A Few of Our Favorites
We are working on big changes to our Environmental Newsletter which we will reveal in our November issue. Stay tuned!
This month we are highlighting our favorite articles and features from 2021. We hope you enjoy this stroll down memory lane and maybe check out some of the issues you may have missed in our Archive.
Smoky Season is Around the Corner
According to the UN report, “the share of small-scale food producers in terms of all food producers in countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America ranges from 40 to 85 per cent”.
If you live in a farming area you are probably inundated with smoke polluting your skies as many of these small-scale food producers burn the crop waste in open fields after harvest.
For those of us living in these smoky environments we face immediate health problems from the smoke. Thousands and thousands of people become sick from breathing in the small particles of smoke. Many die.
For those of you not living within range of the smoke, your lives are still impacted.
Agricultural smoke is a huge contributor to global warming, and that affects all of us.
So how do we Stop the Smoke? Here is one example: A biochar oven to process crop waste, smoke free!
What is Agroforestry and how will it help Stop the Smoke?
In very simple terms, agroforestry is an environmentally-friendly way of farming that combines crops with trees.
Many farmers would like to switch to agroforestry, but don’t have the know-how. We are working to connect these farmers with experts who can help them map out their land and create designs that are custom tailored to their needs and environment.
While farmers can make more money through agroforestry in the long run, getting started requires an upfront investment. The landscape needs to be prepared, and trees need to be planted. Crucially, farmers need to install watering systems, so they can water their crops through the dry season.
We are working to provide farmers with cheap, flexible micro-loans to make these investments in their farms, so they can take the first steps towards reducing their dependence on corn crops, eliminating smoke forever!
We hope you will join us again this year with your continuing financial support and help us Stop the Smoke!
But what can just one person do?
In Indonesia Sadiman looked at the barren land surrounding his village and decided to do something about it. He began planting trees. He spent 20 years planting Banyon tree seeds.
When he first began planting the seeds “People ridiculed me for bringing banyan tree seeds to the village because they felt uneasy as they believed there are spirits in these trees,” Sadiman said
The long and wide-spreading roots of at least 11,000 banyans and ficus trees Sadiman has planted over 250 hectares (617 acres) help to retain groundwater and prevent land erosion.
Today the area is lush and green and supplies fresh water for the local farmers.
Urban Life – What Can You Do?
Our problems out in the farm lands are very easy to identify. Agricultural smoke is one of the major contributors to global warming all around the world. But what about city life?
Vehicle emissions are probably one of the biggest contributors to global warming for city dwellers. We are working our way towards a cleaner form of transportation, investing in clean alternative energy, but we are far from where we need to be. WE NEED TO BE REDUCING EMISSIONS NOW!
There are a few steps you can take to reduce the amount of emissions your community is contributing to global warming. If your community is not currently participating in any of these measures you can take action and help bring about changes!
Getting stuck in traffic can be a real drag, not just on your patience but on increased emissions from all the cars idling and waiting their turn to go.
Does your city have a notorious traffic jam area? What can be done to increase the flow of traffic so there is no traffic jam?
Surprisingly parking comes in second for emission impact. While it may be convenient to drive your car to your destination, finding a place to park the car is not always so easy. How often do you need to search around looking for an empty parking space? Many cities are adopting a Smart Parking
Restricting Car Access
Some cities prefer to block off vehicle traffic to pedestrian traffic in designated areas. Lowering emissions in these walking areas is not just good for the environment, but healthier for the people walking there too! Does you town have an area that can be turned into “Pedestrian Only” traffic?
Cycling and Walking
It is important to ensure that cycling and walking are both safe and convenient means of transport. Does your city promote cycling as a means of getting around the city? Do you have bike paths/designated lanes?
Extensive bike-parking facilities, and bike-sharing systems are also an effective way to encourage more ‘bike- and-ride’ participation.
What type of public transportation does your community provide? Is it well planned and utilized? Does it connect with parking areas where people can leave their cars while using public transportation within the busy city? Depending on the needs of your city, careful planning and reliable service can go a long way in alleviating inner city traffic.
So how many people can you cram into your car? All joking aside, ride sharing is a great way to reduce single passenger traffic. If you work in the city, does you employer offer a ride share program for employees? Perhaps you can get one started. Make it a community based program, your neighbor working next door to you may be wiling to participate!
One Drop Too Many
When I was a child, i loved frogs. I was so happy the day I finally caught one! I took him home with me to keep him as a pet.
I had no place to keep him, so I made him a home in the basement of our house. There was a sink in the basement, so I filled it up with a little bit of water, put in a few big rocks, and put my frog in his new home.
The next day when I got home from school my mother was livid!
