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SOIL4CLIMATE AT COP27: REGENERATIVE GRAZING IS A CLIMATE MITIGATION SOLUTION
Sharm El Sheikh, EGYPT (November 12, 2022) – Soil4Climate’s Co-founder and Co-director, Seth Itzkan, is attending Blue Zone sessions at COP27 this week and is available to journalists for comment about why regenerative grazing holds promise for climate mitigation while also enhancing food security for pastoral communities, such as the Maasai in East Africa.
Soils are a major carbon reservoir, storing more carbon than all of the world’s forests and atmosphere combined. Increasing carbon stocks in the top meter of the soil by one percent would capture more carbon than the total annual global emissions from burning fossil fuels, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN Issues Brief, November 2015).
“Soils are the 8th Wonder of the World,” said Seth Itzkan. “Regenerative grazing is probably our principal tool for building healthy soil, restoring the world’s grasslands, and reversing desertification.”
“Combined with agroforestry, organic cropping, and other ecologically appropriate food systems,” Itzkan continued, “we can feed the world while restoring degraded lands and helping to mitigate climate change. Regenerative grazing does that.”
As an indication of regenerative grazing’s potential, recent peer-reviewed papers on it are reporting drawdown rates of 2.1 to 3.5 metric tons of carbon per hectare per year, which equates to between 7.7 and 13.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide. “That’s knowledge every COP27 delegate concerned with agriculture should have,” states Itzkan.
“Grasslands have acted as a thermostat of the climate over tens of millions of years,” says Soil4Climate Co-Director Seth Itzkan. “They have an extraordinary ability to regulate carbon flows between the atmosphere and the soil. By tying into this dynamic, regenerative farmers and ranchers can feed the world while becoming heroes of the climate.”
Mr. Itzkan is also available to discuss the work of Soil4Climate to support regenerative grazing on Maasai lands in East Africa. The funds enable training in regenerative grazing and emergency funds for hay to feed their cattle in climate-induced and prolonged droughts.
Soil4Climate works with Maasai herders who are practicing regenerative grazing - moving animals in a way that restores damaged landscapes, sequestering carbon, and improving the soil. In 2017, Soil4Climate and the Maasai Center for regenerative pastoralism launched an initiative: the Maasai Lands Restoration Project to improve degraded soils on Maasai lands in Kenya. The venture aims to provide permanent solutions to the challenges of drought, desertification, and food and water security.
As the Head of the Agriculture and Food Security Division at the African Union Commission Simplice Noula wrote in a recent opinion article, the ‘elephant in the room’ at the ‘African COP’ is that the “Global North perceptions of the livestock sector should not be imposed on poor countries that suffer from undernutrition.“ He says, “As counterintuitive as it might seem at a first glance to people living in the “Global North,” there is a strong case to invest more in sustainable livestock systems across the developing world as a matter of climate justice.”
Mr. Noula explains in his article that managing sustainable livestock production is climate justice because:
To reach Seth Itzkan of Soil4Climate for comment, please contact Jennifer Witherspoon at +1386-624-3044 on WhatsApp or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Soil4Climate is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that advocates for soil restoration as a climate solution. We promote regenerative land management practices to capture atmospheric carbon and encourage collaboration with the larger body of climate activism. Uniting “drawdown” strategies with emissions reduction, divestment from fossil fuels, a price on carbon, and climate justice advocacy, together create a powerful alliance. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Hi Friends, Please join us for Soil4Climate 5th Anniversary events this coming Monday, August 8th.
Soil4Climate Clubhouse Launch with Dr. Asnaketch Woldetensaye of the Oromo People of Ethiopia.
Dr. Asnaketch Woldetensaye is an environmental project leader in the Uppsala county of Sweden and an advocate for regenerative agriculture and grazing among her Oromo people of Ethiopia. Join us for this exciting launch of the Soil4Climate Clubhouse space.
11:00 AM EDT / UTC-4 https://www.clubhouse.com/event/PAeD3508
Durukan Dudu: Savory Hub leader in Turkey and co-founder of SafiMera, Turkey’s first regenerative and 100% grassfed brand.
Durukan Dudu is co-founder of Anatolian Grasslands in Turkey, one of the first Savory Institute Global Hubs; co-founder of SafiMera, Turkey’s first regenerative and 100% grassfed brand; and a Savory Master Field Professional for UN/FAO and other clients in over 10 countries.
