Urging political action on pesticide use is another way to help stem ‘collapse of nature’
Buying organic food is among the actions people can take to curb the global decline in insects, according to leading scientists. Urging political action to slash pesticide use on conventional farms is another, say environmentalists.
Intensive agriculture and heavy pesticide use are a major cause of plummeting insect populations, according to the first global review, revealed by the Guardian on Monday. The vanishing of insects threatens a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, the review concluded, because of their fundamental importance in the food chain, pollination and soil health.
By transitioning, on a global scale, to organic regenerative agriculture, we could feed more people, sequester more carbon and improve the economic prospects for farmers.
Three crises, one solution—a solution that will require a massive overhaul of food and farming policy, and a paradigm change in consumer behavior.
Can we act in time?
A new groundbreaking study proves soils on organic farms store away appreciably larger amounts of carbons – and for longer periods — than typical agricultural soils.
The important study, directed by The National Soil Project at Northeastern University in collaboration with the Organic Center, provides a new significant proof point that organic agricultural practices build healthy soils and can be part of the solution in the fight on global warming.
Growth in demand for organic food in more traditional channels has only helped the sales of small grocers that focus on organic products.
Consumers want to buy organic food, but often they can’t because it’s too expensive. Perdue Foods, the Salisbury-based chicken giant, aims to break that price barrier with a new organic brand it’s launching at a time when organic food is growing nearly six times as fast as the overall food market.
Soil pollution is a worldwide problem which degrades our soils, poisons the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Every minute of every day the equivalent of 30 football fields of fertile soil is lost, partly due to irresponsible farming practices.
This is having a huge impact on food security, public health, and well-being, as well as our planet. The good news is sustainable farming practices can heal the soil, build soil fertility, and also increase carbon capture in the soil.
The promise of regenerative organic agriculture
The good news is that this is one very significant component of climate change that appears to be well within our grasp.
U.S. shoppers are still paying more for organic food, but the price premium is falling as organic options multiply.
Last year, organic food and beverages cost an average of 24 cents more per unit than conventional food, or about 7.5 percent more, according to Nielsen. That was down from a 27 cent, or 9 percent, premium in 2014.
Toxicologist Linda Birnbaum, who directs the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), has called for “an overall reduction in the use of agricultural pesticides” due to multiple concerns for human health, stating that “existing US regulations have not kept pace with scientific advances showing that widely used chemicals cause serious health problems at levels previously assumed to be safe.
Those who frequently eat organic foods lowered their overall risk of developing cancer, a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine finds. Specifically, those who primarily eat organic foods were more likely to ward off non-Hodgkin lymphoma and postmenopausal breast cancer compared to those who rarely or never ate organic foods.