To the Editor:
Can the dirt beneath our feet be a solution to addressing climate change?
Donovan Wilkin thinks so. Dr. Wilkin is a retired associate professor of natural resources at the University of Arizona. He spends much of his retirement at home here in McHenry County talking with farmers, politicians and folk like me about regenerative farming.
Soil is a product of nature, of wind, water and minerals. This product is being exhausted: Every farmed-to-the-dirt field you pass is witness to this. Recently, Wilkin’s thoughts on soil as a solution were published in Resilience.org: “Rescuing civilization dirt cheap.”
Approached with the care of regenerative farming, soils can be restored as rich land to feed us, better buffer us from floods, and, be a significant engine of carbon sequestration to mitigate global climate change.
So, yes, one tool to address climate change is beneath our feet. Let’s add to what should be a natural incentive by apportioning a future price on carbon emission to pay farmers to employ these methods to sequester it into our soils. This will help stabilize farm economics, too.
Shifting to these practices has other benefits, including lower costs (less or no chemical fertilizers to burn out the soil) and, as has been shown, higher yields. Paying farmers to sequester carbon will help them clear the near-term economic hurdles of shifting to regenerative farming.
Dr. Wilkin is a member of Citizens Climate Lobby McHenry County Chapter.