Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Organic Revolution:

How We Can Stop Global Warming
Article printed from CommonDreams.org
by Ronnie Cummins

Beyond the gloom and doom of the climate crisis, there lies a powerful and regenerative grassroots solution: organic food, farming, and ranching.

As politicians drag their heels and refuse to acknowledge that we have about ten years left of "business as usual" before we irreversibly destroy the climate and ourselves, there is a powerful, though largely unrecognized, life-force spreading its roots underground.

Millions of organic farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and backyard gardeners (supported by millions of organic consumers) are demonstrating that we can build a healthy alternative to industrial agriculture and Food Inc.

Our growing organic movement is proving that we can not only feed the world with healthy food, but also reverse global warming, by capturing and sequestering billions of tons of climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases in the soil, through plant photosynthesis, composting, cover crops, rotational grazing, wetlands preservation, and reforestation.

Organic farms and ranches can provide us with food that is much more nutritious than industrial farms and ranches-food filled with vitamins, anti-oxidants, and essential trace minerals, free from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), pesticides, antibiotics, and sewage sludge.

In 2006, U.S. carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels (approximately 25% of the world's total) was estimated at nearly 6.5 billion tons.

If a 7,000 lb/CO2/ac/year sequestration rate were achieved on all 434 million acres of cropland in the United States, nearly 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide would be sequestered per year, mitigating close to one quarter of the country's total fossil fuel emissions.

If pastures and rangelands were similarly converted to organic practices, we would literally be well on our way to reversing global warming. But we need an organic revolution in ranching and livestock production, as well as farming and forestry.

We need to drastically reduce meat overproduction (77% of all U.S. agriculture resources are devoted to raising animals or animal feed), and over-consumption (a leading cause of obesity, heart disease and cancer) and ban methane-belching factory farms.

As the Rodale Institute points out, organic livestock raising practices can drastically reduce livestock-related emissions and, because of the massive acreage currently devoted to livestock production (nearly 2.5 times greater than croplands), can safely sequester approximately 60% of the total greenhouse gases that humans, animals, cars, and industry are pumping out every year.

The majority of Americans must not only stop buying chemical, GMO, globally sourced and so-called "natural" food, and switch to organic and more locally and regionally produced products, but we must also rise up as a political movement and change public policy.

We must literally force the politicians and the corporations to put a halt to our "business as usual" destruction of the climate and public health, and instead move to an ethical and scientifically grounded policy and practice that promotes health, conservation, greenhouse gas reduction, and organic sequestration.

To read more, please click here.

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