How to Start a Regenerative Agriculture Movement in Your Community
By Regeneration International
The most important, although as of yet little known, new paradigm shift and set of practices in the world today is regenerative agriculture, or rather regenerative food, farming and land use. Regeneration practices, scaled up globally on billions of acres of farmland, pasture, and forest, have the potential to not only mitigate, but actually reverse global warming and, at the same time, provide solutions to other burning issues such as poverty, deteriorating public health, environmental degradation, and global conflict.
The world-changing promise of regeneration lies in the fact that a large scale increase in plant photosynthesis (i.e. drawing down CO2 from the atmosphere, releasing oxygen, but transferring a major proportion of carbon into the plant roots and soil) made possible by fundamental changes in farming, grazing and land use practices, (along with the transition to 100 percent renewable energy) across billions of acres, can drawdown enough excess CO2 from the atmosphere into our living soils, plants, and forests to reverse global warming and re-stabilize the climate.
And as this great drawdown and re-carbonization of the soil and biota takes place, civilization will also reap a wide range of additional benefits: a qualitative increase in soil fertility, increased soil moisture (rainfall retention), the return of regular rainfall and weather patterns, major increases in food production, nutrient-rich food, enhanced biodiversity, rural and urban economic development, and millions of new "green" jobs.
Currently the most fundamental obstacle to scaling up regenerative practices on a global scale is the fact that only a small percentage of concerned citizens, farmers, ranchers, land managers, consumers and policy makers have ever even heard the "good news" about regeneration, much less been educated so as to understand it thoroughly. Our initial task therefore as regenerators is basic public education, to spread the message of regeneration as widely as possible, and to organize and inspire core groups, coalitions, pilot projects and policy reforms in every town, city, village, state, region and nation in the world as quickly as possible.
Beyond Organic: How Regenerative Farming Can Save Us From Global Catastrophe https://t.co/KJt6fzXKTB @SoilAssociation @eatsustainable— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1496611503.0
The following action plan is designed to jump-start this long overdue process, starting at the local level, eventually spreading into thousands of communities across the globe.
Step number one
Educate yourself on the basic principles of regenerative food, farming and land use. Learn how to explain in everyday language why people all over the world are embracing regenerative food, farming and land use as a fundamental solution to climate change and related crises. Move beyond the prevalent gloom and doom talk on climate change and global warming and offer positive solutions that everyone: farmers, gardeners, landscape managers, educators, consumers, students, businesspeople, policy makers and the entire global body politic can begin to implement.
Develop and hone your understanding and enthusiasm to the point where you can begin to successfully inspire and recruit others to the cause. This may take a while, but through practice and trial and error you will be able to improve your outreach and recruiting. Begin by starting conversations with people you feel comfortable talking to, people concerned about the climate crisis and related issues; but people who haven't yet heard, or who haven't heard much, about regeneration; before you try to speak to community, school, business, activist or church groups. Avoid for the moment wasting your time arguing with climate deniers and other dogmatists, and strive to reach out to those with an open mind. You'll know you're ready to go out in the community and give talks and slideshows once you can convince and inspire people—one-on-one—in your local circle of family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances.
On the regenerationinternational.org website, you will find a set of basic educational tools—articles, videos and a PowerPoint presentation—that you can study, and then share with your first circle of potential regenerators. For more in-depth study, here is an annotated bibliography and a daily newsfeed.
Step number two
Form a small core group (Circle of Regeneration) with four or five others (or more) who understand and are truly inspired by the basic principles of regenerative food, farming and land use.
Prime candidates for recruitment might be local food, church, climate, political or farm activists; concerned parents; school teachers; students; gardeners; farmers or artists. Arrange a series of potlucks or study groups to increase your core group's understanding of the issues and to brainstorm about what groups you could possibly reach out to in order to expand your circle. Use the website and Facebook page of regenerationinternational.org to keep abreast of current developments in the global regeneration movement. Once you've formed a core group, register your contact information and sign up as an affiliate with Regeneration International.
Step number three
Familiarize yourself and your core group with the Global 4/1000 Initiative on Soils and Food Security, a local to international pledge to take action, signed by hundreds (and soon to be thousands) of grassroots organizations, cities, states and nations as part of the Lima-to-Paris Climate Summit agreement to sequester carbon through regenerative practices on a scale that can begin to reverse global warming.
The importance of the 4/1000 Initiative is that it is the only global local-to-national climate agreement to sequester excess carbon from the atmosphere in order to reverse climate change. Think of the 4/1000 Initiative as sort of a Global Declaration of Interdependence, an acknowledgement (and a pledge to take action) coming from a visionary segment of the world's seven billion people (three billion farmers and rural villagers, and four billion consumers) to regenerate the earth and mobilize the global grassroots.
Regeneration activists in more than three dozen countries are now using the 4/1000 Initiative as a tool to do outreach, to enroll organizations to formally join the Regeneration Movement, and to build up coalitions to lobby town, city, county, state, and national governments to pass resolutions and ordinances in support of the 4/1000 Initiative. Regeneration International's goal is to get 100,000 community based organizations and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to sign on the 4/1000 Initiative by 2020, and then to use this grassroots power to convince thousands of cities, states and nations of the world to do the same.
Step number four
Develop with your core group and allies a strategy and a plan of action to reach out, one-by-one, to as many groups and organizations as possible in your local area and region.
Your goal should be to map out and recruit key individuals in key groups, winning them over so that they "connect the dots" between what their organizations are already doing, and the global campaign to regenerate the earth and restore climate, soil and hydrological (water cycle) health. Target groups for discussion and recruitment should include: student groups, church groups, food, farm, climate, peace, hunger, immigration and environmental groups, and any other civic organizations with open-minded members.
Step number five
Once your local regeneration core group has carried out extensive public education in your area, built up a critical mass of organizations who have formally signed onto the 4/1000 Initiative and begun to lobby your local town, city, state or regional governmental bodies to sign on to the formal 4/1000 Initiative, please contact the Regeneration International office for further advice on how to arrange regional and national meetings, spread the Regeneration message even further, and to publicize and scale-up Regenerative pilot projects and best practices in your region. For a list of endorsed "Regeneration Hubs" or model pilot projects, see: http://www.regenerationhub.co/en/
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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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