GSR's Newsletter is a collection of news, reflections, innovations and ideas that our team has
found important enough to write down and share with you. We hope you'll be as excited as we
are with all the latest developments around the world and what it means for us all.
Issue No. 6
What is the GSR Carbon Bio-Sequestration Project?
(Guest Author, Chris Danch)
Climate change represents the greatest
challenge to humanity. The big issues
are TIME and SCALE. We have at most
a decade to begin to turn things
around, and many experts believe that
we have even less time. GSR’s Carbon
Sequestration Project seeks to reverse
global climate change through
restorative agriculture practices,
resulting in the storing of CO2 from the
atmosphere into the soil and biomass.
Restoring wastelands and re-vegetating the Earth is the most cost-effective
means for creating a carbon sink that can reverse climate change. GSR’s
Sustainable Restorative Agriculture (SRA) system does just that. The added
bonus is that much of the revitalized land can be used for farming to feed a
growing population. It will also serve to fuel millions of new jobs in the rural
sector of the global economy. Profitability is the reason why the SRA system is
cost-effective, it literally pays for itself.
Many leading environmentalists and sustainable agricultural thought leaders
have recognized that restorative agriculture is one of the most cost-effective
carbon sequestration systems’ currently available. The part of the biosphere
with greatest carbon sequestration potential is soil. Conventional (industrial)
agriculture is destructive of the soil, as it releases CO2 and other green house
gases into the atmosphere. As a result, a major cause of climate change is land
degradation. By contrast, GSR’s SRA improves nutrient levels (including carbon)
in the soil. Sequestering carbon via SRA will increase crop yields and improve
the income and employment of rural communities.
There is no proven carbon capture &
storage technology that cost-effectively
sequesters CO2 on the scale and in the
time required. Many experts believe
large-scale geo-engineering schemes
can expediently cool the Earth.
However such experimental
technologies are fraught with hazard. It
is a technology that humanity cannot
completely control without first
understanding Earth’s complex systems. Without more time and expensive
research, geo-engineering could prove to be a dangerous and risky venture. A
restorative agricultural system has been widely researched and only needs a
“ramping up” process to start making a significant impact.
While there are many individual practitioners of restorative agriculture, there
are no large-scale restorative agricultural systems. Restorative agriculture
requires a lot of labor access to millions of hectares of land (it is a global-scale
operation). That is why GSR focuses on Africa which meets both conditions
adequately. Millions of unemployed people in African rural communities have
the motivation, energy and skill to engage in restorative agriculture on millions
of hectares of land right now. Small farmers in Africa are eager to partner with
GSR and make use of this restorative agriculture system because it quickly
increases their income as much as 300%. GSR’s proven, working model of rural
community development and cost-effective training programs are essential to
unleash this human potential. It is efficient, cost-effective, humane and self-
GSR has figured out how to effectively build up the scope of our carbon
sequestration operations up to the massive scale necessary to reverse climate
change. We’ve divided the task into three phases:
1. Phase One has a target of sequestering 10 gigatons of carbon per year by
the end of three years.
2. Phase Two will attempt to raise this sequestration level to 100 gigatons
3. Phase Three target is 500 gigatons. At this unprecedented level of
sequestration it is possible to reverse climate change.
Remediating soil on a global scale can sequester enough CO2 to bring us back to
pre-industrial atmospheric carbon levels. GSR’s carbon sequestration model can
potentially restore five billion hectares of degraded lands. Our Phase One seeks
to eventually sequester 10 gigatons per year. These numbers are calculated via:
1. Calculations by leading carbon sequestration experts, like TonyLovell, that
remediating soil can sequester up to 40 tons of CO2 annually per acre
2. GSR’s projection of restoring 200 million acres within five years (with
Tony Lovell’s calculations are based on the following:
· One hectare= 10,000 sq. meters
· Soil averages 33.5 cm deep (approximately 1 foot)
· Bulk Density = 1.4 tons per cubic meter
· Soil Mass per hectare = about 4,700 tons
· Which gives about 27 tons of Soil Carbon per hectare (about 11
· This represents 100 tons of atmospheric CO2 sequestered or about 40
tons per acre (conversion factor of 3.67)
The amount of carbon actually sequestered per hectare will vary from place to
place, and the above data represents an approximate average. Christine Jones,
renowned Australian soil scientist, has found sequestration rates up to 13.4 tons
per acre, and Australian restorative agriculturalist Colin Seis has recorded rates
up 19 tons per acre. In practice, GSR’s restorative practices will, in addition to
soil-building, also include holistic development, reforestation, forest
conservation strategies, watershed restoration and management, silvopastoral
schemes producing woody biomass for energy, biochar and long-term carbon
storage in durable wood products.
