Carbon Sequestration – Necessity for the Changing Climate

Climate change can not be the elephant in the room any longer. Countless lives are at stake.

In 2013, according to NASA data, the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels  exceeded 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history. This is the highest it has been for the past 400,000 years.

2014 was the hottest year ever in recorded history, only to be surpassed in 2015 as the hottest year recorded. This record was surpassed again in 2016 and 2017.

The Solomon Islands in the South Pacific lost 5 of its islands in 2016 and the island nation of Kiribati has made evacuation plans to move its residents to Fiji when the day comes that the sea levels rise above their country.

There’s no question that the climate change is real.  If we want a planet that looks like the earth and not like Venus we need to take responsibility and act. Superman and Superwoman are not coming to save our planet this time. That means we get to be the superheros.  

While we need to stop putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere we  also need to focus of carbon sequestration.

What is carbon sequestration?

Carbon sequestration is the process of putting carbon back into the ground where it belongs. Carbon is one of the 3 greenhouse gases (the others being methane and nitrous oxide.)

The two main ways carbon can be sequestered are:

  1. Photosynthesis in plants – This process stores atmospheric carbon  into biomass
  2. The soil converts inorganic carbon into carbon compounds

Both this ways require health ecosystems.

 

Carbon sequestration can not occur without trees, wetlands, mangroves and healthy forests. In fact, certain ecosystems such as wetlands, mangroves and rainforests sequester carbon at a greater rate than others. Furthermore, mangroves and wetlands protect inland areas from cyclones as well as powerful storms which may be the result of climate change. Regions that had lost mangroves were more impacted by flooding and soil erosion.

 

 

We need healthy soils.

 

Soils are not inert. Healthy soils are full of bacteria, fungi, worms, mites and ants.  This process of carbon sequestration is actually done in a large deal by microryza fungi.

 

 

 

 

 

So again, you need healthy environments for carbon sequestration to occur.  The follow are steps we can all take to help with removing carbon dioxide from the environment.

 

Carbon Sequestration Tips

 

  1. Protect the existing forests and nature corridors
  2. Think twice (or three time)before cutting down trees
  3. Think twice before paving a green area. Green spaces no matter how small can help with carbon sequestration.
  4. Make sure you have a healthy soil. Microryza fungi are very important. Do not use pesticides such as glyphosate (aka Roundup®) as they will destroy these organisms and hence ruin your soil
  5. Consider plant species that sequester more carbon.  Examples of such trees vary depending on where you live so it important to check with a nursery in your area to find the right type of tree for you.
  6. Seagrass, kelp forest in the ocean and mangroves do a great deal of carbon sequestration.  It is very important to keep them around and engage in any conservation efforts in these areas. One simple thing you can do is to stop using single use plastic bags and straws.

 

As I said, Superman and Superwoman is not coming. We have to do the heavy lifting ourselves to save our home, Planet Earth. This is actually good news because we get to be the superheros, create change and make a better world.

 

References:

http://climatechange.lta.org/carbon-sequestration/

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18977-innovation-methane-capture-gives-more-bang-for-the-buck/

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