How important is the soil for climate change?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

A Netflix documentary produced by my countrywoman Gisele Bundchen tries to answer just that.

This is Gisele’s first work ever as a producer, but although I admire her, it wasn’t the reason I watched the documentary “Kiss the Ground” on Netflix. Actually, I wasn’t aware of this fact, until I started watching the film. What brought me there was watching a TED video called “The global movement to restore nature’s biodiversity”. Both have a very similar premise: it is possible to revert global warming by restoring the soil and planting natural vegetation.

The video from Thomas Crowther on TED is a great example of a well done scientific storytelling. It gave me much to think about and is presented in a clear and interesting way. While endless scrolling Netflix (we’ve all been there), I read the description of “Kiss the Ground” and thought of giving it a try and furthering my knowledge on the topic. I wasn’t disappointed by the star-filled documentary. It is well constructed. It shows the problem and solutions. Gives a sense of hope, but not in a way for you to think: “great, somebody else got it covered”. It invites you to reflect on the subject and do your part.

I have some reservations though. I felt that for some of the famous that appears, there is a bit more self-promotion than really adding to the story. Also, there are just so many “characters” that some parts seem completely dislocated from the whole. But in general, it was interesting seeing different people tackling the problem hands-on.

Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

The farmers are the most interesting stories, by far. They have so much knowledge, and by telling their narratives and approach to restoration agriculture we have a glimpse of how agriculture could be different. Respecting the biodiversity, ecosystem, soil, and water.

My other main concern, regards the topic of restoration, in general. It sometimes feels like an easy way out. Instead of working to protect the remaining untouched areas and fighting the multiple impacts, caused mainly by big corporations and rich countries, we are focusing on planting trees. Although Thomas Crowther does state that we should also focus on conserving what we have, that is not mentioned in “Kiss the ground”. Which I feel is a little bit dangerous, and could have easily been included.

People feel safer thinking that there’s an easy solution. But, having your own restitution farm, will not singly save the planet. The same goes for farming corals, a practice that has become more and more common. There’s a very interesting article on the topic from the Blue Marine Foundation that discusses how this is done around the world and if it is really the best solution.

On the other hand, “Kiss the ground” goes a little further than the TED talk, when it proposes a full agriculture revolution, which would indeed have an enormous impact on the environment. It presents how pervasive industrial agriculture and livestock productions are for the soil and why this is a huge problem. Additionally, how changing agriculture and animal husbandry can have an enormous positive impact on the climate catastrophe we are facing.

There’s a possibility of reversing global warming by altering how we produce our food, which will sequester large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. It can be done, but it will take a lot of political and societal will. A documentary can maybe be a push for this movement.

Check the trailer:

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