BY PATRICK KERRIGAN
Did you know that a longtime Powderhorn Park resident and lifelong food, peace and justice activist is at the forefront globally in solving the climate crisis? And that he has an educational and inspiring new book that is just the resource we as caring world citizens most need to create a groundswell of hope for our collective future?
Organic Consumers Association’s co-founder and Regeneration International steering committee member Ronnie Cummins passionately lays out a clear, realistic and visionary road map for how we can rise up, survive, and actually thrive in his brand-new book, “Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food and the Green New Deal.”
Ronnie begins his book by stating: ”This is a book about how we, the United States and a global grassroots movement can rise up together and overcome the most serious threat humans have ever confronted: global warming and severe climate change.
“The driving force that informs and inspires our new grassroots revolution is Regeneration: a rapidly spreading, carbon sequestering, ecologically restorative, technologically innovative, forward-thinking worldview that takes us well beyond the now unfortunately outdated twentieth-century notions of sustainability. Regeneration calls for a transition from degenerative, climate-disrupting fossil fuels to renewable energy and from industrial chemical intensive food, farming and land use to regenerative practices.
“A properly organized and executed Regeneration revolution, led by global youth and a revitalized U.S. and global grassroots, not only has the awesome capacity to draw down massive amounts of excess atmospheric carbon dioxide and reverse global warming, but at the same time, has the power to clean up pollution, restore water quality, increase biodiversity and rejuvenate soils, forests, pasturelands, croplands, wetlands and watersheds.
“Moreover, this revolution in our relationship to Mother Earth and one another, scaled up nationally and internationally, has the potential to revitalize public health, both mental and physical, by providing a bountiful harvest of healthy organic food for everyone, while transforming our degenerative urban and rural landscapes into regenerative landscapes and bringing us all together in a common mission.”
Sign me up, but how does Ronnie actually propose that we solve the climate crisis? He asserts that the solution lies right beneath our feet and at the end of our forks through the transformation of our broken and degenerative industrial agricultural food system. Using regenerative agriculture practices that currently exist, and through the miracle of plant photosynthesis, “we can draw down billions of tons of excess carbon from the atmosphere into our soils, forests, and plants over the next few decades, and thereby avert climate catastrophe.”
Coupled with an aggressive transition toward renewables, he argues that we have the power to not only mitigate and slow down climate change, but actually reverse global warming through global adaptation of food, farming, agroforestry and land use best practices, including restoration and regeneration of the world’s four billion acres of agricultural croplands, eight billion acres of grazing lands, and ten billion acres of forests.
“To do this requires that we carry out a thorough and ongoing global mapping (i.e., locating and publicizing) of the best farm and land management practices that currently exist. The good news is that these best practices are potentially applicable to billions of acres, appropriate to different ecosystems, traditions, and farming conditions around the planet, and at the level sufficient to get us out of the predicament we face.”
The great news is that the primarily low-tech, shovel-ready, affordable solutions that we need already exist in every nation and region. Millions of farms are already utilizing the traditional best practices of forest agriculture and forest gardens, organic and agroecological methods, holistic grazing, and soil conservation practices, augmented by recent innovations in permaculture, agroforestry, silvopasture (re-introduction of livestock back onto agricultural lands), and landscape restoration.
We don’t need to invent new techniques. We simply need to identify, publicize, replicate, and scale up currently existing best practices utilizing farmer-to-farmer education and training, with major support and funding from the public and private sectors.
So how can you join and help build Regeneration Nation? Ronnie lays out the five steps for becoming a Grassroots Mobilizer: 1) become a regeneration educator; 2) Form a core group with five or more people (please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like help); 3) Think and link up globally, such as with the 4/1000 global carbon sequestration initiative; 4) Develop an outreach plan; and 5) Scale up!
Want to join the South Minneapolis Regeneration Revolution and hear Ronnie’s message in person? Join us and meet fellow Southside Regenerators at the Birchwood Cafe at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25! See you there!
Patrick Kerrigan is the retail education coordinator at Organic Consumers Association.