Organic Agriculture and fight against global warming

Organic Agriculture and fight against global warming

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By Dominique Guillet

Across Europe, around 90% of the biological activity of cultivated soils has been destroyed by intensive agriculture. To them alone, the worms weigh more than all the other animals together on the planet.

The FAO has just officially announced, at its last congress in early May 2007, that organic farming can feed the whole planet! 7

According to the FAO, not only Organic Agriculture can nourish the entire planet, but without causing an impact on the environment and considerably limiting the problem of global warming.

How are different governments going to react to such an assertion?

One of two:

1. Either FAO's leadership has totally lost its head and its experts have succumbed to an acute “back-to-the-past” crisis or were bribed by a hidden power seeking to destroy the foundations of modern, progressive, western society. and civilized. In this case, it seems extremely urgent that member states immediately stop funding this international institution whose ramifications extend across the globe and which could destabilize the civilized world. Indeed, FAO, or the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, represents 189 member states (plus the European Community); funded by contributions from its members, it employs 3,600 people worldwide. 13

2. Either FAO is absolutely right. And this possibility gives chills since it implies that for 60 years, The multinational agro-chemical companies, with the complicity of certain corrupt administrations within the states, deliberately lied and devastated the planetary sphere by promoting highly toxic agriculture that caused:

- The poisoning of humanity and domestic animals with thousands of pesticides. 12
- Poisoning of water tables and rivers.
- The destruction of almost all of the food biodiversity.
- The production of a diet devoid of nutritional substances.
- the establishment of widespread food insecurity, particularly in poor countries.
- The destruction of the small peasantry.
- The destruction of tropical forests to install monocultures.
- Irreversible erosion and desertification processes on the planet. 11
- The depletion of water resources.
- The release of huge amounts of C02 into the atmosphere.

If FAO is right, then we understand why the president of the National Academy of Sciences, Roger Heim, declared in 1963 in his preface to the French translation of Rachel Carson's work “The Silent Spring”: “ The 'gangsters' are arrested, the perpetrators of 'hold-up' are shot, the murderers are guillotined, the despots - or so of course - are shot, but who will put the public poisoners who instigate each in jail? day the products that synthetic chemistry delivers to your profits and your recklessness? "

Who will put public poisoners in jail?

While waiting to find an answer, which we hope quickly, let us specify the FAO declarations that constitute a true declaration of war on agro-chemistry.

According to this venerable institution, the advantages of organic farming are innumerable. Indeed, this type of environment-friendly agriculture allows:

- To feed the whole planet with healthy food, highly nutritious and free of poisons.
- To save water reserves.
- To limit the erosion of the soils and to allow a total percolation of rainwater.
- To preserve food biodiversity jealously guarding traditional varieties,
they are more resistant and, therefore, better able to adapt to climatic disorders.
- To generate short circuits and promote food safety.
- To safeguard the small traditional peasantry.
- To regenerate traditional agro-forestry.
- To fight against global warming by eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides,
and by fixing carbon in the soil due to its increase in content of organic matter.
- etc.

Agriculture will be one of the sectors most weakened by drastic climatic disorders when glaciers melt, temperatures rise, certain oceans cannot absorb more C02 and the planet's food reserves reach their lowest level as a result of repeated droughts, a generalized shortage of fresh water and the promotion of necro-fuels.

What is the responsibility of modern conventional agriculture in the problem of global warming?

According to the agronomist Claude Bourguignon “ Due to the carbon dioxide it expels, intensive agriculture contributes by a third to global warming.”

According to Jean-Marc Jancovici4, “ If all greenhouse gases contemplated in international negotiations are taken into account, and not only C02, then the distribution changes: it is agriculture that comes first! (with 26%). Thanks in particular to the lower gas emissions (CH4, N20) that are due respectively to the raising of cattle and the use of pesticides. "

Some soil specialists consider that the loss of 1% of organic matter in the soil is equivalent to a release of 20 tons of carbon dioxide, or C02, per hectare. Thus, the loss of organic matter in the great plains of the USA, from the beginning of their agriculture, generated more C02 than all the cars produced in this country!

According to Professor Pimentel of Cornell University in the USA. (specialist in soil erosion), intensive North American agriculture releases 420 million tons of C02 every year (on the 6 million tons discharged annually into the atmosphere in the country3).

According to CITEPA5 in France, agriculture and forestry would be responsible for 16% of the 534 million tons of C02 released into the atmosphere in 2005, that is, 86 million tons.

