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How the food we eat can reverse climate change

Bill Fox

Bill Fox

By Bill Fox/Columnist

Today more people are growing their own food.  Seeing plump, red tomatoes that taste like real tomatoes is really invigorating.  How can this simple act change global warming?  We have all heard of the horrors of global warming, the melting glaciers, the poor whale grieving for her calf that died because of the toxins in the sea. The new film on Netflix, “Kiss the Ground” gives us hope by saying it can all be reversed by just tending to the soil. The lesson from the documentary is that if we heal the soil, we can heal the planet. Through Photosynthesis plants generally generate much needed oxygen so we need more plants.  It is as simple as that!

According to the documentary, healing the earth will happen once we stop tilling the land and using chemical pesticides. Instead of feedlots and growing one kind of crop, if we let cattle graze on grasses and grow different crops we help regenerate the land.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that the recent A&W commercials stress that their cows graze on grasses.  Better for the cow, better for us and better for the soil.

After watching this documentary I thought you might appreciate, as I did, the following points:

-We have about 60 years until the entire world’s remaining topsoil is gone!

-Scientists project that roughly two-thirds of the world is now turning to desert, which could lead up to ONE BILLION refugees, that used to live off the land, by 2050!

– The choices we make around soil and food in the next 10 to 20 years will determine the future of human civilization. Do we want a dry rocky desert or verdant bio diverse ecosystem that produces healthy humans? To achieve the latter, it’s time to get serious about soil.

-The film offers a timely suggestion of how regenerating crop and lands is one of the best ways to clean waterways, and to halt desertification, (the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture).  More importantly we can attract carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in the Earth, a crucial step towards reversing climate change.

-The film demonstrated how conventional farming practices deplete rather than replenish soil health, which leads to more deserts and contributes to climate change.

-In Durham Region we are seeing more industrial agriculture, which relies on additives, pesticides, and depletes the land at unsustainable levels.

-The application of synthetic chemical fertilizers actually masks underlying problems with the soil.

-Two hundred peer-reviewed studies reportedly connect these chemicals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), various cancers, and more.

-For many, the fires raging across the West have brought home not only the realities of climate change, but also the urgent need to restore the land.

-“With the accelerating rate of natural disasters happening around the world, now more than ever we must make a positive impact on the Earth through our choices as consumers and the way we farm our food,” said RJ Jain.

-We, as a race, are currently witnessing the disastrous global effects of climate change first-hand – a vicious cycle that seems to have no end!

-Regenerative agriculture works everywhere, through no-till systems – where soil is not disturbed between plantings we reverse the effects of desertification.

-We need more crop diversity, and bio sequestration – the process of capturing and storing carbon in plants, microbes and other organisms.

-Five per cent or fewer of farms practice regenerative soil management, according to the film, and many farmers do not know how soil works.

-With current livestock practices there is no on-going soil fortification.

-According to experts, storing atmospheric carbon to replenish the soil is possible right now. However in the same manner that renewable energy faces opposition from fossil fuel companies, there is opposition to the proposals put forth in this film.

-“Regenerating farmland offers an option to reverse the damage we’ve done.”

Please watch this documentary and if you wish send me your comments at “