In this period of growing awareness about the need to protect the environment it seems opportune to mention the so-called Green New Deal initiative launched in the US in anticipation of the 2020 presidential election by the New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, leader of the new Democrats, and her colleague Senator Ed Markey. An early version of the Pact was published in February in the form of a 14-page Congressional resolution. We mention it because many of its themes echo the spirit of the 4per1000 Initiative.
These are the goals for the soil, its health and fertility:
Healthy soil plays a crucial role in achieving the Green New Deal’s goals to improve the health of the environment, economy and population. Here are five reasons why regenerative agriculture might be the non-partisan unifier the Green New Deal needs:
- Investing in soil health – The Green New Deal would invest in practices that “increase soil health”. We could implement a regenerative agriculture system to rebuild and improve the health of our soil.
- Supporting family farms – The Green New Deal will work with farmers and ranchers, many of which feel the effects of our degraded agriculture system.
- Healthy soil = Clean water – Regenerative agriculture increases healthy soil systems that replenish clean water sources by increasing infiltration and reducing polluted runoff. This is of essential importance as the resolution is guaranteeing “Universal access to clean water” and “reduced risks posed by flooding”.
- Healthy soil = Less greenhouse gas – The legislation seeks to reduce pollution in agriculture by utilising low-tech solutions that increase soil carbon storage and eliminate greenhouse gas point-source pollution. Lost soil carbon, as well as Nitrous Oxide, from over application of nitrogen fertilizers are contributing to those emissions. Building soil through regenerative agriculture can pull billions of tons of CO2 out of the air and eliminate the need for nitrogen fertilizers.
- Healthy soil = Healthy food – The Green New Deal ensures “universal access to healthy and affordable food for human being, and nature”. Regenerative agriculture builds back living soil. Soil microbes make minerals available to plants and therefore, the food we eat, increasing its nutritional value. We can build a regenerative system that would increase the accessibility of nutrient-dense, safe food for all communities.
The signatories include Thomas Friedman, Paul Krugman, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Yanis Varafoukis, and Professor Mariana Mazzucato (Italian professor of University College London).
We can only hope that these goals become part of the debate which will take place over the coming months, and not just in the US.