Click image above to view the movie on Netflix.

Last week Kiss the Ground released a new movie on Netflix that every person on the planet should see. The film offers hope in the midst of media reports on devastation brought by climate change fueling natural disasters around the world. 

Our climate system has observed warming since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas (GHG) levels in Earth’s atmosphere (climate.nasa.org)

Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Our climate system has observed warming since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas (GHG) levels in Earth’s atmosphere (climate.nasa.org)

But, we can stabilize the climate and reverse warming if we all start to make better decisions on how we manage our natural resources.  It turns out the soil under our feet has the ability to contain more carbon than all terrestrial vegetation and the atmosphere combined.  Mother Earth herself offers one of the best solutions to sequester carbon dioxide that is currently contributing to those GHG emissions.

But, if the answer is underground, why do we have this problem in the first place?  

For thousands of years, farmers have been tiling the soil. This coupled with the introduction of inorganic chemical fertilizers during the Green Revolution has desertified one third (1/3) of our arable land. Tilling the soil destroys soil structure and leads to erosion.

Studies show that during the spring planting season, when conventional farms are tilling their soils, there is significantly more GHG swirling in the atmosphere. And, during the growth cycles when plants are in the ground, our atmospheric carbon dioxide levels diminish substantially.

Our health and the health of the planet are connected. When we rely on chemical fertilizers, insecticides, and fungicides we disrupt the natural balance.  It may work to produce more yields in the short-term, but over the long term it destroys the land. Conventional farmers in the US use 3-4 times more chemicals today than when they were first introduced in the 1960’s.  For every American alive, 3 pounds of toxic chemicals are now sprayed each year on the food we eat. And, most of these toxic chemicals are produced using fossil fuels.

Most disturbing might be that America’s number one field crop, corn, is almost entirely sprayed with glyphosate.  Glyphosate, or RoundUp as most of us know it, appears in 200 studies that correlate the use to major health issues. 

All these chemicals kill our gut microbiome just like they kill the microbes in the soil.  It is the microbiome of our gut that allows us to digest our food properly. Industrial agriculture is causing chronic stress on our planet and on our bodies.

“Modern agriculture is not designed for the betterment of the soil”, says Ray Archuleta, Soil Conservation Agronomist at the NRCS East National Technology Center, in Greensboro, North Carolina

What is the answer?  We need to work in cooperation with nature, rather than fighting it.  

Ray has dedicated his life to helping farmers prevent soil erosion and restore life to the soil. He travels the US educating farmers on how soil works and introducing them to regenerative agriculture.

Regenerative Agriculture follows 5 main principles.

  1. No Till – Exceptions exist, but it’s best to disrupt the soil as little as possible.
  2. Increase biodiversity by planting multiple species of crops
  3. Create soil armor by planting cover crops to reduce erosion and increase water infiltration
  4. Incorporate livestock or at a minimum focus on supporting the microorganisms and beneficial insects and other wildlife
  5. No chemicals – Eliminate the use of toxic chemicals and rely on Mother Nature

What many people don’t understand is that carbon is not the problem. In fact, carbon is the basis for all life on earth. Plants use the energy of the sun to produce plant exudates.  These plant exudates, or liquid carbon chains, feed microorganisms that in turn make nutrients available to plants.  This process, known as nutrient cycling, is also capable of sequestering massive amounts of carbon. As plants feed the microorganisms, the microorganisms deliver the exact macro and micronutrients that plants need to grow strong and healthy.  This why an organically grown tomato picked from your backyard garden tastes so much better than a conventionally grown version from the supermarket.

Healthy soils absorb water and carbon dioxide. Following the principles of regenerative agriculture will increase the amount of organic matter in the soil. Increasing the percentage of soil organic matter has a direct impact on soil fertility, water holding capacity, and carbon sequestration. Carbon in the soil provides more effective filtration to clean our groundwater. Every one percent of additional organic matter in our top soil equates to 10 tons of carbon per acre of land. And, this is how, regenerative agriculture and healthy soil can help to reverse global warming.

In full support, the LA City Council on September 23rd made a motion to launch RegenerateLA, a program targeting carbon sequestration (the storage of carbon) as a means to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Special congratulations goes to Finian Makepeace, from Kiss the Ground, who will be a member of the initiative. For more information visit https://kisstheground.com/launching-regeneratela-los-angeles-new-strategy-to-give-back-to-mother-nature/




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