Grass

William J. Langenberg, Grenville Herb Farm

A lesson for North Grenville Gardeners? Canada is the highest polluter in Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the world. Canadians emit 20.1 kilotonnes of CO2-equivalent annually, on a per capita basis. We are closely followed by the Australians, who emit 18.6 kilotonnes of CO2-equivalent. The Australians, also signatories to the December 2015 Paris Agreement, however, decided to take immediate action to reduce GHG emissions by joining the “4 per 1000: Soils for Food Security and Climate Initiative”. This initiative consists of a voluntary action plan under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA), backed up by an ambitious research program.

Most signatory countries agreed that the immediate solution in reducing global GHG emissions and to stop global warming is found in farming and gardening. So far, 36 of the 197 countries that have signed the Paris accord have committed to measures that will increase the levels of carbon stored in soils by investing in and scaling up regenerative agriculture, horticulture and other land-use practices.

This regenerative land-use practice is a bold plan. If it is adopted, and implemented on a large scale, it will give Canada the power to participate in helping to cool our climate and feed the world. If we, as farmers and gardeners, increase by 0.4% a year the quantity of carbon contained in our soils, we can halt the annual increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, which is, as we all know, the major contributor to the greenhouse effect, global warming, and climate change due to human activities.

If we do nothing, as is the case in Canada today, we will face disastrous consequences, because Global Warming will become irreversible in the not too distant future. “More than half a million people could die as climate change impacts human diet”, headlines an article in the British “The Lancet”. New research shows that global warming has a direct effect on the quality of food available and, as a result, more than 500,00 people would die annually around the world by 2050. Climate change is already judged by doctors as the greatest threat to health in the 21st century, due to floods, droughts, and increased infectious diseases, with the potential to roll back 50 years of progress, according to the Guardian, March 3. 2016.

We, as local residents, need to consider seriously starting a garden and reducing our demand on non-local food supply. We also need to consider increasing organic carbon stock in our soils around our homes. We need to cut back on lawn mowing as well, as we need the grass blades for photosynthesis.

I remember growing up on a sustainable mixed farm in Holland during the fifties. Life was a lot different than as it is today. This year, on April 4 I saw an editorial cartoon in one of Ottawa’s daily newspapers: Justin Trudeau and Catherine McKenna, Minster of Environment and Climate Change, with the caption, “Just a little carbon tax mixed with a little greenhouse gas.. and the environment will balance itself!”

We have to become more proactive. That’s why we have our North Grenville Sustainability Fair. Hope to see you there.

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