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October 21, 2021 57 mins

July 2021, the hottest month in history. Glaciers are retreating around the world, sea levels are rising at alarming speeds, and the intensity and frequency of hurricanes have all increased. Climate change isn't a distant threat - it is happening now. The environmental impacts of our collective human actions include more extreme weather and natural disasters, chronic drought, and economic instability. Failure to act is not an option.

 

Climate action isn't just about declarative statements or lofty announcements; it is about courage, action, and execution. On this final episode of Force Multiplier Season One, we have two reasons to be hopeful, two reasons to believe in the future that looks bright for our planet - Birgit Cameron and Jennifer Morris. Birgit, Co-Founder, and Head of Patagonia Provisions, a division of Patagonia Works, passionately describes the role nature and, specifically, soil plays in saving our planet. With a focus on sustainable ingredients, we learn how supporting regenerative farming practices that rebuild soil health can promote biodiversity and capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere - techniques that can mitigate and potentially reverse climate change.

 

Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy - the largest environmental non-profit organization in the Americas. Jen shares how important it is to deploy solutions that maximize nature's own ability to fight climate change. But change at a meaningful scale cannot be achieved by any one organization. As Jen sees it, tangible, lasting results will only come from radical collaboration—across sectors, across beliefs, across knowledge bases. As a self-proclaimed "impatient optimist," - she believes that the global community can come together and enact the right policies, shift industries toward a more sustainable path, and empower local communities to protect the resources that sustain them.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome to Force Multiplier, a new podcast about leveling up
the impact we can have in the world through our relationships.
I'm barretton Day Thurston and in collaboration with I Heart
Radio and Salesforce dot Org, I sit with leaders from
across the public, private, and nonprofit world who are forging
partnerships to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing us today.

(00:27):
Welcome back to Force Multiplier. It's our final episode of
the season and we decided to close on a big one,
climate action. I'm so excited for this episode. You don't
even know now you already do know that we're in
a state of climate emergency. According to the National Oceanic

(00:48):
and Atmospheric Administration, global temperatures in July well higher than
in any other July on record, making it the hottest
month the world has seen since we started keeping records
back in eight That's the wrong kind of first place finish.
The latest U WIN I p c C report concludes
that it's unequivocal that human influence has warmed our atmosphere, oceans,

(01:12):
and land. Food accounts for over twenty of global greenhouse
gas emissions, with animal based foods having a higher footprint
than the plant based ones, and the u AND expects
a fift increase in food demand by putting even more
stressed on are already breaking ecosystems. But you don't need
to read reports to understand the impact. Maybe you felt

(01:36):
the record breaking heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, or
stopped watering your lawn due to the Minnesota drought. Maybe
you fled the fires in California or had your Appalachian
sunsets affected by its smoke. Maybe you slept in your
car to stay warm during the Texas freeze, or if
simply seeing the flood of migrants crossing the Southern border.

(01:57):
All these extreme events are ascerbated by climate change. So
what do we do well? We do everything. Tax corporations
based on their carbon emissions something seventy of American support.
Electrify our homes and transportation, and use renewables to power
the grid. Vote for politicians who will pursue these policies.

(02:20):
But we should also enlist the help of our most
powerful ally. I'm not talking about the United Kingdom, I'm
not talking about Wakanda. I'm talking about nature. Conserving ecosystems
is often more cost effective and just more effective than
human made interventions. Tropical forests are really good at storing carbon,

(02:43):
providing at least a third of the mitigation action we
need to prevent the worst climate change scenarios. Changing the
diet we feed our livestock can reduce their methane emissions.
Yet nature based solutions only receive three of all climate funding.
And don't get me started on the power of soil
to help save us if we change how we farm

(03:04):
from the industrial chemical methods to regenerative and organic ones.
Actually give me started, because that's what we're gonna talk
about in this episode. First, we're gonna hear from Jennifer Morris,
CEO of the Nature Conservancy. With a career dedicated to
protecting the environment, Jen understands what's bad for nature is

(03:25):
also bad for business, as she shares, change at a
meaningful scale cannot be achieved by one organization alone. This
spirit of collaboration is part of the Nature Conservancy's DNA,
and for tangible, lasting results, the world needs such radical
collaboration across sectors, across poliefs, and across knowledge basis. Then,

(03:47):
later in the episode, I'm Gonna sit with burg It Cameron,
head of Patagonia Provisions a division of Pedagonia Works. Burgen
and I discussed the role that nature and specifically soil
can play in saving our planet. With a focus on
sustainable ingredients, burg It shares how supporting regenerative farming practices
that rebuild toil health can promote biodiversity and capture carbon

(04:10):
from the atmosphere. Plus it makes for more delicious food,
which is like the whole point of food. Now. Research
suggested adopting techniques like these can mitigate and even reverse
climate change. All right, let's go save the world. I

(04:35):
would say that the greatest threat facing climate action is
actually in action, the inability of companies, governments, individual citizens
to really recognize the existential threat that is climate change.
It's not something that's going to happen to our kids,
it's something that's happening now. As CEO of the Nature Conservancy,

