“Soil is the most important answer to climate change, and also one of the most underappreciated. Without soil, we have no food…The positive news is that we can work on our soil integrity right now to preserve it for many future generations to come—you might be surprised that using regeneratively raised cattle is part of that solution.”
“Those that are laser-focused on clean food and a better environment believe regenerative agriculture will not only result in healthier food, but could become a significant factor in reversing the dangerous effects of manmade climate change. This centers on the idea that healthy soils anchor a healthy planet: They contain more carbon than all above-ground vegetation and regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.”
True regenerative organic agriculture can improve the environment, the communities, the economy, even the human spirit,’ says Diana Martin, director of communications for the Rodale Institute, in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Rodale, a leader in the organic movement, has been carrying the global torch for regenerative agriculture since the 1970s, when Bob Rodale, son of the institute’s founder, first began talking about it. ‘He said sustainability isn’t good enough. In the U.S., we are depleting our topsoil 10 times faster than we are replenishing it. We only have 60 years of farmable topsoil remaining,’ says Martin.
“The Food Sector includes agricultural production (crops and livestock) as well as food preparation, consumption, and waste. This essential human activity is responsible for a major share of greenhouse gas emissions today: crop and livestock production is the source of about 1/8 of anthropogenic emissions. Land clearing (which is mostly for agriculture) is the source of another 1/8 of emissions (IPCC, 2014). Many of Project Drawdown’s supply-side agricultural solutions reduce emissions from farming and ranching, while also sequestering significant amounts of carbon.”
Since the Industrial Revolution, human activities have sadly resulted in significantly less photosynthetic capacity due to the reduced area of green groundcover on the Earth’s surface. Human activity has also impacted the photosynthetic rate of the groundcover that remains.
Our role, in the community of living things of which we are part, is to ensure that the way we manage green plants results in as much light energy as possible being transferred to — and maintained in — the soil battery as stable soil carbon. Increasing the level of soil carbon improves farm productivity, restores landscape function, reduces the impact of anthropogenic emissions, and increases resilience to climatic variability.
It is not so much a matter of how much carbon can be sequestered by any particular method in any particular place, but rather how much soil is sequestering carbon. If all agricultural, garden, and public lands were a net sink for carbon, we could easily reduce enough CO2 to counter emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
Everyone benefits when soils are a net carbon sink. Through our food choices and farming and gardening practices we all have the opportunity to influence how soil is managed. Profitable agriculture, nutrient-dense food, clean water, and vibrant communities can be ours… if that is what we choose.
“Two thirds of the earth is now in the process of turning into desert. In the satellite photo above, the green areas are moist year round. The tan areas are turning to desert, and this process has been a larger source of climate change than fossil fuels. So this is a problem that must be solved, and soon.”
“…A basic evolutionary fact has been staring scientists in the face all along. These tan-colored places are (or were) mostly grasslands. And what do you always find on grasslands? Large, hoofed animals grazing on the grass — buffalo, zebra, gazelles, wildebeest, etc. The grass and the animals evolved together, much like bees and flowering plants. They evolved to rely on each other. They developed characteristics that are adapted to each other.
“So if you take away the grass, the hoofed animals die off. And if you take away the hoofed animals, the grassland turns into a desert.l”
“…Domesticated animals made the land turn into desert. But leaving the land alone also made it turn into desert. The biologist Allan Savory has done more to solve this puzzle than any other scientist. The answer was surprising to everyone involved. It didn’t really matter which animals were grazing. The key was HOW the animals were grazing. If the hoofed animals graze in a particular way, the grass grows and the deserts turn back into rich grassland. If they graze in any other way, or don’t graze at all, the land turns into a desert.”
“Savory’s discovery is this: For grasslands to be healthy they require herds of hoofed animals to graze on it. But they must graze in a natural way, which means: 1) all bunched up as grazing animals do (for safety in numbers — safety from predators), 2) never staying in the same spot for very long, and 3) not coming back to that spot for a while (which allows the grass to grow). If you graze the animals that way, it doesn’t matter which hoofed animals are doing the grazing — wild or domestic, or both — the grass begins to thrive.”
“The Royal Society, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, has produced a report and associated summary to outline methods of greenhouse gas removal and how other influences like legislation, the environment, economics or social factors will affect their deployment. The report also considers how they might plausibly be used in the UK and globally to meet climate goals.”
Click on the image to download the report.
”Agroforestry is essentially a forest-mimicking agriculture that involves growing trees, shrubs and vegetables in tight assemblages. It is an ancient technology created by indigenous peoples and popularized in recent decades by newer landowners. Although it’s difficult to pin down how much of the world’s agricultural land contains tree cover, figures range from 100 million hectares to as much as 1 billion hectares, which lock up an estimated .75 gigatons of carbon per year. By comparison, there were 32.5 gigatons of global carbon emissions in 2017.
This five-year study from Michigan State University shows that regenerative grazing practices resulted in significant net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Scientists measured total methane and carbon emissions from a regenerative grazing operation. They also measured increases in organic matter and nitrogen in the soil. They compared their data to findings from prior studies on cattle feedlots (CAFO’S). The analysis showed a significant reduction in greenhouse gas omissions under the regenerative grazing system. The soil absorb enough carbon to cancel out methane emissions.
“The carbon sequestration rate allowed us to turn a carbon positive into a carbon negative compared to the most common management system in the finishing face.” -Paige Stanley, lead researcher, MSU
“Regenerative grazing provides ‘countless other ecosystem services including improved biodiversity, erosion control, increased soil water holding capacity, and greater drought resilience.’”-Christine Jones, Soil Ecologist
Read the study here: