Overall, it is only when we start with a soils-first-farming approach that we begin to understand what is needed to create genuinely sustainable agricultural systems.
The carbon cycle is the collection of processes that sees carbon exchanged between the atmosphere, land, ocean and the organisms they contain. “Feedbacks” refer to how these processes could change as the Earth warms and atmospheric CO2 concentrations rise.
Since all that carbon in the ground below our feet originated in the atmosphere, the potential exists for soils to ‘soak up’ lots and lots of the excess CO2 contributing to global warming. In fact, degraded and carbon-depleted soils – which describe the majority of agricultural lands in America – could be ‘recarbonized’ to their original, pre-tilled levels which could have a huge impact on climate change.
In this fourth episode of our climate science mini-series, we dive into the carbon cycle to understand how the greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels accumulate in the atmosphere. We also discuss how climate science is taught, the concepts that students struggle to understand, and what the science of human reasoning and teaching can tell us about how best to communicate this enormously complex subject to a lay audience.
Carbon is the most important element on Earth and the best way to begin explaining its significance is with the terribly important carbon cycle.
It’s a whodunit with huge consequences for life on Earth.
It’s called “whiplash weather” and that is certainly what’s happened where I live…the rains have largely stopped. August has been dry…So, should I cheer or jeer the wildflowers?
Carbon is hot. This was the main message of a conference on climate change and agriculture that I attended last week in Davis, California. Everyone was talking about carbon, either as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or soil carbon below our feet. Farmers, scientists, policy-wonks, regulators, graduate students, activists and many others all had something to say about carbon.