(04:59):
Jennifer Morris is responsible for leading the largest environmental nonprofit
organization in the Americans. With a focus on deploying solutions
that maximize nature's own ability to fight climate change, the
Nature Conservancy has grown to become one of the most
effective and wide reaching environmental organizations in the world. The
Nature Conservancy is an organization that started seventy years ago,

(05:24):
and it really started as a land trust organization helping
people in the United States to protect lands that they
held dear in their neighborhoods. And these were lands that
had beautiful views, that had gorgeous forests, that had streams
or rivers running through them. And since then we have
really expanded that original ethos of protecting lands and waters

(05:47):
and oceans to think about the drivers of loss of
those lands. So it's not just about protection, it's also
about stopping the law. So how do we address food systems?
How do we make sure that we're growing food on
land that's already been degraded instead of on new lands
where we have to cut forests down to grow crops.

(06:10):
How do we make sure that climate change does not
impact where nature has to live. How do we stop
climate change and actually adapt to climate change? To make
sure that coastal communities from Rhode Island to South Africa
have the right nature in place on the coast to

(06:31):
protect people from rising seas. So we went from this
organization that was small and scrappy to one that I
would say is still extremely innovative. Is using the best
in class science and financial mechanisms, and now we're forty
five hundred people working in over seventy countries and really

(06:52):
still have deep roots in the United States. And one
of the things that I'm particularly proud of is how
do we ensure that our work is a force multiplier
is working with people who are often seen as outside
the environmental movement. Our movement has been unfortunately seen as
a wealthy, white person's movement, and that is something that

(07:15):
I take extremely seriously and in pushing as hard as
I can, both within and externally to bring in new people,
new audiences, new actors, and making sure that we're promoting
the next generation of conservationists that look more like the
global community. And that is something that is not only

(07:36):
right to do, but we'll make our organization stronger because
we'll be more diverse in ideas and thoughts and simply
be more representative of the global environment in which we
all live. I would say what we're getting right when
it comes to climate action is clearly the renewable energy

(07:57):
revolution is a step in the right direction. We need
to go faster to achieve the goals under Paris, but
we're seeing real change in renewable energy, especially in the
transportation sector. The market is catching up. The price of
gas is actually more expensive per unit in many places
than it is for renewable energy. What we're not quite

(08:19):
getting right, however, is really what I said my day
working on, which is nature. And the reality is if
we all go on renewable energy in our transportation, how
we fly, how we drive, before all renewable energy tomorrow,
and we don't address the drivers of deforestation and land use,

(08:42):
we will never achieve our goals under the Paris Climate Accord,
which is to keep global temperature change under two degrees
ideally under one point five degrees celsius over pre industrial levels.
So when it comes to agriculture, when it comes to
the biggest drivers of loss of nature which directly link

(09:04):
to climate change, that's where there's a lack of understanding.
There's a lack of understanding of the connections between what
we eat and how we farm and how we get
timber and fuel, especially in countries in the developing world,
that understanding of that connection, of the role of trees
and forests in protecting us from climate change, as well

(09:26):
as what happens when we don't protect them, and the
actual adverse impacts on human society, not only from climate change,
but also the loss of bid diversity and pollinators and watersheds,
all of those things that we hold so dear. There
is a lack of understanding still in that space. The

(09:48):
consumer needs to, I think, really understand those connections between
health and environment. For those of us that do have
the option to eat lower on the food chain, if
you will, that understanding of what we eat, what we
put in our bodies is really really important. And there's
so many resources out there available to folks to really

(10:11):
understand the difference in the emissions for the production of
a hamburger, for example, versus eating an impossible burger, or
choose your favorite protein substitute. And I am certainly not
going to advocate that everyone should go vegan tomorrow. I
know that's just not a reality for a lot of people. However,
we have to understand that we as humans are not

(10:34):
separate from nature. We're part of it. We are absolutely
inextricably linked to our natural environment and it really does matter.
And mean, I think if there's anything that you can
take away from this discussion today, it's that it's not
out there, it's here, It's in your homes, it's in
your bodies. You are part of this planet that we're

(10:54):
all on, and every single action we take really does matter.
There is no way that any person, any organization, no
matter how well intentioned or how much money or access
to power, etcetera, they have, if they're not involving the

(11:17):
local community, it won't work. For me. Conservation is extremely hyperlocal,
and I have worked throughout my career, both living in
a small community in Namibia to my work throughout my
career before I even came to the Nature Conservancy, on
the basic premise that we need local people with local

(11:37):
solutions driving local change. Now, sometimes they need help, and
so that's where the Nature Conservancy and many of the
other large organizations can come in and support. Ideally never compete,
but support with financial resources, technical resources, opening doors and
providing access to avenues that different groups may not have.

