Mastering the Carbon Cycle: Waste to Usable Soil

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4-soil-alive-lg-150x150Man has been controlling the direction of the planet’s evolution whether intentional or not since the beginning of his creation. The carbon cycle which is tied to the weather is affecting global warming. This warm stability in climate has over the past 10,000 years allowed us to develop to where we are now in our development. Now we are suffering the consequences of our actions and must learn alternative ways if we wish to continue living and thriving on this planet.

Historic records give us a logical direction and reason for soil carbon sequestration. Before we started chopping down all of the world’s virgin forests there was a natural carbon sink to filter out the carbon we produce in our daily lives. There was a time we laughed at the hippies for not wanting to cut down the rain forests. Now we know they were right.

New agricultural and foresting techniques are being introduced to help rebuild what we have destroyed. One such technique is known as Terra Preta Soil Technology. This program is designed to return the misplaced carbon to the soil.

At a microscopic level, Terra Preta creates a terrestrial carbon reef. These structures, although nano-scale in size, provide a safe haven to the microbes and fungus that facilitate fertile soil creation. While creating the reef and building a haven this technology also provides a way to sequester carbon for hundreds if not thousands of years. The combination would also increase the growth rate and natural sequestration effort of growing plants.

By harnessing the work of a vast number of microbes and fungi, we change the whole equation of EROEI for food and Bio fuels. This is a sustainable agricultural strategy to keep us from using cheap fossil fuels for fertilizer. This super community of tiny beasts can work with us and populate their proper Soil horizon to naturally promote plant growth.

This type of technology was an invention of pre-Columbian American culture. It was destroyed by western disease but may be the savior of industrial western society. Pre-Columbian Indians produced these soils up to 6 feet deep over 20% of the Amazon basin with their limited resources. With today’s agricultural industrial capabilities it should not be a problem to institute this program.

Terra Preta soil technology has great possibilities to revolutionize sustainable agriculture into a major CO2 sequestration strategy and could help to provide the growing demand for food in the future.

Terra Preta Soils Technology Can Produce Carbon Negative Bio fuels and Increased Soil Fertility Too.

Dr. Lehmann at Cornell states, “Closed-Loop Pyrolysis systems such as Dr. Danny Day’s are the only way to make a fuel that is actually carbon negative…” and “… a strategy combining biochar with biofuels could ultimately offset 9.5 billion tons of carbon per year-an amount equal to the total current fossil fuel emissions!”

CO2 remediation:

I understand that atmospheric CO2 stands at 379 PPM and to stabilize the climate we need to reduce it to 350 PPM by removing of 230 Billion tons.

The estimates I’ve located on the amount of our total loss of forest and soil carbon (combined pre-industrial and industrial) has been about 200-240 billion tons. Soils are estimated to account for about 1/3 of that number while vegetation accounts for the other 2/3. Since man controls 24 billion tons of carbon in his agricultural practices, it seems we have plenty of area to work within to start sequestering our fossil fuel CO2 emissions as charcoal.

Carbon dioxide, coal, ash, soot, methane, charcoal, smog, carbohydrates, greenhouse gases, trash, recyclables, carbon monoxide, wood, petroleum, hydrocarbons, ethanol, manure all have one thing in common… carbon. This technology is a way to create an organic ‘carbon sink’. There are both pros and cons to this to this type of technology but it is a safe alternative to other industrial solutions.

Terra Preta’s full beauty appears in a closed loop. Traditional sequestration rates follow diminishing marginal returns such as aquifers filling up and forests maturing. New practices based on Terra Preta Soil Technology sees an increase in returns. Terra Preta soils will double or even triple crop yields.

More growth means the development of more Terra Preta developing what will be a continuous cycle. It may be a time before the planet rolls out the red carpet for this new technology, Terra Preta Soil Technology heralds yet another way to transform waste into resources.

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