Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 20, 2021 by author and journalistNoreen Wise
Gallant Gold Media is very excited to report that Julia Victor, a ninth grader at W.T. Woodson High in Fairfax, Va, placed second in her unique and timely science experiment, which is part of the build up to the annual Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair. We’ve been following Julia’s progress since October 2020 as she’s made her way through this intricate labyrinth of competing in a science fair during a global pandemic with schools closed and students distance learning. Julia was determined to find out which NoVA natives store the most carbon, and whether shrubs can stores as much carbon as trees, so she decided to conduct her own science experiment to discover the answer. We were impressed with Julia’s original idea that ties closely with the international greenup movement, that of planting lots of trees and nature to restore our habitat. Julia has taken it to a new level, though. She challenges us to be strategic about what we plant as we all strive to find more ways to store more carbon to reduce global warming.
Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 30, 2020 by Noreen Wise
Do bushes sequester carbon too? Is planting more shrubs as important as planting more trees in helping to lower atmospheric carbon levels and reverse global warming?
One student at W. T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia is determined to find out. Ninth grader Julia Victor has accepted the challenge to conduct her own science experiment for the upcoming Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair and is busy mapping out the procedure she will follow to test how much carbon five species of Northern Virginia natives can absorb in comparison to one another.
The Regeneron ISEF has a wide range of categories, 21 in all, that 1800 participating students are selecting from. As a nature lover, Earth and Environmental Sciences was Julia’s top choice, which she quickly narrowed down to climate change. Julia asked herself questions about which NoVa natives might absorb the most carbon. She then spent time researching, and eventually arrived at her hypothesis: “I am hypothesizing that the holly tree will grow to be the largest and will absorb the most carbon. I also think that shrubs might not be far behind. I am hoping to be able to come to the conclusion that shrubs and smaller plants are just as important to reversing climate change as large trees.”
Julia will be implementing the following steps to test her hypothesis. All the plants will be kept in open containers.
Remove the soil and weigh each plant. Record each plant’s bare root weight (without soil).
If plants are not the same weight, trim each plant until they are approximately equal.
Plant each plant in its new container with 1 gallon of soil each. Label each container with the plant species.
Water each plant with 1 cup of water each.
Set up each plant’s light to a 12-hour timer to simulate the sun.
Water each plant regularly with its recommended amount of water.
After 25 days, remove all the soil from the bare roots from each plant and weigh.
An important science experiment like this one is challenging enough without there being an extra layer of difficulty. But, Julia isn’t daunted by the complications during the fall season. Julia explained, that there are far less species available for her to choose from this late in the year. Many NoVa natives are nearly dormant, so there’s far less photosynthesis, which means very little, if any, carbon absorption. But Julia persevered and unearthed several standouts she can rely on:
We’ll be checking back with Julia in December to learn about the conclusions she drew once she completes her experiment, weighs each plant, and is able to identify the winning species that sequestered the most carbon. Julia will be managing a total of 25 small plants for her project.
This is a lot of extra work during a very challenging global pandemic. Julia began her freshman year with virtual learning, and appears to be very excited about having something she feels passionately about, nature and science, to keep her mind preoccupied in the midst of a health crisis. “This is my first time participating in the Regeneron ISEF and I’m excited to see everyone’s projects, especially during covid-19.”
I asked Julia how she keeps from feeling intimidated by such a challenging, high level competition. Her response was one that we could all apply to our own lives.
“These days, it’s very easy to get intimidated by projects and big assignments. I found that if I don’t think about it as an assignment, but rather as something I enjoy, then it becomes much easier to do get motivated by my curiosity.”
Nature is an exciting and therapeutic ally to help combat our daily challenges during covid. A major destresser, thanks to its beauty and healing scents, as well as the chemicals it emits that we humans respond to by releasing our own positive chemicals—serotonin for example. Nature is very responsive to human interaction, both positively and negatively. Humans and nature are connected through a symbiotic relationship. What we give is what we get. We see this with climate change of course, but it’s equally as powerful on the positive side of the coin. Nature nurtures. It comforts. Heals. Inspires. Supports. Motivates. Hanging out with nature makes us physically and emotionally stronger. It’s time to recognize this fact and act on it. Planting millions of trees and shrubs and flowers and all types of nature is an investment that pays us back exponentially. So, let’s get planting! If it’s too cold where you are right now, you can plant a seedling indoors in a container and leave inside until spring.
