HB2998 Healthy Soils Bill – SOCAN support
Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
February 10th 2022
Chair Helm and members of the House Committee on Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources and Water:
I write as facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of over 2,000 rural Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and urge individual and collective action to address. Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and stimulate the action we wish to see. We fully understand the admonitions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that to address the climate crisis we need not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but need also to withdraw greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Although there exist a range if questionable and undemonstrated geoengineering proposals to achieve this, we also know that the most effective demonstrated mechanism involves natural climate solutions. These involve promoting the natural processes in our natural and working lands that sequester (i.e., capture and store) carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via photosynthesis.
As rural Oregonians, we consider ourselves to live on the frontlines of the climate crisis – directly and immediately in the path of the droughts, wildfires, and extreme weather events that the changing climate is imposing on all Oregonians. I write today to state SOCAN’s support for HB2998.
We understand well that in order to address the climate crisis, as a global community we must both reduce our emissions and promote the sequestration of atmospheric carbon in our natural and working lands. We are also well aware that the current conventional practice of industrial agriculture, with its mechanization and attendant use of massive amounts of chemicals, is not only leading to the emissions of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere, but also to the depletion of organic matter and the very health of our soils.
The advantage to promoting healthy soils through regenerative agriculture is that the techniques involved not only capture and store carbon, but they also promote much healthier drought tolerant soils. Indeed, farmers practicing these techniques find themselves saving money by avoiding tilling and abandoning the need for fertilizers.
It is also noteworthy that through the passage of recent bills, the federal government is also promoting regenerative agriculture with substantial funding opportunities. By charging Oregon state agencies to promote healthy soils through regenerative agriculture, the legislature would be enabling these agencies to access these funds. For rural Oregonians, HB2998 offers a win-win proposition in that the bill will bring funds to rural Oregon while simultaneously allowing rural Oregonians to contribute substantially to alleviating the climate crisis.
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