(image by Courntey White)
What? Did I just say "hope with the help of carbon"?
Isn't carbon the problem?
No, what is the problem is our putting excess carbon dioxide into the air without taking care of the carbon sinks (oceans, forests, and, yes, grasslands) into which it could naturally cycle. Indeed, according to Courtney White's book, Grass, Soil and Hope: A Journey through Carbon County, in 2013 the CO2 level rose above 499 parts per million, and is on a trajectory to reach 600 to 700 parts per million by the end of the century. This far exceeds scientists estimates of the maximum we can tolerate to maintain life as we know it: 350 parts per million.
The consequences of this are horrific. According to "The Global Warming Effects of Carbon Dioxide":
Research into the effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased from the 1970s onwards. The evidence shows that raised amounts of carbon dioxide changes the structure of plant foliage and melts land ice to raise sea levels globally. This in turn erodes coastlines, and some islands may disappear completely. Climatologists point to unusual weather patterns such as unexpected heat waves, droughts and floods as well as negative changes in ecosystems such as the disappearance of coral reefs as evidence of global warming.""
So, with that said, the common sense way to save our backsides from massive extinction would be to reduce carbon emissions. As we all know, this means a change in lifestyle. A change in lifestyle could be wonderful in more ways than just the sequestering of carbon dioxide. It could also create a change of life away from corporate domination. Its other perks include more time with family, more intimacy within one's community, a healthier ecosystem and many more.
However, even with these changes, there is the problem of atmospheric carbon dioxide increasing. And, besides, how many of us truly want to make deep radical change?
Here is where Courtney White rides in to rescue Gaia. (The fact that he's riding a goat-pulled cart instead of a horse just reveals that this is one innovative thinker!)
First of all, Courtney makes friends with Carbon. It's really not the enemy. He claims:
Carbon is everywhere. It is the fourth most abundant element in the universe, and the fifteenth most abundant on earth as well as the second most abundant in the human body
2. Carbon is stardust.
3. Carbon is promiscuous. It forms more chemical compounds than any other element.
4. Carbon is history. Indeed, it was originally called carbo, which is Latin for coal.
5. Carbon is energy.
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