Center For Food Safety at COP21 (w/ Kiss the Ground)


Our Center for Food Safety Soil Solutions team has just returned from joining world leaders in Paris to spread the word on the ways soil can serve as a solution to climate change. The historic COP21 Paris Climate Conference ended with a landmark win for humanity. The Paris Agreement commits to limit global warming to no more than 2°C with hopes of keeping warming below 1.5°C. The need to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy is clear, but the need to transition away from the fossil-fuel intensive industrial food system is rarely discussed. Did you know that the global food system currently accounts for a third of global emissions? The Soil Solutions team and our friends at Kiss the Ground went to COP21with shovel-ready solutions and one big immediate goal — to spread awareness of the vast potential that restoring soil carbon holds for combatting climate change.

 Nothing inspires action like hope! Our team led by Diana Donlon (CFS Soil Solutions Director) and Debbie Barker (CFS International Director) was honored to be part of the introductory remarks, where Ms. Barker congratulated the French government on this first-of-its kind soil carbon building proposal, while encouraging the Ministry to make certain that methods respecting agro-ecological integrity are at the center of the ambitious “4 per 1000” implementation framework. The formal program also featured our new four minute film, “Soil Solutions to Climate Problems” (above) narrated by best-selling author Michael Pollan. The film illustrates the concept that while too much carbon in the atmosphere is a problem, storing that carbon in the soil is a solution to multiple, inter-related problems. Reaction to the piece was extremely positive and it was shown at a variety of different events throughout the conference.

Hollywood A-listers also drew much needed attention to our climate problems and solutions. Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Redford shared insights on the power of local change through city leadership. “Mayors are a powerful group. You are the catalysts. Be bold, be courageous-the world is watching you,” DiCaprio told a crowd of city representatives. Actor-activist Adrian Grenier also joined in the climate talks. “I am actually quite encouraged by the fact that the world is coming together to unite against our greatest common enemy which is climate change and environmental destruction,” said Grenier of the conference. Alec Baldwin stated, “We’re attempting to do some serious work in terms of climate change by casting the light we can—and I’m going to call that a victory.” We could not agree more.

Kiss the Ground co-founder, musician and activist, Finian Makepeace stated, “From the overwhelming inclusion of increasing soil carbon as a means of climate mitigation to seeing “THESOILSTORY” up in lights on the Eiffel Tower, I am feeling like together we all helped bring a new message to Paris and it took off beyond our expectations.”

It is now up to each of us to continue to keep the pressure on our government to rebuild and reclaim the soil standards we need through organic and other forms of regenerative agriculture.

You can learn more about the solution under our feet on the Center For Food Safety soil page.

Also, check out this Washington Post article “A secret weapon to fight climate change: dirt” by CFS’s International Programs Director Debbie Barker and Michael Pollan.

Special thanks to our friends over at Kiss The Ground.

“I am feeling enthusiastic about the momentum gained for soils.” – Diana Donlon, Director of CFS’s Soil Solutions program