Day 14

Soil

SPONSORED BY NUTIVA

OVERVIEW

When Will Allen is asked to name the most beautiful part of his Vermont farm, he doesn’t talk about the verdant, rolling hills or easy access to the Connecticut River. Though the space is a picturesque postcard of the agrarian idyll, Allen points down, to the dirt. ‘This precious resource not only grows food,” he says, “but is one of the best methods we have for sequestering carbon.’” ~ Michael Pollan, American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Soil is vital to all life on earth. In addition to being the resource that grows our food, soil is also home to a quarter of the world’s biodiversity. In fact, did you know that one tablespoon of healthy soil can contain more living organisms than there are people on the planet?

But soil does more than just feed the world. As John Roulac, Founder + CEO of today’s partner, Nutiva explains, it is part of the “carbon triad” – the three main carbon sinks of our planet. While we hear a lot about the atmosphere and oceans storing carbon, the important role of soil is often overlooked and taken for granted. Read his article on EcoWatch here.

When thinking about climate change, water pollution, food security, biodiversity loss and more, soil is one of the key components of the interconnectedness of these global problems. Soil has the ability to store more than three times the amount of carbon than is in the atmosphere; meaning carbon sequestration through sustainable agriculture could be the key to combating climate change.

Unfortunately, industrial agriculture threatens the health of our soils. Mono cropping, chemical fertilizers, pesticide and herbicide applications, deforestation, urbanization, and the expansion of cropland and cities degrade soil’s ability to store carbon. Conventional agricultural practices rely on toxic inputs, which reduce soil nutrients over time and leave large croplands useless. And with over 40% of the earth’s land already cleared for agriculture, we simply can’t afford to expand this way any more.

The way we interact with and cultivate land matters. Carbon farming is a regenerative agricultural practice that removes CO2 from the atmosphere and converts it into organic matter in the soil. Sequestering carbon in the soil expands its water-holding capacity, creating healthier, more drought-resistant lands for our farmers. It also keeps carbon from falling into our oceans, which causes ocean acidification and harms precious marine ecosystems.

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

THINK

“Soil is a life-sustaining natural resource that often goes unnoticed,” said Anthony O’Geen, soil specialist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis. “But soil is fundamental for production of food, animal feed, fuel and natural fiber as well as performing many critical ecosystem functions, like filtering water, cycling nutrients and maintaining biodiversity.” As John Roulac, tells us, the solution to our global food and environmental crisis is literally under our feet ­soil.

 

CHALLENGE

  • Read these two articles, one on EcoWatch here and another written by Michael Pollan here.
  • Watch the video of the day to better understand the value of soil
  • Find one or two additional resources (infographic, article, video) about soil. Read through and sum up what you have learned from all of this reading about how soil will help heal our planet (include at least five key things)

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF with your responses. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address and school.

 

Submission Guidelines

  • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
  • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2016.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2016.

 

The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

THINK

Sustainable agricultural techniques are key to maintaining healthy soil. Today, GMO’s dominate the market, 90% of which are Roundup Ready, meaning they are genetically engineered to tolerate and be sprayed with glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. The World Health Organization determined that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen,” with potentially harmful impacts on human and environmental health. When crops are poisoned, so is the soil, depleting its nutrients and releasing carbon, a major cause of climate change globally.

 

CHALLENGE

  • Read the Center for Food Safety’s FAQs about glyphosate and cancer risk.
  • Share 3 things that you learned about glyphosate that surprised you.
    • List 2 current farming and/or gardening practices that contribute to soil mismanagement and the effects of each practice on humans and planet.
    • List 2 regenerative farming and/or gardening practices that lead to healthier soils and a healthier environment and the benefits of each
      • What surprised you the most?

     

    DELIVERABLES

    Upload a PDF Document with your responses and a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address and school.

     

    Submission Guidelines

    • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
    • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2016.pdf)
    • Do not include # in filenames
    • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
    • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
    • Link images if possible
    • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
    • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
    • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
    • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2016.
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greenest

60 POINTS

THINK

An important step in keeping soil healthy is putting the proper nutrients back into the ground, synthetic fertilizer is not the answer. You learned during the Food challenge that one third of all food produced globally is wasted, ending up in landfill where it’s unable to break down, emitting a significant amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. Composting is an essential solution to diverting food waste from landfills so it can be used to revitalize soil and return carbon dioxide back into the ground.

CHALLENGE

Composting is a practice that each of us can undertake in a number of different ways.

  • Let’s dig in starting with the readings below about the benefits of composting, or feel free to do some of your own research
    • Not all compost is created equal Here
    • DIY Compost here
    • Composting Guru here
  • Summarize in a paragraph what you learned about composting

 

Food waste is a global issue. Today we want you to start doing your part to minimize the negative impacts of food waste.

  • Come up with a creative way to divert the food waste that is generated in your school dining halls. What innovative solutions can you come up with to make sure that it doesn’t end up in landfill?

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF Document with your responses. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address and school.

 

Submission Guidelines

  • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
  • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2016.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2016.

 

The deadline for entering this challenge has past.