FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Real and Ready Solution for Climate Change

I still remember the only time I saw my grandfather cry. This was decades ago, and I was a little kid – but it’s the kind of thing that stays with you. Grandpa Ted had recently sold their farm, so when I found him sitting alone on the porch and quietly weeping, I thought he was crying about that. But he wasn’t crying about selling the farm (he was an old man by then and likely it was time to retire); but he was very sad about something else.

Wiping his eyes, he started talking about “alfalfa,” and “crop rotation,” and “cover crops,” and of course at the time I had no idea what he was talking about. But I distinctly remember him saying, “They’re ruining the land.” (He was an old-fashioned farmer, one of the proud hold-outs, who refused to adopt many of the new farming practices that were introduced after World War II.)

I’m writing this personal introduction just for full disclosure (as they say): I suspect memories of my grandfather may have influenced my response to a scientific report I recently read and found to be quite exciting.

The U.S. Rodale Institute’s peer-reviewed study, Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change, is so hopeful and filled with common sense about the future that it’s a must-read for anyone needing some inspiration in these difficult times.

With regard to rising greenhouse gas emissions, their study states: “We suggest an obvious and immediately available solution – put the carbon back to work in the terrestrial carbon ‘sinks’ that are literally right beneath our feet. Excess carbon in the atmosphere is surely toxic to life, but we are, after all, carbon-based life forms, and returning stable carbon to the soil can support ecological abundance.” [1]

Through using organic farming practices that maximize soil’s carbon-fixing capacities, not only can climate change be reversed, but soil itself can be restored. The study states: “Simply put, recent data from farming systems and pasture trials around the globe show that we could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices.”

Using organic farming practices like cover crops, residue mulching, composting, crop rotation, and reduced tillage would “ensure that land will not be left bare and that soil carbon will be fixed, rather than lost” into the atmosphere.

There are bold statements throughout the study, like this one: “We don’t have to wait for technological wizardry: regenerative organic agriculture can substantially mitigate climate change now.”

And this: “Agriculture that sequesters carbon is also agriculture that addresses our planetary water crisis, extreme poverty and food insecurity, while protecting and enhancing the environment now and for future generations. Regenerative organic agriculture is the key to this shift. It is the climate solution ready for widespread adoption now.”

The study even succinctly addresses the impending “need to feed nine billion people” – the standard talking-point always used by the GMO lobby to try to discredit organic agriculture’s crop yields. The Rodale Institute’s study of actual yields from real-world farming sites around the planet shows that organic farming “can outcompete conventional yields for almost all food crops studied including corn, wheat, rice, soybean and sunflower.”

The study also states: “Hunger and food access are not yield issues. They are economic and social issues which, in large part, are the result of inappropriate agricultural and development policies that have created, and continue to reinforce, rural hunger. We currently overproduce calories. In fact, we already produce enough calories to feed nine billion people. Hunger and food access are inequality issues that can be ameliorated, in part, by robust support for small-scale regenerative agriculture.”

The Rodale study came out ten months ago (October 2014), but I didn’t see anything about it (even in the alternative press) until B.C.’s the Watershed Sentinel alerted Canadian readers to it in their current (Summer 2015) issue. [2]

Calling the Rodale study “astounding,” the magazine’s editor Delores Broten wrote: “As is so often the case with ecology, the science confirms what our hearts tell us. The organic gardener’s mantra is ‘Feed the Soil, Not the Plants’.” The Rodale study shows what we need to do to make an immediate difference on climate change, Broten noted: “No fancy gadgets, no high end geo-engineering, no expensive new devices, and best of all, no poisonous legacy. Just hard work and common sense, producing healthy food for all and tending the earth.”

My grandfather would be pleased.

Footnotes/Links

[1] Rodale Institute, “Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change,” October 2014. www.rodaleinstitute.org

[2] Delores Broten, “Growing Goodness,” The Watershed Sentinel, Summer 2015. www.watershedsentinel.ca

More articles by:

Joyce Nelson’s sixth book, Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism, can be ordered at: http://watershedsentinel.ca/banksters. She can be reached through www.joycenelson.ca.

Weekend Edition
August 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Lights! Camera! Kill! Hollywood, the Pentagon and Imperial Ambitions.
Joseph Grosso
Bloody Chicken: Inside the American Poultry Industry During the Time of COVID
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: It Had to be You
H. Bruce Franklin
August 12-22, 1945: Washington Starts the Korean and Vietnam Wars
Pete Dolack
Business as Usual Equals Many Extra Deaths from Global Warming
Paul Street
Whispers in the Asylum (Seven Days in August)
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Predatory Capitalism and the Nuclear Threat in the Age of Trump
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
‘Magical Thinking’ has Always Guided the US Role in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
The Politics of War: What is Israel’s Endgame in Lebanon and Syria?
Ron Jacobs
It’s a Sick Country
Eve Ottenberg
Trump’s Plan: Gut Social Security, Bankrupt the States
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Fake News
Jonathan Cook
How the Guardian Betrayed Not Only Corbyn But the Last Vestiges of British Democracy
Joseph Natoli
What Trump and the Republican Party Teach Us
Robert Fisk
Can Lebanon be Saved?
Brian Cloughley
Will Biden be Less Belligerent Than Trump?
Kenn Orphan
We Do Not Live in the World of Before
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Compromise & the Status Quo
Andrew Bacevich
Biden Wins, Then What?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Criminology of Global Warming
Michael Welton
Toppled Monuments and the Struggle For Symbolic Space
Prabir Purkayastha
Why 5G is the First Stage of a Tech War Between the U.S. and China
Daniel Beaumont
The Reign of Error
Adrian Treves – John Laundré
Science Does Not Support the Claims About Grizzly Hunting, Lethal Removal
David Rosen
A Moment of Social Crisis: Recalling the 1970s
Maximilian Werner
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: Textual Manipulations in Anti-wolf Rhetoric
Pritha Chandra
Online Education and the Struggle over Disposable Time
Robert Koehler
Learning from the Hibakushas
Seth Sandronsky
Teaching in a Pandemic: an Interview With Mercedes K. Schneider
Dean Baker
Financing Drug Development: What the Pandemic Has Taught Us
Greta Anderson
Blaming Mexican Wolves for Livestock Kills
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Meaning of the Battle of Salamis
Mel Gurtov
The World Bank’s Poverty Illusion
Paul Gilk
The Great Question
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
Trump Doesn’t Want Law and Order
Martin Cherniack
Neo-conservatism: The Seductive Lure of Lying About History
Nicky Reid
Pick a Cold War, Any Cold War!
George Wuerthner
Zombie Legislation: the Latest Misguided Wildfire Bill
Lee Camp
The Execution of Elephants and Americans
Christopher Brauchli
I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…
Tony McKenna
The Truth About Prince Philip
Louis Proyect
MarxMail 2.0
Sidney Miralao
Get Military Recruiters Out of Our High Schools
Jon Hochschartner
Okra of Time
David Yearsley
Bringing Landscapes to Life: the Music of Johann Christian Bach
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail