What process — which can be effected on both individual and industrial scales for very little cost, increases soil fertility, prevents pollution, and traps carbon that would otherwise amplify climate change — was employed by Amazonian people during the Pre-Columbian period 2,000 years ago? The answer is pronounced “bio-char” (as in charcoal). Read more here and visit the International Biochar Initiative here.
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Biochar is the carbon-rich product [that results] when biomass, such as wood, manure or leaves, is heated with little or no available oxygen. … This process often mirrors the production of charcoal, which is perhaps the most ancient industrial technology developed by humankind. ~ Johannes Lehmann, Stephen Joseph
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If you could continually turn a lot of organic material into biochar, you could, over time, reverse the history of the last two hundred years … We can, literally, start sucking some of the carbon that our predecessors have poured into the atmosphere down through our weeds and stalks and stick it back in the ground. We can run the movie backward. We can unmine some of the coal, undrill some of the oil. We can take at least pieces of the Earth and — this is something we haven’t done for quite a while — leave them Better Than We Found Them. ~ Bill McKibben