Opinion | Susan Knopf: Earth Day every day | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: Earth Day every day

Earth Day may be in your rear view mirror, but you can celebrate Earth Day every day. Wonder how?

Summit Colorado Interfaith Council will screen the award-winning film, “The Need to Grow,” at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 30, in the Finkel Auditorium at Colorado Mountain College. You can get your questions answered by experts after the film.

I strongly recommend you see this film. It’s about hope and possibilities. You can view it online, but you’ll miss the opportunity to find out what’s happening here in Summit County.

The film starts with 6-year-old Brownie Girl Scout Alicia Serratos. She is on a food journey with her mother Monica. She discovers Girl Scout cookies are made with GMOs — genetically modified organisms.

For the record, there’s a lot of confusion about GMOs. The National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine says, “Scientists take the gene for a desired trait in one plant or animal, and they insert that gene into a cell of another plant or animal.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture prefers the term “genetically engineered.” Thousands of genetically engineered crops are approved for the field. Cotton, corn, soy beans and potatoes are some of the most popular genetically engineered crops approved by USDA. 

I’m not an expert. I suspect people are conflating genetically engineered crops with herbicide-tolerant crops. Herbicide-tolerant crops are designed to work with glyphosate and other strong herbicides. According to National Institutes of Health research, glyphosate can be linked to Parkinson’s disease, cancer, prion and disruptions in the gut, among other diseases.

Herbicides kill. The word literally means kill plants. Herbicides kill all the beneficial organisms in the soil.

“The Need to Grow” explores what soil is and how it sustains us. The film shows us how we can be a part of restoring soil health.

Tom Koehler is the Director of Climate Action at Friends of the Lower Blue River here in Summit County. He will be one of several knowledgeable experts available to speak to locals who attend the film.

Friends of the Lower Blue River is beginning Phase 2 of its Safe Soils Climate Resiliency Initiative. Last year the organization hired consultants to test soils at four local ranches in the Lower Blue River Valley. This year they will begin prescriptions to improve soil health, promote better water retention and capture more carbon.

Koehler wrote me, “we work diligently with private landowners to improve the health of their soil starting this year with dynamic natural climate solutions. We will focus initially this summer on forested woodland and underappreciated shrubland with mycelium solutions to bolster soil health for water, wildlife and carbon capture.”

Koehler said “The Need to Grow” is an “inspiring and collaborative effort.” He said Friends of the Lower Blue River is proud to be part of the community event to share its vision for natural climate solutions. 

“The Need to Grow” asserts “Regenerative agriculture can feed the world and save the planet from climate change.” 

According to the makers of the film, “One tablespoon of healthy soil contains six billion microorganisms.” That’s what we lose when we apply pesticides in our yards.

The filmmakers tell us, “You cannot feed the world from dead soil.”

Makes sense to me.

Michael Smith, the inventor of biochar tells the viewer, “The top priority is to repair the soil.” He says we need to shift from “death harvest based economy to life based economy.”

Think about it. We grow ears of corn and then cut it down. What if we focused on more regenerative life cycles? The film introduces us to innovators who are doing just that.

You will have a chance to explore these new frontiers and discuss these new opportunities with: representatives from Friends of the Lower Blue River, High Country Sierra Club, Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance, Rotary Club of Summit County, Minimal Impact Shop, Friends of Dillon Ranger District,  High Country Conservation.

Julie Wright, vice president of the Summit Colorado Interfaith Council led a student project to make seed tapes. You’ll see how that works, and how you might apply it to your own garden.

A big take away for me, a message I also got from another award-winning film, Woody Harrelson’s Kiss the Ground, “Industrial agriculture is destroying the soil.”  We can do our part to address climate change by making just a few changes.

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