Cathedrals for Climate Change

Cathedrals for Climate Change

Why aren’t we studying the logic and wisdom of nature to develop solutions that will last lifetimes?

Multimedia from this Release

Sara Gutterman CEO Green Builder Media

Friday, May 23, 2014 - 3:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Ethical and Sustainable Living


Wes Jackson, sustainable agriculture expert and founder of The Land Institute, builds cathedrals. Not the kind that are made of stone, with flying buttresses, soaring arches, and elaborate cherub covered domes. His cathedrals are composed of rich soils, grasses that dance gently in the breeze, and thriving symbiotic ecosystems. His cathedrals venerate nature, where every living creature is a perfect embodiment of enlightenment.

In a recent interview on Green Builder Media’s Impact Series: Game Changers in Sustainability program, Jackson said “the plow has destroyed more options for future generations than the sword.” Simply put, the erosion caused by industrial agricultural practices are depleting our soils, sweeping essential nutrients and chemicals into the sea, creating extensive dead zones, and negatively affecting our ability to maintain fertile fields that can produce enough food to meet our ever growing needs.

Through his work at The Land Institute, Jackson studies nature to develop sustainable solutions that address the problems created by industrialized agricultural practices. He is 20 years into a 100-year plan to organically breed plants that are resistant to pathogens, weeds, and pests. It’s long, painstaking work, and it takes years to yield results. “There is no instant gratification here,” he says, “but if you’re working on something that you can finish in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.”

After a full career dedicated to exploring natural ecosystems, Jackson is a consummate realist. “I’m not a climatologist, but I accept that climate change is a reality. Our fertile growing regions are becoming hotter and dryer. While we’re making some progress towards reducing soil erosion with advancements in farming practices (like minimum-till and no-till approaches), those gains are diminished and even completely eradicated by the pollution and depletion of our precious waterways and aquifers.”


CATEGORY: Environment