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Climate Change and GROW BIOINTENSIVE

Climate Change and GROW BIOINTENSIVE Booklet Cover

This is an excerpt from the Ecology Action Perspective Climate Change and GROW BIOINTENSIVE. To read the complete article click here (for Spanish click here).

If the GB method were used properly and throughout the world, this approach has the capacity to reduce climate change by 50%, and more.

Air Pollution smokestacks Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are greenhouse
gases. Photo CCOOver the past 200 years, since the beginning of the industrial age, we have been burning fossil fuels, cutting down trees and producing livestock at unprecedented rates. As a result, the levels of greenhouse gases—such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide—in the atmosphere have increased dramatically from preindustrial levels. These greenhouse gases trap solar radiation, just like the glass panes in a greenhouse, and warm the planet. This is good to some extent, since that warmth allows life as we know it to flourish. But as the level of greenhouse gases gets higher, more solar radiation is trapped, and the temperature of the planet increases to levels we have never experienced. The September global surface temperature has been increasing at an average rate of 0.06°C (0.11°F) per decade.1

As temperatures get hotter, crop yields generally decline, as crops are not designed to thrive under these conditions.

Rainfall patterns shift, causing more droughts, flooding and other catastrophic weather-related events, which will lead to regional food shortages and famine.

Finally, with increased temperature, polar ice caps begin melting, causing dramatic rises in sea levels, flooding of coastal cities, loss of land through erosion, salinization and contamination of drinking waters and soils.

What does this mean to human health? While it is challenging to precisely measure the health effects attributable to climate change, each of these effects Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are greenhouse gases. Photo : CCO has significant negative consequences. Combined they become catastrophic on an unprecedented global scale that threatens life as we know it.

It can feel overwhelming. But then we ask: what can we do? Some people respond by saying that this type of warming is just a natural cycle, that activities like burning fossil fuels, deforestation and livestock production have nothing to do with global warming and climate change, and there isn't much we can do about it anyway.

GB Garden Beds at The Jeavons Center. Plants take in carbon dioxide and use it to form their stems, leaves, roots and flowersMany farmers and gardeners know there is something we can do. We know that plants take in carbon dioxide from the air and use the carbon to form their stems, leaves, roots and flowers. When the plant is harvested, we can put that carbon into the soil. So, if we farm in a way that maximizes the amount of carbon captured in our crops, and return as much of that carbon to the soil as possible, we can effectively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil.

Our current food system is responsible for 19%–29% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributable to humans.2 Conventional intensive tillage and conventional fertilizer usage need to be minimized. Livestock production needs to be minimized. We must increase crop production on our currently available agricultural land, and reduce or halt deforestation. How can we do these things and still feed ourselves and our growing population? GROW BIOINTENSIVE ® (GB) offers some real solutions.

  • GB is a complete food-growing system that requires no fossil fuels, uses simple people-powered tools and open-pollinated seeds, making it a system that anyone on the planet can use. It has been successfully used in over 140 countries for more than four decades, and much longer in some cases.
  • GB food production uses close spacing, farmproduced compost, double-digging as needed for cultivation and minimal inputs of organic fertilizers to balance the soil's nutrients.
  • With GB we can produce two to four times the yields in the same area because GB-managed soil can support four times as many plants per unit of area.

GB techniques have demonstrated energy production efficiency. Research in onion production indicated an energy efficiency ratio of 51.0, meaning for every calorie expended from direct and embodied energy, 51 calories were produced.3 In US mechanized agriculture, onion production has an efficiency ratio of 0.9.4 Similar work in flour corn showed GB to be 16 times more energy efficient than conventional production. Much of the energy used in GB is renewable. This combination of renewable energy, and dramatic energy- use reduction through efficiency, results in a significant reduction of greenhouse gases and the global warming they cause.

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