Noon EDT / UTC-4 https://soil4climate-org.zoom.us/j/86160776537 (and streamed to the Soil4Climate Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/Soil4Climate/)
Dr. David Johnson: Molecular Biologist: New Insights into Food Security, Soil Carbon Accrual, and Climate Change Mitigation
Dr. David C. Johnson is a molecular biologist at New Mexico State University collaborating with: Arizona State University, Texas A&M, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and growers exploring paths to improve food security, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, and increase productivity and profitability through the development of beneficial soil microbial communities in farm and rangeland soils.
3:00 PM EDT / UTC-4 https://soil4climate-org.zoom.us/j/85781104177 (and streamed to the Soil4Climate Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/Soil4Climate/)
press release: SOIL4CLIMATE TO DEMONSTRATE RANCHERS AS CLIMATE HEROES, PRESENT DEFICIENCIES IN “GRAZED AND CONFUSED” AT UK’S GROUNDSWELL REGENERATIVE AG CONFERENCERead Now
“Key to grassland health is the proper role of ruminants, like cows, which when grazed in regenerative ways, can be an important solution to the world’s climate and hunger emergencies,” said Seth Itzkan, co-director of Soil4Climate. “That, combined with regenerative cropping techniques, permits farmers and ranchers to feed the world while becoming heroes of the climate.”
Technical Brief: Estimates for Soil Carbon Drawdown Per Acre from Holistic Planned Grazing and Globally by All MeansRead Now
Three studies since 2016 of holistic planned grazing, aka adaptive multi-paddock “AMP” grazing, measured soil carbon sequestration rates: 0.9 tonnes of carbon per acre per year, or 0.93 tC/ac/yr (Rowntree 2020), 1.5 tC/ac/yr (Stanley 2018), and 1.2 tC/ac/yr (Teague 2016). These give an average of 1.21 tC/ac/yr, equivalent to 4.44 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per acre per year (4.44 tCO2/ac/yr).
Teague (2016) calculates the potential drawdown for North American pasturelands is 800 million tonnes of carbon per year (800 MtC/yr), or 0.8 gigatons of carbon per year (0.8 GtC/yr).
Thus, peer-reviewed literature estimates that in North America alone nearly a gigaton of carbon (or 3.67 gigatons CO2) can be sequestered (drawn down) per year (based on an estimate of 263 million hectares of North American pastureland). There are approximately 3.3 billion hectares of pastureland worldwide (UN FAO 2020).
Lal (2020) estimates that between 2020 and 2100, soil can sequester 178 PgC, or 178 GtC.
Note: 1 petagram (Pg) = 1 gigaton (Gt)
Thus, 178 gigatons C captured over 80 years yields an average drawdown rate of 2.25 billion tons of carbon per year (2.25 GtC/yr).
Rates Per Acre
Rate: 2.29 MgC/ha/yr (0.93 tC/ac/yr)
Location: Clay County, Georgia, USA
Notes: “multispecies pasture rotation (MSPR) … holistic planned grazing methodology”
Source: Rowntree (2020)
Rate: 3.59 MgC/ha/yr (1.5 tC/ac/yr)
Location: Missaukee County, Michigan, USA
Notes: “AMP grazed pastures”
Source: Stanley (2018)
Rate: 3 tC/ha/yr (1.2 tC/ac/yr)
Location: Cooke, Parker and Jack counties, Texas, USA
Notes: “Adaptive Multi-paddock (AMP) grazing”
Source: Teague (2016)
Lal, R (2020) Managing soils for negative feedback to climate change and positive impact on food and nutritional security, Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 66:1, 1-9, DOI: 10.1080/00380768.2020.1718548.
Rowntree JE, Stanley PL, Maciel ICF, Thorbecke M, Rosenzweig ST, Hancock DW, Guzman A and Raven MR (2020) Ecosystem Impacts and Productive Capacity of a Multi-Species Pastured Livestock System. Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 4:544984. doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2020.544984
Stanley, P. L., Rowntree, J. E., Beede, D. K., DeLonge, M. S., & Hamm, M. W. (2018). Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems. Agricultural Systems, 162, 249-258.
Teague, W. R., Apfelbaum, S., Lal, R., Kreuter, U. P., Rowntree, J., Davies, C. A., R. Conser, M. Rasmussen, J. Hatfield, T. Wang, F. Wang, Byck, P. (2016). The role of ruminants in reducing agriculture's carbon footprint in North America. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 71(2), 156-164. doi:10.2489/jswc.71.2.156
UN FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 07, May, 2020, Sustainable Agriculture, Land use in agriculture by the numbers.
