Too much carbon in the atmosphere is taking Planet Earth down the road to being unable to support human life as we know it. However, the good news is that we are not there yet, and we can do something about it. While stopping the emission of carbon into the atmosphere will help, the solution lies in the removal of existing atmospheric carbon.
The main problem is the excess CO2 that humanity has been emitting into the atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide and Methane are called greenhouse gases because like the glass roof of a greenhouse, they trap heat from the sun, dangerously warming Earth’s climate. The challenge of restoring the balance of Earth’s climate lies in the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.
PLANTING TREES DRAWS DOWN CARBON DIOXIDE FROM THE ATMOSPHERE
BIOCHAR INCREASES TREE GROWTH AND IMPROVES SOIL HEALTH AND FERTILITY
We Need Trees
Plants have green leaves because they contain chlorophyll which not only gives them their green color, but also absorbs the sun’s energy and then transforms water and CO2 into oxygen and sugars. This simple process – photosynthesis - makes life as we know it possible on Earth. We breathe the oxygen and the sugars give us energy.
So how do we bring the atmosphere’s excess CO2 out of the atmosphere? The answer is that we use anything that we can as a “carbon sink” (i.e., a place that stores carbon).
Forests are very good at this because almost every part of their vegetation is mostly made out of carbon. But humanity has destroyed massive areas of forests. We cannot just grow them back, because much of their land is now being used for something else.
We can, however, grow trees that rapidly store carbon in their wood and foliage and even in the soil below. They do this in the early stages of their growth. So they can be felled when they reach full size, and replaced by the next crop. Converting this wood into a renewable fuel and biochar, which is added to the land as a soil amendment, creates a closed loop system that regenerates the land while sequestering carbon. And when rural villagers in Sri Lanka are paid to use their land and labour to cultivate the trees, the carbon stays stored safely on Earth while the villagers make a living from helping to save the planet.