Kiss the Ground is an overdue antidote to the CO2 / renewables narrative, which has utterly dominated climate debate for decades now, and at this point is a rampaging financial growth machine, not needing much more promo. (Great if you’re a renewables techie or developer or investor. Ambivalent if you have a more multi-dimensional take on energy & the biosphere.)
It’s a well-made docu, narrated by Woody H, your favorite ageing stoner star, on Netflix, that should be ABCs for everyone. Hitting a lot of emotive “family” notes — not to mention Gisele Bundchen over breakfast (hey, whatever it takes for traffic!) — 5M views to date, hopefully a popular touchstone going forward.
Political activists take note – there is a strategic crossover happening here between conservative-leaning ranchers who are concerned about climate and #Cowspiracy, with RegenAg folk. Needless to say, ranchers don’t want their livelihoods impeded by carbon regulation. If this convergence can be unfolded and grown creatively, and if the Dems are smart enough to upgrade their Green New Deal platform (see our two posts here and here)… there could be an important pivot or shift in the Red/Blue country/city dynamic.
For folks in & around “Sustainability,” many of the themes & memes will be familiar already — but what is happening here are the edgier new arguments and refinements of ecosystem and climate research, now popularized. Members of the 25K-strong Soil4Climate FB group have been hashing through all this for a few years.
But because the CO2 / renewables thing has been so massive — and because the MSM just ain’t very smart — much of this will be new for a lot of viewers:
Microbiome. Soil / gut microbiome linkage. No Till Ag. Dust-Bowl. Haber-Bosch Process, How pesticides were developed by Nazi Chemists, & after the war shipped over into US Ag. Synthetic pesticides and nutrients bad, of course (without addressing the key question of whether small organic family farming can effectively feed the world). #RegenAg, bumping out the utterly fuzzy and now 100% coopted “Sustainability” as a movement banner. Microbiome microbiome microbiome. Permaculture evoked, but not explained. The water cycle argument (W. Jehne, others) — Evapo-transpiration representing 40% of the macro water cycle, #BioticPump hinted at. Allan Savory the free-range-bovines-guru gets lots of facetime with a cute activisty / actor guy – cows can be a force for climate good – contra the #Cowspiracy argument – if they are allowed to range freely on “holistically managed land”. Paul Hawken promoting his Drawdown book. Stunning success of the Loess Plateau regeneration project in China.
There were two new pieces of info:
The French 4 per 1000 Initiative – a quantititative framework that aims to improve soil carbon around the world, enough to sequester as much CO2 as is being put into the atmosphere by industry annually. Having a common target to reach for, without it being formulated as a mandate of any kind, makes sense. Here’s an explainer clip:
The other novel item: We should have known this, but apparently the USDA guarantees minimum prices for farmers to produce animal feed. Thus, a huge percentage of US industrial ag production goes to nothing but feeding cattle stashed by the zillions in horrific CAFO operations. US farmers are literally guaranteed a basic income to produce feed for cattle, that are most definitely not “out on the range”. I had heard rumors of something like this, but not so clearly spelled out. This is where Kiss the Ground productively converges with the factory farming critiques of Cowspiracy.
It will be interesting to hear a debate.
Hear hear to the soil microbiome!
More relevant Neelu posts: