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Nature_and_Environment.7

Global Climate Change

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{Nature_and_Environment.7.535}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Tue, 31 Dec 2019 22:46:11 CST (92 lines)

The Key to the Global Warming Crisis is Beneath Our Feet
by Ellen Brown

Contrary to popular belief, the biggest environmental polluters are
not big fossil fuel companies. They are big agribusiness and factory
farming, with six powerful food industry giants – Archer Daniels
Midland, Cargill, Dean Foods, Dow AgroSciences, Tyson and Monsanto
(now merged with Bayer) – playing a major role. Oil-dependent farming,
industrial livestock operations, the clearing of carbon-storing fields
and forests, the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and the
combustion of fuel to process and distribute food are estimated to be
responsible for as much as one-half of human-caused pollution.
See: "https://www.localfutures.org/the-9-lie-industrial-food-and-
climate-change/" to find out how this figure is arrived at.
Climate change, while partly a consequence of the excessive relocation
of carbon and other elements from the earth into the atmosphere, is
more fundamentally just one symptom of overall ecosystem distress from
centuries of over-tilling, over-grazing, over-burning, over-hunting,
over-fishing and deforestation.

David Perry writes on the World Economic Forum website:
Global farmers can take on climate change. Here's how
"https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/07/agriculture-climate-change-
solution/"

Perry observes that before farmland was cultivated, it had soil carbon
levels of from 3% to 7%. Today, those levels are roughly 1% carbon. If
every acre of farmland globally were returned to a soil carbon level
of just 3%, 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide would be removed from
the atmosphere and stored in the soil – equal to the amount of carbon
that has been drawn into the atmosphere since the dawn of the
Industrial Revolution 200 years ago. The size of the potential
solution matches the size of the problem.

So how can we increase the carbon content of soil? Through
“regenerative” farming practices, says Perry, including planting cover
crops, no-till farming, rotating crops, reducing chemicals and
fertilizers, and managed grazing (combining trees, forage plants and
livestock together as an integrated system, a technique called
“silvopasture”). These practices have been demonstrated to drive
carbon into the soil and keep it there, resulting in carbon-enriched
soils that are healthier and more resilient to extreme weather
conditions and show improved water permeability, preventing the
rainwater runoff that contributes to rising sea levels and rising
temperatures. Evaporation from degraded, exposed soil has been shown
to cause 1,600% more heat annually than all the world’s powerhouses
combined. Regenerative farming methods also produce increased
microbial diversity, higher yields, reduced input requirements, more
nutritious harvests and increased farm profits.

These highly favorable results were confirmed by Paul Hawken and his
team in the project that was the subject of his best-selling 2016
book, “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed
to Reverse Global Warming.” The project involved evaluating the 100
most promising solutions to the environmental crisis for cost and
effectiveness. The results surprised the researchers themselves. The
best-performing sector was not “Transport” or “Materials” or
“Buildings and Cities” or even “Electricity Generation.” It was the
sector called “Food,” including how we grow our food, market it and
use it. Of the top 30 solutions, 12 were various forms of regenerative
agriculture, including silvopasture, tropical staple trees,
conservation agriculture, tree intercropping, managed grazing,
farmland restoration and multistrata agroforestry.

As noted in a Rolling Stone article titled “How Big Agriculture Is
Preventing Farmers From Combating the Climate Crisis”:
"https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/big-
agriculture-preventing-farmers-combating-climate-crisis-886538/"

    [I]implementing these practices requires an economic flexibility
most farmers don’t have, and which is almost impossible to achieve
within a government-backed system designed to preserve a large-scale,
corporate-farming monoculture based around commodity crops like corn
and soybeans, which often cost smaller farmers more money to grow than
they can make selling.

Farmers are locked into a system that is destroying their farmlands
and the planet, because a handful of giant agribusinesses have
captured Congress and the regulators. One proposed solution is to
transfer the $20 billion in subsidies that now go mainly to Big Ag
into a fund to compensate small farmers who transition to regenerative
practices. We also need to enforce the antitrust laws and break up the
biggest agribusinesses, something for which legislation is now pending
in Congress.

The bottom line is that saving the planet from environmental
destruction is not only achievable, but that by focusing on
regenerative agriculture and tapping up the central bank for funding,
the climate crisis can be addressed without raising taxes, while
restoring our collective health.
"https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/31/the-key-to-the-environmental-
crisis-is-beneath-our-feet/"

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