Perspective - Dig In to Dig Out: Managing Urban Soils to Tackle Climate Change
Submitted by Jassimran Oberoi
There has been a huge surge in awareness about the need to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, even as we begin to move toward adaptation strategies.
If you’ve been following the discourse driven by the recent youth-led climate actions—driven ever so elegantly by our very own Greta Thunburg…go Greta !—then you are aware of the broad range of actions we can take to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
But, there is one set of solutions that can be found within the very ground we stand upon which is very accessible to influence…! Soil, yes soil, is a wonderful way of capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide, a primary cause of global warming. And link average soil to compost, and you have a truly powerful strategy for carbon sequestration to help reverse dangerous trends.
The soils beneath our feet have the potential to serve as an important carbon sponge if they are healthy and contain organic matter - the more organic matter, the more they can soak up CO2 from the atmosphere and deposit it via microbes and photosynthesis into the ground as soil carbon compounds. This simple process can be aided by actions we take to optimize soil health all around us and will serve as an important and inexpensive bridge toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Composting not only helps to optimize capturing carbon in the soil but helps to eliminate the food waste stream going to landfills, which when mixed with other trash is responsible for releasing substantial amounts of methane (more dangerous than CO2), and also large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere as it decomposes. Food waste makes up approximately 30 - 40% of household “trash” - by diverting this waste stream from landfills we can avoid producing these dangerous greenhouse gases. If we then convert this food waste stream to compost and utilize it as a soil amendment to optimize the health of our soil, we will have truly begun to implement a very important strategy that will have a multiplier effect on behalf of taking action on climate change.
Come learn how individuals and organizations can implement practices that will maximize soil carbon storage, while building up healthy landscapes with better soil and water qualities, reducing erosion and helping to better manage stormwater events.
Join us, on Tuesday, October 8th, from 7 PM to 9 PM, in the Jersey City Council Chambers, as we explore the many facets of this possibility.