Sin embargo, el progreso general sigue siendo demasiado lento. Necesitamos un cambio total del sistema y una Revolución Regenerativa, ahora, si tenemos la esperanza de cambiar las cosas a tiempo.

Construyendo conciencia pública y  movimientos

Es muy incipiente el entendimiento acabado y la conciencia pública  de cómo funciona la fotosíntesis, de lo que significan la agroecología y la agrosilvicultura, de cómo las plantas y los árboles sanos y el ganado que pastorea de manera apropiada capturan y secuestran cantidades significativas de carbono en el suelo. No existe una comprensión acabada de cómo los sistemas alimentarios intensivos en productos químicos y combustibles fósiles de la gran agroindustria y la industria alimentaria son un factor fundamental en el calentamiento global ni de los múltiples beneficios de los alimentos, la agricultura y el uso de la tierra regenerativos.

La mayoría de los activistas climáticos aún se concentran en reducir el uso de combustibles fósiles. Todavía ignoran el hecho de que se necesitará una rápida conversión a energías renovables y una reducción masiva de dióxido de carbono de la atmósfera (especialmente aquí en el Sur Global) si queremos lograr emisiones netas cero para 2030 (y emisiones netas negativas de 2030 a 2050), como lo solicitó el Movimiento Sunrise y Bernie Sanders en los EE. UU., y varias coaliciones nacionales e internacionales para un Nuevo Acuerdo Verde.

Pero para ganar masa crítica, poder político y recursos suficientes debemos tanto en el norte como en el sur, dejar de entretenernos en campañas monotemáticas y reformas menores para construir un Movimiento cualitativamente más fuerte y más diverso. Para evitar la catástrofe y detener a los criminales corporativos y políticos fascistas del mundo, debemos unir todas las diferentes corrientes de nuestra resistencia local a global. Debemos crear una sinergia que cambie el mundo entre los electores y nuestras innumerables demandas de justicia económica, equidad social y energía renovable y nuestras demandas de transformaciones radicales y regenerativas en nuestras políticas alimentarias, agrícolas, forestales y de uso de la tierra.

Aumentando nuestro poder político

Desafortunadamente, muchos agricultores orgánicos y agroecológicos, organizaciones de alimentación y consumidores, y activistas agrícolas anti-OGM y contra las corporaciones alimenticias  todavía son apolíticos o temen ser llamados “radicales”.

Por ejemplo, demasiados consumidores y agricultores orgánicos en los Estados Unidos todavía se preguntan por qué deberían apoyar el cambio revolucionario, como el multimillonario Nuevo Acuerdo Verde o a un candidato presidencial radical como Bernie Sanders, que llama a la revolución política (justicia eco-social, atención médica universal y educación pública gratuita), así como energías renovables y un nuevo sistema alimentario basado en prácticas orgánicas regenerativas .

Lo que muchos de nuestros compatriotas bien intencionados pero a menudo ingenuos, tímidos o demasiado pesimistas no entienden es que sin un cambio radical en el poder político y las políticas públicas, incluidas las políticas financieras, que faciliten una inyección masiva de dinero público e inversiones privadas, nuestra creciente revolución orgánica y de regeneración probablemente se marchitará y morirá antes de florecer. 

Está claro que una transformación cultural y política tan drástica solo será posible con la participación masiva y el liderazgo de jóvenes, mujeres, afroamericanos, latinos y la clase trabajadora, llevando a cabo una Revolución en las urnas que incluya, pero no se limite a cuestiones  alimentarias, de agricultura y clima, que son factores de vida o muerte.

Una porción de mercado compuesta en un 10% a 25% de alimentos orgánicos y locales y carne y productos animales alimentados con pasto para 2030 es mejor que lo que tenemos ahora, pero no va a hacer mucha diferencia en un planeta quemado. Nuestra casa planetaria, como Greta Thunberg nos recordó una vez más esta semana en Madrid, está en llamas.

Sin una conciencia popular a nivel masivo  y una acción colectiva, sin una revolución política, así como una revolución energética y agrícola y un redireccionamiento de fondos, públicos y privados, los engaños comerciales de los multimillonarios, las corporaciones multinacionales (Bayer / Monsanto , Cargill, JBS, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Facebook, Google y otros) y el uno por ciento nos llevará más allá del punto de no retorno y nos destruirá a todos.

Con el fin de replicar y ampliar las prácticas de agricultura regenerativa y restauración de los ecosistemas que secuestran carbono y cambian las reglas del juego, y que finalmente están arraigando y extendiéndose a través de las Américas y el planeta (estas incluyen prácticas bio-intensivas orgánicas, agroecología, pastoreo holístico, agroforestería , permacultura, reforestación y biocarbono), necesitamos que todos los principales impulsores de la regeneración funcionen en sinergia y a toda potencia.

Como afirmamos en nuestra Asamblea General de Regeneration International del 10 de diciembre en Santiago:

Dada la emergencia climática a escala mundial sin precedentes y acelerada que nos acecha, los gobiernos globales y la sociedad civil deben priorizar, invertir y ampliar rápidamente lo siguiente:

  • Educación pública sobre el clima y la regeneración y un fuerte enfoque en la construcción de movimientos de base.
  • Rápida expansión de las prácticas existentes de agricultura regenerativa que promueven la restauración del ecosistema, la captura de carbono en los suelos y la seguridad alimentaria.
  • Reorientación de las políticas públicas para apoyar las prácticas agrícolas regenerativas y la restauración del ecosistema.
  • Reorientación de las prioridades económicas para facilitar un aumento cuantioso de la inversión pública y privada en prácticas regenerativas.

