How These Farmers Are Confronting the Climate Crisis | NowThis

How These Farmers Are Confronting the Climate Crisis | NowThis

– Average temperatures of the
globe is continuing to go up— which, by the way, is a
consensus. It’s 99.9% scientists are on the
same page about this now. – 20 years ago, I was
preaching that it was a hoax. When you get out of your
own backyard, and you talk to people, and you get to
see things around the world, it changes your whole perspective. – The fact of the matter is that 90% of the climate scientists
in the world agree that climate change is caused by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I think this is a crisis. [solemn music] These bins are all destroyed. They aren’t recoverable at all. The grain is all ruined. – [Narrator] Richard Oswald
grows corn and soybeans in Rock Port, Missouri. His house was destroyed by the
worst flooding the Midwest had seen in generations. – [Reporter] From Nebraska to Wisconsin, historic river flooding. – [Man] It’s the kind of floodwater
that’s taking away roads, bridges, buildings, anything in its path. – What the farm would normally look like. [suspenseful music] I had convinced myself
that the water levels here would be the same throughout
any normal flood, but the sad fact of the matter is that there’s not a normal flood anymore. Weather fluctuations in
general have changed a lot, and they’re getting worse and worse. I think this is a crisis. – [Narrator] And he’s not the
only one who feels that way. – After the flood, more
people are certainly open to climate change as
something that’s real now. – [Narrator] Graham Christensen works on his family’s farm in Nebraska. For years, he’s tried to
convince other farmers to start paying attention
to the climate crisis and that big agriculture
is partially to blame. – 2005 and ’06 was when
I started getting woke to the climate change issue. As I learned more and got more data, I felt stronger and stronger
about we need to do something and that the farmers
held a lot of the tools that needed to be a critical
part of reduction of emissions. – [Narrator] This fall, Graham and hundreds of other
farmers across the country signed a joint letter to Congress, urging them to consider
the Green New Deal. – We, as farmers, can help
define how that actually looks in federal policy, Green New Deal or
whatever, you know, that may take. – [Narrator] Today, Graham
is driving to see his friend, Scott Olson, who farms nearby. – The Olsons are about the
epitome of what real Nebraska, real America’s all about— longstanding, generational family. I appreciate them because
they’re open-minded. They catch on to things. – [Narrator] The Olsons
agree to sit down with Graham over lunch to discuss climate
change and the Green New Deal. – I look at the Olsons as people that other people look up to in the area, and when people like that start, you know, entertaining those discussions, things are gonna happen quicker. – We have talked very little
about this Green New Deal. I guess it’s on the internet. I’ve never taken the time—
or had the time lately, I guess—to look it up and go through it. Mostly what I hear is on radio, see on TV, sounded like a crazy deal. I don’t know if the
Green New Deal’s gonna be our savior or our route out
here for, for this stuff, but looking for a federal
policy platform to amplify the importance of creating
an incentive-based and a market-based program to help farmers take the risk off of transitioning into some of these practices
that are scientifically proven to reduce greenhouse gases. – [Narrator] The practice
Graham is referring to is regenerative farming. The basic idea is that a
variety of seasonal crops grown without chemical fertilizer are better able to pull
carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil. This is one of the goals
of the Green New Deal when it comes to farming. Here you can see the difference. On the left is a regenerative field that has a variety of lush
crops with nutrient-rich soil, while the field on the
right is conventional with bare soil, which doesn’t
store as much carbon or water. – So starting to embrace the ecosystem and work with nature, instead
of always trying to work against nature. – [Narrator] This is a big deal because about 1/4 of the
world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. – Agriculture is now neck
and neck with fossil fuels as the largest discharger. – I believe more in the
climate cycles, I guess, than I do in climate change. What Mother Nature did
to us this March was once in a, I shouldn’t say—hell, probably once in a lifetime. – 99.9% scientists are on
the same page about this now. So if that 99% of scientists are right, one of the more cautious,
conservative things for us to do is be able to embrace this, get out in front of the situation, and become a part of the solution. – How are you gonna convince
communist nations in India, all these other countries
who are the worst polluters and will never cooperate, and what we do would
make a very little change in the whole scheme of the entire Earth? – I always think they, like, look
