Short Report from COP22
Center for Food Safety’s Soil Solutions team attended the second week of the recent U.N. climate conference, COP22, in Marrakech, Morocco. In light of the rhetoric about pulling out of international climate agreements and rolling back domestic climate change programs, the growing global support for soil carbon restoration through regenerative, ecological agriculture was indeed a bright spot.
The first day was spent with the Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN) who brought together women on the front lines of climate change from vulnerable communities around the world. Most came from countries like the Maldives that have done almost nothing to contribute to climate change but whose very survival is increasingly threatened. Their stories were humbling, and I was honored to address the group in order to make the connection between soil carbon and climate resilience. Rebuilding soil carbon offers an immediate avenue for action for rural people facing the mounting challenge of collecting food and water for their families.
The next day, we visited a women’s cooperative in the beautiful Ourika Valley of the Atlas Mountains where we saw olive orchards, almond saplings and calendula beds planted by indigenous Amazit or Berber women. A program of the High Atlas Foundation, the cooperative is improving livelihoods for women and increasing resilience to an unpredictable climate. Empowered by their successes, the women also have an ambitious tree planting campaign in the region’s schools.
The morning of the first consortium meeting for France’s “4 per 1000” initiative, we were extremely fortunate to interview the French Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll. The initiative aims to demonstrate that agriculture, and agricultural soils in particular, can play a crucial role in improving food security and mitigating climate change. Launched last December at COP21, CFS was the first civil society organization to join the program. In addition to interviewing Minister Le Foll about his vision for the initiative, we were able to interview several of our “4 per 1000” partners. Be sure to look for these new interviews as part of our ongoing Dig Deeper series during the coming months.
Finally, in addition to participating in several other events sponsored by soil colleagues we had the honor of hearing Secretary John Kerry reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement he signed earlier this year. Kerry’s address was reassuring to our many allies around the world. While COP21 was about coming together in agreement, COP22 was about action. Now is not the time to disengage from the world on climate change, and CFS’ Soil Solutions team is proud to be helping to shape global policies that will determine humanity’s future.