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Experts Agree: Organic Farming Is Revolutionary | Rodale News


Experts Agree: Organic Farming Is Revolutionary

It’s time to get back to the roots of farming to save the planet.



Organic” is just another word for “expensive.” It’s a joke bandied about in supermarkets, illustrating that people are widely unaware of the connection between the contents of their carts and its impact on the health of our bodies and the planet.

More From Rodale News: Why Organic Farming Could Save the World

“I would say that [organic farming is] a 100-percent solution to the health problem, to the unemployment problem, the poverty problem, the biodiversity problem, and the water problem,” says Vandana Shiva, PhD, founder of The Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy. She was one of several speakers to discuss regenerative organic agriculture at an expert panel event hosted by theRodale Institute, the Carbon Underground, and Organic Consumers Association.

But the benefits go way beyond these comparably “small” issues because organic farming is also the solution to our carbon problem. According to the Rodale Institute, the answer to the looming climate catastrophe is right under our feet: soil. The researchers found that, through regenerative organic agriculture, the soil will be able to sequester carbon in a way that not just limits, but also reverses, the threatening levels of atmospheric CO2.

Kristine Nichols, PhD, chief scientist at the Rodale Institute, explained that if we shift to a regenerative organic model of agriculture, 40 percent of the total annual carbon emissions will be taken out of the atmosphere and stored in the soil. (That’s an estimated reduction of 21 gigatons of CO2 every year, or equal toabout 4.25 billon cars off of the road). Additionally, the Rodale Institute found that this organic model would apply to pasture and rangelands, too, sequestering another 71 percent of annual carbon emissions.

“This is tipping that needle past 100 percent that we’re going to be able to sequester more carbon in the soil than the emissions that we have on an annual basis,” she says. The positive conclusion? She and other experts say this will reverse climate change.

More From Rodale News: 11 Surprising Reasons Organic Is Better for You

Farming as the Problem and the Solution
“Most figures say that farming is about 30 percent of greenhouse gases output,” says Andre Leu, president of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. “What we’re saying here today is that we can turn the biggest emitter into the biggest solution.”

Mark Smallwood, executive director of the Rodale Institute, elaborates: “Regenerative means that you’re leaving behind better than what you found.” Smallwood and his collegues have pinned down practices that don’t just help farmers grow great food, but also make farms stronger with stronger soil that is able to take up carbon emissions.

The beauty of these solutions, the experts point out, is that they already exist. For the same research and development cost of developing one GMO, many farms could instead be converted to using sustainable, carbon-storing solutions. Here is a sampling of those solutions:

Conservation Tillage
Unrestrained plowing is the antithesis of restorative farming and is counterproductive for carbon sequestering by the soil, as explained by Kristin Ohlson, author of The Soil Will Save Us. She says, “The heavy machinery compacts the soil further, requiring deeper plowing to loosen the soil. As greater volumes of soil are churned up and exposed to the air, the soil carbon meets oxygen combines with it to form CO2, and departs for the upper atmosphere.”

Cover Crops
Left in nature, an empty plot of dirt will usually sprout and slowly turn from dusty dirt to living and green. But this isn’t “clean” enough for farmers using modern techniques that strip fields naked between growing seasons. Using cover crops ensures that the carbon-based soil isn’t exposed, and that carbon stays in the ground, not in the air. The researchers from the Rodale Institute cite other benefits of cover crops, including reduced weeds, decreased water runoff, and stronger soil structure and water infiltration.

More From Rodale News: 3 Ways to Prep Your Garden for Fall and Winter

Crop Rotation
Nichols compares monoculture farming to a “doughnut diet:” If you eat nothing but doughnuts, your body cannot function because it lacks the nutrients you need for everything to work properly—calcium for your bones, protein for your muscles, and so forth. Same thing happens when farms plant one type of crop in the same field year after year: The nutrients become depleted. Plus, the researchers point out that, like cover crops, enhanced rotations result in continuous ground cover.

It’s not a surprise that composting makes stronger, healthier soil. It increases biodiversity, microbial biomass, and boosts nutrients. And rather than using chemical fertilizers (which do way more harm than good), compost uses the waste materials farms naturally produce, so, for farmers, it’s a win-win.

