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Playlist: Bioneers for Radio

Compiled By: KQUA

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Produced by Creative PR

Most recent piece in this series:

BIONEERS The Golden Rule: Restoring the Earth by Restoring Human Dignity

From Creative PR | Part of the BIONEERS series | 28:30

Bioneersconference_small This sample episode is from the current series of BIONEERS. Could Western civilization?s oldest ethical instructions of the Golden Rule hold acute relevance to our planetary environmental crisis? Could restoring respect for human beings be the key to restoring the health of the planet? Author Paul Hawken has been tracking the rapid proliferation of nonprofit, non-governmental organizations around the world. It boils down to this: Taking care of nature means taking care of people, and taking care of people means taking care of nature. ?It is the first time a movement understands that honoring the web of life is integral to compassion, as integral as addressing poverty and violence and oppression.? ? Paul Hawken

Bioneers - Revolution From the Heart of Nature (Series)

Produced by Bioneers

Most recent piece in this series:

03-18: Climbing Out of the Man Box: What Does Healthy Manhood Look Like?, 6/5/2024

From Bioneers | Part of the Bioneers - Revolution From the Heart of Nature series | 28:30

Kevin_powell_075_-_wo_small There is a growing movement to redefine manhood, and to address ways that violence is baked into our cultural expectations of masculinity. Courageous, visionary men are rising to the challenge. One of those men is activist, writer and public speaker Kevin Powell. In this half-hour, Powell boldly and bravely discusses his experiences with toxic masculinity and his journey to redefine what it means to be a man.

The Clash of Civilizations: Liberation Ecology and the New Superpower

From Bioneers | Part of the Bioneers Radio Series 6 series | 28:28

There is indeed a clash of civilizations today, between a sustainable civilization and a disposable one.

Paul__hawken_small Author and social entrepreneur Paul Hawken identifies a new superpower: the mighty river of global popular movements with real solutions. He tracks the unprecedented phenomenon of this biggest movement in the history of the world, the diverse face of a rising new culture of restoration, of reconciliation, of healing.

The End of Sustainability: The Environment As a Human Right

From Bioneers | Part of the Bioneers Radio Series 4 series | 28:31

A healthy environment is not just a biological issue, but also a fundamental human right.

Image_mini_small Acclaimed social entrepreneur and author Paul Hawken proposes that we need to go far beyond "sustainability" as a guiding principle and dare to create a restorative economic system founded in social equity and power for all.

Indigeneity: Becoming Native, Staying Native

From Bioneers | Part of the Bioneers Radio Series 4 series | 28:29

What would life be like if we could hear the land ask us to be a certain way, a way that leads us and the Earth back to wholeness and health?

Image_mini_small Native American activists, educators, and leaders Jeannette Armstrong, Leslie Gray, and Katsi Cook share an inspiring Earth-honoring vision of what it means to "re-indigenize" ourselves.

Indigenous Peace Technologies: The Ancient Art of Getting Along

From Bioneers | Part of the Bioneers - Revolution From the Heart of Nature series | 28:30

How do we create peace? What can we learn from indigenous societies who have addressed this profound question over thousands of years?

Indigenous_peace_technologies_small From North America to the Kalahari, Jeannette Armstrong, Marlowe Sam, Evan Pritchard, Kxao=Oma and Megan Biesele share powerful stories of how indigenous social technologies have succeeded in resolving conflict, and still are.

Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, Interview with David Montgomery

From Martha Baskin | 05:54

Lede: From the Romans through the US Dust Bowl to today's conventional industrial agriculture, great societies that abused their land risked famine and often downfall. In his most recent book, Growing A Revolution, Bringing Our Soil Back to Health, David Montgomery, a MacArthur Fellow and geomorphology professor at the University of Washington, offers an optimistic look at how regenerative farming can revive the world's soil, increase food production, boost cost effectiveness,and slow climate change.


Narration: If you look from the 40,000 foot philosophical level at what defines modern conventional agriculture, says David Montgomery, three things stand out: intensive plowing which requires fuel; agro-chemicals, fertilizer and pesticides; and monoculture, only growing one or two crops. All work to degrade the fertility of the land over the long run, says Montgomery. “BUT IF YOU LOOK FORWARD AND THINK WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE AGRICULTURE OF TOMORROW WHEN THINGS LIKE DIESEL, LIKE NITROGEN FERTILIZERS, BECOME MORE AND MORE EXPENSIVE IN A WORLD WHERE WE WANT TO PUT LESS CARBON INTO THE ATMOSPHERE, IF WE CAN; WE NEED TO FIGURE OUT DIFFERENT WAYS TO GROW A LOT OF HEALTHY FOOD.” The stakes are high: soil degradation has already devastated a third of the world's cropland and triggered environmental, humanitarian and political crises.