Looking at the numbers, we can see
that climate scientists agree that we
need to lower atmospheric CO2 to 350
ppm to be safe from serious climate
change. And at around 280 ppm, we
should return to pre-industrial levels.
We are currently at slightly over 400
ppm and are heading towards 550
ppm (due to the long life-span of
atmospheric CO2 and other GHGs).
This means that if we were somehow able to stop emission today, we would still
having rising atmospheric CO2, eventually reaching 550 ppm. Currently, we have
yet to stop carbon emissions. In approx 20 years since the first UN climate
, emissions continue to increase each year. This is the primary reason for
us to sequester carbon and not only focus our resources on reducing emissions.
The best way to do this is to support and complement Earth’s natural ecosystem
by using restorative agriculture practices.
To get from 550 ppm of atmospheric CO2 to the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm,
we must sequester 270 ppm (not counting continuing emissions). According to
Lovell, this is approximately 2.1 trillion tons of C02. The scale of what we (the
species) have to do is therefore enormous.
The prototype project in Democratic
Republic of Congo that GSR’s SRA
system is based on proves that
achieving results with very low capital
input but high labor input produces
very favorable economic and
environmental results. It was not only
possible to restore wasteland to a high
level of fertility and productivity, but in
the process helped thousands in the
rural sector build sustainable
economic prosperity. GSR’s SRA
system demonstrates not only the viability of large scale organic and sustainable
farming, but shows how to reach the large scale needed in the time required.
GSRis gearingup to for a crowdfundingcampaignonIndiegogo to help us expand this
systemto encompass approximately200 Millionacres ofland inPhase One. Upon
achieving the goal, this will result in the unprecedented sequestration of 10
gigatons of CO2 per year and the creation of as many as 100+ Million jobs. We
then anticipate Phase One financial and socio-economic success leading the
program to Phase Two. At that time the SRA system will go “viral” and spread
rapidly across the African continent.
This is a sampling of some resources about restorative agriculture and its role in
reversing climate change.
Holistic Management International
SoilCarbonCoalition (GSR Advisory Member)
Examples of Practitioners:
June 2013 Interview
Onmanagingchaos (managing for what you want, not for what you don't
To arrive at the figure of 100 tons of atmospheric CO2 per hectare per year, Tony Lovell calculates as
· One hectare= 10,000 sq. meters
· Soil averages 33.5 cm deep (approximately 1 foot)
· Bulk Density = 1.4 tons per cubic meter
· Soil Mass per hectare = about 4,700 tons
· Which gives about 27 tons of Soil Carbon per hectare (about 11 tons/acre)
· This represents 100 tons of atmospheric CO2 sequestered or about 40 tons per acre
(conversion factor of 3.67)
1 HA = 10,000 M2, Bulk Density (weight per unit volume) averages about 1.4 tonnes per M3.
Topsoil averages about 1 foot or 1/3 meter deep, then:
10,000 M2 x 1.4 divided by 3 = 4670 tons (rounded to 4700).
According to Christine Jones and others, Soil Organic Matter (SOM) is about 1% of total soil weight.
Also according to Jones and other (e.g, Ratan Lal), Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) is about .58 of
SOM.Obviously, both SOM and SOC will vary according to soil characteristics, but these are workable
averages. To be specific, Ratan Lal* says that SOC generally estimated at 58% of SOM. Jones cites
ranges from 50% to 62%. Lovell uses the 58% figure. Therefore:
4700 tonnes per HA x .01 (SOM) x .58 = 27.26 tons of SOC (or 100.04 tons of atmospheric C02
at the conversion rate of 3.67).
