Sunday, February 11, 2024

Economic barriers to Carbon farming

Farmers in the United States are starting a new journey. This journey is about carbon sequestration, a way to help our planet by drawing down carbon dioxide before it can harm our atmosphere. This significant shift demands farmers to balance environmental stewardship with their livelihoods, incorporating practices such as cover cropping and crop rotation. A recent report from Purdue University tells us more about what farmers are thinking regarding this change.

This report unveils that approximately 10% of farmers have engaged in discussions about regenerative agriculture and carbon sequestration, a figure that has remained relatively stable in recent years. Given the threat of climate change, one might question why broader adoption hasn't occurred. Challenges include the financial return on investment, the learning curve associated with new practices, and the logistical hurdles involved, which can be overwhelming.

To grasp the farmer's perspective, it's essential to put ourselves in their shoes and recognize their dual role: feeding the population and sustaining their families. Due to the buzz around regenerative agriculture and carbon markets, farmers are introduced to initiatives by companies offering payments for environmental services, such as carbon capture on their lands, an important step in the fight against global warming. As stewards of land, farmers are always interested in such programs the financial analysis often reveals that the offered incentives fall short of compensating for the additional costs involved.


The Purdue report indicates that the majority of farmers were paid less than $10 for each ton of carbon captured, with a minority received up to $30 per ton. Considering that an average acre of farmland sequesters approximately one ton of carbon dioxide—with organic farms potentially reaching up to three tons—the current pricing for carbon credits or offsets fails to offset the expenses and efforts required to implement regenerative agricultural practices.

Farmers are eager to contribute to environmental preservation, but the financial equation must balance for the adoption rates to rise. The journey towards a more sustainable agriculture system is complex, necessitating support structures that align economic viability with ecological responsibility. As we navigate this path, it's crucial to foster a framework that empowers farmers to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change, ensuring their efforts are both recognized and rewarded


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

What Is Dirt Really Worth?

In the magnificent tapestry of our world’s history, there lies an ancient wisdom, deeply woven into the cultural fabric of ancient India—a wisdom that not only nourished the body but also nurtured the soul. It’s a wisdom rooted in the sacred understanding of soil, a wisdom that transcends mere scientific knowledge and touches the very essence of our existence.

During the Vedic period, which dates back several millennia, the soil was regarded not as an inert material but as a living entity, a mother to humanity. In this ancient time, the health of the soil was intrinsically linked to human well-being. Just as humans require rest and rejuvenation, there were sacred periods in the agricultural calendar when the soil itself was allowed to rest, to recover, and to regenerate.

The Vedas, some of the world’s oldest written texts, delve into the profound mysteries of existence. The Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas provide detailed insights into the creation, the purpose of human life, and our duty towards both humanity and the environment. In the ancient Atharva Veda (12.1.12), Earth is depicted as a mother, and humanity as her offspring. This starkly contrasts with the modern perception of soil as mere “dirt” to be exploited, a mindset that has contributed to our current climate crisis.

Soil is more than the ground beneath our feet; it’s a dynamic entity providing essential ecological services. It filters, buffers and transforms elements between the atmosphere and groundwater, nurturing the food chain and serving as a source of water for humans, crops and animals. The Atharva Veda even categorized soils—much like modern science does today—differentiating them into brownish (bhabhru), black (krishna) and red soils (rohini). Ancient Hindus understood which soils were suitable for cultivating various crops, displaying an impressive knowledge of soil management.

                                                  Agnihotra, an ancient Vedic practice for healing

Land preparation was deemed paramount, as detailed in Atharva Veda 12.1.4-6. It emphasized the significance of preparing the land correctly, highlighting that proper preparation could transform even seemingly poor soils into “gold-bearing soils.” Terracing, to prevent soil erosion and harness water for crops, was also a practice well understood and implemented. Soils were revered and treated with profound respect, with prayers uttered before stepping onto the sacred ground.  

Farming wasn’t just a utilitarian task; it was a sacred ritual to invoke the blessings of nature, fostering harmony and coexistence. Hindus recognized lunar influences on crops, animals and humans, integrating lunar rhythms into both spiritual practices and agriculture.  Farmers during the Vedic period used the moon rhythms for both spiritual practices and in agriculture.

This sacred approach to agriculture can still be witnessed in Bali, where temples dot every rice field, and over 40 rituals accompany the journey from sowing to harvest. One remarkable ritual, known as Nyepe, is a “day of silence” when the rice flower transforms into a seed. The entire island observes this silence, a mark of respect for the rice plant’s transformation, for it is considered akin to a human being.

What can we glean from these ancient Hindu practices? It’s the understanding that sacredness in our actions begets sacred outcomes. The climate crisis we face today is not merely a result of external factors but a reflection of our inner climate. In the profound wisdom of our ancestors lies the keys to a regenerative future, where science and spirituality coalesce to nourish both the soil and the soul, ushering in a new era of harmony and sustainability.

Source: HinduismToday