Tag: Carbon sink

Time to Plant Climate Gardens While We’re Stuck at Home

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 14, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Backyard gardens are one of the easiest most inspiring ways to lower our carbon footprint. Adding multiple layers beneath trees and along fences, lining the front of homes. Shrubs, flowers, vines, ground cover. Ivy and creepers up and down walls, around mailboxes and lamplights. International cities like London and Paris have perfected this.

The best part about zeroing in on a giant burst of nature as the solution, is that it works immediately, especially if we all collectively execute ASAP, during these next few weeks while we’re stuck at home hoping tp stay clear of the coronavirus pandemic.

Imagine the positive impact.

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In the nick of time, no less. We’re down to only nine years to save humanity from climatocalypse. So, the silver lining of being thrown into our current heart-wrenching calamity, with unexpected at-home time on our hands, is that we can pause and focus on the long term, and alter our destiny by conquering what otherwise would most likely be an improbable collective gardening effort.

Live in an apartment or condo? Balcony, patio and rooftop gardens or plantings on every available flat surface is a life-and-planet-saving difference. With a success rate as significant as this will be, at a minimal cost, we can all jump in first thing in the morning.

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Bringing back nature, will not only be a giant leap forward in our progress at lowering our atmospheric carbon level back down to 350 PPM, but has multiple other valuable benefits.

Nature improves mental health, not only an emotional positive boost, but a sensory one as well. Sunlight provides the much needed daily dose of vitamin D that will keep our outlook positive and optimistic. Additionally, nature’s scent has an array of therapeutic properties. Some species are calming and supportive, while others keep us alert and energized. There’s also the tangible, yet little understood, sentient characteristics of nature that indicate plants and trees can problem solve, even connect with other plants and animals, as well as communicate with each other, and some believe communicate with humans, in addition to nurturing humans,  .

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Considering how many alarming societal threats we face — climate, suicides, drug addiction, physical and mental health — the fact that nature can aid in improving every single one of these, is a very compelling reason to quickly sow our climate gardens during this unexpected period of being stuck at home (at least it’s spring, the planting season). In fact, there’s no better way to keep our minds off this extended emergency, than to dig into a powerful solution that will not only bring back nature, but will keep us calm in a crisis.

Once nature is back, the wildlife that goes along with it will also return. Our planet will be healthy again, which will make humankind that much healthier too. It all begins right now, during these mandated weeks of social distancing.

Let’s GO!

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Powerful Impact of Meadows on Carbon Sink

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 24, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Thousands of innovators across the globe are aggressively working on inventing 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, unfortunately, so we have to maximize what’s currently at our disposal… nature.

Planting trees, of course, is number one priority.  However, often overlooked, but equally as important, in fact, maybe even more important than trees, are meadows. Expansive landscapes of open fields that contain a variety of plants have a magical way of funneling carbon into their roots and trapping it in the soil where it will be 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.”

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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 so much more carbon than say tall and bushy shrubs. 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.

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The western half of the country, with it’s massive open terrain, has a huge opportunity to maximize this opportunity 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 reduce carbon just as quickly and significantly.🌱

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Setting Up Our Home Compost Bins ASAP

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 15, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 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.

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300According to Exploring 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.

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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.

 

Hands emptying a container full of domestic food waste
photography by AdobeStock

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.

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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?

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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.

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So, take the leap. It’s super easy and will instantly contribute to carbon reduction!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Longworth HOB & Critical Compost | Climate Action

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 4, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 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.

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300The main TIERS:

  • Individual carbon footprint
  • Corporations, businesses & organizations
  • Local, state & federal government and agencies
  • Farms
  • Nature
  • Miscellaneous

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.

Composting is 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.

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According to Exploring Green , Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment:

  • 51% of “trash” dumped into landfills is compostable
  • Annually, the world throws away approximately 1.3 billion tons of food
  • 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.

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Trash sign at Longworth HOB dining hall. A red asterisks has been placed on the items that can be composted. The uneaten food would have to be removed from the packaging before it’s dumped into the compost bin.

Our oceans sequester 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.

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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.

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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!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Compost & Carbon Sink| Climate Action

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | August 23, 2019)
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Compost is a big deal in the calculus for increasing carbon sink in our soil. It provides one of the most effective methods for the US public to assist with cutting carbon as deeply and swiftly as possible.

Peat is a compost. It looks very much like soil, but is simply partially decade vegetation rich in nutrients. These nutrients are what enable the increased absorption of carbon. Peatlands are only 3% of our global lands, yet they store approximately “30% of the earths soil organic carbon.” In light of our extreme #ClimateCrisis, peat should never be removed from its environment to be sold to consumers for profit.

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The ever increasing carbon levels as the global population continues to grow, demands that we each do our own part in every way possible to curb carbon, especially in light of the fact of how simple and easy this actually is.

As we hurry to build infrastructure to support solar energy and EV autos, it makes sense to simultaneously hustle to improve our natural carbon storing assets, which will further the lowering of CO2 in our atmosphere.

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Creating compost bins wherever possible can provide the much needed extra compost for forests, home gardens, public gardens and parks. It was exciting to see a “Compost” bin at the restaurant where I ate today. It was lined up with the other options at the recycling and garbage hub. I always feel so hopeful when a business “gets it” and does it’s little part. The care and maintenance of a compost bin in a restaurant is minor, but the benefit to society is huge. It pretty much follows the same ratio mentioned at the top of the page: 3% / 30% .

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We can do this!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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What is Carbon Sink? | Climate Crisis

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | August 1, 2019)
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

It’s important to learn as much about carbon as swiftly as possible so we can turn the corner and begin to reverse decades of excesses that have led to our current climate crisis.

Understanding carbon sink is a significant first step. Carbon sink is the process by which carbon in the atmosphere is removed and safely stored, reducing the overall amount of carbon in the air. Thus, carbon sink is vitally important.

There are 3 natural carbon sinks. All 3, store more carbon than they release:

  • plants, trees & forests
  • soil
  • ocean

Some scientists work to find ways to increase the amount of carbon that nature can absorb. For example, soil. Organic farmers plant cover crops in order to allow more carbon storage, because it locks in the carbon. Cover crops keep the carbon away from microbes that convert the stored carbon to carbon dioxide.

Oceans can sequester (“sink”) up to 50% of the carbon in the air. However, when oceans store too much carbon, like it’s doing now, the water heats up and melts the glaciers from underneath causing the water levels to rise. Warmer water, and more of it, results in much bigger and fiercer storms, as we have experienced in the past five years.

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Forests store 14% of atmospheric carbon, much lower than the ocean’s sequestration. This explains why there are so many urgent cries for us to plant more trees. Planting trees is very simple and easy, adding not only more carbon storage capacity, but amazing  beauty and an environ that supports animal life.

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Oceans should no longer be a focus for carbon sink, rather we must target planting more trees and and cover crops.

We can do this!

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