GNDE (Società Civile) ≠ GNE (Commissione Europea): Proposte di cambiamento del comportamento

GNDE – Società Civile  

Ci è stato chiesto perché “ci piace” il GNDE. Molti ci segnalano che non vi trovano idee “ecologiche” specifiche che indichino il cammino da seguire.

Cerchiamo di spiegare perché consideriamo fondamentale riferirsi al GNDE.

In quanto “cultori” del suolo siamo pronti a elencare i modi con cui salvaguardarlo e trasmetterlo in buone condizioni. Sappiamo elencare metodologie e tecniche specifiche, fino a descrivere le strutture microscopiche delle argille e le posizione dei vacuum.

Ma riusciamo con questi dati a cambiare il comportamento delle singole persone e dei vari responsabili politici e tecnici? La risposta è negativa.

Lo stesso vale per gli altri problemi che si riferiscono al cambiamento climatico.

In pratica possiamo considerarci anche noi delle Cassandre inascoltate.

Allora, cosa fa di importante il GNDE?

Crea il quadro di riferimento in cui le azioni di salvaguardia della natura e degli ecosistemi devono essere inserite. Lo fa ripartendo dai concetti fondamentali: a) riportare sotto il controllo pubblico e decisionale tutto ciò che riguarda l’ambiente (Green Public Work) descrivendone la possibilità di finanziamento e togliendone il controllo/gestione al settore privato; b) ricostruisce un quadro di credibilità dell’Unione europea trasformando l’attuale complessa struttura burocratica in una nuova identità capace di salvaguardare l’ambiente per le nuove generazioni (EnU – Environmental Union); c) cerca di stabilire un contesto di giustizia sociale, quindi di democrazia e di partecipazione, che si rivolga ai più deboli rafforzando le comunità di base e invitandole a partecipare ai livelli decisionali su programmi e regole. Continua a leggere “GNDE (Società Civile) ≠ GNE (Commissione Europea): Proposte di cambiamento del comportamento”

Compost + cultivation = increased storage of organic C in the soil

An interesting and important study conducted for 19 years by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, found that practices that increase soil organic carbon, such as the use of compost, help increase long-term soil carbon storage.

By moving beyond the surface level and literally digging deep, scientists at the University of California, Davis, found that compost is a key to storing carbon in semi-arid cropland soils, a strategy for offsetting CO2 emissions.

Briefly:cerchio carbonio suolo

  1. Conventional soils neither release nor store much carbon.
  2. Cover cropping conventional soils, while increasing carbon in the surface 12 inches, can actually lose significant amounts of carbon below that depth.
  3. When both compost and cover-crops were added in the organic-certified system, soil carbon content increased 12.6 percent over the length of the study, or about 0.07 percent annually.

That is more than the international “4 per 1000” initiative, which calls for an increase of 0.04 percent of soil carbon per year. It is also far more carbon stored than would be calculated if only the surface layer was measured. Continua a leggere “Compost + cultivation = increased storage of organic C in the soil”

Compost + culture = maggiore accumulo di C organico nel suolo

Un interessante e cerchio carbonio suoloimportante studio condotto durante 19 anni dall’Università della California dimostra che l’aumento del carbonio organico nel suolo, come il compost, fa aumentare considerevolmente e in maniera permanente l’accumulo totale del carbonio. Andando oltre il livello della superficie e scavando letteralmente in profondità, i ricercatori scienziati dell’Università hanno scoperto che il compost diventa un elemento chiave per immagazzinare carbonio nei terreni coltivati semi-aridi, una strategia per compensare le emissioni di CO2.


  • I suoli convenzionali in maniera autonoma non rilasciano né immagazzinano molto carbonio.
  • La convenzionale copertura dei suoli aumenta il carbonio nei primi 30 cm di superficie, al di sotto di quella profondità si possono effettivamente perdere quantità significative di carbonio.
  • Quando sia il compost che le colture di copertura sono stati aggiunti nel sistema con certificazione biologica, il contenuto di carbonio nel suolo è aumentato del 12,6 percento nel corso della durata dello studio, circa dello 0,07 percento all’anno.

Questo è qualcosa di più dell’iniziativa internazionale “4 per 1000”, che prevede Continua a leggere “Compost + culture = maggiore accumulo di C organico nel suolo”

BASTA … research project on Biochar!

We have been sent this report on Biochar, which we are pleased to publish.

