EP7 How Organics Fight Climate Change

U.S. scientist and Associate Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center Dr. Tracy Misiewicz explains how practices commonly used in organic agriculture can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and how they are a good defence against pests extreme weather events like floods and droughts. Misiewicz also shows how organic ag practices are a handy tool in building soil carbon, a critical component in soil health and soil fertility. 

(3:25) Agriculture in North America is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. For concerned agricultural producers, there are two ways you can be a part of the problem and two ways you can be a part of the solution.

Increase or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Release or sequester carbon.

(8:58) The conversion of natural ecosystems to agricultural land has contributed to a loss of 133 billion metric tons of carbon in the top two metres of soil in the last 200 years. The rate of loss has increased dramatically over the last 200 years because of the intensification of farming systems.

(9:52) The agricultural practices that causes the most damage in regards to greenhouse gas emissions are a combination of the use of synthetic fertilizers and a failure to incorporate organic matter back into the soil. By switching to organic methods, producers can make a huge impact on slowing down the effects of climate change.

(29:37) The integrated pest management techniques of organic farmers leads to increased biodiversity. Increased biodiversity leads to a higher predator to pest ratio, decreasing the reliance on chemicals. Supporting biodiversity and encouraging beneficial predators on agricultural lands can act as an additional line of defense against climate change.

Useful links:

Report : Scenario-modelling potential eco-efficiency gains from a transition to organic agriculture: Life cycle perspectives on canadian canola, corn, soy, and wheat production.

Want to learn more? Check out The Brown Revolution with soil microbiologist Dr. Kristine Nichols.

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