Mass starvation is humanity’s fate if we keep flogging the land to death, George Monbiot

“The trouble begins where everything begins: The UN’s famous projection that, at current rates of soil loss, the world has 60 years of harvests left, appears to be supported by a new set of figures. Partly as a result of soil degradation, yields are already declining on 20% of the world’s croplands…”

“The next green revolution will not be like the last one. It will rely not on flogging the land to death, but on reconsidering how we use it and why. Can we do this, or do we – the richer people now consuming the living planet – find mass death easier to contemplate than changing our diet?”



Soil Power! The Dirty Way to a Green Planet

“The last great hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change may lie in a substance so commonplace that we typically ignore it or else walk all over it: the soil beneath our feet.”

“The earth possesses five major pools of carbon. Of those pools, the atmosphere is already overloaded with the stuff; the oceans are turning acidic as they become saturated with it; the forests are diminishing; and underground fossil fuel reserves are being emptied. That leaves soil as the most likely repository for immense quantities of carbon.”

“Now scientists are documenting how sequestering carbon in soil can produce a double dividend: It reduces climate change by extracting carbon from the atmosphere, and it restores the health of degraded soil and increases agricultural yields. Many scientists and farmers believe the emerging understanding of soil’s role in climate stability and agricultural productivity will prompt a paradigm shift in agriculture, triggering the abandonment of conventional practices like tillage, crop residue removal, mono-cropping, excessive grazing and blanket use of chemical fertilizer and pesticide. Even cattle, usually considered climate change culprits because they belch at least 25 gallons of methane a day, are being studied as a potential part of the climate change solution because of their role in naturally fertilizing soil and cycling nutrients.”

Organic Acreage On The Rise As Conventional Crop Prices Founder

”There were 5 million acres of organic fields and pastures in the U.S. in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 37 percent increase over the last five years. It’s still a small percentage of farmland overall, but several states have seen a jump the amount of land devoted to organic crops: soybeans in Iowa, corn in Minnesota and wheat in Colorado and Texas. ‘Those type of numbers perk the interest of farmers. Money talks,’…Demand from organic dairy and poultry farms is supporting the hefty premium prices for organic corn and soybeans that are used in animal feed…Production of those crops jumped 30 percent in the U.S. from 2015 to 2016.”

The Nitrogen Problem: Why Global Warming Is Making It Worse

“New research shows that increases in rainfall and extreme weather because of climate change will increase the amount of nitrogen polluting rivers and other waterways. The findings underscore the urgency of reforming agriculture to dramatically reduce the use of nitrogen fertilizers.”

Yale Environment 360



Assumed Safety of Pesticide Use is False, Says Top Government Scientist

“The assumption by regulators around the world that it is safe to use pesticides at industrial scales across landscapes is false, according to a chief scientific adviser to the UK government.

The lack of any limit on the total amount of pesticides used and the virtual absence of monitoring of their effects in the environment means it can take years for the impacts to become apparent, say Prof Ian Boyd and his colleague Alice Milner in a new article.

The damning assessment of pesticide regulations that are meant to protect the global environment follows a growing number of highly critical reports including research showing farmers could slash their pesticide use without losses and a UN report that denounced the “myth” that pesticides are necessary to feed the world.”

The Unite Nation’s FAO Pushes for Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems for Planetary Health

“Intensification of crop and livestock production, in smallholder crop-livestock systems as well as in other intensive or extensive systems, is essential to mitigate human suffering…”

Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems “(ICLS) increase environmental resilience through increased biological diversity, effective/ efficient nutrient cycling/recycling, improved soil health, provide ecosystem services, enhance forest preservation and contribute to adaptation and mitigation of climate change.” 

Read the full report:  


Seaweed Shown to Reduce Methane from Cattle by 99%

“Researchers at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, found the addition of less than 2 per cent dried seaweed to a cow’s diet could reduce their methane emissions by as much as 99 per cent.”“…The Irish Farmers’ Association gave a broad welcome to the study saying the research provides the opportunity to continue to build on Ireland’s “sustainable grass-based model of food production”.

The association’s environment chairman, Thomas Cooney, called on Irish researchers “to immediately investigate the potential for this research in an Irish agriculture context, and in the context of the opportunity that may exist for indigenous seaweed production”.