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Soil & Carbon: Soil Solutions to Climate Problems

April 13, 2015
Soil & Carbon: Soil Solutions to Climate Problems

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An excess of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere is warming the
planet and increasing the severity and intensity of extreme weather events.
Because the atmosphere can only absorb so much of this greenhouse gas,
excess CO2 is dissolving into our oceans, causing them to acidify. Ocean
acidification not only harms marine life, it puts food webs at risk.

While this is a grim state of affairs, there is hope, and it is right under our feet in the soil. In fact, soil is the largest “sink”—or area of storage—where additional
carbon would actually be extremely beneficial. Currently our cultivated soils
globally have lost 50-70 percent of their original carbon content.2 This means
we have a tremendous opportunity to put carbon back into the soil where it
creates positive feedback loops, making healthy soil a systemic solution to
multiple problems including food and water security. Not only is rebuilding
soil carbon entirely possible, unlike drastic climate mitigation measures like
geoengineering, it is without risk.