Greens Mark Soil Conservation Week; Criticize UN Convention Withdrawal

The Green Party marks Soil Conservation Week, April 21-28, which is especially relevant in light of the Harper Conservatives’ recent withdrawal from UN efforts to combat desertification.

“Soil is key to our ability to feed ourselves and survive on this planet,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands. “If we are going to provide for future generations, we simply cannot be reckless with this basic resource.”

May noted that the Conservatives’ secretive withdrawal from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) was symptomatic of an exploitative and short-term attitude toward soil – and all natural resources.

“Canada should be using its knowledge and influence to work with the UN, providing cutting-edge research and solutions to protect and preserve threatened land areas,” said May.  “Instead, we are turning our backs on very vulnerable populations.”

Also, in Bill C-38 last year, the Conservatives quietly eliminated the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act and with it the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA). The Act was designed to “… secure the rehabilitation of the drought and soil drifting areas in the Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and to develop and promote within those areas, systems of farm practice, tree culture, water supply, land utilization and land settlement that will afford greater economic security…”

The Green Party encourages holistic, long-term, science-based soil and land management and permaculture, along with tree plantings and straw mulches to protect and feed crucial soil life.

“Canada should be stepping up with real solutions to help the world’s farmers make the most of the water they have,” said Green Party Agriculture Critic Kate Storey. “Holistic land management works on my farm by increasing water cycles, improving the soil, and preventing erosion.

“Across the world, holistic sustainable grazing with the provision of effective fencing materials and management education can bring degraded land back into food production and raise water tables, thus reversing desertification, building soil carbon, and reducing climate change by using healthy soil to capture and store carbon dioxide.”