More From Rodale News: 7 Things You Should Never Compost

Forget Band-Aids; We Need Solutions
The message presented by these experts is clear: It’s not enough to just reduce emissions. We need to find a real solution. Tom Newmark, cofounder and chair of The Carbon Underground, compares our situation to a morbidly obese man going to the doctor to get healthy. If the doctor just puts the patient on a diet that will slow his rate of weight gain, he isn’t going to get better. It’s only when the doctor prescribes a way to lose weight that patient’s health will improve.

This is the same approach we take when we only look at limiting carbon emission rates: It doesn’t solve the problem.

Surprisingly, this avenue of research to prevent or reverse climate change is fairly new. “Climate change is reversible. Nobody is talking about that,” said Larry Kopald, cofounder of The Carbon Underground. “Eight or nine months ago, I had never heard this story. And I sat there and I said, ‘How is it possible that the single biggest cause of climate change, nobody is talking about? And the only solution that we know of right now is not being discussed?'” That’s what makes this announcement promoting organic farming as a true a solution is so groundbreaking. Pun intended.

More From Rodale News: Organic Farming Can Feed Africa

So why soil? Why now? Leu says that it’s been our lack of understanding of the soil that has been holding us back. “The whole idea of soil and agriculture is relatively new,” he says. “When I was learning agriculture in the ’70s, we were told that the only reason you need soil was as a medium to hold the plants up; otherwise, they’ll fall over. We were told we were idiots for adding organic matter to the soil because plants get all their carbon from the air. This whole concept of soil and soil health is relatively new.”

Walk to DC
With this greater understanding of the soil, we’re not doomed to trudge towards catastrophic weather patterns caused by global warming. That’s why Smallwood will be marching from Kutztown, Pennsylvania, to Washington, DC, with the findings from the Rodale Institute to take real steps toward a solution.

Filed Under: climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, organic, organic farming, organic food

Published on: September 23, 2014





A New Kind of Black Gold

Agrarian wisdom shows that the solution to many of our world’s problems is right under our very feet.


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A message from Mother

Thank you Aisha!

aisha north

And here I am once more, ready to impart another message into your being. For you have all come through another stage of your development now dear ones, and so you stand before me as if freshly born again, the empty vessels of yesteryear lying discarded beside you. And so too me, for I have also been taken through a renewal of the senses and of the spirit in such a way, the material layers have once more become fortified as these nutritious elements of energetic upraising have surged through us all. You see, this period of time is not just about the amount of light and how it is being dispersed by our collective Sun, this is also about the energetic shift that has taken place, and for the likes of us, the latter is indeed the greatest news. For as you all came together focusing your intent on…

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Truthout Daily Digest Tuesday, 23 September 2014

I apologize for the big red donate button in today’s Truthout Daily Digest. I don’t always copy donate buttons or calls because a constant drone of it is certainly aggravating and distracting while trying to read. But growing corporate consolidation of media and the multiple threats to our privacy, safety, financial security and general survival are strongly in need of the balancing effect of investigative and unbiased journalism as outlets such as Truthout and Common Dreams provide.
So if you, like me, can barely afford to have food and shelter for your own family-please don’t let the big button bring you down! Just consider sharing Truthout, Common Dreams and other such sources with as many people as you can. With enough exposure they will both do their job of helping us fix our society and attract all the financial support they need.

From the US war machine (currently bombarding Syria) to the urgent reality of climate change, the challenges we face are immense. But at Truthout we know that people power can achieve great things – after all, it’s what’s kept us going for more than a dozen years. Will you help us continue our work by making a tax-deductible donationtoday?

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The Paths We Refuse

Anne Elizabeth Moore, Truthout: New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and his investment-banker wife Sheryl WuDunn, the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that brought youHalf the Sky, return with a new book. A Path Appears brings their fight to end oppression and advocate for humanitarian causes stateside, but who benefits?