Managing livestock holistically is the number one way to restore soil and sequester carbon on grassland and savanna ecosystems which coevolved with ruminant herds and occupy approximately 40% of the landed surface of the planet. As environmentalists and climate activists, it is our responsibility to eat food from these cherished regions that is produced in ways which enrich their soil. This will almost always mean animal products brought forth in accordance with ecological principles or vegetable and tree-based foods grown in integration with well-considered livestock husbandry.
In no scenario - none - is fake food, cultured meat, or industrial, glyphosate-sprayed, GMO soy-based and ocean dead zone-expanding, Imposter Foods, or similar patented FrankenFood, a solution for the environment or the climate. To the contrary, they are exactly the convenient, but wrong, approach that exacerbates, not lessons, our reliance on chemicals and industry. Furthermore, and perhaps of greatest significance, they disenfranchise, not empower, the small and medium-sized producers who are the heart and soul of every nation from time immemorial.
It is the responsibility of all concerned citizens to push against this corporate assault on common sense. This Regenuary, Soil4Climate is honored to stand with the heroes of soil-enhancing regenerative agriculture, including organic farmers and holistic ranchers - those who know the smell of compost and sound of calving - those who are doing the most to restore soil and drive back desertification - those who are not just mitigating, but, actually, helping to reverse, global warming, while, simultaneously, producing complete protein, naturally, ethically, and in synch with the rhythms of Mother Earth. God bless them, and God bless humanity.
Soil4Climate Providing Christmas Gifts of Financial Aid to Regenerative Agriculture Champions in East Africa: Money Supports Emergency Hay Relief for Drought-Stricken Herds on Maasai Lands in Kenya and Tanzania and Equipment and Training for Agroforestry Projects in Malawi
December 25, 2021
Under the project title “Enkop Osiligi” which is Maasai for “Promised Land,” Soil4Climate is today announcing that it has given Christmas gifts of financial aid to three regenerative agriculture champions in East Africa. Two of these are Maasai herders and advocates of Holistic Planned Grazing representing communities in Kenya and Tanzania, and one is an agroforestry expert working with Chewa communities in Malawi.
All three recipients have demonstrated leadership bringing regenerative agriculture principles to their respective communities and amidst hardships of drought and poverty.
“These are the heroes of regenerative agriculture and it is our honor to stand with them,” said Seth Itzkan, Cofounder and Co-director of Soil4Climate Inc. “Our goal is to restore soil to help mitigate global warming. Nothing does that better than the Holistic Planned Grazing and agroforestry projects that these practitioners are pursuing,” he continued.
The Soil4Climate Christmas gift recipients are Dalmas Tiampati, Executive Director of the Maasai Center for Regenerative Pastoralism, working with Ildalalekutuk people of Kajiado District, Kenya, Nding'a Orkeyaroi, an independent regenerative grazing advocate working with the Emboreet Maasai pastoral community in Tanzania, and Pike Wa Sarah Ng'oma, an agroforestry expert and board member of Hope Ministries International working with the Chewa people in the Masumbankhunda in Lilongwe districts of Malawi.
“The funding directed toward Kenya and Tanzania is for emergency drought relief in the form of hay for starving animals. Animals are the lifeblood of the Maasai people, essential to their sustenance and culture. Programs for regenerative grazing will be ongoing and will eventually make the land more resilient to drought, but it will take several years for those efforts to have effect and, in the meantime, we need to make it through this devastating dry spell,” explained Itzkan. “The funding directed toward Malawi will support agroforestry projects. The climate in Malawi is much wetter than the Maasai lands of Kenya and Tanzania, and different practices are available.”
In Kenya, Dalmas Tiampati said, “We are delighted to receive this Christmas gift of funding for hay from Soil4Climate. Prior funding from Soil4Climate has already helped to keep the animals alive and we are placing the hay on the bare spots to help those areas heal when the rains return. We have received training in Holistic Planned Grazing and we are moving the animals in ways that will restore the soil. In our language we say ‘Enchipai e Kirisimas. Ashe oleng’ which means ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Thank you very much.’”
In Tanzania, Nding’a Orkeyaroi said, “We are grateful to receive this gift from Soil4Climate which we are using to buy hay for our animals in the Enkop Naboo community in Tanzania. The hay will help keep our animals from dying during this disastrous drought. In Maasai we say, ‘Ashee naleng, metamayana Ntai Enkai,’ meaning ‘Thank you very much. May God bless you.’”