(11:58):
So that is our etho at its core. It's not
about parks and guards and keeping people out. It has
to be about locally driven, locally supported solutions. I'm seeing
radical collaboration on many fronts, and one I'll mention is
actually within our own environmental community. I think it's interesting

(12:22):
people often think, well, the environmental engineos. They must get along,
they must all talk, they must share the same ethos.
The reality is, at least in my career, there's a
lot of competition between these groups. But I'm seeing a change.
I'm seeing incredible collaboration amongst the large and small organizations

(12:46):
to recognize, Look, we may have our differences, but at
the end of the day, we're all growing in the
same direction, and we've got to row faster, and we're
gonna be much much faster if we can all row
together as opposed to trying to compete with each other.
And that is a really different day. That is radical.
We are sharing donors, we are sharing ideas. People recognize

(13:11):
that will just be stronger if we can stop competing
and start working together. The reality is, if we as companies,
we as governments, we as citizens don't move faster, we're
going to spend all of our talent and treasure just

(13:31):
dealing with the weather. And we're seeing it now. I mean,
we're seeing hundred year storms happening every year, and the
displacement of human populations as a result of this is
going to be the sole focus of our humanity if
we don't move faster. So while I appreciate the leadership

(13:53):
that many countries are taking, the UK being the host
of copy in Glasgow in just a couple of weeks.
They're coming out with some Bowld commitments with more financing
and that's all really great, but at the end of
the day, it's still incremental, and I think that they
recognize that. But I would certainly say that we all

(14:15):
have to push our leaders to do more. So what
Greta has done, what so many youth activists are doing
around the world, so many organizations, the force multiplier that
is this podcast of getting the word out about these
crisises and how we need to all come together to
solve them. That is making a difference, But we have

(14:35):
to shout louder and we have to do more. My
greatest hope coming out of TOP is that we get
rules for the market for carbon pricing and the ability
of countries to be paid for the nature that sustains

(15:00):
us all in terms of nature's intact ability to absorb carbon.
So for so long nature has been giving us a
free lunch. And the countries La Gabon, a lot of
the Congo countries, Indonesia, Brazil, these countries have incredible carbon
capture capabilities in their natural ecosystems. They're providing a service

(15:25):
to the entire planet, and yet they're not being paid
what they should be. So, as any country that needs
to earn money for its citizens, those forests are being destroyed,
so they must be compensated for the global gift of
their natural capital. So if anything was to come out

(15:49):
of the proceedings in Glasgow for me and for the
Nature Conservancy, it would be that we have clear the
rules of the road around markets and that countries with
large intact ecosystems received the financial investment that their natural
capital deserves. So another really important outcome of COP twenties

(16:11):
six will be to ensure that the rights of indigenous
people are embedded in any agreement that is developed, and
that the ambitions of countries that have indigenous people, and
most all do the rights of indigenous people are clearly
recognized and the indigenous people are at the table when
these decisions are being made about the climate crisis in

(16:34):
their countries. Technology has a critical role to play when
it comes to climate change, resilience and adaptation. So how
do we ensure that we have the right levees and
dikes and sea walls, but we also need to think
about nature's technology and mangroves and grasslands, and of course

(16:58):
eel grass and core ral reefs, which do a lot
to protect us from rising seas and should be incorporated
and are being incorporated in many places with what we
call the gray technology. So gray and green together cement based,
human based technology and nature's technology. So ensuring that we
have both of those together is really really critical. I

(17:24):
think that the forced multiplier for addressing the climate crisis
is really the advocates for stopping deforestation in land use.
And the reason I say that is because to actually
bring us all together on the land use space, which
is in some ways harder because historically we haven't paid

(17:49):
for protecting intact ecosystems. We see those ecosystems as not worthy,
as not providing us anything. And the reality is the
force multiplier will be when we actually are able to
invest in the protection of those resources and value those

(18:09):
just as we would a farm or a building, because
we recognize the value that those ecosystems are paying and
playing in our lives and for the farms and other
types of built environment, the pollinators that we get the
access to a fresh water. All of those things are

(18:29):
absolutely critical for us, and that is the force multiplier
that will really enable us to achieve the goals under Paris.
If you're listening to this and you are interested in
this topic, I would absolutely encourage you to read about

(18:50):
everything you're eating and everything that you're thinking about in
terms of consumption, and understand that everything you do as
an individual matters. But as I think it was Thomas
Freeman said, don't just change your lightbulbs, change your leaders,
and so voting and ensuring that we have the right
people in place to make decisions which will impact us all.

(19:14):
If you're in a country that is democratic and you
can vote, push for that, and push for voting rights overall,
because if we lose our ability to free and fair
elections here in the United States, that is going to
change the trajectory of this planet. It all matters. So
when you hear about a reversal of voting rights in

(19:36):
your community and you have the opportunity to get involved,
whether it's to give ten dollars to the local organization
working to stop this, or can go out in the
streets in march, do that, because if we lose that
democratic right, we will not have the ability to ensure
that this planet is on the right trajectory for ourselves

(19:57):
now and of course for future generations. You're listening to
a podcast called Force Multiplier, Action meets Impact. Now you've
probably grown to expect ads inside your podcast, but we're

(20:18):
gonna do something a little bit different to walk the walk.
We're gonna take a quick break and hear from one
of the organizations featured in this episode. Be right back.
Our individual voices are powerful, but not everything has a voice.

(20:39):
We need to speak for those that can, for those
in trouble, for those in need. Let us be a
voice to the voiceless. The caretakers are home deserves. Let
us speak for the ones that have no longers but

(21:00):
that still hours with an Let us shout from the
mountain tops that quench our first. If there's one thing
we've learned, it's that when we all come together, the
sky is this minute. It's time to speak up for nature.

