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Common Ground

By Alan Ng | November 17, 2023

My frustration with environmental documentaries is that the vast majority of them fall into that “doom and gloom” category, and the only solution is to dismantle the global economy. Joshua and Rebecca Tickell’s documentary, Common Ground, is that rare documentary that actually proposes solutions…practical solutions. I fear that the solutions will disappear into the void if we don’t say anything.

Common Ground boasts as its narrators celebrities Jason Mamoa, Larua Dern, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover, and Rosario Dawson. They guide us on our educational journey, starting with basic science.

Since the start of the fossil fuel craze during World War II. the burning of gasoline and other by-products has increased the level of carbon in the atmosphere. We’ve forgotten all this time that the best and most efficient way to remove this carbon is to grow trees and cultivate farming land. This is stuff we’ve been taught in elementary school.

Common Ground asserts that if we focus on the soil and the ground and cultivate better farming practices, we can remove the excess carbon in the air, bring us into net-zero carbon emissions, and feed a whole bunch of people at the same time.

How have we not been doing this all along? The problem is that the agricultural industry, under the guidance of the U.S. government, has been destroying farmland through factory farmland. This practice has been turning soil full of nutrients into lifeless dirt. Now, who’s being “doom and gloom?”

“…that rare documentary that actually proposes solutions…practical solutions.”

There is an answer in a practice known as “regenerative agriculture.” First, the one thing our soil needs is carbon. Plants pull the carbon from the air into the soil. Next is revitalizing the soil by reintroducing nutrients through organic fertilizers and cutting down remnants of the previous crop—a phenomenon known as composting. Composting breaks down organic materials with the help of biological microbes that feast on the decomposing material. The end result is healthy, high-yield crop soil. Mankind has been doing this since the beginning of time.

Common Ground goes extensively into what went wrong over the past century. This is where the government gets involved. Every year, Congress passes “The Farm Bill,” which subsidizes the farming industry. Subsidies go to farms that produce corn and soil. These subsidies force farmers to grow GMO seeds and spray ungodly pesticides (Round-Up), affecting the health of the nation. Yes, regenerative agriculture eliminates the use of pesticides and lab-grown fertilizers.

The key to solving the problem is getting the farmers off the teet of the Federal government and radically changing the way farming is done in America. Common Ground aligns with my personal philosophy on climate change…you fix the air by fixing the ground (soil). This is the message that the world’s young people need to hear before they continue vandalism paintings. Common Ground is full of hope and offers real solutions. That affects our food supply, health, and ability to feed this nation and the world.

Of course, there are obstacles. Corporate agriculture that relies on selling its seeds and producing pesticides will not allow commonsense solutions to destroy its profits. Corporate agriculture has a bi-partisan stranglehold on our politicians, funneling millions to their campaigns.

Common Ground goes through the history of agriculture, starting with colonization and slavery and the racist qualification of dealing out loans to a specific group of farms. Don’t get too annoyed at this part. The film also spotlights the tactics these corporations employ to silence those who filed lawsuits against them, resorting to reputation smearing and doxxing.

I’ve only given the tip of the iceberg of the valuable information presented in Common Ground. This documentary is dense, and I defy you at the end not to even consider that we might be going after climate change in the wrong way.

For screening information, visit the Common Ground official website.

Common Ground (2023)

Directed: Joshua Tickell, Rebecca Harrell Tickell

Written: Jenny O'Hara, Johnny O'Hara, Joshua Tickell, Rebecca Harrell Tickell

Starring: Jason Mamoa, Larua Dern, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover, Rosario Dawson, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

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"…solving the problem is getting the farmers off the teet of the Federal government..."

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