Friday, September 26, 2014

I have a favor to ask you.

Nope, not about Ebola, though that is still a very serious, changeable, contentious topic, with news that is nearly all bad.

It's about atmospheric carbon dioxide.  Too big a problem for individuals to affect; we're constantly told.

I disagree completely- I think history shows that it is only individual actions that lead to change.  No university or government agency ever came out with a clarion call (let alone actions) to give women the vote.   None ever worked hard to end the endless and unregulated slaughter of wildlife - to put feathers on women's hats and provide 8 different kinds of duck on the menu- every day.  Individuals. (Then, when there's a big group of individuals marching in the same direction- that's when the politicians, etc, jump in front of the crowd and announce they've been leading this parade all along.)

I have a specific action I'm asking you to take; a specific project you can support - meaningfully, with a few clicks.

Long-timers here will know already that I live close to, and work with, these folks: Badgersett Research Farm.  They've just launched a new initiative; one I'm familiar with, and believe in.

Most of you have probably heard some noise about the "promise" of "biochar"; to get carbon out of the atmosphere.  Lots of big names have agreed- like Bill McKibben, for example.  His calculations are usually sound.  You'll notice that article is from 2009, though.  Anybody in your neighborhood doing it? Selling, making, buying?  That will be a 99% "no" answer.

Biochar is "hanging fire"; so to speak; older vernacular for "failure to launch".  Lots of new research underway - many dozens of "NewBiochar Center!" announcements- all doing- research.

The Badgersett folks think the research already done (like this one from just a few days ago, that says "Hey, it works!" - again)- plus the 3,000 year old evidence from the Native American made soils in the Amazon- show quite adequately; the benefits are real- and faster and last longer than anything else we've got on the list of "maybes".  It's time to get real-world, practical tools into the hands of - the farmers.  So- they've got the design; and they need the money to support the labor to make and test the prototypes.  Designed by farmers; for farmers. Via Kickstarter.

BadgerChar Mobile.

I'm asking; as favor to me- please take a look at that; and please- make a donation; even a tiny one is hugely helpful.  The more backers, even at $1-$10, the more likely other folks will support it too.

Why is the use of biochar failing to take hold?  We think it's because almost all the research is done by - biochar enthusiasts; for biochar enthusiasts.  They want to know exactly how it works, and they want to be sure they can maximize and optimize everything.

Sorry- but- you're not ever going to sell that to my neighbors.  They don't know much about it; and none of them are interested in becoming optimized biochar producers; they're corn, bean, and beef farmers.  In Iowa right now, you can in fact buy truckloads of biochar - at $500 to $1,000 per ton; an insanely high cost.

Now- if you can give them a tool that A) they can afford, B) they can use without learning new difficult skills. C) will improve their soils and crops.  D) will make a product they can sell if they want to. and E) will make it easier to manage the odd corners of their crop lands and farms, and improve their timber lots (less work, not more) - That, they will do.

And that is exactly what the BadgerChar Mobile system is designed to provide.  My neighbors don't really care if it's the fastest, etc; only that it can actually fit into their operation.  This will; and could result in thousands of farmers making and using biochar in just a couple of years; and many more after that.  With, maybe, real progress on removing carbon dioxide from the air.  For 3,000 years.  (Compost only removes some carbon for 10-100 years).

So - please- become a Backer; and then share your pledge on your own networks and email lists etc, etc,, and help get the word out.  Only 20 days left!  And a long way to go yet.

It's a very small action- but one that can have a very large impact, if we make the project fly.


Carrie Lynn said...

Done for $25! I would love to be able to do more - but that's all I have right now...

Greenpa said...

Carrie- many many thanks! That's a bunch. They have a new article out over on that you might like, too-

Lynx said...

What I don't understand, is how exactly does that remove carbon from the atmosphere? Yes, you take carbon from plants and woody plants/trees, etc. and put it into the ground, but how does that remove it from the autmosphere? I don't see the correlation.

Greenpa said...

Hi, Lynx- I'm guessing you never had a high school or college class in Biology. Yes? That is not intended in any way as negative comment! Every human on the planet has stuff they have not studied. :-)

Anyway- 100% of the carbon in all plants - they took out of the atmosphere, as carbon dioxide. The plants use sunlight energy to put carbon dioxide molecules together in long strings; first into sugar, the cellulose, etc.

Usually, the carbon in wood or grass then rots and is back in the air again within a few years. But charred stuff is really bad food for bacteria; they almost can't eat it; so it tends to stay down in the soil for thousands of years.