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Archive Environmental Progress News September 2021

Tackling Climate Change Head On

Carbon sinks are one of the most productive solutions for tackling climate change.

This month’s articles explore:

  • Why “Keep Carbon” in the Soil?
  • How Do We Convince Farmers to Stop Burning?
  • Africa: Turning a Major Problem into a Grand Solution
  • Why Smallholder Farmers are Important Players
  • How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Home
  • We Offer the Best Way to Eliminate Your Remaining Footprint

Why “Keep Carbon” in the Soil?

By Aom Kwanpirom Suksri

Are you wondering the same? Why is it that foreign countries are so excited and pushing this issue, and why does it help us make our lives better?

“Carbon” is a solid state, while “carbon dioxide” is a gas. Understand it first ??

All raw materials in the world are composed of carbon. Even in ourselves ?? But that doesn’t mean that everything on Earth has carbon, such as water (H2O).

Living our life at present a large amount of carbon dioxide is emitted to the extent that the global temperature rises until an unpredictable environmental phenomenon happens.

We are a group of people searching for the root cause and we found that we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by turning it into solid carbon and keep it sequestered in the ground.

This has led to various methods for sequestering carbon in solid form, such as planting trees, producing biochar instead of burning it to ash.

We work with farmers to produce biochar (carbon) instead of burning it to ash, then put it in the soil. Put it in the soil and keep it there! ??

Ultimately, the contribution of farmers biochar is helpful in slowing climate change, and also provides direct benefits to the community.

Aom Kwanpirom Soksri, Director of Warm Heart Biochar Project
Bags of biochar made by farmers
Ready to deliver biochar

How Do We Convince Farmers to Stop Burning?

Current method of crop waste removal

Biochar Method

Putting biochar into the soil creates a “carbon sink” ,

sequestering the carbon for centuries.

Soil comes alive and produces higher, healthier

crop yield

Farmer’s have a new source of sustainable income, and a carbon removal system is at work.

Agricultural burning of crop waste is a real health problem for local and global communities.

While one small farm burning their crop waste may not seem like much, when you consider that every year, farmers in the developing world burn more than 10 billion tonnes of crop waste in their fields, it suddenly becomes a huge problem!  


Africa: Turning a Major Problem into a Grand Solution

By Carol Culver De Leo

The old proverb ‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’ certainly holds true with biochar.

Farmers can use biochar to make highly effective fertilizer to increase their yields without purchasing chemical fertilizers, saving money and protecting the environment.

Applied to fields, biochar increases soil porosity and water retention, raises pH, encourages soil life, and improves soil fertility. It also protects crops against disease, fungi, and insects.

Converting the waste into biochar instead of burning it removes two tons CO2 from the atmosphere for every ton produced; when added to fields as a soil amendment, that carbon is permanently sequestered, helping the environment as well as the farmer.

This is a classic win-win solution. 

Our Stop the Smoke campaign works with farmers to teach them how to make biochar from their crop waste. It is a simple process and provides numerous benefits for the farmer.

Biochar training

We have trained over 5,000 farmers so far how to turn their crop waste into a valuable product that will improve their soils and provide better crops.

Does it really work?

We recently decided to visit a few of the farmers that have gone through our free training to see if they have adapted to making their own biochar, and find out what their results have been.

The results have been overwhelmingly positive!

Leonard, a farmer in Kisumu County, Kenya, talks about  the progress he has made on his sorghum farm  since he started using Biochar fertilizer.

He says “I mix my Biochar with manure from chicken, goats and even compost manure.” He also states  “despite the sunshine that has been too high during this season compared to other seasons, I have managed to receive an increased yield”.

Big healthy crops!

Leonard also has a groundnuts plantation where he used biochar. He said he usually can harvest 3 bags of groundnuts, but since he has added biochar he is expecting 6 bags this year.

Other farmers we visited all had similar stories to share.

Farmer Risper told us before using biochar she had losses on her farm. Now, however, she is all smiles! 

Farmer Susan decided to test her two farms, planting one with biochar, the second without.

My farm with biochar has done well, the maize are big and healthy.  The farm without biochar encountered retarded growth, plants affected by plant disease, and conspicuous with weeds. On this farm I had no harvest, it was a total loss”. 

The stories were all the same. Biochar has had an incredible impact on their harvests.