In Malawi, Pike Wa Sarah Ng'oma said, “On behalf of the Board of Hope Ministries International, I would like to thank Soil4Climate for the generous support you have contributed to poor farming communities in Malawi … These funds have just come at the right time when the farmers are into rainfed agroforestry activities but the hardest part was to find a donor to support the farmers with inputs and other working materials.”
Donations to Soil4Climate can be made on its website or via it’s fundraiser on Facebook
Soil4Climate Honors The 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing, Humanity's Most Famous "Soil" Sample - By Seth Itzkan
We continue to learn about our planet and our atmosphere from the orbital, atmospheric and geological sciences advanced by the Apollo program. The fact that, in reality, this exploration was largely spurred by a military "race" with the then Soviet Union is sort of irrelevant now. Good science came of it, and we are thankful.
Today, we are using satellites to monitor soil quality on Earth, and, soon enough, this will be the means by which we measure the efficacy of soil restoration and climate change mitigation efforts.
Thank you Neil Armstrong and the crew of Apollo 11 and all the NASA scientists who did the right things for the right reasons. Karl Thidemann and I remember those days and we remember seeing the "moon dust" exhibit in the Boston Museum of Science. We were 9 years old, but it had an impact. Maybe it is because of that that we have Soil4Climate today.
One has to wonder, what are today's 9-year-old's gawking.
Please, Love, and Moon Dust Forever.
May 18, 2019 — Thetford, Vermont — Seth Itzkan, cofounder of Soil4Climate, a global movement promoting better agricultural management, including managed grazing, as a climate solution, will be giving a keynote address on Thursday, May 23rd, at the “TRANSFORM Climate, Communities, and Capital” conference in San Francisco.
An emerging body of peer-reviewed studies have found conducting livestock grazing in a way that emulates the movement of wild herds restores fecundity and wildlife habitat to land degraded by conventional agricultural practices such as tilling (plowing), fallowing, the application of synthetic, fossil fuel-based fertilizers and pesticides, and, ironically, poorly-managed grazing.
Farmers throughout the U.S., including Joel Salatin of Virginia, Will Harris of Georgia, and Gabe Brown of North Dakota, among a multitude of others, report higher productivity and profitability as a result of adopting new grazing practices that rapidly improve soil fertility while reducing or eliminating the need for expensive, polluting chemical inputs.
The production of fake meat, whether plant-based or lab-grown, results in greenhouse gas emissions, causing the climate crisis to worsen. By contrast, real — not Impossible (™) — meat from real cows captures carbon in soil, empowering agriculture to fulfill its role as the only sector of the economy able to extract billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air annually.
“Given the severity of the climate crisis, the last thing needed is more factory food that puts carbon dioxide into the air instead of removing it,” stated Itzkan.
Large areas of the world are turning into desert because of a lack of the beneficial ruminant impact with which these grasslands and savannas co-evolved over tens of millions of years. The Southwestern U.S., today mostly barren scrubland, as recently as 150 years ago was home to wildlife-rich tallgrass prairie, kept healthy by enormous herds of bison, antelope, and other grazers.
“Saving civilization requires us to think inside the paddock,” observed Itzkan, a reference to Holistic Planned Grazing (commonly referred to in academic literature as Adaptive Multi-paddock “AMP” Grazing), the biological innovation pioneered by Zimbabwean wildlife biologist Allan Savory. A recently published Life Cycle Analysis of beef production, funded by General Mills, found Holistic Planned Grazing yields a superior environmental outcome when compared to conventional grazing and artificial “meat” production.
Conference organizer Nick Aster said, “We’re really happy to have Seth join us at TRANSFORM. Part of our conference is asking questions that may not have easy answers, and may even rock a few boats. Understanding how meat production can be a regenerative force for the future is a wildly interesting topic. I can’t wait!”
“We’re really happy to have Seth join us at TRANSFORM. Part of our conference is asking questions that may not have easy answers, and may even rock a few boats. Understanding how meat production can be a regenerative force for the future is a wildly interesting topic. I can’t wait!” - Nick Aster, conference organizer
Soil4Climate, a U.S.-based nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, advocates for soil restoration as a climate solution. Soil4Climate promotes regenerative cropping and grazing practices to improve soil fertility, increase the bionutrient density of food, restore wildlife habitat, reduce flooding, replenish dried-up lakes and rivers, revitalize farming and pastoral communities, and lessen international conflict while sequestering atmospheric carbon. Join the 11,000+ scientists, farmers, policymakers, journalists, and concerned global citizens of Soil4Climate at facebook.com/groups/Soil4Climate
Discount tickets to the TRANSFORM conference are available at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/transform-2019-climate-communities-capital-tickets-53397260644?discount=Friends88jr1
The description of Mr. Itzkan’s talk is below.