Not only the soils of intensive agriculture can no longer store C02 but also, they are one of its main source. Why? Quite simply because they are dead. According to the French agronomist Claude Bourguignon:

'Across Europe, around 90% of the biological activity of cultivated soils has been destroyed by intensive agriculture. To them alone, the worms weigh more than all the other animals together on the planet. But soils also harbor bacteria, fungi, and a myriad of organisms that feed on organic matter. Well, in Europe the rate of organic matter in the soil went from 4% to 1.4% in fifty years.

In France 60% of the soils are attacked by erosion. Currently, we lose an average of 40 tons of soil per hectare per year ”. 2

In fact, in France certain beet soils, for example, lose 100 tons of soil per hectare per year. This means that it takes 2000 years to repair 20 years of intensive beet farming if we let nature regain its rights.

Modern intensive agriculture is a generator of cancers, desertification and global warming.

Does organic farming really offer the possibility of reducing global warming?

Look to the USA and the Rodale Research Center 1 in the heart of Pennsylvania for a scientifically backed answer to that question. The Rodale Research Center started an experiment in 1981 in 3 cultivated fields: the first in conventional chemical agriculture, the second in organic farming with legumes and the third in organic farming with manure. He published his first results after 23 years, in 2003:

- There was no increase in carbon in the soil of the field in chemical agriculture.

- There was an increase in carbon that varies from 15 to 28% in the other fields, with the manure-fertilized field having the highest increase.

The Rodale Research Center6 deduced that organic farming has the capacity to fix 3.7 tons of C02 per year and per hectare. And this without considering the reductions in C02 emissions due to the lower energy needs of organic agriculture that Professor David Pimentel, from Cornell University in the state of New-YorK, USA, estimates at 63% of the energy needs of chemical agriculture.

According to their calculations, if the entire agricultural area of ​​the U.S. (namely 200 million hectares) were converted to organic agriculture, this would nullify the C02 emissions of 158 million North American cars each year).

The French agricultural area extends over 33 million hectares (60% of the territory), with 62% occupied by arable land and more than a third by permanent grasslands.

According to these same data, for France, the conversion to organic agriculture of the 20 million hectares of arable land would generate a fixation of the order of 74 million tons of C02, when conventional agriculture and forestry are currently credited with an emission 86 million tons of C02

The British Royal Society estimated that the planet's 1.2 billion hectares of arable land can sequester 6.1 to 10.1 billion tonnes of C02, of course, on the condition of practicing sustainable forms of agriculture.

Australian agricultural writer Grame Sait estimates that "If we could increase organic matter by 1.6% on 8.5% of the cultivated planetary surface, we could sequester without problem the additional 100 ppm of C02 that humanity released into the atmosphere”. 14

Regarding the second greenhouse gas, azote protoxide or N20, we do not have precise studies that would allow us to evaluate its reduction for its conversion to organic agriculture. Let us remember that this gas is generated by the spreading and the degradation process in the soils of nitrogen fertilizers as well as the compaction of the soils, in addition to their intense work.

The third greenhouse gas, methane or CH4, is generated by enteric fermentation of ruminants and manure pits. We would be prone to question the inconsiderate consumption of meat in Western countries. Let us remember that the consumption of meat, on a planetary level, went from 44 million tons in 1950 to 265 million tons in 2005. And this trend continues to increase.

Let us also remember that, in intensive agriculture, about 100,000 liters of water are needed to produce 1 kilo of beef. 11 and that Latin America is ruined by the cultivation of transgenic soy to produce meat that the wealthy of the planet consume.

To conclude, although it is true that C02 is not the only greenhouse gas attributable to intensive agriculture, its sequestration by organic agriculture allows not only to limit climate warming but also incredibly increases soil fertility. . We cannot develop this aspect in the limited framework of this article, but we can refer the reader to an Amazonian technique. 9 known under the name of Terra Preta 8, that the Kokopelli antenna was able to experiment with spectacular results in southern India and that it also allows to "sequester" carbon over very long periods of time 10.

One can only thank FAO for its radical position on the need to convert agriculture into ecological practices. It is true that it took him a few dozen years to come to that conclusion!

The working papers that FA0 has just published at its May 2007 international congress on organic farming provide an excellent working base for any institution sincerely wishing to implement sustainable agriculture.

And why not promote the protection of food biodiversity? This would allow the Kokopelli Association to breathe a little and not be more harassed with repeated demands because it distributes varieties of seeds not registered in the national catalog.

Dominique Guillet.


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14. Acres. USES. June 2007. The cruel winds of change

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