“Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy.” Vandana Shiva, Regeneration International Co-Founder.
In September 2014, at the massive Climate March in New York City, a small but determined band of organic food, farm, natural health, and climate activists, including the leaders of the OCA and Mercola.com marched in the streets and held a press conference at the Rodale Institute in Manhattan, where we announced the formation of a new global network: Regeneration International (RI).
The ambitious, stated goal of Regeneration International was to “change the global conversation” on food, farming and climate.
Our strategy was (and is) to inspire and mobilize the global grassroots with the revolutionary message that the climate crisis can be solved, in fact, that global warming and its collateral damage to public health, the environment, biodiversity, and economic livelihoods, can actually be reversed through a global scaling up of organic and regenerative best practices in combination with energy conservation and a transition to renewable energy.
RI’s world-changing vision, then and now, is based upon the actual best practices (and potential for expansion) of organic, biodynamic, and regenerative farmers, ranchers, land, forest, and marine stewards across the globe.
The Regeneration Movement believes that a powerful combination of renewable energy and conservation, supercharged with a regenerative transformation of our food, farming, and land-use practices, is the best and actually the only way to solve our climate emergency and our related public health, environmental, and political crises.
Regenerating Food and Politics
We believe that a global awakening and mobilization as laid out in my 2020 book, “Grassroots Rising,”1 based upon the principles and practices of regenerative food, farming and land-use, has the awesome potential to inspire and provoke a multipartisan, multinational, populist movement — Democrat, independent and Republican; liberal, radical, conservative and libertarian; rancher, farmer and indigenous; urban and rural; consumer and farmer; North and South.
Once established, a new multipartisan, transnational Regeneration Movement will have the power to “make the Big Ag, Big Food, and Big Oil/Fossil Fuel polluters pay” and stimulate a massive transfer (divestment) of government and private capital away from degenerative practices (unhealthy, highly-processed food, factory farms, GMO seeds, chemical and energy-intensive agriculture, soil and environmental degradation, and rampant deforestation) to regenerative practices instead.2
Instead of destroying the Earth, undermining public health, and impoverishing rural communities with “business and politics as usual,” we must instead embark on a local-to-global transformation. We must identify best practices and move or free up the funds to scale these best practices up to critical mass.
A Regeneration Revolution will require us to revitalize and recarbonize our soils and vegetation; rehydrate our deserts and semi-arid lands;3 rejuvenate our forests; nurture soil fertility; stop erosion; recharge our ground water and aquifers; restore our wildlife and pollinizer habitats; and preserve and restore our marine eco-systems.
This Great Regeneration, alongside a renewable energy revolution, will restabilize the climate by reducing greenhouse gas pollution and drawing down excess CO2 (currently 419 ppm) from the atmosphere, returning this excess carbon to where it belongs, in our soils and landscapes, utilizing the miraculous power of human stewardship, animal husbandry and natural photosynthesis.
This regeneration of our lands and environment, in turn, will help us restore our natural immune systems and revitalize public health (both physical and mental), bring together our fractured body politic, restore rural economic livelihoods, create jobs and reduce the economic pressures that bring about forced migration.
State of the Regeneration Movement
Seven years after the New York City Climate March, the Regeneration Movement has succeeded, to some extent, in changing the conversation surrounding food, farming, and climate, but we have utterly failed to build a multipartisan, multinational movement strong enough to change public policy and private investment.
Atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping CO2 reached a disturbing 397 parts per million in 2014, when RI was founded, and have since climbed to an alarming 419 ppm.
Yes, it is true that regenerative agriculture is the most talked about new concept in food, farming and climate circles, but it is in danger of being watered down, dumbed down and coopted by corporate agribusiness and carbon credit profiteers and greenwashers, as evidenced most recently at COP-26, the U.N. Global Climate Summit, in Glasgow.4
Unfortunately, the “progressive,” urban-based climate action movement has apparently still not understood or fully embraced regenerative principles and practices. Climate change action leaders are still talking almost exclusively about eliminating fossil fuels in the time frame we have left to avoid catastrophe, with little mention of the Great Drawdown of regenerative farming and land use that must accompany a renewable energy revolution if we are to restore climate stability.