The many climate change solutions for lowering atmospheric carbon levels and keeping our children’s futures and lives safe, are all mapped out and well documented. The climate crisis is therefore more about the vast majority’s failure to implement, especially in America, rather than not knowing what to do to correct.
The most frustrating part about the startling failure to act, is how simple and easy the solutions are. Why so much resistance? Or is it more about apathy and procrastination?!
Let’s focus on the soil solution for a second. Soil stores 2x the amount of carbon than air and plants combined, British fungal network expert and author Merlin Shedrake outlines in his new bookThe Entangled Life, How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures. Shedrake passionately opens reader’s eyes to the hidden fungal mycelium network below our feet, pointing out that fungi are the “guts of the earth.”
Toxic fertilizers and pesticides destroy these vital, ecosystem-saving mycelium networks. While home and community composting preserves, strengthens and grows these networks enabling that much more carbon to be stored in our soil, as well as simultaneously supporting the good health of nature above ground.
Increasing the amount of nature grown above ground, increases the number of mycelium networks below the surface. The strategy is thus very clear and straightforward.
Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 24, 2020 by Noreen Wise
Thousands of innovators across the globe are aggressively working to manufacture machines that will pull carbon out of the air and store it, or transform it into something useful. Recent news about Amazon committing $10B to combat climate change has created hope that some of these funds will be used to create innovative solutions such as carbon sequestration machines.
But we’re not there yet, so we have to maximize what’s currently at our disposal — nature.
Planting trees is our number one priority. But, equally as important are meadows. Expansive landscapes of open fields that contain a variety of plants enable the funneling of carbon into their roots and trapping it in the soil where it will be safely stashed even when the roots die.
According to the Scientific American on sustainability, “Carbon Off-Set Cowboys Let Their Grass Grow”:
“The best way to maximize the amount of carbon that gets trapped underground is to maximize grass growth.”
The fact that so many different types of botanic species grow in a meadow, and their roots all intertwine underground, appears to be why meadows store more carbon than tall and bushy shrubs, although they take up a lot more land. Once carbon is trapped underground, fungi feed off it, and according to the Scientific American, fungi are often consumed by microbes and worms which stabilizes the carbon.
The western half of the country, with it’s massive open terrain, has a huge opportunity to maximize this option and help the United States take giant steps forward in cutting carbon. Apparently, a cap & trade program that reward ranchers and land owners is already underway. According to Civil Eats, Indigo Ag, a Boston-based agtech company, has raised $600 million from investors to help farmers sink one trillion tons of carbon on their property. Farmers are paid $15 per metric ton of stored carbon.
It’s exciting to see that the economy that led to our stratospheric carbon emissions rate, can be used to turn the catastrophe around and inspire land owners to reach for an opportunity to reducecarbon just as quickly and significantly.🌱
Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 15, 2019
by Noreen Wise
For the millions of us searching for effective next steps in reducing atmospheric carbon, as well as lowering our personal carbon footprints, having a home compost bin is a significant step forward. The best part, is how easy compost bins are to step up and maintain.
According toExploring Green, Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, 51% of trash is compostable. This food that is thrown away in landfills turns into methane. Methane increases global warming 21 times that of CO2. But when food waste is composted and then layered into the soil, the soil becomes so rich with nutrients that it substantially increases the amount of carbon the soil can sequester, which lowers our atmospheric carbon level, and reduces the global temperature.
Homes, restaurants, and large dining facilities — whether that be school cafeterias, hospital and corporate cafeterias, mall foodcourts, and large banquets and conference centers — should all be tapped into the simple compositing process. Be on the lookout at restaurants in your area. Most healthy and organic venues now have compost bins.
There are many ways composting space can be set up. It all depends on where you live and whether you’re able to have a larger outdoor bin.
In the kitchen, it’s best to have a small bin, with a handled bucket that can be lifted out of the lidded container.
