There are very few things a large swath of people would agree on in this world. One of them is that we as a species have done serious, near irreparable harm to the beautiful, magnificently intelligent ecosystem of our planet.

The closer we look at Nature, the more awe there is to experience. The exquisite detail by which millions of species interact with each other in the soil, in the oceans and in the air, the interconnectedness of creatures, plants, water, air and systems, the way life and death are folded in on each other is enough to create awe Infinitum.

Yet, the only creature that hasn’t quite found its place in this extraordinary landscape in which every sentient being plays a role to support the whole, is the human creature, which is always seeking to out-do, out-perform and dominate all other life forms as though it has to prove its worth to the rest of Creation. If we’re honest, the human role in Nature remains a mystery. Throughout the millennia, a noble effort has been made to understand it or to meaningfully create it. We are obviously still on this journey.

The tendency to think of himself as ‘better than’ has led to the brink of creating eco-system collapse. Many prominent scientists state that we are currently in the 6th Extinction. Nothing could be sadder to either the Naturalist, the Conservationist or the farmer, not to mention the indigenous elder or the child that loves romping in the woods with wild animals.

The tendency to think of himself as ‘better than’ is also leaking into man’s idea that he knows best how to ‘clean up the mess’ of habitat and eco-systemic destruction on most every level. Build and destroy, or as Naomi Klein calls it Disaster Capitalism, has been a dominant theme in American Economic Activity for the better part of a century.

In this light, man’s recognizing that excess carbon dioxide is pervading our atmosphere creating the Greenhouse Effect, in short, doing us in and needs to be removed as soon as possible is a very good start.

There isn’t even consensus on this, but certainly, the sense that ‘things have gone terribly wrong’ in the body politic, socially and economically, on all levels of society, is gaining greater collective recognition.

In order to address the matter of excess carbon in the atmosphere, in a typical, linear fashion, men have designed massive systems to capture carbon out of the atmosphere and then store it underground. Seemingly brilliant, it costs a fortune, only partially addresses the enormity of the problem, and the rate of daily carbon emissions far outpaces the possible rate of capture.

Capturing cubic feet of air would need to be done from probably hundreds of thousands of locations across the globe. The cost of this, and the time it would take, would be prohibitive and our species would probably be long gone by the time it succeeded. Further, it is treating the symptom, not the cause. Of course, allopathic medicine is designed to do just that as well so it is in alignment with that kind of left-brained mindset that just doesn’t look at “the whole” and bears down on the causes of a problem but just the symptoms only.

Fossil fuel emissions, small, wood fires for cooking and disposing of agricultural debris as well as forest fires account for a significant amount of Greenhouse Gases.

It is like the Myth of Sisyphus, pushing that boulder right up the mountain and it always slips back.

Surely there should be systemic methods for reducing fossil fuel use, the massive waste of energy from inefficient motors which gobble up some 60% of all fossil fuel, and changes in lifestyle so that our individual carbon footprint can be systematically reduced, all play a part of a larger, thoughtful approach.

The bad news is how long it has taken businesses and government to realize how serious the problems are, despite MIT’s Limits to Growth published in 1972 and James Hanson’s report to Congress then about Global Warming which was virtually ignored.

The good news is that now there are hundreds and thousands of companies coming online which each contribute to the lowering of the carbon footprint in their own respective ways.

One of these is Zoetic Refrigerants. Paul Hawken states in his book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, that Freon and refrigerants are the greatest threat to the planet’s environment. Zoetic has an eco-friendly refrigerant that reverses this threat and significantly reduces the user’s carbon footprint.

Another of these is Blue Power Systems, a stand-alone, off-grid renewable energy-based Micro-utility that vastly reduces reliance on fossil fuels and the grid itself.

Another is Pearl’s Premium Lawn Seed, which uses almost no water, grows deep roots and sequesters carbon 10 times ordinary lawn seed.

A whole other layer of good news is that there is a growing body of soil regenerationists, ecologists, and eco-restoration experts, right along with those who believe that it isn’t our exhaustive efforts to reduce our carbon footprint by massive technologies, but it is the recognition of the simple roles of soil and water at very low cost that are the best and most efficient paths to reducing carbon and bringing the eco-system back to balance.

Back to Eden, or rather, back to water & soil

One of the leaders in this movement is Walter Jehne, an internationally-recognized soil microbiologist whose ideas about cooling the planet using a combination of regenerative agriculture and a carbon soil sponge are ‘gaining ground’.

Most outstanding is his statement that the Earth’s current warming cycle can be reversed using these methods within ten years.

His innovative strategy does not require reducing CO2 though that will be a result but focuses instead on altering water cycles and increasing water storage in soil.

“Stop talking about CO2 emissions and focus on restoring water cycles,” said Walter in an Interview with Investing in Regenerative Agriculture Podcast.

He also laid out this series of points:

  • 4% of the Earth’s heat budget of the earth (both gain and loss) is caused by CO2.
  • 95% of the Earth’s heat budget of the earth (gain and loss) is caused by water.
  • 1% is due to other factors and gases (such as methane).

In this same interview, Jehne leads us through key points which show us that, if deployed on a massive scale worldwide, we could achieve carbon reduction and restoration of our grasslands and native habitat with desertification becoming largely a thing of the past. In exchange, we restore the verdant life Earth has known for millions of years as well as plenty of fresh, nutrient-dense food for our species.

Taken from Jehne’s interview and work:

  1. Big picture: The rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is one symptom of the global warming problem. It is NOT the primary driver. CO2 is a “stock gas”. Even if 100% of human-generated CO2 emissions were halted, existing CO2 would remain in the atmosphere for 1000 years. To draw it down using current technology is not cost-effective and is not a viable way to cool our planet.