at us as, like, leaders, you know? At some point, like, someone’s just gotta say, ‘Let’s put a value on this,
let’s create this commodity, and let’s shift, because it’s the right thing to do, and we know it, and we
know the science is there.’ And if our country were to take the lead and actually start creating
opportunity out of this, then they’re gonna look at it and be like, ‘Oh, we’re missing out on this
whole explosive industry.’ – I see where you’re going with this and what you’re wanting to do. One of the things you’re
gonna have to do is to create a market for that. In the meantime, we gotta
survive with what we have. – [Narrator] While change is hard, farmers like Del Ficke,
outside Lincoln, Nebraska, say that making the shift
to regenerative agriculture was not only possible, but profitable. He downsized his farm, added new crops, and brought in cattle to
graze and fertilize the land. – And we have so many
acres of pasture rangeland in the United States. All we need to do is improve those acres. – [Interviewer] Why did you see a need to change the way you were doing things? – Well, we were destroying everything. The soil was on life support. Everyone was making money but us. We knew nothing about the soil
from a natural standpoint. It was a total unlearning process, and we continue to do that every day. – [Narrator] Del showed us the soil on his new regenerative farm. – This is the difference
between healthy soil. The blackness of the soil is the carbon. So in a depleted field, there’s a certain amount of life left, but you will not find, you will not find earthworms. The floods, these earthworms, you know, those spots where they crawl through, the water infiltrates down
all those holes, goes deep. It grabs the water; it doesn’t run off. It is a drug. I’m a soil junkie. – [Narrator] Del has seen so much success, he started spreading the word, and now his phone rings off the hook. – The biggest question I get is someone— they might be 40 years old, they might be farming
with their dad that’s 65 and their grandpa that’s 85, or whatever— and they’ll say, ‘Can you talk to my dad because
I want to be doing this, but my dad said we’re
gonna do it this way.’ – A lot of times, farmers
are slow to jump on the boat for something new. They think that they need
to follow in the paths of their fathers and their mothers, and be conservative. And so that’s one of the
problems that we have in agriculture today, is because most farmers are not early adopters. Most farmers are wait-and-see-ers. – [Narrator] Many farmers in this area grow only one crop at a time, like corn or soybeans, which are often fertilized with chemicals. – That came out pretty good. – They did, didn’t they? – [Narrator] Del says it
can be hard to break away from the status quo, as government subsidies and crop insurance give farmers a much-needed
financial safety net. – Why would you change if
you’ve got an insurance policy? Why would you change if you
know if you just keep doing it, you’re at least gonna stay in business? It’s crazy the ignorance that’s out there, but it’s because they’re scared. – We don’t get support
from the politicians. We thought we had an in
with President Obama. – [Obama] It’s getting, oftentimes, harder for the family farmer to turn a profit. It’s getting easier for
large agribusiness concerns to buy out family farms. – We thought that he was gonna end some of the concentrated
animal agriculture controlled by the big corporations,
and that fell apart. People thought that President
Trump would do that, as well. – [Trump] The farmers are
being left out in the cold. We’re gonna protect the farmer.
We have to protect the farmer. – He said he would, but he hasn’t, and I don’t think he will, and so we’ve just basically lost any say in the kind of agriculture we
have in this country today. – [Narrator] That’s why
thousands of farmers and ranchers are getting behind the Green New Deal: to ensure that they
have a seat at the table for any conversation about what the future of
agriculture should look like. – I’d like to see these
kind of conversations start happening more holistically. Whether it’s the Green New
Deal that gives us that platform or not, this stuff needs to happen now. – It’s tough to get
terribly optimistic about the Green New Deal when the country’s so divided politically, and one side wants to demonize the other side and not really take an action. Everything that a farmer does is directly related to science. You put that seed in the
ground, and it’s science that, the understanding of why that seed grows and what it’s supposed to do. So when is it that farmers started turning their backs on science? Should I just go out now and start planting gravel in the ground, and call that a seed,
and expect it to grow because I don’t believe in science? Because I don’t wanna be, I don’t wanna hear what
agronomists tell me, because, gosh darn it, I want that gravel to
grow into a corn plant, so I’m just gonna take this
rock, and put it in the ground, and it’ll grow? No, I’m too smart to do that. I’m smart enough not to question
90% of the climatologists in this country, too. [solemn music]

