April 8, 2018
By, Vanessa Cole
This month we celebrate Earth Day, Arbor Day and Global Youth Service Day. Our family LOVES the outdoors! The beach, walks in nature, national parks, skiing & snowboarding in the snow, picking wildflowers and strawberries, picnics in the park and running through fields of corn, we take it all in! This month offers the opportunity to reflect on all the fun times we share outside and to have gratitude and responsibility to keep our planet beautiful and bountiful through discussions with our children about the challenges that are facing our planet's health and the solutions we can work to contribute to.
Of all the celebratory month's we take part in, it is this one that resonates the loudest, the most poignant, the most NOW. There are great challenges facing our planet. Great challenges that have been caused by our own human behaviors. The agriculture, meat and fish industries partnered with our lifestyles ARE taking from our planet at a rate that CAN NOT regenerate at a pace fast enough. At this rate, if we don't act now, our bounty will term out in about 60 years. No matter how you look at it, no matter how you ignore it, this is a fact that will impact you, your children, and our world IN OUR LIFETIMES.
The good news is that there are solutions. Many great minds continue to work diligently to figure out root causes and map solutions that we can all take part in. The most powerful solutions encourage the necessity for responsible, compassionate and mindful human practices, mapping the value to build these strengths in our children so that they will have the skills needed to clean up what has been handed to them, as we continue to take part in that clean up now.
As their parents, educators & world community it is our responsibility to learn about the most serious concerns facing our planet and the directions we must move toward for the solutions. These solutions will bring changes in our lifestyles, mindsets, job descriptions and industry, but EVOLUTION requires change. The most ironic part in our quest to uncover solutions from the leaders in the field of environmentalism, is our evolution might very well be looking back to our past.
Patagonia's leadership team works diligently to find the cleanest line for industry, knowing it's significant impact on the planet and our choices as consumers. They are at the forefront of all things healthy for the planet and the science that will lead us toward regaining this balance again. Patagonia is not only doing the homework for us, they are producing and inspiring others through their stewardship to create food & clothing product lines for us to contribute to earth conscious solutions through simple lifestyle shifts while engaging our awareness for a more a regenerative path along the way.
On the food forefront, because our footprint is so large, Patagonia with the Rodale Institute have pioneered Regenerative Organic Certification, a new high standard for agriculture that will not only pave the way to enrich our pillaged top soil, value the people and animals who are part of our food chain but contribute a viable, if not the most viable solution for global warming. Additional benefits include less pollution, more biodiversity, fewer threats to wildlife, healthier rivers, significantly reduced risk to workers, and improved public health from a reduction of environmentally linked cancers and respiratory diseases.
Regenerative Organic Agriculture works with the planet's natural cleaning processes to sequester CO2's into the soil. Having healthy soil is the key to healthy people who eat from it and a healthy planet who's life blood thrives from it. In the United States, soil is being lost at a rate 10 times faster than it is being replenished. Scientists predict that current industrial farming practices and deforestation will eliminate our available supply of topsoil within 6o years. Regenerative organic agriculture can rebuild topsoil, reduce pollution from chemicals and sequester the carbon that causes climate change-- all at the same time! In 2014, researchers at the Rodale Institute estimated that if current farmland shifted to regenerative organic practices, 100% of annual global CO2 emissions could be sequestered in the soil.
With the excitement of this solution set, comes a subset of work to do and a value placed in the work to be done. The success of solutions that will bring our planet back to health will take families, educators and communities working together to be knowledgeable of the solutions that exist and to go to work to enact them. Families will need to value their food choices and the impact of what those choices do, educators can help to build compassionate leadership and activism in their students so they are more able to use their voice for the health of the planet they will take the helm of and commerce will need to step up and value that their choices for practice impact more than their own bottom line.
I remember my grandmother saying:
"WITHOUT your health you have nothing, and WITH your health you have everything you need."
Our Mother Earth is without her health right now. Without her, we have nothing. So, it just makes sense to put value in building GOOD people who make GOOD choices and DO GOOD things. These are the people who will answer the challenges we face in today's social and environmental climates. For regenerative organic agriculture to flourish, we'll need a strong, unified understanding of what regenerative organic agriculture entails; we'll need to come together with our best minds to learn and improve this high bar standard. If we want to have a healthy planet to enjoy all the wonderful experiences we make here and for this planet to continue to provide with bounty to us, we must all connect to value what needs to be done to reverse the damage we've caused and regenerate it's health.
We invite our community to learn more at Patagonia Provisions
and by watching the Patagonia What If Series video on Regenerative Organic Agriculture here.