It’s tough work for many of us out here in the world. Our family members are denying climate change, our friends question if solar can meet energy demands, and we’re all still driving fossil fuel burning SUVs. How do we keep ourselves out of a constant state of climate panic??
We fill our hearts with the solutions and fuel our minds with knowledge! We arm ourselves with detailed understanding of all the epic ways we can change our climate back to the magical healthy equilibrium we were all born into and would like to birth our children into, if we can muster the courage and faith that the rest of the humans will get on board and help us save the planet. See, even I have lingering dis-ease! Not for lack of great options to save the world. No. After a month in the USA, I just hope that humanity can rise to the challenge and do the right thing. My main eco-ailment is utter disbelief that with the entire planet at stake, it’s even a question. “They” must have some pretty epic plans for Mars.
I really like Earth, so here’s my understanding of a few climate solutions that lifted my spirit immensely.
Basically the plan to help with the current climate emergency is two-fold. One, stop putting more carbon into the atmosphere by switching over to clean, renewable energy sources. Two, commodotise the carbon in the atmosphere and draw that shit back down to Earth. YES, possible and YES, happening.
To my knowledge, there are three ways we can bring carbon back down.
First, let’s remember a beautiful thing called photosynthesis. AKA the process by which plants make food for themselves from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. And conveniently generates oxygen as a byproduct. Which, as we know but many seem to forget, is essential to human life.
During oxygenic photosynthesis, light energy transfers electrons from water (H2O) to carbon dioxide (CO2), to produce carbohydrates. In this transfer, the CO2 is "reduced," or receives electrons, and the water becomes "oxidized," or loses electrons. Ultimately, oxygen is produced along with carbohydrates. (HANDY!)
Okay, so we can save the planet and all of humanity by feeding the carbon in the atmosphere to the plants on Earth. The three ways I know about are:
Marine Permaculture : We can feed the carbon to the seaweed! Seaweed must grow near the ocean's surface -- within the reach of sunlight -- to survive, and there must be an abundance of carbon dioxide in the water.
Reforestation : Plant lots of trees! Pull more carbon out of the air through photosynthesis! Again more trees, means more carbon being eaten by trees, meaning less going into the atmosphere.
Regenerative Agriculture : Plants are generous beings. They don’t just greedily eat all of the carbon themselves. They also pump 30-40% of the carbon into the soil to feed soil organisms that build or regenerate the soil. How good are plants! Just to clarify, the carbon is liquid carbon sugars created from combining carbon with H2O’s hydrogen and oxygen. That’s the yummy liquid sugar they use to build themselves and share with the soil microbes. The plants feed the soil microbes because the microbes make the minerals and nutrients that is then available to the plants. Plants don't digest the soil, microbes do. Therefore, plants have to feed the microbes if they are to access all the micro, macro, and trace elements in the soil that they need to be healthy and strong and defend themselves from pest. I’d rather have super healthy soil helping fruits and vegetables defend themselves instead of pesticide-soaked foods.
I hope your curiosity is piqued by each of these deep wells of climate hope, if you would like to go a bit deeper into the regenerative agriculture, take this course by my friends at Kiss the Ground! For more info on all of these tune into my podcast “THE MERCAST” at any of the places you listen to podcasts.
Another great thing I’ve learned from co-Founder of Kiss the Ground, Finian Makepeace, is that some plants share more carbon with the soil organisms than others. This is why biodiversity is key because they all play different roles and feed different microbes. Hence, why mono-crops (miles and miles of soy or miles and miles of corn) deplete the soil, or don’t feed the soil organisms enough variety of healthy microbes.
Our planet is a web of interconnected gorgeous systems that have evolved over millions of years to support incredible diversity of wondrous life—much of which is still a complete mystery to us. The soil organisms are just as diverse as the plants that should live in the soil as the organisms that frolic in the oceans as the fish that swarm a reef as the birds that fill the trees. Diversity is a necessary and inherent feature of life on earth. So, the kinds of plants sucking carbon and sharing to the soil depend on the season, the weather, the time of year, the growth cycles of the plants, and how much beneficial life is already in the soil that needs to be fed and nourished. This is how a healthy eco-system evolves and prospers. Diversity and collaboration!