About Carbon, part-2

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If the soil is depleted and poor in humus, the carbon stored in the soil over millions of years will go back into the atmosphere. This process of desertification[1] has been going on since humans initiated agriculture. An example of this is The Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, one of the areas where agriculture was invented and also known as the dawn on civilization. The name itself indicates a fertile ground where crops would grow in abundance. Today the Fertile Crescent is laid mostly bare and deserted due to poorly managed agricultural land.

In the past 150 years, between 50 and 80 percent of organic carbon in the topsoil has gone airborne. This means that since around 1850, twice as much atmospheric carbon dioxide has derived from farming practices as from the burning of fossil fuels[2]. The antidote to this rather menacing fact is ironically: agricultural practices. To be more exact: regenerative agriculture.

Hence the destructive effect of agricultural practices, cultivating land, can be done in ways which re-vitalises the soil and reverses the carbon burden coursing overheating of the climate. If 50% of depleted agricultural land is regenerated through better agricultural practices, we can possibly sequester enough carbon in the soil to bring atmospheric carbon back to pre-industrial levels in just 5 years, and simultaneously put it where it can do some good[3]. There are several ways to regenerate land, ideally used in synergy with each other; one technique which is part of a dynamic cycle is applying compost. Good compost is a technology which can build humus layer very quickly through the already decomposed organic matter. If we seek to posit an alternative to destructive usage of land and climate distress, supporting these techniques of restoring land is the squareroot of mitigating climate change.

Link (Video taken at Soiltech, in NL)

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Notes

  1. Depletion of agricultural land
  2. This leveled around 1970
  3. In the soil