From Dr. Mercola:
By Dr. Mercola
Carbon erosion from the land and into the water and air are creating a very unstable environment. Removing the renewable grasslands and forests that can not only sustain but also regenerate our soils and solidify this fragile carbon balance is a major part of the problem.
This carbon erosion from our land is only increasing, and our economy will mean nothing if we have nothing left – that is the direction we are heading and doing so quickly. Estimates of 50-60 years remaining have been made regarding our topsoil and aquifers. While it is hard to believe in two generations we could be in this position, it is the reality we face if changes are not made quickly.
A new study from The Club of Rome suggests that turning our economy into a circular one – that is, one that values re-using rather than using up – could also cut energy waste drastically.
A Circular Economy Could Cut Waste by 70 Percent
By doing away with wasteful lifestyles and business practices and greatly enhancing resource efficiency, The Club of Rome argues that we could ward off further ecosystem decline and avoid environmental disaster. According to their report, The Circular Economy and Benefits for Society:1
“The proposition is that a circular economy, where products are designed for ease of recycling, reuse, disassembly, and remanufacturing should replace the traditional, linear ‘take, make, and dispose’ model that has dominated the economy so far.
This, no doubt, is a major prerequisite to stay within the Planetary Boundaries. It now takes the Earth almost one and a half year to regenerate what we use in a year (Ecological Footprint).”
A circular economy requires three main strategies: renewable energy, energy efficiency, and material efficiency.2
In addition, since a circular economy requires regular repair, maintenance, and remanufacturing, which is far more labor intensive than mining or manufacturing using automated facilities, it would also create an additional 100,000+ jobs, cutting unemployment by more than one-third.3The Guardian detailed several of the suggested policy options:4
Strengthening existing policies in renewable energy Strengthening recycling and reuse targets to help reduce and process waste and residues, and putting limits on waste incineration Using public procurement as an incentive for new business models, moving from selling products to selling performance Establishing specific resource efficiency targets for materials where scarcity looms or the environmental impact of extraction is serious (such as rare earth metals) Why ‘Carbon Farming’ is the Key to Save the Earth
It’s estimated that one-third of the surplus carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stems from poor land-management processes that contribute to the loss of carbon, as carbon dioxide, from farmlands.5
Carbon farming is a simple solution that involves returning more topsoil to the land. The process is great for the environment, wildlife, nutrition and will:
Regenerate the soil Limit agricultural water usage with no till and crop covers Increase crop yields Reduce the need for agricultural chemicals and additives, if not eliminate such need entirely in time Reduce carbon displacement Reduce air and water pollution by lessening the need for herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers
As reported by the Press Democrat:6
“Research conducted in Marin County and in the Sierra foothills revealed that a single dusting of compost on rangeland can boost the soil’s carbon storage for at least 30 years.
‘But there are significant hurdles to expanding the practice, including the cost of purchasing and transporting compost to farms. About 30 million tons of organic material ends up in California’s landfills,’ said Torri Estrada, director of policy at the Carbon Cycle Institute.
He envisions a network of regional facilities producing compost or farmers and ranchers doing so themselves on-site.”
California Compost Experiment Turns into Weapon Against Carbon Erosion
Compost happens with or without the help of humankind—it’s happening right now on forest floors, in farmers’ fields, and in your yard. But oftentimes it’s a slow process and you can speed it up using the right combination of water, oxygen, heat, and organic material.
It’s estimated that compost made from California’s green waste, which includes household food scraps, dairy manure, and more, could absorb 75 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions for one year if applied to just 25 percent of the state’s rangeland. As reported by SF Gate:7
“Unlike high-tech geo-engineering schemes to pull excess carbon dioxide from the air and stick it in old coal mines or under the ocean, applying compost is a simple way of creating what scientists call a positive feedback loop.
Plants pull carbon dioxide from the air through photosynthesis and transfer a portion of the carbon to the soil through their roots. Soil microorganisms then turn the carbon into a stable form commonly known as humus.
This not only sequesters the carbon but improves the soil’s fertility, boosting plant growth and capturing more carbon while also improving the soil’s ability to absorb and retain water.”
County-Wide Compost Program Diverts Nearly 1.5 Million Tons of Waste from Landfills
The Sonoma County Waste Management Agency operates a regional compost program in which they accept yard trimmings and vegetative food discards that are placed in curbside containers by local residents. They also accept yard trimmings from landscapers and tree trimmers, as well as certain agricultural byproducts from local farms, wineries, and food processors.
The organic material is then converted into premium quality organic compost and mulches, along with recycled lumber, firewood, and bio-fuel used to generate electricity. Since 1993, 1.6 million tons of yard and wood debris have been converted into these beneficial products.
Sonoma Compost, which operates the Organic Recycling Program on behalf of the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency, estimates that nearly 1.5 million tons of yard and wood trimmings have been diverted from landfills since 1993 as a result of the program.8
Factory Farms and GMOs…