The Death of a Regenerative ‘Green New Deal’
Media coverage of regenerative food and farming, both mainstream and alternative, has certainly increased since 2014, but serious public interest in Regeneration, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, has waned.
Although concern over personal and societal health and nutrition has increased, as evidenced by increasing sales of organic and local food and dietary supplements, and the practice of cooking at home since the onset of COVID, the Green New Deal (GND) Resolution in Congress (with its positive advocacy of regenerative food and farming) is dead, at least for the foreseeable future.
The idea of a GND has now become not much more than a limited partisan program, supported by climate activists and a minority of Democrats in the Congress. Even worse, the World Economic Forum and advocates for a Great Reset have attempted to hijack GND language and concepts as part of their technocratic and authoritarian agenda.5
Potential rural and farmer support for a regenerative GND evaporated after the Democratic Party Establishment shoved aside Bernie Sanders, the only presidential candidate in 2020 with a grasp of how a GND with an emphasis on regenerative food and farming could revitalize family farms, public health, and create rural jobs and economic prosperity.
Unfortunately, Sanders, after being slandered and marginalized by the mass media and the Democratic Party establishment joined ranks with the Biden administration on pandemic policies, offering no real alternative to the Democratic Party’s panic-mongering and profiteering, despite decades of Sanders attacking Big Pharma, Wall Street, and military madness.
As COVID Dwindles, Pressing Issues Are Being Ignored
The Biden Administration has utterly destroyed its political credibility, just as the Trump administration did before them, by siding with Big Pharma, “Warp Speed gene transfer vaccines,” and Silicon Valley, failing to “stop the panic” engendered by the disinformation and censorship campaign of the Vaccine Industrial Complex, the mass media, and hyper-partisan Democrats surrounding the pandemic.
Democrats (and the Republicans before them) and the White House, have basically failed to articulate the independent and nuanced science regarding the real, though relative virulence, of SARS-CoV-2, the importance of natural acquired immunity, the minimal risk for youth and healthy adults and the need for “focused protection” (vitamin D supplementation, dietary changes, and the use of preexisting low-cost generic drugs like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin) of the most vulnerable, while avoiding lockdowns, school closures, unnecessary and destructive masking, and mandates.
Both administrations ignored or down-played the lab origins of COVID-19, (although Trump at times titillated his base by using rhetoric such as the “Chinese virus,” meanwhile continuing his administration’s bi-partisan “free trade,” business as usual with the Chinese), the global cover-up of the obvious lab release and the role of U.S. and Pentagon funding and scientific collaboration.
Trump and Biden both flip-flopped back and forth on the obvious Wuhan lab origins and cover-up of COVID, no doubt because they were (and are) more interested in maintaining “business as usual” in their relations with Big Pharma and China, rather than putting an end to the dangerous weaponizing of viruses and pathogens in unregulated and accident-prone labs, a mad science that continues unabated, not only in the U.S. and China, but across the world.
Please sign our petition here to Stop Weaponizing Pathogens, so-called “Gain-of-Function” research.
Both Trump and Biden allowed Anthony Fauci, Francis Collins, Bill Gates and Big Pharma to set policy, and rejected (Biden) or downplayed (Trump) the independent scientists and doctors advocating prevention, early treatment, healthy food, vitamin D supplementation and natural or “herd” immunity (youth, those in good health, and those previously recovered from COVID-19).
Both administrations basically stood by as Fauci, Gates, media monopolies and Silicon Valley slandered and censored early treatment and/or prevention of COVID-19,6 utilizing off-patent, inexpensive generic drugs such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, and nutritional supplements.
Instead, both Trump (who initially spoke out on hydroxychloroquine, but then went silent) and Biden regurgitated vaccine profiteer propaganda, claiming that “Warp Speed,” rushed-to-market, experimental “vaccines” would stop the pandemic.
At the present time a critical mass of Americans, especially Democrats, still continue to be inordinately preoccupied (or brainwashed) by the misleading official narrative on Omicron, the latest, highly transmissible, but relatively harmless variant of SARS-CoV-2.
