Last week an article dropped into my inbox like a hot potato – one not so easy to drop. According to a report from the World Food and Ag Association (FAO), we have come to a place of reckoning like no other.
At no other time in our history have we been inundated with so many unprecedented climate threats. The perils of megafires, extreme weather events, large swarms of locusts, and biological threats like the COVID-19 pandemic dominate.
According to the report, the annual occurrence of disasters is now more than three times that of the 1970s and 1980s. And Agriculture absorbs the bulk (63%) of the financial losses and damages wrought by these disasters.
These hazards take lives and devastate agricultural livelihoods inflicting negative economic and nutritional consequences in our communities throughout the entire world.
In a nutshell, there are a few things you and I can do right now to help heal the planet and our food systems.
You don’t have to live high on the hog to eat only organic.
Spring is here, and it’s an opportunity to get your hands in the dirt and grow some of your own organic food. If you’re tired of ripping the plastic off your supermarket-bought vegetables, wondering how many tons of packaging will go unrecycled in a year, then stop the rot and grow your own vegetables in your back garden.
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If you get really into gardening and want to go bananas, upgrade to a greenhouse. I would recommend building a steel structure as the most secure base. You can find recycled steel as an eco-friendly option. Free scrap metal pickup is easy enough to arrange for your excess materials when building the greenhouse, simply search for a recycling firm near you and pick a time slot.
Growing organic means using organic fertilizers, and SodLawn has some great information on the different types of organic fertilizers and gives tips on how to use them.
Water is the bread and butter of life – use it wisely.
All life depends on water, and it should always be mindfully conserved. To maximize natural rainfall, I have installed a rain tank near the downspouts that collect water, which I use to water my garden.
Water sparingly – adjust your irrigation systems for your lawn, crops, and flowers. Small changes can make a big difference in water usage. For instance, only water the root of your plants, rather than the leaves to conserve more water.
Our goose is cooked if we don’t rethink our energy usage.
Global emissions caused by burning fossil fuels are the #1 contributor to our changing climate, causing the severity and complexity of these natural disasters. Investing in renewable solar panels is more affordable than ever.
If you can’t afford an entire solar-powered system right now, you can switch to a green energy supplier. The energy market is packed with competitively priced green energy providers, including the likes of Octopus Energy.
If you want your food dollars to bear real fruit, eat and buy only organic.
Organic agriculture has an advantage in mitigating climate change, but which organic practices are having the biggest impact on fighting climate change? In collaboration with The Organic Center, a new study directed by the University of Maryland digs down into the specific ways that organic farmers can take their climate change fighting power to the next level.
The research highlights the areas where organic excels at locking greenhouse gas in the soil and identifies the areas that are having the biggest beneficial impact, allowing organic growers to maximize their climate change fighting power.
The Organic Center has developed a report titled “Maximizing carbon sequestrations in organic systems” that succinctly describes the findings and puts them into perspective with another research.
To learn more about their findings, join their webinar on April 16 at 2:30 pm Eastern. Dr. Crystal-Ornelas, one of the study’s lead researchers, will be discussing the important findings of the study. Register here – it’s free.
We are in a pickle, and so much more research is needed.
The Organic Center intends to undertake more research to look at the impacts of best management practices on carbon sequestration and the many gaps in research on organic farming practices.
If you have an organic company and want to support their annual virtual benefit event this year – and reach consumers and social media influencers – you might consider being a sponsor. Find out how you can be part of their event here.
The time to act is now because there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Disasters are nothing new – not to farmers, nor to the rest of us who rely on them for our collective food security. But the imperative of changing how we manage disasters, at this moment in human history, is existentially pressing.
To be effective, national strategies on disaster risk reduction, resilience and climate change adaptation must be firmly grounded in a comprehensive understanding of the particular impact disasters have on agriculture.
Read FAO’s online interactive story on “The impact of disasters and crises on agriculture and food security.” It’s an excellent read.
Perhaps if we rethink our food systems, we can have our cake and eat it too.
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