(21:24):
Hey you, it's Bartune Day, host of the podcast you're
listening to right now. When I was a kid, my
mom told me to come up with a system we
could live under after democracy had failed. Yeah, my mom
was intense. I haven't finished that assignment, but I did
make a podcast. It's called how Do Citizen with Baritone Day.
It reimagines citizen as a verb and reminds us how

(21:46):
to wield our collective power. Find seasons one and two
and whatever podcasts app using right now? And season three
all about tech drops in October. Learn more at how
does citizen dot Com? Now. Ashead of Patagonia Provisions, Burged
Cameron believes in the power of consumer consciousness and the

(22:08):
push for a more ethical and sustainable food system with
a solutions based approach to addressing our planet's most urgent threat.
Burg It is all about convincing others that what's good
for nature can be good for business. Burg It you
work for one of the coolest companies. I know. It's

(22:30):
got an urgent, important, awesome mission to be in business
to save our home planet. So very easily done. Probably
should wrap that up in the next few fiscal quarters.
And I know Patagonia for the poofy jackets, for the
waterproof pants, for the outdoor gear, not for things I

(22:53):
put in my body. Can you talk to me about
what Patagonia Provisions is please? Absolutely, and thank you for
having me here with you today. Such a pleasure. Well,
I think you know it's really important given what you
just said, to note that most people know Patagonia as

(23:13):
an apparel company, but we really have been touching agriculture
for almost fifty years now through Ulex, hamp wool and
organic cotton. So understanding agriculture and the effects of climate
egg in particular on our soils, water and air led

(23:33):
us to the fact that food egg really is one
of the biggest contributors to the climate issues that we're
facing today, and we really couldn't stay away. We needed
to do something about this. So the task given to
me in by our founder Ivan Shinard was what would
a food company look like for Patagonia. Patagonia provisions had

(23:58):
to be built on rethinking our food supply chain, rethinking
our food system, and understanding impact of this system on
people and planet. So everything we make has a very
deep reason for being. We start with the environmental problem
that we're trying to solve, identify solutions that might help,

(24:22):
and then develop products that helps scale those solutions. Using
science as our compass, and then working with top scientists,
researchers and other industry experts, we draw upon their latest
knowledge and innovation and then steer towards this solutions based
food economy. Yeah, you said, solution based food economy, which

(24:46):
makes me hungry and sounds delicious. And I choose the
word delicious purposefully because I've had a lot of outdoor
food that come into little packages and they're too dry,
too truy, too bland most of the time. But it's
survival food. It's m r e s essentially, and your
food looks delicious. Is part of the solution through food

(25:10):
in terms of the climate crisis, to make the food
extra yummy? Is that part of your strategy? Very good? Absolutely,
you know, if it doesn't taste good, nobody's going to
buy it. And also we felt that, you know, because
people have to eat three times a day. And then
you add ian things like everything having this deep reason
for being. You then have our buffalo jerky for instance,

(25:32):
really about restoring the great planes and how important the
prairie is in drawing down carbon or our salmon then
is you know, not only providing great nutrition and Omega
three is it's also about eating lower on the food
chain and restoring the ocean and incorporating better harvesting methods
so that we do have wild salmon in our future

(25:54):
and for our future generations, and on and on, like
our fruit and grain and vegetable products bars. Things like
that are all about incorporating better agricultural practices like regenerative
organic certified that allow for healthy soils. So let's dig
into that because a lot of us have just gotten
used to organic. And then you just put a word

(26:16):
in front of it, regenerative organic, which sounds kind of
like this perpetual motion machine. It's almost like cold fusion
or something like that. You're restoring oceans, restoring the planes.
Regenerative organic farming. Can you define that first, and then
let's talk about what role that plays in helping us

(26:37):
address the climate emergency. Sure. I think what's really important
is that when you say regenerative, you do add the
word organic to it. So Patagony Provisions champions regenerative organic farming.
It's really a climate solution that also helps to grow
delicious food with higher nutrition and no pesticide residue. We

(26:58):
helped create eight the regenerative Organic certification to set a
new high bar or north star to follow for what
it means to farm for our future, so food producers
and farmers that have regenerative organic certification have met really

(27:19):
robust requirements around their efforts to improve soil health and
sequester more carbon, improve animal welfare, and provide economic stability
for farmers and ranchers. It's really important to note that
if soil, because soil is this living being, right, that
it's an ecosystem that is alive, And we don't think

(27:40):
of that. No, we think of soil as dirt and
it's in the ground and we move it around with shovels,
and we put some seeds in it, and we throw
some water on the seeds and maybe some fertilizer to
accelerate the process and outcomes food, and that's how we
feed the world. And we've kind of jacked up the productivity.
We've basically pumped there full of steroids to get more

(28:01):
food out because we have this growing number of people.
But regenerative organic has a different view. So keep telling
me about soil not as dirt, but as this living
thing and the role that soil can play and addressing
the carbon challenge that we're facing in our atmosphere. It
accomplishes a lot if we are applying these organic and

(28:21):
regenerative practices you can have higher yields, which is I think,
you know, one of the headwinds from traditional egg. They
were sort of saying, no, you can't have those yields,
but you actually can because the soils are healthier and
able to provide higher nutrition, and then the soil at
its highest bar function will draw down a lot of carbon.

