Using soil to sink carbon may be our planet’s best hope to combat climate change

Agriculture, with its unique ability to sequester carbon on, as Carl Sagan might say, billions and billions of acres, is the only industry poised to reverse global warming. Improved management of cropping and grazing heals land, boosts soil fertility, prevents flooding, enhances drought resilience, increases the nutritional content of food and restores wildlife habitat — while sequestering carbon.

Reforestation, too, plays a key role in the biological solution for clean water and climate change. Trees are an integral part of the water cycle and lock up carbon that would otherwise be warming the planet. As well, they provide habitat to birds and mammals.

For too long, we’ve been diminishing the quality of our land, waterways and atmosphere through agricultural practices that degrade soil. Fortunately, alternatives are available. The growing scientific and policy consensus is that improving soil to retain rainfall and capture carbon makes sense for everyone. Vermont’s leadership in this agricultural revolution, capitalizing on the environmental and market opportunities it provides, makes ecological and fiscal sense.

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