More Than Just a Fertilizer

The farmers also shared what a big impact biochar has made with improving the health of their livestock. 

Farmer Susan uses biochar for her goats. “I sprinkle biochar where my goats sleep.

This reduces the flies around their sleeping area, and this in turn, prevents them from many diseases.

This has boosted the health of my goats, and they are now fatter and healthier”.

Stronger Communities Make a Better World

One of the most promising things we learned while visiting our biochar trainees is that they are sharing the information and teaching their neighbors how to make and use biochar on their own farms.

It is very heart warming to know that they are so excited about the results they want their neighbors to also experience the benefits of bichar as they have. 

I urge everyone to use biochar in their farms. Be it with the crops, animals, poultry, and even as a source of cooking fuel

For now I am the only one who has used biochar. But I know in our subsequent harvesting my neighbors will also experience a good harvest since I already educated them on biochar”.

Farmer Risper says “I always tell my community members, farmers, friends, even my own sisters, to come to my farm to see for themselves what biochar can do.” 

We want to encourage more of our trainees to share what they have learned with their neighbors, so we are working on a way to make that easier for them.

We applaud our biochar trainers for helping to make such a deep impact on the lives of so many!

Why Smallholder Farmers Are Important Players (Reprint)

By Dr. D. Michael Shafer

In 2019, local smallholder farmers grew almost a billion tonnes of corn – and 4.5 billion tonnes of waste. If 20% of their crop was sweet corn for people, they were likely left with 3.6 billion tonnes of waste from the hog corn they raised. Estimates suggest that half of this, 1.8 billion tonnes, is burned – annually.

When burned, 1.8 billion tonnes of corn waste create big climate change and public health problems. Spread across the developing world, these fires generate 2.9 million tonnes of CO2 and 11 million tonnes of PM 2.5. Remember: this is just corn, not rice, sugar, wheat, etc.

Why do small farmers burn the waste? They may not understand about climate change, but they must understand that they are killing themselves, and their neighbors, with the smoke.

The simple answer is best. Approximately half of them have no alternative. Their laborers were paid only to pick the corn, not clear the fields. The fields are steep and rocky. The work is hard. They have no oxen or buffalo. It is the hot season. They are malnourished. All the healthy adults have left in search of dry season work elsewhere. Besides, what would they do with the stalk if they did cut it? 

So they go to the bottom of the field and light a match. Whoof and it is all gone – the waste and the weeds – leaving a field of dirt clear and ready for planting. Tell the farmer that it is bad for the planet, environment, soil, whatever and they will ask, “Got a better idea?”

There is a better way: biochar. If they could be told: “If you do not burn your waste, but convert it into biochar, we will pay you for the biochar.” The farmers would make biochar. ( My organization, Warm Heart, has demonstrated this in the field for years.)

Bagging the biochar, which will be distributed to be buried, creating a “carbon sink” and improving soil.

There are billions of dollars available to anyone who can “certifiably” demonstrate that they have reduced carbon emissions and there is a growing pot of money for those who can “certifiably” show that they have removed carbon and placed it in a “sink.” 

The problem, of course, comes with “certification” and the background verification process, which for those who hand out the billion means certification and verification according to an approved Western standard. In other words, the small farmers are barred from accessing the funds.

Lack of access to the billions of dollars in carbon emission reduction and c-sink funds is critical. The technology required to make biochar may not be complex, but the work required is not trivial. Why should a poor farmer waste time making biochar instead of simply striking a match to a dry field of waste? 

This is what the incentive is for. The incentive gives a poor farmer reason to make biochar instead of burning, thus producing the MANY other benefits we all so want.

Small farmers will have a market that rewards them for not burning. They will make money and improve the quality of their own lives. 

The reduction in burning will help to slow climate change by reducing GHG emissions and removing carbon. It will also reduce infant mortality in their communities, premature deaths among adults and morbidity across the entire population by lowering particulate levels.

If they convert this crop waste to biochar, they also will remove a billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere – every year. To the extent that we believe that atmospheric CO2 causes climate change, then this should make us happy. 