Through fieldwork spanning three decades and six continents, Montgomery, a geomor-phologist, found the answer is right beneath our feet, regenerative farming practices to restore soil health and fertility. In visits with farmers in the Midwest, Ghana and Costa Rica, he was thrilled to find many who were “growing a revolution,” the title of his book, and showing how to farm in a different way. All took the principles of conventional agriculture and turned them on their head, “TO DITCH THE PLOW, TO COVER THE GROUND UP WITH COVER CROPS INCLUDING THINGS THAT ADD CARBON AND NITROGEN TO THE SOIL AS PART OF THEIR CROP ROTATIONS AND TO GROW THREE, FOUR OR MORE DIFFERENT CROPS IN THEIR FIELDS IN A MORE COMPLEX ROTATION”, to rebuild soil fertility. Constant plowing disturbs microbes and organic matter critical for soil health while a cover crops biomass rebuilds microbes.


Gabe Brown, a farmer in North Dakota, adopted the full suite of regenerative or conservation agriculture practices and took it to another level. Brown uses cows to accelerate the breakdown of biomass by integrating them with cover cropping and growing grains and vegetables. When cows are allowed to graze on cover crops and moved frequently, they can have a positive impact on the landscape. Cows are basically four-legged fermentation tanks, explains Montgomery. When they graze on stubble from a cover crop, they're feeding microbes in their own fermentation tank or gut. The waste products from the microbes are excreted into the soil. “SO THE MICROBES ARE TURNING THAT GRASS INTO FUEL TO POWER THE COW AND THE COW POOP RETURNS THOSE ELEMENTS BACK TO THE SOIL WHERE THE FUNGI AND THE MICRA AND THE BACTERIA BREAK THAT STUFF DOWN SO NEW PLANTS CAN TAKE IT BACK UP AND YOU JUST KEEP THE CYCLE GOING.” Mycorrhyzal fungi are communities of bacteria that plants have partnered with ever since plants came out of the seas and colonized the continents. “THE VERY FIRST FOSSILS WE HAVE OF PLANTS HAVE MICROFUNGI INTERTWINED WITH THEIR ROOTS. THESE ARE PARTNERSHIPS THAT GO WAY BACK IN HISTORY.”//

Organic matter in Gabe Brown's soil tripled over the course of twenty-two years from when he first started regenerative farming. By then his farm was doing so well he could afford chemical fertilizers and decided to use them on occasion. He conducted side by side field trials. Much to his surprise he got equal or greater yields with no fertilizers. Now he relies on legumes to provide nitrogen to the grass and the mycorrhyzal fungi intertwined in the grasses to provide phosphorus to the legumes. Changing the grazing practices of his cows, also brought native plants back from the brink and attracted more native wildlife, including bees. Honey is one of Brown's cash crops.


Regenerative farming practices also park carbon in the land. Intensive plowing speeds up the microbial decomposition of organic matter in the soil, draws down the stock of natural carbon and puts it in the atmosphere. The use of cover crops and farmyard manure keeps the carbon in the soil. Again David Montgomery. “THIS IS BENEFICIAL NOT ONLY FOR THE FERTILITY OF THE LAND BUT IT TAKES CARBON OUT OF THE ATMOSPHERE AND PUTS IT BACK IN THE GROUND WHERE IT AT LEAST IS TEMPORARILY STORED IN A PLACE WHERE IT' MUCH BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT THAN IF IT WAS IN THE ATMOSPHERE.” Since the start of mechanized agriculture, North America's tilled fields have lost more than 40% of their original soil organic matter. Refilling the world's largest terrestrial reservoir of carbon – soil- says Montgomery, offers a way to not only offset a portion of global CO2 emissions but reduce the effects of climate change on crop yields. //// Studies at Ohio State University estimate that regenerative farming could put enough carbon back into soils to offset 15% of global fossil fuel emissions. “THAT ESTIMATE IS A VERY CONSERVATIVE ONE. IT'S ON THE LOW END OF WHAT ONE CAN DO.”


The Rodale Institute, founded in 1947 to study the link between healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people, think the world's grazing lands could offset a much higher percentage. In a 2014 report, “Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change” they think regenerative farming could offset as much as 71% of global emissions.“IF WE CAN PULL OFF THIS TRANSITION OF CONVERTING CONVENTIONAL AGRICULTURE TO CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE, TO THESE MORE REGENERATIVE PRACTICES, IT WOULD BE TRULY REVOLUTIONARY.” David Montgomery's book, Growing a Revolution, Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, will be out in paperback later this year. -0-


This story was brought to you with support from the Human Links Foundation. Engineering by Daniel Guenther. From the studios of the Jack Straw Cultural Center this is Martha Baskin.