Fighting Climate Change with Healthy Soils

Did you know that healthy soils are able to store atmospheric CO2, one of the harmful greenhouse gases responsible for climate change? Despite this amazing capability, since the industrial revolution, up to 70 percent of carbon stored in the soil has been lost to the atmosphere. Intense farmland management, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are some of the main causes why soils are losing their ability to store carbon. This development is particularly concerning given the fact that the agricultural sector is currently the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases sector, with emissions projected to increase 15 % above 2010 levels by 2030, amounting to nearly 7 billion tonnes per year.

What can be done to stop this? Today, the role of soil organic carbon is receiving increasing attention, not only as a source of CO2 emissions but as a natural sink for carbon which can reduce atmospheric CO2 and help achieve the global target of the Paris Climate Agreement. According to a study published in Scientific Reports, better management of farmland soil might be a crucial step to mitigating climate change, as it increases the amount of carbon stored in the top 30 centimetres of the soil by an extra 0.9 to 1.85 gigatons each year. This enables the soil to remove around 3 – 7 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere – more than the 5 billion tons of CO2 the US emits each year!

You as a consumer can help make a change by avoiding conventionally produced foods and supporting improved crop management practices—such as organic, non-synthetic pesticides and fertilizers like neem— that restore degraded lands and turn soils into carbon sinks that sequester significant amounts of carbon which would otherwise be lost in the atmosphere. Not only do neem-based crop care solutions help the environment, they also provide you with more nutrient-rich foods that are safe for the soil, water, pollinators, and you!