min read
May 30, 2022

Soil: Our Most Reliable Ally In The Fight Against Climate Change

One of the best strategies to fighting climate change is taking care of the soil beneath our feet.

Earth DAO
Earth DAO

Our mission at Earth Wallet is to use Web3 technologies to help in the fight against climate change. How might we do that you are probably asking? Well for the past few months we've scoured the globe looking for the best and brightest scientists, entrepreneurs, and leaders with new strategies and technologies. Before jumping to creating solutions, the first step is to narrow the exact problem to one that is the most effective and achievable within this decade. And it turns out it was under our feet this entire time.

Soil carbon mismanagement has contributed to approximately 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions in global history. The top 30 cm of the world’s soil contains twice as much carbon as our entire planet’s atmosphere, making soil the second largest natural carbon sink after oceans. Constant pollution of soils with insecticides, fertilizers, fungicides, and pesticides has not only left a considerable amount of potentially fertile farms practically unusable in the near future but has also exacerbated the release of carbon from soils into the atmosphere.

We hear a lot about planting trees and have focused alot of energy on reforestation, however, Soil, captures three times as much carbon dioxide from the air as Earth’s flora, making it a very important ally in the fight against climate change. And although the level of carbon absorption in soils can vary based on the location, topography, and the local land management, there are two things we know for sure: one, soils are quickly losing carbon content; and two, we can fix this by regulating the carbon in our soil more effectively through natural means.

For over a decade now, scientists have been finding new breakthroughs (and substantiating existing studies) that show the importance of using natural methods to preserve soil health. Researchers such as Rick Haney not only advocate soil restoration through natural means but also highlight the danger of continuing our reckless quest for higher yield through chemicals that cause long-term damage to the earth and its atmosphere.

The use of manure and compost is shown to potentially increase soil’s carbon content to a level that’s equivalent to annually removing 1.5 metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere. Rotational grazing allows the regrowth of pastures, helping carbon retention in the soil. Crop rotation and multi-species cover cropping throughout the year help diversify biomass to increase carbon retention. Tillage management preserves soil aggregates by minimizing the soil’s exposure to oxygen, preventing carbon emissions.

If we continue to use the same methods to farm crops, global warming will exponentially heat the deeper extents of our soils. An increase of just 4°c in our atmosphere’s temperature will heat the soil up to 100 cm deep, releasing 37% more carbon than current levels. Eventually, the aggravated shift in temperatures can affect soil moisture, lead to desertification, erode soil, or increase sea levels leading to soil contamination and depletion.

However, all is not lost. Not only can we regulate the carbon emissions from our soils, but studies also estimate that we can store an additional 1.85 gigatons of carbon (the sum total of annual carbon emissions from the global automotive industry) in our soils. Our terra firma can, in fact, store carbon for the next 20-40 years.

And while small-scale initiatives to conserve our soils have sprung up globally, the need for a global soil revolution that not only makes enough of a difference to offset our historic carbon emission but also underscores its urgent nature. That mission starts with savesoil.org.

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