All food scraps we normally stuff into the sink disposal, will instead by placed in the compost bin.
The small compost bin should be emptied each night into the larger bin that is either stored in the yard or garage.
It’s important that the large bin is ventilated, and turned with a large stick once a week.
Air enables the compost to process faster.
An official compost bin has a lower hatch close to the ground, that can be opened when the compost is ready, and easily removed to place in soil around the yard.
If you live in a condo or apartment and want to keep everything light, you may want to try a small lidded container on your porch or patio that you can empty by layering into a nearby forest floor regularly.
Schools Districts have jumped into the act in a big way, transforming the composting process into a learning lab. Many schools share their composting efforts through social media and it’s very exciting to see students energized by being part of this planet saving effort.
Teachers really enjoy these interactive, climate action learning labs, too. Win/win experiences are positive and invigorating, making learning fun and joyful. What parents doesn’t love that?
If you don’t have time or yard space to set up and maintain your own compost bin, a whole new industry is starting to take shape. CompostNow.org is a compositing service for home, office, and restaurants.
They provide heavy duty plastic bin.
They pick up full bin each service day, and leave an empty one.
They track waste & compost creation by the pound.
Members earn compost! Very easy and rewarding… literally.
So, take the leap. It’s super easy and will instantly contribute to carbon reduction!
Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 4, 2019
by Noreen Wise
Success in reducing atmospheric carbon levels to the targeted 350 PPM from the current 412 PPM will come from tiers of immediate action. If every tier nails its targets, we’ll save the globe and civilization. This should motivate us to Act Now, especially when we consider how basic and easy many of the “actions” are for lowering carbon.
The main TIERS:
Individual carbon footprint
Corporations, businesses & organizations
Local, state & federal government and agencies
All we have to do as individuals is focus on the tiers that we fall under. The greatest obstacle to succeeding at carbon reduction though, is missing the small, easy opportunities that we fail to recognize. The ones right under our nose that we would be able to execute immediately if we were more aware.
Compostingis the best example of a basic missed opportunity. For example, take the Longworth House Office Building dining hall in Washington, DC where thousands of constituents, lobbyists, and House Representatives eat breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday each week. Sadly, Longworth does not currently compost, despite the fact that the US Botanic Garden is across the street and would thrive on weekly fresh compost, as would the massive acres of capitol grounds that are also across Independence Ave.
3.3 billion tons of CO2 is released each year to process the wasted food (production, harvesting, transporting and packaging)
Wasted food thrown away in a landfill releases methane
Methane increases global warming 21 times that of CO2
On the other hand, wasted food that’s composted and layered into soil, increases the soil’s nutritional content which increases the amount of carbon it can sequester
Thus, composting uneaten food at home, at work and in restaurants and dining halls is a no-brainer. In fact, many school districts are jumping in. Capitol Hill dining halls would only have to change one of its two trash signs to “FOOD/COMPOST.” This is so easy, it’s scary.
Our oceanssequester approximately 25%of atmospheric carbon and nature 28%. The big challenge with ocean carbon sequestration is that it increases water temperature as well as acidity. The increase in water temperature, melts the glaciers which raises the global water levels. The higher temperature also causes changing climate which becomes that much more extreme.
To save humanity from climate extremes, the focus is now on increasing carbon sink in nature and in soil, and trying to lower ocean temperatures. Nature — which means planting more trees and greens, and elevating the nutritional values in soil — is one of the new climate action touchstones on the carbon sequestration front. In short, compositing has become a vital necessity. Thus, missed opportunities sound the alarm.
Composting has become such a critical factor in the success of lowering our atmospheric carbon levels, that a whole new industry is starting to take shape. CompostNow.org is a compositing service for home, office, and restaurants.
They provide heavy duty plastic bin
They pick up full bin each service day, and leave an empty one
They track waste & compost creation by the pound
Members earn compost! Very easy and rewarding.
When the carbon facts are this simple and the cost a bare minimum, and #ActNow only a matter of changing signs, it’s unfathomable how anyone would pass on this opportunity. Come on, Longworth… let’s FIX THIS!