There is a book now available at the Sustainable Whanganui office called Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse Global Warming, edited by Paul Hawken.
This is a must-read for all those who are decision-makers — council members, MPs, heads of corporations, owners of businesses, farms — anyone who is concerned about the future of the this planet. I am listing just some of the "draw down" methods being used around the world today:
Silvopasture: From the Latin for forest and grazing, Silvopasture is the integration of trees and grazing into a single system for raising livestock, from cattle and sheep to deer and ducks. It is an ancient practice, now common on 142 million hectares worldwide.
Research suggests that silvopasture far outpaces any other grassland technique.
It sequesters carbon in both the biomass above ground and in the soil below.
Studies show that livestock yield is higher, also that ruminants can better digest forage, emitting lower methane. It is useful for its diversification. It also enhances soil fertility and moisture, so farmers find themselves with healthier, more productive land over time. I already know of one local farmer who is planting 300 trees every year.
Bamboo: It is grown on 32 million ha today. Bamboo sequesters carbon both in biomass and soil, taking it out of the air faster than almost any other plant. After being cut, it grows again. It thrives on degraded land. It has many uses — every aspect of building; and for food; paper; furniture; bicycles; boats; baskets; fabric; charcoal; biofuels; animal feed and even plumbing.
Energy — wind turbines and solar farms: Eight per cent of global energy is now wind and solar. They are now cheaper than coal and would be cheaper than oil if the subsidies for oil were stopped.
Microgrids: Localised grouping of distributed energy sources, like solar, wind, in-stream hydro and biomass, with energy storage and local management tools. This would be ideal in areas such as Whanganui, Fordell etc. which could get cut off from the main grid by storms, floods, fire, and sea-level rise.
This is absolutely the most encouraging book I have read since the 1970s, when discussion first started about global warming. There are hundreds of uncontrolled fires around the planet right now — California's wildfires were said to be the worst ever recorded. Devastation from storms and flood is increasing.
When World War II was announced, the whole of Britain switched to war preparation. The factories stopped making cars, instead making Spitfires from the pots and pans collected from the population. That won the Battle of Britain — by securing air superiority, which made Hitler decide to invade Russia (in the winter!) instead.
We need an effort like this now — a total focus worldwide, against global warming.
And Saturday, September 8 is Global Climate Day — Rise for Climate.
Sara Dickon is a founder member of Sustainable Whanganui, member of NCWNZ, Climate Change & Environment Standing Committee