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Call to Close “Deplorable” Private Detention Center for Immigrants Made, as Expansion Planned

Candice Bernd, Truthout: As President Obama announced he will delay taking executive action on immigration reform, immigrant-justice groups are raising alarms about conditions in existing and planned privatized detention centers holding children and families in Texas.

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Iraq War Veteran Warns Ferguson Is Our Future – and Our Past

Nafeez Ahmed, Truthout: Leading national security expert Terron Sims says of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, “This is America today, and if we don’t deal with the root cause in terms of widespread racial discrimination against black people, this will be our tomorrow.”

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John Pilger, Truthout: While conditions for the indigenous worsen, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott continues to cut back on funding for their health care and ignore the need for a treaty guaranteeing rights and services most citizens take for granted.

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Musa al-Gharbi, The Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts: The Obama administration has just announced that they and their coalition allies have begun a fierce campaign in Syria, bombing primarily “hard-targets” in the IS stronghold of Raqqa. Here’s what is known – and perhaps more importantly – what is not known so far.

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Palina Prasasouk, Truthout: Climate change activists flooded Wall Street on Monday, with thousands participating in a massive sit-in, and approximately 100 people arrested.

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Time for the US to Dump the Word “Homeland”

The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program: In 1934, at the Nazi party’s big coming-out event, the famous Nuremberg rally, Nazis introduced the term “homeland.” Prior to that, they’d always referred to Germany as “the Fatherland,” “the Motherland” or “our nation.” It’s time to retire this artifact of the Nazi era.

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No Separate Justice Campaign Denounces Post-9/11 Abuses

Victoria Law, Waging Nonviolence: Ten days before the anniversary of 9/11, family members, activists and formerly incarcerated people gathered only blocks from the World Trade Center site to bear witness to the systemic abuses committed in the name of the war on terror under the banner “No Separate Justice.”

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Expanding US Strikes to ISIS in Syria, Has Obama Opened New Phase of “Perpetual War”?

Amy Goodman and Aaron Maté, Democracy Now!: Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College, and Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK, discuss recent US airstrikes in Syria targeting the Islamic State, as well as members of a separate militant organization known as the Khorasan group.

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On the News With Thom Hartmann: World’s Largest Climate March Takes Over NYC, and More

In today‘s On the News segment: The world’s largest climate march takes over New York City; the anti-science crowd wants to take well-documented climate information out of kids’ textbooks; Burlington, Vermont, has gone renewable; and more.

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Are Head Injuries the Bridge Between the NFL Playing Field and Domestic Violence?

Dave Zirin, The Nation: There is an unspoken question lurking behind the NFL domestic violence cover-up saga that has emerged over the last month. It is whether the brutality of the game, particularly head injuries, plays a role in the prevalence of players committing acts of violence against women.

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The Joys of Abolishing Debt

Astra Taylor, Moyers & Company: “For the last two years I have worked as a volunteer debt abolisher for Rolling Jubilee, which just announced the the abolition of nearly $4 million of student debt. It’s a nice addition to the nearly $15 million of medical debt we have erased.”

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In 2013, Children in Poverty Grew in 35 of the Biggest US Cities While the Wealthy Gorged

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: Poverty can’t be ended until the oligarchy is dismantled and new economic structures are put in place that focus on achieving the best for the common good, not for the greediest among us.

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Huge, Gorgeous Global March Shows How to Win the Climate Fight: at the Grassroots

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Meet Dr. Willie Parker, Perhaps the Bravest Christian Abortion Provider in the US

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Charles P. Pierce | Media Coverage of Major Protests Is the Face of Disgrace

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WHO: 21,000 Ebola Cases by November if No Changes

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Nomi Prins | Gateway Policies: ISIS, Obama and US Financial Boots-on-the-Ground

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The Oracle Report | Wednesday, September 24, 2014



NEW AUDIO: September 22, 2014

Libra 2014 Cycle: “Time to Respond”

Libra 2014 Cycle – Time to Respond


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New Moon Phase: emergence of clarity

Moon in Libra

Skill: open your heart to receive wisdom; find humor

Negative Imprint: losing touch with reality, avoiding reality, perfectionism, superficial, misleading, anti-humanistic, foolishness

Positive Imprint: potential, initiation, practical, humor, purity, imagination, new paths, enlarged sphere of operation, courage, wonderment, luxury, attraction

Welcome to the New Moon in Libra and a month of the fullest light to see, realize, and understand.