A pesar de las continuas malas noticias en el frente climático y el surgimiento de regímenes autoritarios y fascistas en América del Sur y en todo el mundo, nuestros pares aquí en Santiago han estado muy contentos de escuchar acerca de algunos de los acontecimientos positivos recientes en América del Norte, incluido el creciente apoyo para un Nuevo Acuerdo Verde y la campaña presidencial de Bernie Sanders, así como el crecimiento de grupos radicales, dirigidos por jóvenes y de acción directa como el Movimiento Sunrise, Extinction Rebellion y los Viernes para el Futuro.

En el corto lapso de 12 meses, la resolución del Nuevo Acuerdo Verde en los EE. UU. ha obtenido un apoyo total de jóvenes cuyos derechos se han visto coartados, comunidades minoritarias, electores situados de la clase trabajadora, el movimiento alimentario y activistas climáticos. La resolución, según varias encuestas, ahora cuenta con el apoyo de más del 60% de la población, a pesar de la oposición cada vez más frenética de Trump, los medios de comunicación corporativos y el ala neoliberal del Partido Demócrata, representado por Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama y multimillonarios como Michael Bloomberg.

La creciente comprensión de que en los Estados Unidos necesitamos un “cambio de sistema”, en otras palabras una revolución política, si queremos detener el cambio climático y resolver nuestras otras crisis candentes, se refleja en el llamado a una “Cuarta Transformación” en México, en el creciente movimiento para el derrocamiento de la junta del fascista Bolsonaro que niega el cambio climático y que quema el Amazonas en Brasil (ídem Bolivia, Honduras, China, Rusia, Arabia Saudita, Irán, Irak, etc.), y ahora la atronadora demanda de todos los sectores de la población para una Nueva Constitución y una revolución democrática en Chile.

Llevando la revolución a las calles

En estos días en Santiago, marchando y cantando con nuestros hermanos y hermanas chilenos en las derruidas calles del centro, con carteleras publicitarias destrozadas, estaciones de metro quemadas, escaparates rotos, semáforos estropeados, bancos, hoteles y negocios tapiados, se ha hecho más evidente  que el control de las élites y la continuidad del statu quo, al menos aquí en Chile, ya no son tolerables.

A lo largo de las principales calles, como la Avenida Providencia, las empresas familiares y de vecindario, en general, no han sufrido daños, pero los monumentos coloniales, los  edificios gubernamentales, tiendas Starbucks, McDonald’s, Oxxo, Domino’s Pizza, el Crown Plaza Hotel y otros símbolos del control de las multinacionales y el consumismo han sido pintados con spray, destrozados y vandalizados.

Chile, un país supuestamente próspero —la joya de “libre mercado” de América Latina de la política exterior de Estados Unidos (donde el presidente Nixon, Kissinger, AT&T y la CIA derrocaron al gobierno socialista democrático de Salvador Allende en 1973) -, hoy tiene el sentimiento surrealista de una distopía posmoderna. Cuadra tras cuadra, milla tras milla, con jóvenes antigubernamentales dirigiendo el tráfico en muchas de las intersecciones, cada muro de la ciudad central está cubierto de mensajes de resistencia y solidaridad, incluidas fotos desgarradoras de jóvenes manifestantes (de la edad de mi hijo) asesinados, cegados (los Carabineros habrían estado disparando deliberadamente balas de goma a los ojos de los manifestantes) y encarcelados.

La clase trabajadora, los mapuches indígenas, los agricultores y la clase media de Chile, liderados por jóvenes y estudiantes, se están levantando contra el uno por ciento, a pesar de la tremenda represión.

Mientras tanto, los glaciares que abastecen gran parte del agua y la agricultura de Chile se están derritiendo. Las temperaturas récord, los incendios forestales y la sequía se están extendiendo aquí y en toda América Latina. El domingo pasado, justo cuando miles de jóvenes manifestantes en bicicleta se juntaron frente la mansión del presidente Piñera pidiendo su renuncia y una nueva Constitución, estalló un incendio forestal gigantesco en una de las montañas gravemente deforestadas y secas que rodean la ciudad. La escena me recordó lo que está sucediendo en California, e incluso ahora en los bosques boreales de Canadá y Alaska.

Nuestro hogar colectivo, nuestra política y nuestro clima, están en llamas. Como dijo la activista de la India Arundhati Roy:

“Cada vez es más difícil comunicar la escala de la crisis incluso a nosotros mismos. Una descripción precisa corre el riesgo de sonar como una hipérbole … ”

Es tarde. La crisis es grave. Pero como aquellos de nosotros en el Movimiento de Regeneración entendemos, corazón y mente, todavía tenemos tiempo para cambiar las cosas. Pero el momento de actuar, educar, construir movimientos más fuertes, ampliar nuestras mejores prácticas y  ganar poder político es ahora.

Ronnie Cummins es miembro fundador del comité directivo de Regeneration International y cofundador y director internacional de la Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos. Su nuevo libro, “Levantamiento de base: un llamado a la acción sobre el clima, la agricultura, la alimentación y un nuevo acuerdo verde”, saldrá en febrero de 2020. Para mantenerse al día con Regeneration International, suscríbase a nuestro boletín.