The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) once referred to carbon as the “building block of life”—and when it’s drawn into our soil, carbon offers one feasible solution to climate change.
But what does carbon have to do with soil?
Everything. Through photosynthesis, plants are able to absorb carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and convert it into energy-rich, organic carbon compounds. When plant material decomposes, these organic molecules contribute to building healthy soils by improving structure and nourishing microbial life along with a world of other benefits.
For instance, carbon-enriched soil requires less fertilizer, yields healthier plants, increases water retention, reduces soil erosion, and can even help mitigate water pollution from runoff and leaching. The more water our soil can absorb, the more resilient our farms become against floods and droughts, and the healthier the surrounding ecosystems become.
Through regenerative farming practices, we can promote carbon sequestration, improve food security, and build healthier ecosystems—and all of which provide us with a better chance of addressing climate change at scale.
Before Earth’s 3.6 billion acres of farmland had been cultivated, the soil contained 3% carbon. Today, it contains 1% carbon, signaling not only the loss of soil organic carbon content, but also the opportunity to again build carbon concentrations in our agricultural soils.
It’s simple: carbon-rich soil means more resilient agricultural systems and less pollutants in our atmosphere.
A stable food source, paired with a cleaner atmosphere, means a better Earth. And the more regenerative growing practices we encourage farmers to adopt, the greater the opportunity for our soil to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It’s a natural cycle that we’re capable of restoring to its full potential.
So let’s go carbon positive.