When I left the frog in the sink I did not realize the faucet had a slow, constant drip. With the sink plugged up the drips from the faucet eventually caused the sink to overflow, flooding the basement floor. And of course my new friend was long gone.
Carbon emissions puts all of us in the same boat. Like the slow drip of water filling the sink and causing it to overflow, our atmosphere is already full of carbon. Because we are already suffering the effects of climate change, the next big thing coming down the river, at all of us, is not how to slow climate change, but how to stop it.
The atmosphere and oceans are already full of CO2. They can’t take any more. If they could, we would not be experiencing the rapid climate change we experience daily.
What does this tell us?
It tells us that we can’t continue to emit CO2 into the atmosphere. Every bit more – not every gigaton more, but every gram – of carbon that we try to cram into the atmosphere is TOO MUCH.
Keeping up the hope for our children
Reflections of a Mom
By Dana Brown, Age: Old
I was in the midst of folding the endless piles of laundry generated by my three girls when I noticed out the corner of my eye that my youngest, Annika, was lingering nearby. “What’s up?’” I asked. She was unusually somber and looked to the floor. “I have some bad news,” she said, and then tears started streaming down her face. I dropped the clothes on the floor and took her in my arms. “Tell me all about it.”
Annika told me then that she had learned on social media of the death of the last male Northern white rhino and the likely extinction of this species. She had seen a video explaining that the extinction was caused by people who killed the rhino for money and pleasure.
“Why would anyone do that?” was her first question. It was one of those questions that is impossible for mortal parents to answer. I tried explaining that people did it for money, but this made no sense at all to an 8-year-old, who has more sense than most people. “Money for life?!” she asked with a look of immense skepticism.
Then she started sobbing. “I’m scared, mama. What if the earth has no animals again? I don’t want to live on an earth without animals. Will our pets die? What will happen then?” It was another list of questions for which I had no good answers.
Instead, I wept with her. We should be sad. We should be scared. Tears are perfectly understandable.
Yet, our children deserve hope for their future. They don’t deserve to worry about whether they will have animals and grass, food and the beauty of nature around them. We cannot put the burden on them to change the world either. And anger and blame is not always helpful.
Let’s be our children’s allies in turning things around. It starts with seeing things as our children see them. How many adults read about the Northern white rhino and felt as despondent and devasted as Annika? It’s human nature to worry more about the immediate threats (a robbery around the corner, an impeding storm) than most serious ones (loss of species, climate change) even if one is more life threatening than the other.
I have confidence that our children will make it their mission to save the planet. It is our job to show them the way, to let them cry hard for what we are losing but to fill their hearts with hope and love for their precious lives.
How One Family is Making a Difference
This family migrated to Phrao, Thailand from Myanmar over 10 years ago.
They work as daily labour for local farmers picking longan, rice planting, and so on.
When the planting and harvest season is over they have no work. So the 7 adults end up staying home and have no job.
They have 4 kids and they were all going to school, but now Covid has changed their lives.
The family is now working with Aom in our Biochar Project. They collect biomass and turn it into biochar.
The family reports “We are happy to be making biochar. Because this keep us having job which mean we have income. Otherwise our life will be terrible. We rent a house, we don’t own a farm, and we have to pay a fee every year to extend our work permit to be able to stay in Thailand. As long as farmers want to get rid of biomass we now have a market for biochar. We will continue to work and make biochar.“
This is a win-win situation for everyone. The family has a new source of sustainable income, the work they do is important for the environment, converting biomass into biochar eliminates smoke and helps put carbon back into the soil.
We Offer the Best Way to Eliminate Your Remaining Footprint!
For those living a western lifestyle your average footprint based on your lifestyle choices is most likely huge compared to the smallholder farmers lifestyle footprint. But the farmers footprints from burning crop waste is extraordinarily high!
Biochar Trust provides a way to for smallholder farmers to participate by providing them financial compensation for carbon sequestration. Your support provides the incentive to stop the smoke and turn it into biochar, and create c-sinks to remove and sequester carbon.
Your participation will also help offset any remaining footprint you may be leaving. Your subscription to support the farmer’s biochar activities helps bring down the farmer’s footprint as well.
1 STS token* = $200 USD
*The financial value of an STS token encompasses the environmental impact of durable and long-term CO2 removal, CO2e emission aversion and social impact of the once excluded smallholder farmers.
Visit Biochar Trust right now to learn more. We encourage individuals, families, businesses, and corporations to help reduce agricultural smoke that is contributing to global warming.
Finally a sustainable way to reduce smoke. Solving an environmental problem with a profitable solution that promotes local community development, while answering the urgent need to remove carbon.
You can buy a 1/4 of a Token for $50, 1/2 a Token for $100, 3/4 Token for $75, or a full Token for $200. Depends on your needs, ability, and commitment to a Climate Action that has a measurable impact.
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