As you can see, as we increase the depth of the soil capable of sequestering carbon (even by 1 or 2%,
the Carbon sequestration potential increases significantly. So, as these grasslands and ecosystems
grow healthier, the C sequestration continues to build (and thereby enriching the soil more, creating
more biodiversity, etc. as the carbon/hydrologic/nutrient/energy cycles of the soil are restored).
*Reference to Ratan Lal’s work can be found in the following publications:
Lal, Ratan, 2001 “Soils and theGreenhouseEffect,” In Soil Carbon Sequestration and
theGreenhouseEffect, edited byR. Lal, WI, Soil ScienceSocietyofAmerica, Inc.
Lal, Ratan, 2008 “Promiseand Limitations ofSoils to MinimizeClimateChange,”
Journal ofSoil and Water Conservation, 63 (4)
1992 The UN Conference on the Environment and Development is held in Rio de Janeiro. It results in
the Framework Convention on Climate Change ("FCCC" or "UNFCCC") (http://www.unfccc.int) among
1995 Parties to the FCCC meet in Berlin (the 1st Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC) to
outline specific targets on emissions.
1997 Parties conclude the Kyoto Protocol in Kyoto Japan, in which they agree to the broad outlines of
emissions targets. The Kyoto Treaty did not enter into force until 2005.
What is a Sound Development Model?
Green Self Reliance, Inc is delighted to announce a
strategic partnership with Krisit Organic Agricultural
Institute in Rajasthan, India. The purpose of this
partnership is to train young people who are
interested in careers in sustainable rural economy.
These students will learn the practical skills
necessary to transform wasteland into fertile
farmland, and to develop the entire support
infrastructure needed to build prosperous zero
carbon communities. The Krisit Institute is offering
an international certificate course in farming and
community building. . The entire year long training
program will cost and is a 12 month program, which
includes board and lodging. All subjects will be taught
(in English) at the Krisit Training Center in Rajasthan, India by highly
experienced restorative agriculture practitioners. Students will have ample
opportunity to hone their work and organizational skills by teaming them with
local farmers taking part in the program. Upon completion of all the syllabus and
demonstration of proficiency in all the subjects, GSR will offer to reinvest the
entire course fee of $15,000 towards the career of the graduate, guaranteeing
them immediate employment.
The goal of this course is to give graduates all the basic knowledge and skills
necessary to successfully build and manage a sustainable green community
project anywhere in the world. The course will combine theoretical knowledge
and practical applications. Students will make organic pesticide and fertilizer
from locally available materials, build their own housing, sustainable energy
systems and water treatment facilities from scratch. Besides the lectures and
hands on training, the students as individuals and team members will be allotted
a piece of barren land and that land itself will be a “final exam” which
demonstrates the students’ mastering the skills necessary to make that land
habitable. If the land has been successful transformed into farmland, the student
will pass the final exam.
The campus is not far from a city, with good
communication, transportation and high speed internet
access. Students will be able to refresh their memory and
relive their experience later on via a required assigned
vblog (video blog), which doubles as a way to promote the
1. Natueco – Natueco (Nature Ecological Farming) formulated by well know
natural farming expert, Deepak Suchde, is a synthesis of permaculture and
traditional Indian farming methodology. It allows farmers to transform
dangerously arid lands into highly fertile soil in as little as six months. Also,
crops grown in that soil are richer in nutrients taste better
2. Bio Dynamics – harvesting and seeding crops based position of moon for
3. The Zero Budget Farming method – developed by renowned agronomist
Subhash Palekar, shows simple low cost methods to grow low cost organic
food without soil or on substandard soil
4. Natural house building – techniques with and without use of cement
5. Sewage & Sanitation Treatment Systems – how to treat waste from toilet
or grey water from kitchen to be able to use it for farming
6. Sustainable Power systems – Students will learn to make their own solar
power, biofuel and wind power generation systems for your homes and
7. Companion Planting Formulas – Correct combinations dramatically
increases production. Students will
master 100 + ideal planting combinations
for trees /crops/herbs
8. Soil analysis – learn from expert soil
analysts which type of soil is good for
which kind of crop/plant/tree
9. Disaster Management – fast recovery from famine /flood etc
10. Cow management – maximizing value of cows and from products made
from cow dung
What is Urban Self Reliance?
