In response to a UN Food and Agriculture Organization announcement, “Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues” (Scientific American, Dec. 5, 2014), University of British Columbia Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomer, Phil Gregory, has spent the past two years investigating the subject to see what, if anything, can be done. The good news is that during the last 20 to 30 years there has been an amazing revolution in our understanding of soil biology and nature’s complexity. This offers tremendous potential to deal with food security and climate change issues in a way where nature will do most of the work. In this 40 minute video, Gregory summarizes some of the new insights that have emerged from the hidden universe of soils. The really big challenge is to re-educate ourselves in the short time available. The French government recognizes this and at the Paris Climate meeting (COP 21) they proposed an agricultural initiative, known as “4 per 1000“, to increase soil carbon by 0.4% per year. As of Nov 2016, thirty three countries have agreed to participate.
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