Author(s): Albert K. Bates
Conventional agriculture destroys our soils, pollutes our water and is a major contributor to climate change. What if our agricultural practices could stabilise, or even reverse these trends? This book explores the dual function of biochar as a carbon-negative energy source and a potent soil-builder. Created by burning biomass in the absence of oxygen, this material has the unique ability to hold carbon back from the atmosphere while simultaneously enhancing soil fertility. Author Albert Bates traces the evolution of this extraordinary substance from the ancient black soils of the Amazon to its reappearance as a modern carbon sequestration strategy. Combining practical techniques for the production and use of biochar with an overview of the development and future of carbon farming, this book describes how a new agricultural revolution can reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to below zero while increasing world food reserves and creating energy from biomass wastes. Biochar and carbon farming can: reduce fossil fuels inputs into our food system; bring new life to desert landscapes; filter and purify drinking water; and, help build carbon-negative homes, communities and nations. Biochar is not without dangers if unregulated, and it is not a panacea, but if it fulfills its promise of taking us back from the brink of irreversible climate change, it may well be the most important discovery in human history.
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May 2011 " CHOICE The basic premise of this book is that the carbon cycle must be balanced for a healthy planet. To prove this idea, Bates, an instructor and writer ("Climate in Crisis, " 1990;" The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook, " 2006), claims that when ancient Amazonian civilizations collapsed, rain forests engulfed the cities and roads. Archaeologists and historians are still puzzled about the reasons for the demise of these Amazonian empires. Bates asserts that starting around the ninth century, Europe began growing colder due to massive sequestering of carbon from the atmosphere by these new immense Amazonian forests. He examines several techniques for combating global warming, such as using biochar and less destructive tilling techniques, and restraining global corporations that manufacture synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified seed stocks. The author also recommends massive tree planting and a change in cultural attitudes about how humans manage the earth.
Albert Bates was a delegate to the Copenhagen climate conference, trying to point the world back towards a stable atmosphere using soils and trees. His books include Climate in Crisis and The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook. Working with the Global Ecovillage Network he has taught appropriate technology, natural building and permaculture to students from more than sixty nations.