According to the UN, agricultural activities are responsible for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s clear that there’s a problem in the way we produce our food — but luckily, it’s a problem we can fix. How? Regeneration.
Rodale Institute’s newest white paper explores regenerative agriculture’s capacity to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a practical and cost-effective way—all while addressing our planetary water crisis, extreme poverty and food insecurity, protecting and enhancing the environment, and revitalizing food. Regenerative agriculture is a win-win-win climate solution that’s ready for widescale implementation now. What are we waiting for?
The Rodale Institute released a new White Paper today:
Regenerative Agriculture and the Soil Carbon Solution
This paper identifies the potential of regenerative agricultural practices to sequester carbon, improve soil health, and feed the world, as well as actionable steps for eaters, farmers, and policymakers to take to increase the adoption of regenerative food and farming and mitigate the climate crisis.
Shifting both crop and pasture management globally to regenerative systems is a powerful combination that could drawdown more than 100% of annual CO emissions, pulling carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil.
If we converted all global croplands and pastures to regenerative agriculture, we could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO emissions.
- With appropriate grazing management, livestock can increase carbon sequestered in the soil that more than offsets their greenhouse gas emissions.
- Crop yields in regenerative systems have been shown to outcompete conventional yields for almost all food crops, proving that regenerative farming can feed the world while stabilizing the climate, regenerating ecosystems, restoring biodiversity and enhancing rural communities.
- Eaters, farmers, and policymakers can make a difference in the climate crisis fight by:
- Supporting and implementing regenerative practices;
- Encouraging adoption of regenerative systems by peers and governments;
- Divesting from systems that destroy soil health.
What is regenerative agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming principles that rehabilitates the entire ecosystem and enhances natural resources, rather than depleting them. Using practices to grow food that work with nature instead of against it, regenerative agriculture improves the health of the soil, the welfare of animals, and the wellbeing of farmworkers, all while trapping carbon underground using the unique properties of healthy soil and plants.
What is carbon sequestration?
Carbon sequestration, the scientific term for capturing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in a medium like soil, is a critical tool in the fight against climate change. During photosynthesis, plants use the energy of the sun to extract sugar from atmospheric carbon dioxide. Those sugars travel through the plant’s roots to feed bacteria and fungi in the surrounding soil. The consumption of carbon by these bacteria and fungi convert the carbon into more stable materials, allowing it to be trapped underground. Industrial agriculture has disrupted this process, through practices like tilling, which disrupts the soil and allows carbon to escape, or chemical use that strips the soil of the bacteria, microbes, and fungi critical to the sequestration process. Protecting the soil with regenerative farming practices is essential to maintaining soil’s ability to store carbon and fight the climate crisis.