The importance of truth about agriculture

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The root cause of the global climate and ecological emergency (CEE) that now sears Australia, acidifies our oceans and melts our icecaps is often said to be our grossly excessive CO2 emissions but the destruction of the natural environment’s ability to absorb that CO2 is far too often overlooked.

3 times as much carbon is stored in our soils than in our atmosphere and forests are our planet’s natural carbon sinks. Whilst the problem of Amazonian deforestation is all too familiar, Britain has been through exactly the same process. Once a landscape almost entirely dominated by woodland, so much has lost and is prevented from regenerating through marginal grazing. Chemical-intensive crop farming has eroded our soils through compaction and over-watering, compromising its ability to absorb carbon and releasing stored carbon. Globally, 75 billion tonnes of fertile soil is lost every year and, on the hills of southern England, farming is said to have destroyed over a foot of soil in certain areas

That is why we must applaud the UK’s latest Agriculture Bill, a bold post-Brexit proposal to reset radically how farm subsidies are paid. It will move away from paying farmers for owning land, the EU’s environmentally illiterate Common Agricultural Policy, to a system where farmers are paid for providing common goods like clean air and water, flood protection and thriving wildlife.

At a time when we are now locked in an existential battle, the truth about causes and remedies is more important than ever. Genuine, unvarnished, universally accepted facts are what is needed so that we, as a society, understand the need for deep-seated and urgent change and accept the sacrifices required. That is exactly why Extinction Rebellion’s first demand is “Tell the Truth”.

By Mike (XR Actions)

  1.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48043134 29 Apr 19
  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-51128709 16 Jan 20

 

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