51 thoughts on “How These Farmers Are Confronting the Climate Crisis | NowThis

  • Ok so to be more clear. Farmers participating regenerative practices is a cost issue. As they said they need to grow and crops that in their market, nor are normal to their seasons and thus, might not yield money to cover or make it worth the cost to do it. Thus a green new deal that funds farmers participation is key

  • Hawaii produced more greenhouse gasses through volcanic activity last summer than all of mankind combined. Now what?

  • Green new deal may cost a lot but it will cost way more than that if we don’t do anything – like a great woman has said

  • fyi
    Climate change is a FRAUD*LIE*SCAM*HOAX

    If you don't think these farmers are NOT BIG F-ING BUSINESS YOU REALLY ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION.
    And fyi, that 9x% of scientist claim has been debunked over and over, it's a false claim.


  • Has anyone who negatively comments on the Green New Deal actually read it ??? I'm constantly reading comments talking about how bad it is and what the "socialists" are going to do with it. However, if you actually read it, and it's only about twelve large printed pages that will take all of about fifteen minutes to read, doesn't say anything like many suggest. It is a set of ideas to work towards within which all aspects will be debated and thought out before becoming any type of legislative work. The discussions before the presentation were "brain storming" sessions that were supposed to bring every possible idea, good or bad to the table. Anyone believing the negative hype is just a "sheep" and anyone pushing the idea that it says something it isn't, is either dishonest or another "sheep."
    Anytime there is any idea that may shift the monetary advantage from one industry to another, that controlling industry is going to pull out all the stops to defeat it.

  • I belong to a whole network of people that eat organic. There is a market for getting away from toxic chemicals. Thank these farmers for realizing this. You may actually be saving all our lives.
    Bernie2020 !!!!!!!!!!

  • Each American pollutes 7 times as much as an Indian. The stats are available on Google. India contributes 7% of world pollution. USA contributes 16%. So stop pointing fingers. We've already begun taking action. You guys don't even acknowledge the problem.

  • Soy for animal agriculture… One of the major contributors to climate change. The whole food system needs to change, and the consumer can help by switching to a whole plant-based diet.

  • Communist india? What other misconceptions does she have? She says, " How are we gonna convince the communist nations in india and all these other nations which are the worst polluters…." unless closed captions are broken. Regardless, the whole point is what are farmers going to do about climate change to feed us when they dont accept the facts and dont actively seek out the facts. I heard about indoor farming on the radio and how that uses less water and I wonder if thats more sustainable. What else is hurting farmers right now, tariffs or trade wars?
    I thought the US is the biggest polluter and went against the whole planet by skipping the kyoto deal under President whats his name. I remember seeing another video where a farmer or farmers were reluctant to admit climate change was involved. Its like taboo or they are in denial because of their leadership, ie republicans for the most part.

  • When I get my farn started I am going to fertilize my feilds with Cow Manure, Chicken Manure, and Hog Manure and mix all those manure types together and spread it.

  • I'm having a hard time rotating the video what's going on here I don't wanna watch this time you little video needs to rotate!?

  • When she said "communist nation's in India" I was like hold up. First India is the largest democracy on the planet and second… Yeah I got nothing. India is an extreme polluter of everything.

  • "What about communist countries" hun, the US is the second largest polluter besides china, and i can assure you its not because theyre communist.

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