The Trials of 2020 and How Regenerative Agriculture Can Save Us

Published on: August 28, 2021

Pandemics, food insecurity, climate change, social injustice…changemakers answer our questions about the hard lessons learned from COVID-19, and essential steps forward for people and the planet.
By Maggie Jaqua

  1. COVID-19 has raised awareness about the importance of regenerative agriculture. Please discuss the most pressing issues.

Tom Newmark, Chairman, The Carbon Underground: “We have known for some time, to borrow the title of epidemiologist Dr. Rob Wallace’s recent book, that ‘Big Farms Make Big Flu.’ We have known enough to have predicted that this type of pandemic could arise, to the extent that David Quammen in his book Spillover anticipated that a breakout virus would likely emerge out of China due to human invasion of habitat and factory farming. Dr. Felicia Keesing has written, ‘All over the world there are fewer and fewer of most kinds of wild creatures and more and more domesticated creatures and humans….We’re losing wild species, but we’re doing it at the expense of increases in a very small number of species. Those domesticated species tend to be less diverse. We’re growing a lot of the same crops worldwide and raising a lot of the same animals, which makes for easier targets for pathogens. It’s much easier for them to move around.’ Simply put, this pandemic was inevitable, and it’s likely that we’ll see many other such outbreaks if we continue to grow food at the expense of biodiversity and habitat. There’s nothing like a pandemic and the breakdown of the world’s economies to focus attention. Now we’ve got to start farming in a way that reintroduces and regenerates the biodiversity that has been sacrificed at the altar of cheap food produced with little or no regard to consequences.”

Monique van Wijnbergen, Sustainability and Corporate Communication Director, Natural Habitats: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us once more how human and planetary well-being are fully connected. The dependence of our economies, business, and human well-being on nature has become even clearer. This realization increased our awareness that we need to transition to a nature-positive economy. Regenerative agriculture provides us this new pathway.”

  1. What are the biggest lessons we should take away from the crises of the past year?
    When it comes to regenerative, what can members of the natural products industry do better?

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