BASTA is a research project (FWO project number – S000119N) carried out by Hasselt University and ILVO (Institute for agricultural, fisheries and nutrition research in Belgium), who are combining their expertise and efforts to determine Biochar’s Added value in Sustainable land use with Targeted Applications.

 Biochar is a stable, porous, carbonaceous material, produced through thermal decomposition (or pyrolysis) of biomass. Given its promising physicochemical characteristics, biochar can be used i.a. in agriculture, mainly as a soil amendment and fertilizer, in animal farming for several purposes, as a soil remediation mean, and can also be considered a NET (Negative Emission Technology) or CDR (Carbon Dioxide Removal) technology.

 Biochar has sparked quite the interest in the scientific community in the last decade: initially investigated mainly in relation to soil fertility and soil amelioration – especially after the discovery of the so-called Terra Preta’s soils in the Amazon (lit. black soils) –, it is now also being extensively considered for its possible role in reducing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and, therefore, for its climate-altering potential, so much so that in its latest reports the IPCC lists biochar among the proposed tools to mitigate climate change by way of CO2 removal. Continua a leggere “BASTA … research project on Biochar!”


Soils are a huge reservoir of carbon, containing almost twice as much carbon as the atmosphere. Preventing soil carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere is essential for climate change mitigation efforts. In addition, agricultural soils have the potential for additional carbon sequestration, particularly soils already degraded.

These are the objectives of 4×1000 Initiative, shared also by many other organisations. One of them is CIRCASA (Coordination of International Research Cooperation on soil CArbon Sequestration in Agriculture) an EU funded research project. It aims to strengthen the coordination and synergies in European and global research on Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) sequestration in agricultural soils. It wants to lead to an improved understanding and scientific basis to target ambitious practices required to preserve and enhance SOC.

22 EU research institutes of several EU Member States participate in the research consortium that started in 2017 with deadline October 2020. Continua a leggere “CIRCASA”

Tea Bag Index

All research projects on the soil claim to “involve” those who live on that land. We put the word into inverted commas because often the involvement is only notional. Furthermore, the specialized soil experts find it difficult to communicate with those who use and tread on the soil without thinking too much about it. This is why the approach taken by some European researchers takes on greater meaning.

The Tea Bag Index involves individuals who decide to participate directly and giving them a task to do. There is no magic and no need to do specialist courses. All participants need to do is take an ordinary teabag, measure it, bury it in the ground whose vitality one wants to assess, dig it up after three months and measure it again, then send the information obtained to the University of Utrecht lab, which will record it and put it into a database that will slowly acquire a global character.

What is achieved by doing this? It enables us to analyse the speed of organic decomposition. Continua a leggere “Tea Bag Index”

A Roadmap for decarbonization

In March 2017, the journal Science published an article that contained a roadmap with deadlines every decade that would allow us to reach the objective of zero carbon emissions by 2050 and keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. The table sets out specific actions for transport and energy, placing agriculture and forestry in third place.

Starting from the observation that emissions from agriculture and changes in land use represent almost a quarter of all emissions caused by humans, it is interesting to note that the way identified in the roadmap of reaching the 2 degree objective is very similar to the proposals put forward by the 4per1000 Initiative.

The roadmap sets out 4 concrete actions for the rural, farming and forestry sectors:

  • 2017-2020: End the expansion of farming into tropical peat bogs
  • 2020-2030: Change the way we eat
  • 2030-2040: Create a carbon-neutral wood products industry
  • 2040-2050: Take advantage of the benefits of the restoration of forests and landscapes

Continua a leggere “A Roadmap for decarbonization”

Food production without soil

Some of our readers have posed the following question: “Why should we worry about the soil when the future of food production will be in factories/farms located inside buildings that are closed off and very tightly controlled?”

This question is not intended to provoke; rather it reflects a reality that is growing more concrete by the day. You just need to watch this three-minute YouTube video showing productive ‘vertical farms‘ that have been created inside industrial warehouses. These closed sites contain huge metal shelving units or purpose-built structures on which grow plants without soil, with special mechanisms that distribute to the roots of the plants misted water containing all the substances they need to grow. The water ‘irrigates’ the reusable cloth made from recycled plastic on which the plants grow, while the light comes from special lamps; there is no risk of pests or diseases. In addition the sites are easier for people to work in (the shelves can be raised and lowered automatically so they are at the right height) and the whole thing is controlled by sensors connected to computers running the necessary programs. These structures are located not on Mars but in the centres of our cities, allowing the products to be distributed with almost no food miles. Continua a leggere “Food production without soil”