We must start putting this carbon back into the soil where it belongs. Soil has the ability to sequester huge amounts of carbon but it will take a change in farming practices around the world. Since the invention of the tractor a century ago, farmers have lost touch with the fundamentals of soil care and now bludgeon their soils with tractors, diesel and steel to grow their crops. A small minority of farmers, however, take a more holistic approach to farming and are nurturing their soils in several ways. Firstly, they do not plough the land. Disturbing the soil introduces too much air and disrupts the soil structure, leading to oxidization of carbon and nitrogen and releasing greenhouse gases. Secondly, these enlightened farmers are avoiding leaving their soils bare wherever possible. They use so-called cover crops between their cash crops and these cover crops capture carbon and increase the amount of worms and micro-organisms which are good for soil health. Thirdly, the most progressive farmers are composting their animals’ waste and anything else they can get hold of. Compost is a wonder material, containing up to a staggering five billion organisms in 30,000 different species in every teaspoonful. These bacteria and fungi quickly break down organic matter into humus, the lifeblood of the soil. Humus gives the soil its crumbly structure and holds water to prevent flooding and drought. It facilitates nutrient exchange between the soil and plants through mycorrhizal fungi, reducing the need for artificial fertilisers and provides the perfect conditions for worms and other soil life. Many of the micro-organisms in healthy soil remove carbon and nitrogen directly from the air as well as helping plants to grow and remove CO2 and nitrogen.
The National 19th May 2019 read more »
In 26 years – or sooner, if forecasts worsen or a storm breaches the sea defences – a taskforce led by Gwynedd council will begin to move the 850 residents of Fairbourne out of their homes. The whole village – houses, shops, roads, sewers, gas pipes and electricity pylons – will then be dismantled, turning the site back into a tidal salt marsh. It will become the first community in the UK to be decommissioned as a result of climate change; while other villages along England’s crumbling east coast have lost houses to accelerating erosion, none have been abandoned. It may also create hundreds of British climate refugees: the residents of Fairbourne are not expected to receive any compensation for the loss of their homes, and resettlement plans are unclear. It will not be the last village to meet this fate. Sea levels around the UK have risen by 15.4cm since 1900, and the Met Office expects them to rise by as much as 1.12m from modern levels by 2100, putting at risk communities in coastal floodplains and on sea cliffs, which are found around much of the east and south coast of England. The west of Wales and north-west England are also vulnerable. Even if the world’s governments succeed in reversing increasing emissions in line with their Paris climate commitments, sea levels are set to rise for centuries, as the impact of higher global temperature and warmer oceans takes effect.
Guardian 18th May 2019 read more »
Environmental activists Extinction Rebellion have turned their fire on the advertising industry in a public letter, encouraging it to use its expertise in manipulating public opinion for good or risk mass public protests against it.
Guardian 19th May 2019 read more »