Here was a brief call to arms that I wrote to farmers. Farmers have a wonderful opportunity to shape the future of the earth's climate, but we must start from a point of accepting that each and everyone of us can and must do better, and farmers are no different.
We are facing the most significant decade in the history of mankind. And I don’t think that is overstating it. At this point we already know enough about:
the likelihood that our actions as a species are causing irreversible changes to our planet,
how fast this change is occurring,
the all-reaching damage those changes will inflict.
Yesterday was the time to act. How will we justify our continued unwillingness to act to our grandchildren?
We can argue over the details of the relative impacts each type of farming has on the environment, and there are some farms that are doing amazing things for the environment and should be celebrated. But that doesn’t change the big picture. That in the main, we can and must do better. And before we feel victimised as farmers, this is not unique to agriculture. It applies to all individuals, businesses and industries alike. We all can and must do better.
However, there are a couple of things that do make farmers unique. The first is that we are custodians of the soil, and the soil accounts for 80% of terrestrial carbon. Therefore small changes in the way we farm the soil to produce food have big impacts on the carbon systems of the planet.
The second is that agriculture is uniquely placed to start reversing some of the damage already done to our planet by mankind, in relation to global warming but as importantly, biodiversity loss. What an amazing, empowering and exciting position to be in!
As often said, with great power comes great responsibility, and we must be responsible enough to start acting now. Climate change is going to have an enormous impact on the life and livelihoods of farmers. But as a farmer, you can uniquely have an enormous impact on regenerating our blue-green planet. You can choose to be on the right side of history. You can look your grandchildren in the eye.