About the Author

Dr. Shafer is co-founder of Warm Heart Worldwide. He began the biochar project 10 years ago working with local farmers. He is working on a certification program that will allow small farmers to participate in a Carbon Exchange program

How To Reduce Your  Carbon Footprint at Home

By Katreena Sarmiento

(Image Source: “ready made” at Pexels)

Your lifestyle may be gradually destructing our natural resources

Most of the products and activities we engage in are massive producers of carbon footprint or greenhouse gas emissions, from the electronics we use to the amount of energy we consume.

Households in the U.S. alone already comprise around 20% of carbon emissions in the country.  If you compare that and consider the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by every household worldwide, then the numbers alone should be alarming enough.

As much as we’d like to call that an exaggeration, sadly, it is not.

It wouldn’t be fair to rely solely on corporate sustainability to preserve the environment.  Families and regular citizens hold just as much accountability. 

Reducing carbon footprint from the comfort of our homes

You don’t really need to be a rocket scientist or an environmental expert to help regulate global warming. 

In fact, you can already get started by adapting the following changes in your residence:

Electronics & Energy

Should you start doing every chore manually? Not really. To be more conscious of how your electronics affect the surroundings means taking the time to explore more eco-friendly alternatives and committing to these less harmful technologies.

A well-known example is renewable energy, which is generated from naturally sustainable resources. It comes in the form of solar, wind, and geothermal power. Some solid waste materials may also be recycled as energy sources, otherwise known as biogas or biodiesel. 

Create a list of all the appliances you use at home. Refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers are notorious for exuding the highest amounts of carbon footprint.

Understandably, these are innovations that you cannot simply get rid of. What you can do is to look for appliances with an energy-saving seal. These appliances help reduce your energy consumption and electricity bills.

Check your lightbulbs: Are they built for a greener lifestyle? Environmentally friendly bulbs exhaust lower levels of energy while also illuminating your home’s interior and exterior for a prolonged period.

Do you live on a continent that experiences extreme heat or cold during specific periods of each year?

Regulate the temperature in your home through concentrating heat sources only on areas of your home where you need it the most, such as the living room. Heat-insulating walls are flexible and sensitive in that they normalize the temperature in living spaces depending on the season or climate. 

Consume as needed

Be more mindful of how you exhaust your water and electricity on a daily basis. Are you familiar with the annual ‘Earth Hour’, wherein everyone across the globe is encouraged to participate by turning off their lights and appliances for a full hour?

Well, this is a practice that you can adopt as a regular part of your routine. Unused light sources should be turned off immediately.

Switch off appliances and gadgets not in use. Use natural light at day time to make your home’s interior brighter. Then, at night, skip the lampshade or night light. You’re more likely to get a good, deep sleep by resting in an unlit room anyway. 

Conserve water too! Avoid leaving your tap open while taking a bath, brushing your teeth, or cleaning.

Dedicate a time every month or every two weeks to inspect your drains, pipes, and waterways for leaks.

Place large, empty drums outside your homes to collect rainwater. You can use it later on to clean your garage or your bathroom.

Embrace organic

During the onset of the pandemic, home gardening became a viral trend that kept several homeowners busy throughout 2020.

Embracing the plant-loving life is a trend that we highly recommend you join because this means you get to grow your own produce right in your backyard!

Not having to travel to the nearest grocery store to replenish your food supplies lessens the fuel used and smoke belching produced in the atmosphere. 

Aside from food, your makeup and skin care routine can also affect carbon footprint levels at home. Natural skin care remedies and cosmetics are manufactured using renewable resources and recycled materials.

From the packaging to the formulation of the ingredients, organically based and carbon neutral beauty products uphold zero waste policies and ecological chemistry. The best part is these are less prone to causing allergic reactions on your skin.

Some notable beauty brands that have chosen to advocate for Mother Earth include Lush, Love, Beauty, and Planet, Axiology, RMS, and Milk Makeup.

Incorporate the 3 R’s

Switch up your routine to keep your bins from overflowing with trash that would have still been useful if given more thought to it.

Reuse eco bags, shopping bags, and even empty shampoo, lotion, and perfume bottles. Store

About the Author

Katreena is a scientist and a life hack specialist. She’s authored scientific journals on biotechnology and molecular biology. To take a break from scientific journals, she puts her mind into writing about lifestyle, health, and sustainability. She strongly believes that kindness makes the world go round.

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 training of farmer’s to participate in 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.

How you can participate

You can commit to buying carbon removal at 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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