TRUEsustainable-black-planetSoil actually performs 3 essential functions via the Carbon and Water Cycles. Healthy soil contains millions of microbes and is well saturated. Healthy soil breathes in the CO2, sequesters and manufactures carbon - and healthy soil has saturated water that the sun evaporates providing a cooling effect, and then soil acts as both carbon and heat sinks.

But the practice and use of soil has changed: land has been cleared of trees and modern farming technology cause soils to become dependent on chemical fertilisers. We used to leave the land "fallow" for a season or 2 to recover, but now we throw more fertilizer at it until the soil is exhausted.

Soils role in the cycle of carbon - the Carbon Cycle - has been reversed. Healthy soil sequesters CO2 while unhealthy soil emits CO2.

There are a few knock-on effects, the dry soil has no water to evaporate and cool the land, and so it heats up. The air above the land warms and rises. What goes up must come down, so cool air descends somewhere else. This "pump" action moves a lot of air causing wind. Wind blows across the land and sea causing havoc.

Rain tends not to fall over "hotspots" as rain likes cooler air to condense from vapour to drops. The oceans are colder, and more rain falling there would account for less fresh water available on land. It's also worth mentioning water that does fall on the land should be used in place to promote small water cycles, instead of draining or moving the water elsewhere or out to sea. The dryer land causes us to use our stored water aquifers - and there are huge consequences if we empty them - and lack of rain is thinning the lens of fresh water available, becoming saltier and any chemicals used in farming and/or fracking accumulates and concentrates.

It's a circular never-ending spiraling catch-22.

The dry land becomes hot, heated by the sun, if there is no moisture to relieve the heat, the cycle of drought is in place, which leads to lifelessness. The soil gives up it's life force, it's CO2, and expels it to the atmosphere. A secondary reaction occurs, as the soil cannot retain CO2, it also cannot retain water. No water, no moisture to evaporate and cool the land. The land becomes a desert or hotspot.

That's what is different.
That's what has changed.

Soil has since millenium been a carbon sequester - breathing in carbon and burying it to become coal or oil - but now it has become a carbon emitter, and cannot retain water for cooling, which leads to warming and large wind cycles.

As the world marvels at the pace China is moving, China sets the example of what is achievable. All we need is the attitude of China.

Fix the soil with any number of eco systems solutions designed for the specific place, and we fix global warming (or at least buy us time - because soil also has a limit to how much CO2 it can hold - but - healthy soils that absorb CO2 can drink the water that evaporates and cools the land to calm the winds and bring the eco system into equilibrium.

If man made the soil poor, then man can make the soil rich again.

Using soil as a carbon sink is a win-win because we can produce more food and cool the globe - and this will buy the time needed while we changeover to renewable energy.


© TRUESustainable™ 2012