Hitler, from his coffin, will murder billion of people in the 21st century. Hitler’s poison manufacturing company, IG Farben, chose Auschwitz as the location of Nazi Germany's worst death camp because it had a factory nearby and it wanted slave labor. Its products killed millions of people in World War II. Chemicals created by the company’s founders killed thousands in WWI. Pesticides, herbicides, and even fertilizers are derivatives of the IG Farben chemical weapons. Today, they kill the microorganisms that create and become part of rich, black topsoil. Healthy topsoil contains much carbon, which plants suck out of the air and place into the ground. Chemicals derived from those designed for Hitler’s war machine kill our soil and it blows away in the wind. This is a feedback loop, ensuring that crops grow well only with more chemicals to replace the nutrients of the healthy topsoil that descendants of German war chemicals have killed.
Regenerating thick, carbon-rich topsoil is one of the most important things we must do to save the world from global warming. If we stopped burning fossil fuels now, the Earth would keep getting warmer. Carbon can remain in the atmosphere for centuries. Regenerative agriculture can remove much of this carbon. Plants can draw down great amounts of carbon and bury it in the soil. Regenerative agriculture is not simple. It depends on the desired crops, the amount of rainfall, the type of soil, the local climate, and many other factors. But there are foundations that have studied this and have most of the answers. (They include the Savory Network, the Rodale Institute, the Land Institute, and many others.) They have shown that we can draw down tremendous amounts of greenhouse gas, while growing more food for less money than food grown with chemicals based on Nazi chemistry. It may involve rotating farm animals onto cropland. It may involve no-till farming. But it works. Hundreds of farmers today are stunned at how it increases their crop yield, bringing in more money while saving costs. Black topsoil grows our food far better than poor soil puffed up with deadly chemicals. Using regenerative agriculture, we can feed the world, and make more profit while we do it. Saving the planet is an added benefit.
Why are all farmers not switching to regenerative agriculture? Blame Hitler and the Nazis here too. At the Nuremberg trials after WWII, IG Farben was broken up into Bayer, Hoechst, and BASF. One IG Farben board member was sentenced to prison for mass murder and slavery. Shortly after being released early for good behavior, he was named chairman of the board of Bayer. Today Bayer owns Monsanto. These companies and others that sell products derived from German war chemicals are part of “big Ag.” Such companies lobby governments not to change farming methodology because that would cost them money. Like their Nazi forbears, they obviously care more about profits than human life, health, and man’s future. They are the remnants of the German war machines of the twentieth century. To better feed the world, to save farmers, and to save the world from the climate crisis, we must fight them off. We need to convert to regenerative agriculture and finally beat the legacy of Adolf Hitler and IG Farben.
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In climate discussions, we usually use logic-based arguments. Today these may be dismissed as alternative facts. They do not seem to be working very well. Instead, we should use arguments based on scenario planning. A well-written scenario can enter the bones and even the hearts and stay there.
In modern times, scenario planning was described independently by Herman Kahn and Gaston Berger in the early 1960’s and expanded upon and used by the United States military ever since. Very briefly, scenario planning revolves around determining a limited number of assumptions, also known as drivers for change, and then figuring out how things will change if those assumptions occur. Computer modeling is a form of scenario planning. But scenario planning predates all of this. It has been used ever since one person told another a story.
In the climate-change arena, a scenario might start with the assumption that sea levels are rising and South Florida bedrock is porous limestone so nothing can be done locally to stop flooding even in sunny weather. With those two drivers for change, consider a scenario tracking a typical family of four. They own a small business and a single-family home. With the occasional flooding, customers are moving north, and the business is hurting. Flooding damages both the business and the home. Insurance pays for repairs the first few times, but the insurance company finally drops the family and they can no longer find insurance at a price they can afford. They try to move north but millions of Floridians have moved north and there are no jobs, nor housing at a price they can afford. They end up in a refugee camp. But with too many refugees, the camp struggles to provide food, water, power, police, and medical care. People start dying of crime, disease, and eventually thirst and starvation. The city that hosts the refugee camp is affected by the disease, crime, and overuse of resources. That causes more crime and disease. The city government calls in Federal resources, but many other cities experience the same circumstances and the Federal government eventually can no longer help. Water and sewer services fail, power systems fail, and civilization is dying.
A similar scenario might follow a typical family in Texas experiencing severe drought. They too move north. As with the family from Florida, they find themselves in refugee camps with the same problems, and civilization starts to die there, too. Another scenario can be used for those who experience super storms that destroy cities. Residents flee to refugee camps, and civilization dies for them as well.
Scenario planning shows that long before global warming makes life outdoors too hot, or destroys factory farming, or even causes extreme flooding or dries up rivers, civilization will end. This is persuasive.
If we add names and faces to our scenarios, especially those of innocent children, grandparents, kind nurses, and even puppies, using scenario-based arguments can change hearts of climate fence-sitters. If enough hearts are changed to affect voting and energy use, perhaps scenario planning can help to prevent the worst of these scenarios from actually coming to pass.