My Statement on the Problem and Soil Carbon as a Solution.
Why is Soil Carbon important?
We know the climate is changing because of an increase of Carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon emissions are increasing planetary temperatures. In some areas, the temperature changes are greater than others. This is causing changing climate patterns to more extreme conditions of dry and wet, drought and floods.
The instability and extreme conditions disrupt food and water security, seed conflict and population migrations, and impact ecosystem habitats of all kinds.
There has been real progress in our thinking and actions taken around reducing Carbon emissions through more renewable energy and improving energy efficiency. And, the change to renewable energy is essential. Leadership in renewables is making all the difference. There is momentum.
However, we already have a temperature increase that is now destabilizing the climate and there is enough Carbon in the atmosphere and oceans to continue in this direction dramatically. It will take some time to transform our civilization to a decarbonized economy. Last year, there was evidence of decoupling the growth of the economy from fossil fuels.
The other half of the Carbon cycle must also be engaged. That is, we need to drawdown Carbon from the atmosphere and put it back into the land. The Carbon sinks are the ocean, atmosphere, and land.
Fortunately, there is a good deal of knowledge, experience, and practice available to us today. The potential to bring Carbon back into the land on a global scale is huge! And it’s game changing!
The challenge is to bring what has been shown in research and on specific landscapes into implementation on a large scale globally and as quickly as possible.
If we can drawdown Carbon and put it into the land sink, into Soil Carbon, than we can manage Carbon in the atmosphere and stabilize the climate.
An example of such a managed natural system is the local groundwater aquifer here in the south bay. In times of drought, we draw from it. Then, in times of rain, it is recharged.
With every land area that is managed for sequestering carbon, Soil Health is improved and with it comes many quickly attained benefits.
Along the way to stabilizing the climate, increased Soil Carbon, and Soil Health, has the potential to stabilize whole regions with benefits of increasing water holding capacity, resilience against drought, improving plant nutrients, photosynthesis, and food productivity, and protection against extreme weather events. These benefits expand to reduced conflicts and population migrations.
What can be done? What are some obstacles and opportunities?
There are different programs happening and different people involved in different ways. There is some here and some there with connections beginning to form. The Paris Conference and the country of France broke it open and put Soil Carbon on the table with a national annual commitment to increased Soil Carbon.
What we need is Momentum to be built on a similar level to Renewable Energy globally.
Fundamentally, Soil Carbon builds Soil Health through regenerative land management using compost, plants, and animals. (Compost includes organic matter, mulches, biochar, biomass). Soil carbon, water, and photosynthesis are measured as evidence of increased carbon sequestration.
There are projects underway in different levels of development that I think can contribute significantly to needed momentum.
There are some existing communities of practice and education that are supporting efforts in Soil Carbon. Soil Carbon supports STEM education. Also, there are international Hubs developing through the Savory Institute.
If there are a couple of approaches to moving forward, which will we choose?
1) individuals and small groups knocking on doors hoping other people and institutions will get it and go along with something when there is institutional inertia,
or 2) everything changing in a big way, all current people supporting it, and everyone else coming along because this is the new paradigm. Soil Carbon & Soil Health is the future. It is the future we want to see happen, and quickly.
We know what increasing Soil Carbon can do. We have land management practices available. We have good research to support it. We have good people and communities on board. How do we fulfill this huge potential and implement on a global scale? This is the challenge of our time.
Carbon Cycle Sinks
Land - Atmosphere - Ocean