Now IS the time to talk about climate change, while multiple hurricanes are devastating Caribbean islands. While Florida is bracing for a direct hit from the eye of the storm. While Texas is facing unimaginable destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey. While Mexico is dealing with a deadly 8.0 earthquake and terrifying tsunami warning. While vast swaths of the wild west are ablaze. While Europe swelters under the heatwave deemed Lucifer.
Scott Pruitt, the EPA chief and individual charged with leading the Environmental Protection Agency across the United States, said that “Hurricane Irma isn’t the right time to talk about climate change.” I vehemently disagree.
Today, I am proud to take the stage as the MC for Soil Not Oil – the preeminent international environmental conference focused on regenerative agriculture and socio-ecological justice with over 100 brilliant, committed presenters from around the world right here in Richmond, California.
I am hugely inspired speaking before and listening to fellow soil enthusiasts, environmentalists, climate activists, solutionaries, earth lovers, farmers, eco educators, doers, children, parents, human beings. I am reinvigorated talking with young people, with all people about environmentalism, climate change, conservation, public health – because we now have a solution to put forth: SOIL! The answer lies beneath our feet – through regenerative agriculture, holistic science, agroecology, urban and rural farming, land stewardship, integrated biome health, drawdown, the list goes on. Soil is the new bottom line, my friends.
We hear about and live with the global and personal impacts of climate change; our earth, our surroundings, our commons, our environment affect us all, as we are witnessing through frightful, intensifying, extreme weather patterns and natural disasters. While we send out prayers to all affected, we double down on our commitment to soil not oil, to divest and invest, to take responsibility for the consequences of our action and inaction. Mitigation, adaption or reduction techniques are no longer enough; we know how and must now employ simple solutions to complex challenges that effectively sequester carbon to reverse perilous environmental degradation in accessible, relevant, affordable, efficient, just ways. Countless innovative, multifaceted solutions exist to address the threats posted by climate, hunger, water, soil – but implementation requires political will, mass education, consumer focus, access to technology, and the inclusion of farmers and diverse stakeholders in every corner of the planet. These resilient spirits put all in context, unwavering in strength and dedication to holding up and holding together our soils, our families, our food sheds, our communities, our industries, our health, our society and our earth.
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will,” said Frederick Douglass. It is high time to make concrete demands about and act upon environmental and social justice with tenacity and courage.