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We absolutely can reduce the ecological footprint of humanity all the way down to zero!
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Groundbreaking Permaculture Film Offers Bold New Solution in Regenerative Agriculture » EcoWatch

Groundbreaking Permaculture Film Offers Bold New Solution in Regenerative Agriculture » EcoWatch | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Everywhere you hear that we need to minimize our footprint and reduce our impact. But what if we turned that kind of thinking on its head? What if, as Bill McDonough says, instead of trying to be “less bad,” we try to be “more good.” What if our footprints became beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our planet? This is the premise of a new movie Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective,which will have its worldwide digital premiere on Earth Day, April 22.


Inhabit investigates today’s pressing environmental problems and offers solutions through a permaculture lens. For those who aren’t familiar, permaculture is defined many different ways, but it is generally defined as a method of ecological design that develops regenerative agricultural systems by mimicking natural ecosystems. “Permaculture is a design process that’s applicable in any landscape for any set of objectives,” said the film.


You can watch the trailer at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL-4RoDvqUaChQL8YaWsTiGuf6gI8PZFDM&v=9U56O6LDyLQ

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Could better soil management reverse global warming?

Could better soil management reverse global warming? | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
How we manage our soil may be as important as how we generate our energy.

 

The very things we need to do to adapt to a changing climate are exactly the same actions we need to take to slow down, or even reverse, global warming in the first place.

 

During his keynote, Peter Bane—author of The Permaculture Handbook—made this astounding statement: Better farming could not just slow, but reverse, the buildup of atmospheric CO2.  Noting that rock star farmer Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms has built up 6.5% of additional carbon in his soils, Bane argued that truly maximizing soil carbon sequestration across all the world's agricultural soils could literally soak up more carbon than we release each year.


In cultivating our ability to "farm carbon," we would simultaneously be reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers, increasing our farm lands' ability to retain nutrients and hold water, we'd be mitigating flooding and protecting against drought, and we'd be enhancing biodiversity too. There's even some research to suggest that small-scale agroecology could increase yields compared to conventional farming.


Via John Casey
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» Carbon-Sequestering Agriculture

» Carbon-Sequestering Agriculture | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

To save the planet we may need to turn it into an edible paradise…

 

Climate change is already making our planet less inhabitable, with droughts, floods, and severe weather events on the rise. Stabilizing the climate is perhaps the central challenge for humanity in the early decades of this century. Globally, a massive switch to regenerative practices, perennial crops, and regional self-reliance are essential to sequester carbon and reduce emissions. 

Stabilizing the Climate with “Permanent Agriculture”

Trees are one of our most powerful tools to pull carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil for long-term storage. This is why reforestation and protecting intact forests are such important parts of plans to address climate change. 

 

Trees are fundamentally more efficient than annual crops, with greater net primary productivity. 


Intuitively it makes sense that forest-like agriculture will sequester carbon somewhat like a “real” forest. 


The amounts sequestered vary hugely, depending on several variables.  Allowing for these factors, Nair and Montagnini report estimates of the world carbon storage potential of agroforestry ranging from 9 to 228 tons of carbon/hectare under different circumstances – tremendous variation. They report an estimate of current sequestration by agroforestry at 1 million tons/year. Their document estimates the amount of land that could be converted to agroforestry practices as roughly 585 million to 1.2 billion hectares (the U.S. including Alaska is 770 million hectares).


Even at a fairly conservative 25 ton/hectare average, that would sequester 14-20 billion tons – over its lifetime as much as 10% of the total 200 billion tons many experts estimate needs to be removed from the atmosphere even if we stop emissions tomorrow.

 


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The giving tree: Agroforests can heal food systems and fight climate change

The giving tree: Agroforests can heal food systems and fight climate change | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Growing numbers of farmers are using agroforestry -- integrating tree crops and grazing animals -- to create more resilient soil, a diverse range of foods, and even fight climate change.

 

Shepard calls his approach “restoration agriculture” (that’s also the name of his recently published book), and his hope is to mimic nature as much as possible to produce high-quality crops while restoring the health and fertility of the land.

 

“There are two problems with agriculture — even organic agriculture,” said Shepard recently on the phone. “You are either trying to keep something alive that wants to die, or you are trying to kill something that wants to stay alive.”


Agroforestry — a broad term to describe ways in which forests and forest management are combined with agriculture — is key in understanding Shepard’s system.


Multi-species grazing on silvopasture — the intentional combination of livestock, forage, and trees on grass — now plays an essential part in the operation.


“We’ve generated numbers that show our system is capable of out-yielding corn by 30 percent on calories per acre,” says Shepard. “And as far as nutrition per acre, it’s off the charts. Then throw in the fact that the whole system is perennial — we don’t have any more planting costs, maintenance costs are minimal, no pest or disease control, no [fertilizer] inputs.”


Via Darin Hoagland
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Integrating with nature, rather than fighting it, is key to achieving the goal of Zero Footprint.

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Darin Hoagland's curator insight, December 12, 2012 9:14 PM

Agroforestry, agroecology, integrated farming and permaculture all are exibited here in this article about Wendell Berry.  It is amazing how many mutually beneficial ecological interactions a farmer can get when all these things mentioned above - and more -- are being executed.

Darin Hoagland's comment, December 12, 2012 9:19 PM
The Wendell farm reminds me of Joel Salatin's famous Polyface farm. I think its the moveable foraging cages he uses for his pasture animals. http://www.polyfacefarms.com/