(28:42):
The other thing is that you will have better water
infiltration and less water used in the long run and
in times of drought or with water being you know,
such a big issue for our future. That's a really
important element to this. You're also not going to be
killing pollinators that are responsible for a third of our
food supply a third of our food suply. So if

(29:04):
we lose pollinators because of all the chemicals and pesticides
and we're not drawing down carbon and we're killing the soil,
that's serious impact. And then with the certification, we have
healthier animals and healthier and happier farmers who no longer
need to wear has mat suits and deal with ailments
related to exposure to chemical agriculture and all that kind

(29:26):
of thing. It sounds almost too good to be true
because what I'm hearing is this regenerative organic method can
meet our needs the same, maybe better then the typical
industrial methods where we just kind of pump the ground
full of chemicals to accomplish the same things, maybe abuse

(29:47):
the animals, abused the workers. Are you confident at regenerative
organic farming can actually meet global food needs? Yes, you know,
the bottom line is that, you know, widespread embracing of
regenerative and organic agriculture can transform the whole food industry

(30:07):
into a climate hero. You know, there's a learning curve
that's involved, but there is so much research now indicating
you know that if all the croplands and pastures in
the world, or as much as we can, you know,
used regenerative farming techniques working with nature, than an enormous
amount of carbon emissions can come down. And that's really

(30:32):
what we need to go after and make sure that
all that microbial action in the soil can do its thing,
can act like a sponge. I love. I mean, it
sounds like a super solution because we're talking about labor,
we're talking about treatment of animals, We're talking about water shortages,

(30:52):
the threat of that in terms of drought, we're talking
about nutrient levels. You mentioned that as well, and we're
talking about yield and delicious. Most important to me is delicious.
The food probably taste a lot better. What is your
assessment of how long it might take us to make
that transition to at least having most of the agricultural activity,

(31:13):
the food growing activity be regenerative rather than industrial. I
think this is an evolutionary process. We can't be pollyanna
about it. We have to face the facts that this
is going to take time. We can't wait for perfect
in terms of science or the tools that are available
to us. We need to act now. We know enough

(31:35):
that we need to walk down this road as fast
as we can. So it is about this collective action.
The more we know, the more our communities are customer,
the supply chain and the farmers big business starts to
really understand all these facts, the better and faster we

(31:56):
can get to that place. But it will take time.
There's a lot to be Good news is there's a
lot of jobs to do all that work. It's a
full employment opportunity to save our our home planet. Earlier
in our season, we did a full episode on nutrition
insecurity and how so many people in the US in
particular lack basic access to nutritious food. When I hear

(32:16):
about regenerative organic farming, I'm also remembering the price difference
of organic period. You know, to be able to shop
at a relatively high end place, or see the difference
in a regular grocery store of the organic version versus
the non organic version. I'm assuming that the regenerative organic
version may continue to exacerbate some of the affordability challenges

(32:39):
we've seen with healthy nutritious food. Do you see that
risk and what are some of your thoughts on how
we can make sure that this nutritious, planet saving food
is actually affordable and available to those who need it most. Yeah,
so many Americans lack accessibility to healthy food. People are

(33:00):
realize that in our own country that this exists. This
is where subsidies come in, and that's why a bag
of chips can cost a third less than it should be,
but nutritious organic fruits and vegetables are more costly. There's
a real disparity here. We know enough about this that
we should really start making changes around it, and so

(33:21):
we believe that subsidies really need to be redistributed. So
we work with policy and the Organic Trade Association and
other entities to bring these issues to the attention of
the right folks. You know, imagine if there were more
subsidies directed to growing organic fruits and vegetables. What if

(33:42):
snap dollars could be more valuable for higher nutritional foods.
We also work on our own supply chain to make
sure that people along the way are taken care of.
For instance, our new bread fruit cracker flour comes from
breadfruit grown in generative organic forests, which can provide a

(34:03):
diversity of foods like bananas and mangoes, coconuts, tarot and
many others, providing more access to nutrition for the local
communities which are often located in areas of needs. So
instead of clear cutting these forests and growing monoculture chemical
food that is causing detrimental effects for human health and environment,

(34:25):
we bring value to the agriforest by creating market poll
which then provides economic stimulation and food security and a
whole lot of carbon draw down. So really having companies
start to think through what is that footprint, what are
we touching along the way? Who are we touching? You know,
the farmer is so important in this equation and making

(34:49):
sure that we're not extractive, that we're not just taking
everything from them and leaving nothing behind. So that's another
element of food security and distributing nutrition in a better way. Yeah,
you don't want to strip mind the land you this
wo don't want to strip mind the people you know
who are processing that land. I want to talk about
some of the collaboration that you're involved in terms of

(35:11):
Patagonia Provisions. You're not You're not taking on this climate
agriculture solution alone. You've got partners. You describe some as
research partners, you describe others as marketplace partners. Can you
explain the landscape of partnerships that you've established to help
achieve this mission. We wouldn't really be able to bring

