“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
Getting Down and Dirty
We need to continue to wean our society away from our dependence on fossil fuels and coal, by developing and using renewable energy systems. Research and development into sustainable sources of energy are making great strides. Solar is becoming more efficient and affordable, wind power is being harnessed, alternative fuels are being explored and developed.
At the same time we also need to focus on regenerating the earth, reverse some of the damage that global warming has caused so far, and bring our climate back to a healthy and sustainable level globally. Part of the solution lies at our feet. The following short video “Soil Solutions to Climate Problems” clearly shows how rejuvenating our soil can have a big impact on Global Warming.
A new study details the surprising economic and environmental benefits of healthy soil.
In his article “Sustaining life from the ground up: The benefits of healthy soil“, Michael Doane, Director, of Transforming Working Lands at The Nature Conservancy states:
“Healthy soil is the foundation of life on Earth. But what is healthy soil? The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines it as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans. The key word: living.
A mixture of air, water, minerals, and organic matter, soil is both living and life-giving. It’s one of the most diverse habitats on earth, supporting an estimated quarter of the world’s biological diversity. There are more microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on the Earth! We depend on healthy, fertile soil to grow our food—an estimated 95 percent of the world’s food supply. Soil is also essential for filtering pollutants from our water and reducing the impact of climate change by storing carbon dioxide emissions.
Healthy soil provides unrivaled ecosystem services that sustain all forms of life, yet these soils are increasingly rare. While official measures are lacking, The Nature Conservancy estimates less than 10 percent of soils in the United States are managed optimally today. Healthier soils unlock so many benefits that we must reverse this trend. As the global population continues to grow and farmers endeavor to meet the consumer demands to produce more food, fuel and fiber, now is the time to reThink Soil.” (Full Article)
Biochar is emerging as a star player in healing our earth.
Tim McGee writes in his article Biochar Offers Answer for Healthy Soil and Carbon Sequestration:
“Deep, rich, black soil is a farmer’s dream come true. Healthy soil is full of life, with entire communities living just below our feet. Healthy soil can retain and purify water, provide an abundance of food, and even act as way to sequester carbon dioxide. One key to getting there is amending soil with biochar. Biochar is what you get when biomass is heated in the absence of oxygen through a process called pyrolysis. When incorporated into soil, biochar provides the structural habitat needed for a rich community of micro-organisms to take hold. Incorporating biochar into soil can also act as a way to sequester carbon.
Carbon dioxide sequestration was not likely the original goal of biochar, or terra preta, developed thousands of years ago by the Native Americans in the Amazon region. But today, as we recognize the cost of emitting greenhouse gases, we also recognize the wisdom of using biochar as micro-habitat to improve our soils. Biochar is a classic win-win scenario, a solution that can provide us with a valuable tool for fighting climate change, world hunger, poverty, and energy shortages all at the same time.” (Full Article)
Key sources for biochar
- Agriculture – Open field crop burning is a contributing factor to air pollution and global warming. Removing crop residue through Biochar technology not only eliminates the pollution, it also provides a valuable end product that enriches our soils.
- Waste Management – Innovative Reduction Strategies Inc is an industrial equipment designer and fabricator operating out of Edmonton, Alberta. IRSI‘s mission is to reduce waste streams through the scalable application of pyrolysis technologies for the waste management industry.
- Cook Stoves – A great way to cook smoke free while creating biochar. Watch the video to see how successful the program is in Costa Rica. It can be done anywhere.
Results of our surveyWith our “unscientific” survey, we were just trying to get a feel for what people are experiencing in their part of the world. This is a very small scale sample, but does tell a bit of a story.
On which continent do you live in?
Has your community experienced any of the following?
Flooding and hotter weather are the most notable experiences.
Are you involved in any of the following activities?
It is encouraging to see that people are discussing climate change, and supporting local environmental groups.
Who do you believe can help stop global warming?
Almost unanimous that the responsibility is equally shared.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how concerned are you about climate change and global warming?