Holy Cow! It’s true. Cows and other large herbivores properly managed really are essential to reversing global warming and saving humanity. They’ll do this by restoring fertility to billions acres of depleted grassland soils around the planet - from New Mexico to South Africa - reversing desertification and helping perennial plants to sequester prodigious quantities of atmospheric carbon - sufficient to cool the planet and change the weather - literally. Seth Itzkan, cofounder of Soil4Climate Inc., an educational nonprofit that advocates for soil restoration as a climate solution, will discuss the science and practices behind this important innovation and invite you to participate in helping to launch their exciting land restoration project with the Maasai in Kenya.
Healthy Soils Legislation Helps Green New Deal
By Seth Itzkan, Steven Keleti, and Karl Thidemann
Congressional Democrats have offered an ambitious legislative framework for 2019. Titled the Green New Deal, it seeks to tackle impending climate threats while generating innovative opportunities in the energy, transportation, and agricultural sectors.
The Green New Deal includes support of soil health. Between 50% to 70% of agricultural soil has been lost, and rebuilding soil health is crucial for food system security, water quality, and climate change mitigation.
A bi-partisan movement at the state level is calling for what is termed “Healthy Soils Legislation.” Proposed bills nationwide promote good land stewardship through principles and practices that support the aspirations of the Green New Deal by providing practical support for farmers and ranchers, many of whom might not otherwise be supportive of climate efforts.
Speaking to this point, Bill McKibben, founder of the global climate movement, 350.org, stated, "Soil is increasingly taking its rightful and necessary place in the climate fight; this is a battle farmers and ranchers can help the world win."
"Soil is increasingly taking its rightful and necessary place in the climate fight; this is a battle farmers and ranchers can help the world win." - Bill McKibben
A promising indicator of this comes from New Mexico where a Healthy Soils Act was approved with rare, overwhelming consensus. The House version passed with a vote of 48-6 and the Senate version passed unanimously, 34-0.
Officially titled “An Act Relating to Natural Resources,” the New Mexico law creates a Healthy Soil Program and a Healthy Soil Grant Program in the state’s Department of Agriculture. The purpose of the program is “to promote and support farming and ranching systems and other forms of land management that increase soil organic matter, aggregate stability, microbiology and water retention to improve the health, yield and profitability of the soils of the state.”
It should be noted that the phrase, “increase soil organic matter,” literally means to increase the carbon content of soil. Carbon is naturally accumulated in soil through the photosynthesis process. Conventional farming and ranching practices have greatly depleted soil of its carbon, contributing to global warming and exacerbating the impact of droughts and floods.
Fortunately, improved cropping and grazing methods embraced by environmentalists and producers, and emphasized in Healthy Soils legislative efforts, can reverse this negative trend and increase soil carbon, making these approaches important allies in the climate flight.
It is estimated that improving soil globally can sequester many billions of tons of excess atmospheric carbon annually. Such “drawdown” efforts — that pull carbon out of the air — will be essential as we take measures to bring atmospheric carbon dioxide back down to safe levels.
Commenting on the bi-partisan nature of the New Mexico effort, Jeff Goebel, a management consultant involved in drafting and lobbying for the legislation stated, “We understood that the only people who can actually change the health of the soil on a daily basis are ranchers, farmers, foresters, and gardeners. Therefore, we need to do everything possible to help land managers be successful. We were adaptive (consensual) in the language without giving up the integrity of the legislation.”
"We understood that the only people who can actually change the health of the soil on a daily basis are ranchers, farmers, foresters, and gardeners." - Jeff Goebel
Nebraska recently passed legislation to create a Healthy Soils Task Force to develop a healthy soils initiative and action plan. A Massachusetts bill, “An Act to Promote Healthy Soils,” directs the state to form a Healthy Soils Program that shall “seek to optimize climate benefits while supporting the economic viability of agriculture in the commonwealth…”. With strong bi-partisan support from both chambers, passage is likely. Healthy soils legislation has also been in legislatures in 2019 in the following additional states: Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Illinois, Iowa, Washington and Oregon.
A complete list of state-level healthy soils legislative efforts is available at the Soil4Climate website, www.soil4climate.org.