By Maurice Carter, Sustainable Newton President
It wasn't always human nature. But, for those of us born since the middle of the 20th Century, technology is our go-to answer to every problem. When you think you can invent your way out of any mess, you kick the can down the road. We tell ourselves we'll deal with it later.
Then, when we finally decide a situation like Climate Change must be addressed, it’s natural we gravitate to technical innovation to save us. There’s something sexy about gleaming solar panels, sleek wind turbines, smart buildings, and shiny, new Tesla automobiles.
We'll need every ounce of creative engineering we can muster to solve our climate crisis. But technology is only part of the solution. Some of the most critical adjustments are nothing more than going back to how my great grandparents did things. As Woody Harrelson says in the film Kiss the Ground: “The solution’s right here under our feet, and it’s as old as dirt.” He’s talking about farming the way my great grandparents and their contemporaries did it. (Stream the film now on Netflix, Vimeo, and other platforms. More info.)
To reverse Climate Change, we must dramatically reduce carbon humans emit into Earth’s atmosphere and remove some of what we’ve already put there – a process scientists call “drawdown.” Cleaner energy, emission-free transportation, and energy-efficient buildings reduce emissions. But, to achieve drawdown, few areas offer better “bang for the buck” than how we grow, transport, and consume food.
Researchers with Project Drawdown estimate agriculture and forestry activities generate 24% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide today. Changes they’ve analyzed could reduce atmospheric carbon by 204-274 gigatons between now and 2050. For that reason, every climate initiative active today features agriculture prominently.
When we screened the film 2040 in September, regenerative agriculture was prominent in the storyline. Kiss the Ground is the work of a non-profit dedicated to teaching and inspiring farmers and ranchers to embrace practices that regenerate healthy soil and enhance the natural carbon-sequestering capabilities of planet Earth. More recently, researchers with Drawdown Georgia have identified Food and Agriculture as one of five key solution sectors for carbon reduction in our state.
Next Monday, December 7, we will delve into the specific solutions Drawdown Georgia is advocating by hosting a virtual civic dinner. With us will be some of the most knowledgeable experts in our area: our local farmers. Together we will explore what they’ve learned, why locally grown food matters, and how we can support them in their work. Join us and you’ll get some tasty recipes featuring food they produced from their farms. And, if you sign up now and order this week, you can cook along with us from your home. Or you can just relax and enjoy the show, as we get "down and dirty."