At the new astrological year beginning with the New Moon in Aries on March 30, 2014, we began a new journey – a journey to hike a mountain, the mountain of life. It has taken six months to reach the peak of this mountain, but now we are here. From here we have the fullest view of the panorama. We also have the most light by which to view. Energetically, since embarking upon our journey the Moon has now grown to be Full and Full Moons provide the most light.

(If you divide the year into eight parts that parallel the eight Moon phases, this part is parallel to the Full Moon phase, so it is like a month-long Full Moon.)

In many ways, we will come to “see the light” over this cycle. Something dawns on us, mysteries are revealed, and problems are resolved. We see the truth of many things about our lives and it may be quite stark. Full light has a tendency to do this. Our job is to soften the edges and provide more luminosity than harshness of what we are seeing. If a realization comes on you strong and sharp, step back and slow down the speed. Gently take the information inside yourself to process at your own pace. Light can be directed as a laser or as a glow. The choice is ours how we want to take it.

Full light also makes people loony (which should be spelled luny). Lunacy has a tendency to show out in all kinds of ways. This will be most visible during the Full Moon phase beginning October 8, but in effect all month long. I should also note here that the next cycle, the Scorpio cycle is also like a month-long Full Moon. We have two cycles for fullest expression and illumination of energies.

The Libra cycle is a cardinal cycle because Libra is a cardinal sign. Major shifts of consciousness happen with cardinal cycles. These shifts provide opportunities and openings, and, this year, massive change. The new world order makes bigger moves during the cardinal cycles (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) because the innate disequilibrium that results from shifting from one thing to another creates an opportunity to control the shift. We are wise to this and are focused on the shift of mass consciousness toward a world based on freedom, wisdom, beauty, and love.

Since the Libra New Moon is in aspect to the Moon’s Nodes, we have a reorientation of the past – past lives and the past in this life. – into the present and projected into the future. We’ve worked hard to let go of painful elements of the past, but now the happier ones return. These are things that have been lost or in shadow. Follow urges from your heart to learn, create, or revive something. This may be an interest that was dropped or fell away due to past circumstances. All kinds of things from the past return this month.

The Return of Wisdom is included in this, and exchanges of spiritual knowledge will spread like wildfire. The main avenue for this is through stories. Stories are very, very important this month. If there is a story inside of you, it will want to come out this month. If the urge to write comes over you, dismiss thoughts and expectations about what will become of it. That doesn’t matter right now. The creative act – expression – is what is important. What happens with the rest of it, if anything, is suspended until another day.

The energy may enter with a feeling that you have been stripped away or stripped down. It’s a good way to enter the Full phase. It means you come without pretense and are ready for a “moon bath.” Currents of the moon bath wash over us to bring new responses to life, new levels of awareness, and profound inner change. It is an energetic rebirth.

The energy may increase insomnia, just as it is often harder to sleep during Full Moons. If it is keeping you up, engage your imagination. Use the time for a waking dream.

The position of Mercury today tends to prompt a gloomy outlook and despair. This is part of the process toward recognition of something that is trying to be revealed to us. This happens before we start to see that things are actually getting better. A deeper spiritual connection occurs simultaneously as we see how we’ve been helped along the way. The process that begins with despair this month ends with profound spiritual insight. Keep this in mind when interacting with others. Some may be on the sadder end of the spectrum. You may be on the sadder end of the spectrum. That’s ok because you know what’s going on and can trust that this deep, inner process will bring you to light.

The New Moon phase of the Libra cycle is a time of high magic and the perfect time for a moon bath, even though the Moon is invisible right now. All things come from the dark void, and what comes this month comes back from long ago. Let there be light!

(Note: An M2 solar flare erupted yesterday, but it is unclear whether a coronal mass ejection ensued. If we learn that a CME was released, I will discuss it in tomorrow’s report.)

Thank you for supporting the Oracle Report. Blessings to all!

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