(35:32):
Patagonia Provisions Reason for Being to life without closed partnerships
with farmers and ranchers and fisheries. They really are the
true innovators, leading the regenerative organic movement and championing techniques
that do protect our wildlife and reduce these carbon emissions
and make good food for all of us. So, you know,

(35:53):
we believe it pays to grow and farm regeneratively, that
it's economic and environmentally better for the farmers, so we
support them and the ranchers and fishers committed to embracing
restorative practices and to help them grow their business. And
you know, as Yvonne Schinnard, our founder, says in our

(36:15):
our film Unbroken Ground, all these people moving in the
same direction. You can't believe what we can accomplish. It
is this collective line always gives me chills. What's the
role of research? I saw on the site there's even
a list of research partners. What are you learning from?
What types of research are these partners conducting? How does

(36:37):
it help? Well? This is really an important element. This
is why we say we consult planet for science. So
working with, for instance, people like West Jackson at the
Land Institute, who is working on perennial and polly culture agriculture.
They've been working on this perennial currentza for years and

(36:59):
years and years. Instance, it's an alternative grain. It's a
new grain. Wait, a new grain. We're inventing grains now? Yeah, WHOA,
I need to pause you out there's new grains. Yeah,
we rely on maybe ten traditionally with where we have
our agricultural system set up right now, very few compared
to what is out there. If you talk to Steve Jones,

(37:22):
at the Bread Lab at w s U. He will
tell you he's got forty alternatives to what we grow.
Now West Jackson is working on perenniality and bringing that in.
It's an amazing moment in time because there is all
of this science available to us. We just need to
open our eyes and look at it. Instead of defaulting

(37:43):
to what we have done for the last seventy years
or more, we might need to kind of recalibrate and say,
what do we need to take forward in a better
way for the future. So build a basket of things
that will help us have a healthier future, and maybe
make some hard decisions about you know, this great science

(38:04):
that we can do. It's amazing what we are capable
of as human beings. But put some of those on
the shelf and say it's just not right for humanity.
It's just not right to continue to go forward with
that knowing what we know. So can you define a
term for us? You said it a few times. I
think I know what it means, but I'm sure many
of us don't. Perenniality. Explain what that is. And in

(38:28):
contrast to what sure so, perennials are crops that can
come back year after year. So in the case of currenza,
perennial grain which we make our beer from, so we
have beer too. Uh why did we not start with beer?
You know, showing that there are you can use a
perennial grain and put it into a beer. So showing

(38:52):
that there are these different ingredients that can come into
our food in a different way. So with crenza, you
can get you know, four or five seven years of
that plant staying in the ground. It grows these giant
roots that are like twelve feet long. It pulls down
carbon and produces a grain that you can use in food.

(39:15):
So we put it in beer. We're making a pasta
that's coming out in the new year. We did a
lot of work to bring that grain to the forefront.
So General Mills is starting to incorporate it. Carlsberg is
thinking about it. There's this nice ripple effect that happens
when you take the risk to look at what is
out there and pull it into the system, show the

(39:37):
uses of it. And with the perenniality part of it,
you have less emissions because you're not plowing it down
and disturbing the soil every year, and you create the
healthier soil. Because of that, it also holds onto nitrogen
that would otherwise flow into the waterways causing dead zones.
I mean, there's a lot of really unique things if

(39:58):
we just sort of look beyond what we've done. It's
exciting looking beyond. You know, earlier you mentioned this Regenerative
Organic Alliance, which it just it conjures images of like
star trek to me, like the alliance and coming together
for a great purpose. What is this alliance? Is great purpose?
And what are some of the ways it operate? Sure,

(40:19):
an important thing that we felt was necessary as there's
downward pressure on organic and you can grow organic in
a monoculture. There's lots of not great things because there's
always this pressure from Big Egg to make it easier
to fit into what they've got going. So we felt
that the Regenerative Organic certification, which is run by the

(40:43):
Regenerative Organic Alliance of five or one C three was
an important thing to bring to the marketplace as a
north star, as something that could say if soil at
its highest bar can do all these great things around
nutrition and carbon draw down. Okay, let's go there, let's
find out what that is. How does that ecosystem need

(41:04):
to function in order to do that, to make sure
that animals are taken care of. We all know CAFOs
and cram together chickens and all these things. It's just
not the right thing to do. So let's make sure
that we have a certification that incorporates animal welfare. And then,
of course the workers. The third element of that trinity
is looking after the workers to make sure that there

(41:26):
are fair wages and people are taken care of along
the way. So that's really why we put that together.
And the alliance is really comprised of people from science
folks to other people in the food industry like Dr
Brauner's and US and others, really recognizing we needed that
north Star. You've mentioned chemical agriculture, Big Egg a couple

(41:49):
of times, and I'm wondering where they fit into this.
In some ways, it sounds like you want to put
pressure on them to change their practices and kind of
get on board. In other ways, they have a lot
of economic insensives to try to crush and stop this
because they're invested in a whole another way of doing business.
And then you just shared that they could actually co

