How can we solve the climate crisis? The answer may exist beneath our feet, in the soil. Carbon is a finite resource that moves through soils, oceans, food, fibers and the atmosphere—and ancient carbon is fossilized in Earth’s core. There is no more carbon entering or leaving Earth—we are simply seeing the effects of having too much of it in the wrong place. But if we look to the carbon cycle itself, its movement pattern illuminates significant possibilities for transforming a crisis into a massive opportunity.
How? By restoring carbon to our global soils. Soil is the second largest source of carbon on the planet and we have lost 50–70 percent of the original carbon, much of which has oxidized upon exposure to air. Since the dawn of the Industrial Age we have brought 136 gigatons of carbon (one gigaton is equal to one billion tons) out of the soil.
Above: Rebecca Burgess helps fold a handmade American flag woven from industrial hemp and organic cotton, and colored with natural dyes. Rebecca will be teaching a Natural Dye Workshop at Patagonia San Francisco on May 4, 2016. Stay tuned for the story behind this special flag coming later in the month. Photo: Donnie Hedden