The news about climate disruption can be discouraging. Not just the monster hurricanes, droughts, floods, melting ice and forest fires. The human political climate, especially in the United States, can drive a person to despair.
But there is good news: the pace of clean energy development and government action are accelerating around the world. In preparation to the UN Paris Climate Conference in December, the biggest carbon emitters, China, the U.S. and Brazil, have all made significant commitments to reduce emissions.
In the movie based on her book “This Changes Everything,” Naomi Klein points the finger at unregulated capitalism untethered to the common good as a major culprit in the climate change problem. She looks at the rising tide of opposition against the abuses of extractive projects around the world. The movie (view the trailer) opens this fall.
Around the world, people of all ages and all nationalities are getting active to express their care for the earth and for the future and pressing for change. A sample of the images from the rising climate movement is found in these short videos from 350.org.
Pope Francis’s encyclical On Care For Our Common Home and his visit to the U.S. this fall spotlighted activism by people of faith. Leaders and climate activists from diverse religious traditions are demanding climate action as an expression of their faith’s teachings with emphasis on care of the earth and care for all people.
A cause for hope on which I will focus in my next few posts is that we can reverse the rise of atmospheric carbon without any risky high-tech “geo-engineering” projects. We can sequester excess carbon in the soil by supporting nature’s own biological processes.
“For the first time a real solution to climate change has emerged,” said Larry Kopald of the Carbon Underground on the Washington Mall before Pope Francis spoke to the crowd. “Studies from around the world are clearly showing that restoring the health of soil harmed by industrial farming techniques can not only sequester enough carbon to halt climate change, but has the potential to actually reverse it in our lifetime, all while feeding us abundant and healthy food. It’s literally a shovel-ready solution to the biggest crisis facing humanity.”
2015 is the UN International Year of the Soil. The UN promotes agricultural techniques that lead to healthy soil. Healthy soil teems with soil microbes engaged in a mutually beneficial dance with plants, and building stable carbon, which is called humus.
In recent years, New England Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) has focused on how to build carbon stores in the soil. At their annual conference at UMass each August there have been keynote speakers, such as local permaculturist Eric Toensmeier and soil scientist Elaine Ingham, and workshops on soil carbon and climate. In August 2016, Australian Christine Jones will give the keynote address on carbon sequestration.
In future posts in this series, and in the Daily Hampshire Gazette Earth Matters column on November 21, I will look at the soil-climate connection in greater detail.
For new readers of this blog, here’s a quick overview of more than 140 past posts in separated into 13 categories, including simple living, frugality, gardening, cooking and climate change.