(42:11):
opt some movements like this as has happened in part
with organics, where organic alone can be as monocultural and
extractive as non organic. So what's your approach to the
existing incumbent players when it comes to regenerative organic farming.
Simply put in a great quote by conservationist David Brower,

(42:34):
there is no business to be done on a dead planet,
and that's where we're headed if we don't pay attention.
So not to be doom and gloom for it, but
some facts to understand. Only four giant chemical companies control
our food supply. They own more than of the world's

(42:55):
global seat sales. The farming practices of these massive conglomerates
destroy the soil, and in the US alone, soil on
crop land is eroting ten times faster than it can
be replenished. If we continue to degrade the soil with
industrial farming practices, the world could run out of top

(43:18):
soil in about sixty years. That's only sixty harvests. Think
about that. That's not very long. But let's turn it
to the positive. Before we get to the positive, I
want to understand this negative, all right. What does it
mean to only have sixty harvests left? What happens in
year sixty one. That's the big scary question. I mean,

(43:43):
think about it this way. If we look at the
world that supports us as being comprised of all these
ecosystems that actually need to function properly, and soil in
particular is part of that life blood that sustains us
as humans species on Earth. So it's a little mind
blowing to realize we think we can control everything we need,

(44:08):
we think we can overpower mother Nature, but actually what
we need to do is work with Mother Nature, understand
these systems. There's a lot of tension with money, control, power,
all of these things, and I don't know what will
happen in in year sixty one. I mean, this is

(44:28):
why I'm after these solutions and showcasing that you can
build business and use business as a force for good
by incorporating the solution based methods and science to create
a better future, because I sure don't want my girls,
you know, inheriting an earth that they can't function properly
and no, and I think sometimes when we talk about

(44:49):
climate impact, it comes down to projections and we look
ten fifty sixty years down the line, and some people
can say, well, we'll figure it out through some tech
anological magic. By then, I'm not so worried. But what
have we experienced so far? I mean, I remember coming
across some kind of statistic about just the amount of
nutrition in an orange today versus I don't know, in

(45:12):
the nineteen fifties. Do you have an example of how
we're living through some of the consequences of the soil
degradation right now? It's true we have tests that now
show that the nutrient value of our broccoli, of our vegetables,
of our strawberries have far less than they did before

(45:34):
we started tinkering with everything. So you can eat all
of these fruits and vegetables now grown in the conventional
ways and not be getting the nu chance that you
actually need. And the other thing that is lost with
that is flavor. Strawberry grown in these more conventional practices
sort of taste watery. It might be big, but it

(45:57):
doesn't have that same flavor and flavor. It really is
an indicator of nutritional quality as well. So we were
talking about, you know, the relationship with conventional industrial chemical farming,
and you highlighted the negative. I encouraged you to keep
doing that, But you're going to take a turn towards
the positive that can come. So I want to give
you a chance to finish your thoughts on that. Please

(46:20):
do just the basic fact that healthy soil stores carbon dioxide.
That if these farmers have healthy soils, they can have
the yields that are necessary to keep up with demand
long term. That because regenerative practices require crop rotations and diversity,
it can provide additional income for farmers. That's a really

(46:41):
interesting thing. And there's some studies out now that show
that farmers who are really embracing this fully, they actually
have had a rise in income, which is always very positive.
Demand for organics are growing rapidly, so that's another positive thing,
especially as we come out of this global pandemic. But
are far more concerned with health and making better choices,

(47:04):
and they see that this science is proving that they
need to move in that direction. So from your position,
I want you to embrace the title of our podcast here,
force multiplier. We posit that because there's a lot of
things we can do, but some have more impacts, some
have more leverage, And so across this whole ecosystem around

(47:25):
solutions based agriculture, what do you consider the force multiplier
to be. I really do think it's the conscious consumer.
They are the ones who really have the most power
to create the change that we need to see that
they will and are demanding healthier, more nutritious foods without

(47:47):
pesticide residue and education about these better ways. That's one
of the most important forces in creating change. Helping people
understand why they should make these adjust monts and that
it can be very beneficial to them. This is extremely
powerful and that's what will cause the shift in thinking

(48:11):
for the big conglomerates that are moving down this antiquated road.
It's a new day. This is a big project to
take on, not just specifically Patagonia provisions, but rewiring our
food production system to be in alignment with the interests
of long term habitability of this only planet that we have.

(48:32):
Do you consider this your life's work? It really truly
has become like that. I grew up in a family
that's always really been passionate about food. My parents worked
in the food industry and my grandfather was in coffee.
It was always the talk at the table, learning about
global supply chains. We also grew up growing our own

(48:54):
foods in the summers and making jam and foraging from
mushrooms after the rain, and we spent a lot of
time with local farmers, so I developed a real appreciation
for what goes into making quality food and it's now
really a center of my universe now that I'm a parent,
and I think that's why I jumped at the challenge

(49:15):
to build an organic food company. You know that could
be a force for good. Have you found a way
to talk about addressing the climate crisis promoting regenerative organic
farming in a way that doesn't automatically turn off half
the population because they interpret it through a partisan political lens.

