SPONSORED BY Numi Organic Tea
PGC Notes: As a reminder, you must follow all submission instructions in order to be considered for a daily prize. This means including your name, username, email address, and school in every submission. Please be sure to fully read the instructions for each challenge! Thanks.
“One of the best-kept secrets in the world today is that the solution to global warming and the climate crisis (as well as poverty and deteriorating public health) lies right under our feet.”
~ Ronnie Cummins, International Director of Regeneration International and the OCA
Soil is vital to life on earth and its importance extends far beyond growing our food. Did you know that soil is home to a quarter of the world’s biodiversity? One tablespoon of healthy soil contains billions of living organisms and bacteria! Although soil is often take for granted, it has the potential to be a secret weapon in the fight against climate change.
Soil holds more carbon than the atmosphere and all vegetation combined. As it turns out, carbon isn’t always the villain in the climate change story. Without carbon, life wouldn’t exist. The problem is where carbon is stored. Too much CO2 in the atmosphere is a bad thing, but if relocated to where it is needed most (in soil!), it can actually help to create a more sustainable climate future!
Sequestering carbon in soil reverses the heating effect of excess CO2 and expands soil’s water-holding capacity, which creates more rich drought-resistant lands for our farmers. It also keeps carbon from building up problematically in our oceans and causing ocean acidification. Plus, carbon sequestration feeds soil bacteria and other microbes that create a thriving environment for plants to grow.
Unfortunately, soil health is threatened by the industrialized world. Monocropping, chemical use, deforestation, and urbanization all degrade soil’s ability to store carbon. Conventional agricultural practices rely on toxic inputs, which reduce soil nutrients over time and leave large plots of land useless. With over 40% of the earth’s land already cleared for agriculture, much of the world’s soils have already lost 50-70% of their original carbon stocks.
However, soil is starting to make its mark in the mainstream climate change conversation. No other mechanism known to humankind is as effective in addressing global warming as capturing carbon dioxide from the air through photosynthesis. Soil is powerful!
To harness its power, regenerative organic agricultural practices need to be employed to restore degraded land. These include no-till, using diverse cover crops, rotational planting, and composting. There are many solutions for getting carbon back into the soil and leading this movement are today’s partners; Numi Organic Tea, Rodale Institute, and Kiss the Ground, all working to advance research on soil health and promote regenerative agricultural practices locally and globally.
How can you contribute to the regenerative organic agriculture movement? First, support local organic farmers. These farms employ many regenerative agricultural practices and by buying their produce, you prove that a regenerative framework can be successfully implemented and scaled.
Look for the Regenerative Organic Certification, a new seal for companies consistently implementing regenerative farming methods. Just released in 2018, companies like Dr. Bronners, Guayaki, and Patagonia are already certified, with many more to come!
You can even implement regenerative practices in your own backyard. A small garden can still draw down carbon, while also increasing your own crop yield. Imagine if every garden implemented regenerative practices; that’s a whole lot of drawdown! Check out this video from Kiss the Ground for five easy ways to make your garden regenerative!
When we talk about climate change, soil is too often left out of the conversation, yet unites and actualizes so many environmental solutions. As activists and environmentalists, it is important to understand the critical intersection of soil, carbon and climate change.
Your first task is to get educated! Watch Kiss the Ground’s The Soil Story video about the solution to climate change that is right under our feet. Next, check out Soil Solutions to Climate Problems, a video from Center for Food Safety narrated by Michael Pollan. Answer the following questions:
Upload a PDF Document with your responses from the two videos you watched. Please include your name (or team name), username, email, and school.
As you are learning, soil is a complicated topic. We now invite you to dig a little deeper!
Learn as much as you can about soil health, climate change and our planet, as if life depended on it… because we think it does. Use the following resources:
Now it’s time to think about how you would share what you’ve learned. Create a teaching tool. Make it informative, creative and compelling — with the goal to stop people in their tracks, so they too can learn how vital soil is to the future of a healthy planet. Think beyond a basic presentation, as you consider videos, artwork or graphically-charged lessons.
Upload a PDF Document with your responses. Please include your name (or team name), username, email, and school.
Due on 10/11 at 6am PT.
Now that you’re becoming an expert on a complex and critically important topic, we want you to share it broadly! How could you implement regenerative organic agricultural practices in your own community?
Research a garden in your community, whether a student/school garden, public community garden, or even neighbor’s garden! Meet with someone who works in or leads the garden to discuss implementing regenerative organic practices. Use your teaching tool and any other information you’ve learned to convey its importance. Be sure to document the process with pictures and/or video.
If they agree to begin implementing regenerative organic practices, register their Climate Victory Garden here.
Write a reflection about this experience. What was their reaction? Will they switch completely or start to implement some practices?
Upload a PDF Document with your responses and photos. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address and school.
5 submissions will be randomly selected to receive:
Each time you submit a challenge, you get an entry. Complete Green, Greener, and Greenest to triple your chances!
Extended deadlines and extra credits do not apply.