Let’s not beat around the bush here. The planet is in a really bad state of health. Whether you're looking at biodiversity, soil loss, ocean acidification, fresh water, pollution, or climate change it’s all bad news. So we have to change. In fact, we have to change rapidly.
According to the latest IPCC report (the IPCC is basically the best climate scientists in the world) we are already at 1.1 degrees of warming, and climate change is already affecting every region on Earth, in multiple ways. Every increase in warming will increase the impacts and make huge parts of Planet Earth uninhabitable to human beings.
The IPCC said in no uncertain terms “unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.”
This is the equivalent of the climate scientists screaming at the world to change. Rapidly.
Here in New Zealand 48.1% of our total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from our agricultural sector, and almost a quarter (22.4%) comes just from Dairy cattle. Dairy cattle are also responsible for 18.7% of our methane emissions. “Tonne-for-tonne and averaged over 100 years, methane is estimated to be 28–36 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide”.1
Over the past few decades we have seen the rise and rise of industrial farming. In simple terms this has involved the separation of animals and plants into monocropped2 systems, grossly overstocked numbers of animals (particularly in dairy), the use of massive amounts of synthetic fertilisers, and huge irrigation systems.
Since 1990, New Zealand has increased our use of nitrogen fertiliser by 627%.3 Six hundred and twenty seven percent!!! And from 2002 to 2017 our use of Phosphorus has increased by 99%.4
It has been estimated that New Zealand loses 192 million tonnes of top soil every year, and “84 million tonnes per year - comes from pasture (exotic grassland), indicating that some intensive farming practices may cause considerable soil loss.”5
The impacts of industrially farming our land has also destroyed our waterways. In the year 2017–18, excluding hydropower consents, irrigation was responsible for 58% of all consented freshwater takes.6 And “of the species assessed, 76% of indigenous freshwater fish are classified as threatened with or at risk of extinction.”7
We could go on, but hopefully we’ve made our point.
So we think it’s pretty bloody obvious, we need to change our agricultural sector. For the better, for everyone.
How we grow our food and treat our land in New Zealand needs to change.
But we hate whingers. Either shut up or do something about it, we say.
So Otis is us doing something about it.
If New Zealand farmers have any chance of diversifying their farms and shifting to regenerative practices they need to know they can secure revenue from the diverse crops and animals they farm.
So we are focusing on oats. Making the best oat milk there is (little biased) and taking it to the world so we can help change New Zealand's agriculture sector to one that is carbon-zero, diverse, and regenerative.
2. Monocropping is when just one plant species is grown, often over massive areas.