The United Nations celebrates the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer on 16 September. The ozone layer protects the Earth from the harmful rays of the sun, thus helping to preserve life on the planet. This year’s theme is “Restored by a World United.”
Recently, Jason Hickel from The Guardian wrote an article stating that “our best shot at cooling the planet might be right under our feet.” His article reiterates the importance of healthy “soil” as the solution to climate change.
“Soil is the second biggest reservoir of carbon on the planet, next to the oceans. It holds four times more carbon than all the plants and trees in the world. But human activity like deforestation and industrial farming – with its intensive ploughing, monoculture and heavy use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides – is ruining our soils at breakneck speed, killing the organic materials that they contain. Now 40% of agricultural soil is classed as “degraded” or “seriously degraded”. In fact, industrial farming has so damaged our soils that a third of the world’s farmland has been destroyed in the past four decades.
As our soils degrade, they are losing their ability to hold carbon, releasing enormous plumes of CO2 into the atmosphere.”
This is where regenerative agricultural practices will have an important part to play. Regenerative agriculture is deeply rooted in an understanding and respect towards the soil. Ecological methods like regenerative and natural agriculture focus on restoring the soil biodiversity and its capacity to hold carbon and actively pull CO2 out of the atmosphere. New evidence supports these claims.
“The science on this is quite exciting. A study published recently by the US National Academy of Sciences claims that regenerative farming can sequester 3% of our global carbon emissions. An article in Science suggests it could be up to 15%. And new research from the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania, although not yet peer-reviewed, says sequestration rates could be as high as 40%. The same report argues that if we apply regenerative techniques to the world’s pastureland as well, we could capture more than 100% of global emissions. In other words, regenerative farming may be our best shot at actually cooling the planet.”
Soil has always been an important part of human and animal livelihood through time as a source of plentiful food, but it has never been more critical for us to pay attention to its potentials and truly co-exist with it rather than simply exploit it for its resources. Link to The Guardian article here.