Updated: Dec 13, 2020
Farming feeds the world and is one of the greatest sectors contributors to climate change. At every stage of food production, from storing, processing, transport and packaging, there is an impact on climate change from the greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere.
The demand for carbon offset and zero-emission delivery and other initiatives to reverse climate change is a challenge we are experiencing as our population continues to grow past 7 billion.
With Manhattan's Clock releasing we have less than 8 years before irreversible climate change occurs. We need to make changes urgently more than ever starting today. Farmers play a key role and need help with reducing their carbon footprint from production, as farmers contributing to roughly half of human produced methane emissions.
Luckily for the agricultural sector, a lot more things can be done to make a difference.
And here are 5 things farmers can implement to make a difference globally and help reverse climate change!
Save our Soil! - Soil is the biggest untapped reservoir to store carbon which makes it critical in mitigating climate change. However, with the rate of intensive agriculture happening today, soil is degrading rapidly. It can take up to 1000 years to produce 1cm of topsoil which means we need to protect it from harm. Investing in improving soil health will not only help the farmers yield, but also mitigate climate change.
2, Biodiversity is the spice of life:
Monoculture and cash crops degrade and deplete land nutrients from soil each year. These kinds of crops like maize, soya and palm are being grown in unnatural volumes that can be up to 1000s of hectares that also encourages deforestation from their harmful volume and unethical practice that goes unregulated. Positive farming practices such as having different crops on a rotation helps keep the soil maintain fertility, so the yield per crop will be higher and the soil can be used for longer periods of time without detriment to the food or environment.
3, Keep agriculture green:
Surprisingly, incorporating trees into crops helps protect the soil, crops and enhances biodiversity. Not only does this help crops, but it also contributes to the most recent plea of David Attenborough to ‘rewild’ nature.
4, Going Organic:
Following organic practice where possible does not only have a positive impact on overall soil health and crop quality but also the surrounding environment. Practice include crop rotation, natural fertilizer and reusing animal or green waste on the crops. Farmers are often put off by the concept of committing fully to organic farming, as it seems more expensive and laborious, but after an initial adjustment period, they will notice a change in the quality of crop, and the farm ecosystem as a whole. In the US, the demand for organic has increased 2 fold in the last decade, but still only 1% of the land is certified as organic.
5, Stay seasonal:
this will not only help the farmers' yields stay high as they can optimize crops for the weather without having to use excessive heating in greenhouses in winter, or irrigation methods in summer, but also encourage more people to buy local and seasonal produce which reduces the carbon emissions associated.
https://www.soilassociation.org/organic-living/what-is-organic/ - link to soil association: an advocate for organic farming and also monitoring soil health.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/future-of-food/organic-farming-crops-consumers/ National geographic article on organic farming in the US.
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