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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
Essential farm workers continue to work as Florida agriculture industry struggles during coronavirus pandemic. Joe Raedle / Getty Images.

By Liz Carlisle

This opinion piece was originally published by Yes! Magazine on March 30, 2020.

As the coronavirus crisis has laid bare, the U.S. urgently needs a strategic plan for farmland. The very lands we need to ensure community food security and resilience in the face of crises like this pandemic and climate change are currently being paved over, planted to chemically raised feed grains for factory farm animals, and acquired by institutional investors and speculators. For far too long, the fate of farmlands has flown under the radar of public dialogue—but a powerful new proposal from think tank Data for Progress lays out how a national strategic plan for farmland could help boost economic recovery while putting the U.S. on a path to carbon neutrality.

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Farmworkers feed the world. This is the rallying cry of the Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF), an organization that works with students, advocates, and farmworkers across the United States to create a more just agricultural system. The crucial contribution that farmworkers make to the food system has only heightened amid the C0VID-19 pandemic, as farmworkers are among the list of critical positions that the United States Department of Homeland Security encouraged to continue a normal working schedule.

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A tractor pressed deep tracks in the soil after heavy rainfall in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on March 6, 2020. New research emphasizes the value of leaving existing healthy soils alone. Jens Büttner / picture alliance via Getty Images

Restoring and protecting the world's soil could remove the equivalent of the U.S.'s annual greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.

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A French farmer sprays glyphosate herbicide on a cornfield on March 21, 2019 in Saint-Leonard-des-Bois, northwestern France. JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images

A new investigation revealed that Monsanto funneled money to secretly fund academic studies that warned of catastrophic consequences to farmers if glyphosate was banned in the UK, according to research from the German watchdog LobbyControl, as The Guardian reported.

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An aircraft flies over the skyline of Munich against the backdrop of the Alps on March 2, 2020 in Bavaria. Peter Kneffel / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Elliot Douglas

Europe has just experienced "by far" its warmest winter since records began, the European Union climate change observer Copernicus announced on Wednesday.

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One way to improve the environmental impact of how people eat is to make it a point of conversation. TommL / Getty Images

Recent books like We Are the Weather advocate for considering how our dietary choices affect the climate crisis, but new research shows that most Americans are not discussing the environmental impacts of their diets with friend and family, as Inverse reported.

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Mrs. Beatrice Sebyala stands within her crop of maize at her farm in Nakasongola, Uganda. Beatrice uses her farm as a demo and example for other farmers. Uganda is home to the most organic producers in Africa. In Pictures Ltd. / Corbis / Getty Images

Organic farmers in Africa face an arduous journey getting cropland certified, limiting exports and frustrating farmers who say ecological practices could increase food security while protecting the land.

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Svalbard Global Seed Vault or the 'doomsday vault' is seen above. Global Crop Diversity Trust / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Cherokee Nation will save seeds from the "three-sisters" crops in the Arctic "doomsday vault," making it the first Native American tribe to ensure culturally emblematic crops will be preserved for the future, as The Guardian reported.

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Barkandji elder Waddy Harris poses for a portrait at his home on March 5, 2019 in Wilcannia, Australia. The Barkandji people — meaning the river people — live in Wilcannia, a small town in the Central Darling Shire in north western New South Wales. Jenny Evans / Stringer / Getty Images

By Zena Cumpston

In the wake of devastating bushfires across the country, and with the prospect of losing a billion animals and some entire species, transformational change is required in the way we interact with this land.

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Workers selectively harvest slightly under-ripe Syrah grapes to make a Blanc de Noir wine for the Israeli winery Zaza on Aug. 6, 2019 in central Israel. Israeli vintners are harvesting their grapes earlier than they did a decade ago due to shorter winters and more intense summers. David Silverman / Getty Images

The climate crisis may be coming for your favorite wines.

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Locusts swarm from ground vegetation as people approach at Lerata village, near Archers Post in Samburu county, approximately 186 miles north of Nairobi, Kenya on Jan. 22. "Ravenous swarms" of desert locusts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia threaten to ravage the entire East Africa subregion, the UN warned on Jan. 20. TONY KARUMBA / AFP / Getty Images

East Africa is facing its worst locust infestation in decades, and the climate crisis is partly to blame.

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