Working Fast to Slow Climate Change: Farmers Inspire Hope & Action

by Alexis Baden-Mayer – Organic Consumers Association

The earth’s atmosphere is polluted with 390 ppm of CO2, well past the dangerous tipping point of 350 ppm.

If the world’s 12 billion acres of farms and pastures were transitioned to organic, we could pull 50 ppm of that carbon down from the atmosphere and store it safely in the soil.

Putting CO2 back where it belongs in the soil could mitigate greenhouse gas emissions at a rate of 6 billion tons of carbon per year.

Here’s how it works:

Compost, Not Chemicals

Synthetic fertilizers destroy soil life and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Organic farming uses natural fertilizers to restore soil health and clean greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Forage, Not Factory Farms

Animals packed into factory farms generate oceans of greenhouse gas polluting waste. Animals that forage on pasture fertilize the soil with their waste and encourage the growth of deep-rooted perennial grasses that draw carbon down from the atmosphere.

Farmers’ Movements, Not Monsanto

The world’s 1.5 billion family farmers and 1 billion farm workers are the caretakers of the skills, knowledge and biodiversity needed to make the great transition from fossil-fuel fertilizers and factory farms to organic farming and ranching. But, their power will be lost if we can’t stop transnational corporations like Monsanto from genetically engineering their plants and animals, forcing them to buy expensive chemical pesticides and fertilizers, enslaving them with debt, pushing them off their land, and stealing their water.

Zero Waste, Zero Emissions

The number one issue for farmers — and the key to drawing carbon down from the atmosphere to slow climate change — is soil fertility. If farmers are going to switch from fossil fuel fertilizers to organic compost, compost has to be less expensive and in greater supply. Food scraps and yard waste make great compost, there’s tons of it, and it’s free. We just need to rescue it from the landfills, incinerators and power generators. We can do it ourselves and we can pass local laws to make composting mandatory.

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