Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum hit a grim milestone: For the first time in the history of its Global Risks Report, the top 5 issues were all related to environmental concerns.
From extreme weather events to biodiversity loss, climate and ecological issues have become a complex web with a number of contributing factors linked to a mix of misinformation, lack of education, outright apathy, and geopolitical drama. But where there’s a multilayered problem, there’s often a multilayered solution—and one that’s been gaining attention recently is regenerative agriculture.
Regenerative agriculture is a catchall phrase for farming and grazing practices that are aimed at supporting biodiversity within the soil. The general idea is that enriching the soil will lead to more carbon sequestration, i.e. pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and into the soil.
Several companies including Patagonia and Stonyfield Farm have already made regenerative agriculture a key part of their business practices. But there’s still a long way to go in efforts of scalability—let alone educating the public (and farmers) about its benefits.
One step toward that goal is the new documentary Kiss the Ground.
Directors Josh and Rebecca Tickell have spent the last seven years tracking regenerative agriculture and unpacking the science behind it. The doc also gives ample historical context to how the world’s soil has degraded to such drastic levels, tracing the early causes to industrial agriculture and the widespread use of pesticides following World War II.
Of course, even a whisper of climate change conversation can trigger an immediate breakdown in logical discourse, particularly as the topic has become even more divisive over the course of the Trump administration.
But Josh insists that they’ve made an apolitical doc in covering their ground with interviews from scientists, farmers, and climate activists.
“You’ve got two different ways of looking at this issue from two different political standpoints: From the right, this is an issue of economics, jobs, farmers, and food. And from the left, this is an issue of climate, and ecological and human health,” he says. “None of those perspectives are incorrect, and what’s missing in the current political conversation is the importance of soil health being this keystone that can address all of these different issues.”
“It’d be so easy to just jump in there and blame each other and who’s [at] fault—and that’s part of what has had us stagnate,” Rebecca adds. “We wanted to make sure that the message was something that would be unifying. What we have is something that people from any part of the world from any political view can find something relevant to them in. It’s really a message for everyone because we really are all in this together.”