May 20, 2024
Agroecology is key to restoring our Earth — HOMEF Volunteers
– By Godswill Odiong

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Volunteers at the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) have called on countries to shift from dependence on fossil fuels and invest rather an in agroecology as a key to restoring our Earth. Agroecology is known for enhancing food productivity and economic resilience while cooling the planet. This call was made at a convergence of the Foundation’s volunteers to mark EarthDay 2021.

According to a media release from HOMEF following the convergence, “The celebration of Mother Earth, is a celebration of life, of earth-restoring practices and also a denunciation of practices that destroy biodiversity and life-sustaining ecosystems across the globe.”

The volunteers’ convergence focused on Biodiversity, Agriculture, and Climate Change and called for actions against practices such as the mindless extraction of fossil fuels and industrial agricultural practices including the indiscriminate use of chemicals which are destroying the earth.

Dr. Daniel Ugwu, a lecturer at the Federal College of Agriculture in Ishiagu, Ebonyi State, speaking during the event highlighted the links between industrial agriculture and the environmental/climate challenges that the world is battling.

According to him, industrial agriculture does a lot of harm to the environment through intensive cultivation of drylands and unsustainable use of resources such as water and fossil fuels.

He added that industrial agriculture contributes 25-30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions; causes biodiversity loss due to the entrenchment of monocultures and heavy use of inorganic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers which pollute soil and surface water, aquifers, and coastal wetlands and create ecological imbalance.

The volunteers called for the adoption of agroecology as it combines local and scientific knowledge and applies ecological and social approaches to agricultural systems.

“Agroecology employs methods that minimize or exclude the use of fossil fuels, inorganic chemical inputs; is not based on large-scale mono-cropping, but supports natural agricultural processes such as crop diversification, natural soil fertility, and biological control of pests,” they stressed.

According to Joyce Ebebeinwe, HOMEF’s Programme Manager, agroecology is not just a science and practice but also a movement that emphasizes the respect for and protection of the rights of farmers to save, share and reuse seeds.

After group discussions on how and why they need to restore our earth, the volunteers came up with workable solutions. Miss Tobi Wale, representing her group, first highlighted the challenges facing the Earth including the increasing global warming, biodiversity loss, species extinction (over 500 species at the brink of extinction), plastic pollution, and prevalence of diseases and pandemics.
Miss OduduAbasi Asuquo, also speaking on behalf of her group stressed that the listed problems necessitate earth restoration activities because we only have one Earth and action must be taken to ensure that it remains habitable for the present and unborn generations.

To close the knowledge gap on the importance of agroecology, the volunteers called for investment in research on agroecology, provision of adequate extension service to farmers, and formulation/implementation of policies that recognize and support agroecology as a viable solution to the food and climate challenges.

Besides the investment in agroecology and desisting from harmful industrial agricultural processes, restoring the earth can also be achieved through education that stops people from interfering with natural cycles; tree planting and development of gardens; enforcement of policies as well as fines and sanctions for harms against the earth; recycling/avoiding single-use plastics and responsible use of energy.

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