Your backyard’s potential for mitigating climate change

by Allyson Ulsh

“If you’ve never heard about the amazing potential of regenerative agriculture and land use practices to naturally sequester a critical mass of CO2 in the soil and forests, you’re not alone. One of the best-kept secrets in the world today is that the solution to global warming and the climate crisis (as well as poverty and deteriorating public health) lies right under our feet, and at the end of our knives and forks.”

— Ronnie Cummins, Regeneration International Steering Committee Member

To combat climate change while increasing food production and profits, many farmers have adopted regenerative agricultural practices within their operations. While these practices range vastly in size and scale, they are united by one solution: to sequester CO2.

One regenerative practice, commonly referred to as “carbon farming,” focuses on increasing the carbon sequestering capacity of field soils through reducing tillage, increasing cover crops, and rotating crops.

Soil carbon sequestration is the process in which plants remove CO2 from the atmosphere via photosynthesis. As plants uptake CO2, the carbon assimilates into the plant tissue and gets converted into soil organic matter via living microbes in the soil. The field conditions affect whether carbon is stored in the soil for years with regenerative agricultural practices or quickly released as the result of deep tillage and bare soils.

As soil serves as the largest land carbon sink across land uses, the shift to regenerative agriculture has the potential to significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions, improve yields, create drought resistant soils, and preserve traditional knowledge across the 408 million acres of cultivated farmland and 614 million acres of pastureland in the United States.

To learn more about what you can do in your own backyard to become a carbon gardener:


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