(49:36):
What language do you use to try to expand the
circle here so that more people get on board more quickly.
I think it's really essential to change this doom and gloom,
Like we need to know facts, We need to know
facts about what's happening. But I really actually think that
we need to turn this to what is actually working.

(50:00):
What is the hope out there? What are the things
that we can do, like voting with our fork, we
eat three times a day, channel your inner rebel and
say no to pesticides and use this new planet focused
science as the compass, because we can then do something
about it instead of saying, oh my gosh, you know

(50:22):
this is happening in sixty harvests and all that. And yes,
I I talk about that because we need to know
those things. But don't let that be the thing that drives.
Make sure you follow these other routes that can show
there can be success in creating new companies, in influencing
bigger businesses to take on some of these practices. You know,

(50:43):
it's really all about this delicious I keep saying it
collective action, but I want that dialogue to change because
that is what will become attractive as the next generation
starts to incorporate the solution based thinking. We can have
a rip will effect of actual impact. This is where

(51:04):
I que and the Beatles Revolution song, right, Oh I
hope we can license that. Oh I really, I really
want to hear that. I'm gonna rock out right, And
there there are facts that prove this. So this is
not just trying to be all happy and let's go
for it and delusional. There's there's actually a road, and

(51:25):
that's why you know, that's what Provisions is all about.
We are moving down that road. We're hoping others do
to the road. Toward delicious collective practices that that sounds
and tastes great to me. I can imagine someone listening
to this has gotten a little riled up. They got
the beetles jamming in the background, They're ready to do something.

(51:48):
What would you encourage someone inspired by this conversation to
do who wants to get involved more. Maybe you have
a set of options, Maybe there's one thing, but here's
a chance. Yeah. I mean this is where I say
the individual can really start to read and learn more
about this and vote with your fork. We actually have
that in our power. Go to the Regenerative Organic Alliance website.

(52:14):
Come to our website at Pataganey Provisions dot com. There's
a lot there. There are a lot of essays and
things Rodale the Rodale Institute learn from them. Start businesses,
start with products that do solve problems, and it doesn't
always have to be around food. I think companies should
really start to look at their own footprint, you know,

(52:35):
maybe start valuing more than just the quarterly business earnings.
What are the other metrics of success that you can
bring in to the way that you conduct business that
are laddering up to leveraging business to save our home planet,
laddering up to leverage business to save our home planet.

(52:55):
Burg It, Cameron, thank you for helping us go a
little bit further. It's been a ledger to learn from you,
to be able to converse with you, and to know
that the company whose products I've enjoyed putting on my body,
I can now also enjoy putting in my body. Thank
you so much for having me so. I promised you

(53:27):
a big episode, and I really hope we delivered. As
Jennifer said, every action we take matters everything. She and
burg It urged us to enlist nature and value its
role and helping us meet the challenge of the climate crisis.
They urged us to work together because no one alone

(53:48):
can fix a problem this big. In fact, we created
the problem together, so why not solve together too. That's
been a consistent refrain across our season, the need to
work together to solve these things. And we've covered a
wide range of topics, geographies and organizations. A California school
district finding ways to feed its community and Indiana Community

(54:11):
College closing the skills gap, a global partnership delivering vaccines
to those who can least afford it, and least afford
not to have it. A national volunteer group offering sophisticated
services to keep people out, a well known radio personality
sharing his vulnerability and using his platform to generate mental wealth.
That's just a sampling of who we learn from. And

(54:34):
I've been beyond impressed by the good work of all
these educational institutions, nonprofits, individuals and companies that are doing
so much to be a force for good. I've been
equally impressed by people's willingness to acknowledge the partnerships that
have been critical in their work. That collaboration is often
supported by technology and always enabled by humility. Everything we've

(54:59):
discus us this season is connected. Mental health challenges contribute
to housing instability, nutrition and security reduces our ability to
achieve health equity. Our workforce skills gap makes it harder
for us to take that climate action we so desperately need.
In fact, the climate crisis is the mother of all crises.
It's like a super crisis because it makes all the

(55:22):
other challenges we've discussed harder. But the good news is this,
our solutions are as interconnected as our problems. If we
recognize the need to work together, listen to those closest
to the problem, learn from the actions of others, and
get involved ourselves. Then our efforts compound like interest, allowing

(55:44):
us to rise to all these challenges faster and better,
better serving the interests of all of us. We become
the Force Multiplier. Thanks to our guests for sharing their
journe thanks to the production team and our partners for
making this possible, and to you for listening. I'm Barrittune

(56:08):
Day Thurston and it's been my pleasure to host this.
Do you want to dig in more on today's guests

(56:30):
and the work they're doing, or maybe you want to
understand what action you can take in your community. Either way,
go to Salesforce dot org slash force Multiplier. That's one word,
force multiplier. Force Multiplier is a production of I Heart
Radio and Salesforce dot Org hosted by me Barritton Day Thurston.
It's executive produced by Elizabeth Stewart, produced by Ivan Chien,

(56:52):
and engineered, edited and mixed by James Foster. Join us
next time for more stories of how we can change
the world, one relationship at a time. Listen to Force
Multiplier on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcast, or
wherever you get your podcast,
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