Reversing Climate Change Through Agriculture

I have good news and bad news. First the bad news. There is more carbon in the atmosphere than is healthy for our planet, and it takes 25 years for the carbon we’ve been emitting to get up there. So there will be much more in the next few years.

What happens when too much carbon is in the atmosphere is up for debate. Rising sea levels, weird weather patterns, and some sort of greenhouse effects have been predicted. The known fact is that the carbon in the atmosphere 200 years ago was 265 billion tons, and today it is 402 billion tons. This is measurable.

Carbon is not a bad thing. It is necessary for life. We live on a carbon-based planet. All things alive or that were alive have carbon in them. Nature has a wonderful way of working. Animals breathe out carbon dioxide, and plants take it in. Through photosynthesis, sunlight on leaves brings carbon into the plant, forming carbohydrates like sugar and starch. We get it by eating plants and animals.

The good news is that plants also send carbon into the soil This is called carbon sequestration. A teaspoon of good, rich soil has billions of tiny microorganisms in it, and each one needs carbon to live. As a plant photosynthesizes, carbon goes from the air into the soil, if the soil has these carbon-needing microbes in it.

The problem is that 70% of the world’s agriculture land no longer has the little live things in it. They get killed by tillage, chemicals and antibiotics. “Bio” means “life”, so antibiotics means “opposed to life”.

Scientists have recently reported that by regenerating soil with these live microorganisms, enough carbon will be brought back out of the atmosphere and into the soil to avoid negative climate change. When you grow cover crops and till less, you raise the organic matter of your garden or field. This is a measure of the increase of carbon in your soil.

More good news is that giant corporations are wanting to help. It will be business and economics that help us shift from putting carbon into the atmosphere to pulling carbon back into the soil. Composting is key to propagating the beneficial microbes, and good farming practices will bring about a reversal of carbon going up to carbon coming down. A good source of information With organic farming to rescue, maybe we can keep driving cars.

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