Another solution to climate change? Carbon farming


Switching to a mostly plant based diet can help combat climate change but it's not the only way to have an impact through food. Carbon farming, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions in addition to capturing carbon in soil and plants, presents another solution.

Eric Toensmeier, author of The Carbon Farming Solution, said he started looking into carbon farming after reading Now or Never, by Tim Flannery. “He wrote that we need to mitigate climate change and a good way to do that is planting forests. But we can’t plant enough forests because we need land for agriculture. I thought to myself: there are trees that are agriculture; perhaps I have a contribution to make.”

Planting trees alongside traditionally farmed plants and pasture land is just one of many ways he suggests taking carbon out of the air and storing it in plant life and soil. Another is to grow more perennial crops. Organic annual cropping, managed grazing, and no-till farming can all help as well. 

When asked what the most surprising thing he found out while researching for his book, Toensmeier answered, "The remarkable scale at which carbon farming is already taking place around the globe."

Takeaway: While it may take some time for carbon-smart practices to be introduced on an industrial level, almost anyone with a little dirt can do some carbon gardening. We'll be posting a list of Perennial Profiles soon, which offer guidance on how to grow them yourself. Let us know if you'd like to be alerted once the Profiles are available.

Read the whole interview with Eric Toensmeier at How Carbon Farming Could Reverse Climate Change.