  2. Water cycles are the primary driver of planetary heating. We must work on the 95%, not the 4%. Scientists knew this back in the 1970s but thought planetary water cycles could not be changed. So instead they focused on CO2.

  3. Soil sponge: We can build a porous, well-aggregated soil that is rich in plant roots, and diverse life forms, with high nutrient availability.
    Spongy soil holds much more water and air. Every gram of biological carbon in spongy soil holds 8 grams of water. Building a “soil carbon sponge” (GeoSponge™ - QLF) makes soils resistant to flood and drought. It increases plant productivity, biomass, and the monetary value of the land. Soil sponges can be dramatically increased in just one growing season.

  4. Proven effectiveness: By holding more water in the soil and increasing the amount of land that is covered with vegetation (both percents of the earth covered and the length of the growing season), we can solve this hydrologic problem. This has been demonstrated and measured by scientists on 150 sites worldwide. It now needs to be implemented rapidly almost everywhere, on a massive scale.
    It should be noted that money is not a barrier—too little is needed—it’s the recognition that this is a real and fairly simple solution that in fact, in one way or another, many thousands of scientists as well as farmers and interested researchers promote.

  5. Photosynthesis is Earth’s primary coolant: Soil is the only place we can make a significant difference to address Global Warming. Building soil increases photosynthesis, ground cover and plant biomass.
    This increases plant transpiration, which in turn increases moisture in the atmosphere. As moisture leaves plants, this process cools land surfaces and increases cloud cover, which in turn, reflects more heat away from the planet.
    It creates a positive feedback loop, which is literally the opposite of what we are currently promulgating.
    Plants naturally put 24% of heat from the sun back into the atmosphere, where it is safely released into ice-cold space.

  6. Root problem, 50% of greenery is destroyed: Humans cleared 50% of the vegetation of the planet in the last 8,000 years via deforestation, desertification, agriculture, cities, etc.
    We need to put it back in place and permanently maintain 4% vegetation to solve the Global Warming problem. Regenerative agriculture + Geo-Sponge™ + planting trillions of trees offers a rapid solution to drying out of soils.
    Eco-Restoration Alliance does not recommend the planting of trees in themselves but planting entire local, native ecosystems. This promotes the rich diversification in the soil which is an enormous part of the solution. That includes, but is not limited to trees.
    Landowners and managers will be incentivized by increased profitability from longer growing seasons, increased nutrient cycling, long-term crop productivity, and overall improved land value.

  7. A greener planet = practical cooling solution: If we increase global vegetation by 4%, we get the 1% cooling effect that we need to rebalance the heat budget of the earth.

There are numerous other scientists, farmers and organizations worldwide who embrace and promote the same and similar ideas.

Eco-Restoration Alliance is one of those organizations that is making significant progress in advancing the perspective of planting entire, local, native ecosystems to promote bio-diversification and implementing this practice in different parts of the world.

Permaculture is another version of re-building local habitat, with emphasis on planting food sources, bushes, trees and plants.

A great wave of films has emerged over the past 20 years that promote the approach of building the quality of the soil, understanding the role of worms and fungi, of building deep roots holding both moisture and carbon deep down in the ground where it belongs.

Some of those films are Symphony of the Soil, Dirt, Kiss the Ground, The Need to Grow, The Pollinators, The Biggest, Little Farm, Before the Plate and Follow the Food.

While many social enterprise businesses are moving headlong in the direction of reducing the carbon footprint, generating carbon credits around these, and moving increasingly toward renewable energy sources and other sound measures that collectively have a useful effect, these are important aspects of a larger solution.

When it comes to the foundational role water and soil are playing, nature, again, shows us the way.

As Mother Nature has shown us over and again in the domain of healing that what She has to offer is typically both far more sophisticated—and simple—than conventional allopathic approaches to especially degenerative illnesses, She again is showing us how to heal the eco-system through building soil, using water to build a soil sponge and to grow good, nutritious food.

When you play with water and soil, you often get mud, out of which grows the lotus. This is a powerful symbol of regeneration.

There isn’t a single, linear answer to the complexity of eco-systemic collapse. There are numerous threads and purviews at least that address the circularity of Nature’s highly evolved systems. When one comes back to the fundamental elements of Nature—water, earth, air, fire, and in the case of Chinese Medicine, metal, the constituent elements, when combined and re-combined, increase one’s chances at re-balancing things that are out of balance, such as the current climate and ourselves.

As Walter Jehne suggests, if we were to collectively implement these rather simple methods of building soil using the hydrologic cycle, and assuming that current emissions are curtailed, a direction our society is moving in albeit slowly, we can restore our native habitat and regenerate a green and healthy planet in all of 10 years.

Regenerative agriculture has this profound function as well as providing nutrient-dense food for feeding the world while sequestering carbon and conserving water.

The understanding of the role of soil and water is growing by the day. The understanding of the Earth’s Microbiome, just as we have in our gut, is appearing more and more as the way we can re-balance our eco-system.

Of course, we do need to significantly slow down the polluting practices, the over-fishing, commercial animal factories and the destruction of wildlife as quickly as possible. One cannot continue to put salt into the wound.

This is where the business world with government needs to re-think their values and put people and the planet before profit.

Ecologist, and microbiologist Colin Averill, describes the magnificent, symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi and the system of mycelia that connect biodiverse life forms in the soil that produce our nutrient-rich food and sequester excess carbon naturally.

And then, by “re-wilding” our soils and building biodiverse communities of bacteria, viruses, fungi and worms, we have come to the root (no pun intended!), of the solution, along with the many other carbon sequestration measures being used, a fundamental solution to our Climate Crisis.