How Organic Farming Can Reverse Climate Change

03 . June .2018Edward Agyeman0 Comments

Rodale Institute announced yesterday the launch of a global campaign to generate public awareness of soil's ability to reverse climate change, but only when the health of the soil is maintained through organic regenerative agriculture. The campaign calls for the restructuring of our global food system with the goal of reversing climate change through photosynthesis and biology. 

"We could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term 'regenerative organic agriculture.'"

 

The white paper, Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming, is the central tool of the campaign. The paper was penned by Rodale Institute, the independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit agricultural research institute widely recognized as the birthplace of the organic movement in the U.S.

 

The white paper states that "We could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term 'regenerative organic agriculture.'"
 
If management of all current cropland shifted to reflect the regenerative model as practiced at the research sites included in the white paper, more than 40 percent of annual emissions could potentially be captured. If, at the same time, all global pasture was managed to a regenerative model, an additional 71 percent could be sequestered. Essentially, passing the 100 percent mark means a drawing down of excess greenhouse gases, resulting in the reversal of the greenhouse effect.
 
Regenerative organic agriculture is comprised of organic practices including (at a minimum): cover crops, residue mulching, composting and crop rotation. Conservation tillage, while not yet widely used in organic systems, is a regenerative organic practice integral to soil-carbon sequestration. Other biological farming systems that use some of these techniques include ecological, progressive, natural, pro-soil and carbon farming.
 
"The purpose of our work is singular; we are working to create a massive awakening," said "Coach" Mark Smallwood, executive director of Rodale Institute.

Below are three excerpts exemplifying the call to action set forth in the white paper:

 Organically managed soils can convert carbon from a greenhouse gas into a food-producing asset. It's nothing new, and it's already happening, but it's not enough. This is the way we have to farm, period.

  There's a technology for massive planetary geo-engineering that's tried and tested and available for widespread dissemination right now. It costs little and is adaptable to localities the world over. It can be rolled outtomorrow providing multiple benefits beyond climate stabilization. It's photosynthesis.

       The solution is farming like life on Earth matters; farming in a way that restores and even improves on the natural ability of the microbiology present in healthy soil to hold carbon. This kind of farming is called regenerative organic agriculture and it is the solution to climate change we need to implement today.

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