Pressing issues are being ignored or downplayed, such as America’s chronic disease epidemic and deteriorating public health, massive injuries and deaths from the experimental COVID “vaccines,” the climate crisis, environmental pollution, the pending economic meltdown, threats of war against Russia, the virtual Civil War among the body politic, the shredding of the Constitution, and the fact that millions of working class, middle-class, rural, minority, and young people have been forced into poverty, psychological despair, or economic hardship by the collateral damage and bungled/authoritarian government responses to the pandemic.
However, the U.S. and global media-manipulated anxiety and mass psychosis is likely to diminish significantly over the next few months as the dominant, far less virulent Omicron variant spreads across the globe and engenders large-scale natural (herd) immunity.
Countries across the world are already starting to lift their pandemic restrictions and mandates and focus on other pressing issues. Hopefully we can force U.S. politicians and policy makers from local school boards all the way to the White House, to do the same.
The Establishment Liberal Agenda Self-Destructs
As the Biden administration self-destructs because of its “business as usual” politics and its disastrous and authoritarian handling of the COVID crisis, the Republican Party is poised to take back control over Congress and the White House in 2022-24, as well as many local and state governments.
Even though a GOP Congress will hopefully reverse the dictates of our bio-medical security state, especially as the pandemic winds down, we must keep in mind that most Republican politicians are still as routinely compromised by the fossil fuel industry, the Pentagon, Wall Street, Big Pharma, and corporate agribusiness as the Democrats.
Neither party seems to be able to “connect the dots” between the climate crisis, Big Ag’s toxic food, the decline of family farms and rural communities, deforestation, a polluted environment, deteriorating public health, a chronic disease epidemic, and our continuing vulnerability to engineered pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2.
Unfortunately, climate activists, such as the Sunrise Movement in the U.S. or Extinction Rebellion in the E.U., and media personalities, such as Greta Thunberg or Alexandria Cortez-Ocasio, have utterly failed to integrate regenerative food, farming, and land use into their core messaging about solving the climate crisis.
As a result, the climate movement largely failed to gain rural and bipartisan (i.e., both Republican and Democratic voter) support for a Green New Deal in the crucial period of 2018 to 2020, when polls showed massive public support for a GND that could both fix the climate and rejuvenate the economy, both rural and urban.
In addition, none of the leading candidates for president in 2020, except for Bernie Sanders,7 really pushed the GND, much less the regenerative component of the Green New Deal in their outreach to farmers, rural communities, and health, organic, and climate conscious consumers.
Although Regeneration proponents including RI were able to successfully lobby the Sunrise Movement into including wording on regenerative farming and land use in the Green New Deal Resolution in 2019, supported by over 100 Democrats in the Congress, climate action leaders never gave regenerative agriculture the emphasis and focus it needed.
Thus the bipartisan coalition that RI organized, called Farmers and Ranchers for a Green New Deal, never achieved its goal of uniting rural farmers, urban consumers, students, and climate-motivated voters into a powerful bipartisan united front.
Although there have been setbacks, especially on the political front, for the Regeneration Movement, we intend to push forward. In 2022 and beyond OCA, RI and our allies will continue our efforts to educate and mobilize the body politic, across party lines and the rural-urban divide, to understand the importance of moving organic and agro-ecological food and farming to its next stage, which we call regenerative organic.
Beyond general education, we will also step up our efforts to locate, map,8 publicize, promote and raise funds9 for regenerative and organic best practices around the world, developing models for how to implement and scale-up best practices such as our Mexico-based agave agroforestry system for arid and semi-arid areas, rainforest restoration and agroforestry in Latin America and Asia, regenerative “tree-range” poultry and holistic grazing in North America and overseas, and ocean farming, among others.
A major priority for OCA and RI will be to continue working with the Hudson Carbon Project10 to develop scientifically-verifiable data and criteria for genuine carbon sequestration (both above and below ground), ecosystem restoration, and poverty eradication for regenerative and organic farming and land-use practices.
We believe this is the best way to move beyond greenwashing and bogus carbon credits and carbon trading, and to generate a critical mass of public funding and private investment that can pay millions of farmers, ranchers, and land managers across the world a fair price to scale-up regenerative and organic best practices across the globe.
Stay tuned. OCA, RI, and Dr. Mercola will be talking a lot more about scaling-up organic, biodynamic and regenerative food and farming best practices in the future.