Holiday Replay–The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Climate Champion–Marissa Cuevas Flores, the American Farmland Trust, and Li’l Dicky Loves the Earth!
LI’L DICKY (AND FRIENDS) LOVE THE EARTH
Remember how we told you climate change super champion Justin Winters has had her hands in so much climate change action that one The Climate Daily couldn’t hold it all? So guess what? You know that 2019 Li’l Dicky number, Earth? Yup. That was hers too.
If you are like me, and have been living under a rock for a while, you may not have heard of it. That’s okay. We’re not alone. According to YouTube, only about 325 million of the seven plus billion people on the planet have viewed the video. “Earth” is a charity single by Lil Dicky. Justin Winters helped make it happen, bringing together some 30 artists to join in the fun:
How could I have missed that two years ago? In a Pitchfork review, Jeremy D. Larson panned “Earth” as a “terrible song” that “sounds less like a charity single and more like a theme to a downmarket Disney clone made explicitly to launder money for an offshore criminal enterprise”. Spin magazine included the song in their list of the worst songs of 2019, calling it worse than Dicky’s 2018 single “Freaky Friday“
Look, JS Bach, Duke Ellington, Beyonce, Li’l Dicky is not. But the fact that somewhere between two quarters to one billion people have heard this tune means it’s doing its job—making people aware of climate change. And that’s why Li’l Dicky is The Climate Daily’s climate change musician of the day, and that’s why his Earth matters to us.
DEEPER DIVE: YouTube
CLIMATE CHAMPION, MARISSA CUEVAS FLORES
It was just a couple of years ago that climate champion Marissa Cuevas Flores first heard the United Nations’ forecast that the third world war would be about water.
That’s the origin story behind microTERRA. It’s a company she founded to investigate and figure out how to recycle polluted freshwater and use it in aquaculture. MicroTERRA developed a microalgae system that transforms aquaculture wastewater into clean, reusable water and a sustainable animal feed. A team of other female scientists joined her, installed a pilot at scale on a fish farm in Guanajoto, Mexico and filed a patent.
MicroTERRA is not her first climate change rodeo—pardon the mixed metaphor. In 2016 Marissa founded Kitcel, a styrofoam recycling company. Previously, she worked for the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) as an energy advisor and external Senior Consultant. Marissa is a 2018 National Geographic Explorer and a 2019 Echoing Green Fellow. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Energy Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin and holds an M.Sc. in Sustainability Management from Columbia University.
For her efforts, she won a $10,000 seed money prize from The Greater Good Challenge. Seems like Marissa Cuevas Flores and microTERRA are on their way.
AMERICAN FARMLAND TRUST/REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE
When I hear the words “American Farmland Trust,” I immediately think Big Ag lobbying group. But I’d be wrong. For instance, did you know that AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement in 1980? That it’s been “been bringing agriculture and the environment together since 1980?”
IOW, the American Farmland Trust created conservation agriculture, and has been instrumental in saving hundreds of millions of acres of farmland in the US by promoting, educating, and supporting farmers on sound practices to keep land—and US farmers—healthy and productive.
Why does the AFT matter to us?
The United States is about 2.7 billion acres in size, roughly 1 billion of it used for farmland. That’s an astonishing amount of total land mass dedicated to farming. You can see why the American Farmland Trust says on its homepage, “Without farmland and ranchland, we can’t win the global fight against climate change. Our food, our water, our environment, our survival—it all depends on American agricultural land.”
Two of the most impactful projects AFT worked on was the 1996 Farm Bill. AFT was the dominant force behind the federal Farm and Ranch Protection Program and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, or ACEP. From 1996 through 2018, these programs provided $1.7 billion to purchase easements from farmers and ranchers. Along with matching funds, Agricultural Conservation Easement Program alone has resulted in the permanent protection of over 1.6 million acres of farmland and ranchland.
NATIONAL SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE COALITION
“Advancing Racial Justice and Equity through the USDA.” That’s the headline behind Joe Biden’s Executive Order 13985. The Biden Administration has a goal of pursuing a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.
So to the rescue comes the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. What is NSAC? Established in 2009, it’s an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities.
NSAC’s vision of agriculture is one where a safe, nutritious, ample, and affordable food supply is produced by a legion of family farmers who make a decent living pursuing their trade, while protecting the environment, and contributing to the strength and stability of their communities.
Why does the NSAC matter to us?
The mission is to level the playing field and give voice to sustainable and organic farmers by
- gathering input from sustainable and organic farmers and ranchers, and from a diverse group of grassroots farm, food, rural, and conservation organizations that work directly with farmers;
- by developing policy through participatory issue committees that involve NSAC member organizations and allies;
- by providing direct representation in Washington, D.C. on behalf of its membership to members of Congress, the USDA and EPA; and
- by building the power of the sustainable agriculture movement through strengthening the capacity of its member groups to promote citizen engagement in the policy process.
Some of NSAC’s most recent accomplishments include developing opportunities for sustainable agriculture research and advancing organic agriculture as well as promoting conservation, both through the 2018 Farm Bill.
DEEPER DIVE: Executive Order 13985