GSR has often talked about how developing a self-reliance economic model for
rural communities would bring a greater benefit for the global population and
economy. Although we currently have no plans to run projects in urban areas,
GSR hopes to alleviate and even reverse much of the growing pains on cities. One
such example is the disturbing trends leading to the formation of megacities,
which have high population densities, of tens of millions packing within the
confines of a few square miles. High population densities create dangerous
conditions for both humanity and the environment.
GSR understands that cities are here to stay. When
we plan for developing sustainable rural
development, it will carry repercussions on city life
and urban development. Development must be
understood in context and rural development
models and systems must be designed
complementary to urban community development.
This in fact is what GSR aims to accomplish, via a
ricochet or rebound effect from our sustainable rural development system. In
Africa much of the population still remains in the rural areas, however there
currently is a massive migration to the urban areas. Many people believe jobs
and opportunities can be found in the cities, but because populations grow too
large in urban areas, such opportunities quickly vanish. If we improve the
economic circumstances of rural areas, GSR believes that the African migration
to the cities will become stable (i.e. a balance of migration to and from urban
areas). Once urban areas are alleviated of high population densities, megacities
like Lagos can become sustainable and perhaps even self-reliant via adaptation
of some of the same agricultural measures used in rural communities. An urban
self-reliance model would seek to supplement the city’s food supply, with local
crops and manufacturing. This can only serve to improve the financial and
economic aspects of urban life, saving a king’s ransom on trade and
transportation for essential resources.
Some pioneering individuals living in megacities have taken initiative in an
attempt to discover methods of transforming megacities into sustainable urban
centers, through practices called microfarming. Many of these pioneeringindividuals
are creating a sensation that could one day catch on and become either a social
movement or even a state-sponsored program. Micro-farming seeks methods to
ensure substantial crop yield from smaller than average plots of land. There are
some surprising benefits to raising crops in cities. Urban landscape discourages
the growth of pests (reducing the costs on pesticides) and forces agriculturalists
to adopt a innovative methods and techniques to ensure maximum efficiency of
land (which is the scarce factor in urban farming. Generally microfarming
involves multicropping which further reduces the risk of getting pests destroy
crops and maximizes crop yields. Urban farms also have access to mineral rich
resources (thanks to great abundance of supply and location) making
microfarming a very lucrative venture, especially for organic farmers.
Urban centers have an important place in
the preservation of civilization, especially
when it meets the purposes of facilitating
trade, promoting cultural and artistic
pursuits, and housing institutions of
education for the spread of advanced
knowledge and skills in the arts and
sciences. When a city preserves these
functions, the relationship between the
rural countryside and the city is balanced. However, current trends have created
mortifying conditions that are unprecedented in history, high population
densities transform cities into poverty trap instead place of opportunity and
culture. These conditions have amplified adverse effects when you consider that
these are happening simultaneously and on a global scale. If we do not move in a
new direction soon, we may be witness to the implosion of human civilization.
Small Business Retail Stores
Agriculture may be the primary source of capital and prosperity for rural
communities, but that does not mean other sectors are non-existent or
unimportant. GSR aims to invigorate the growth of small business enterprises in
rural communities to help economy and culture flourish.
Village Development Corporations (VDCs),
which GSR helps local communities to
establish, will gradually serve the functions of
Chamber of Commerce and local municipality.
Following its Development Master Plan, VDCs
will construct facilities to accommodate small
businesses, and go through business plans to
help the new entrepreneurs to receive
financing and set up shop. Market squares will
be constructed for every cluster of 10 villages. The VDCs will own and maintain
the market squares infrastructure, and the small businesses will pay small
monthly fee of their net profits (approx 10%) for maintenance of the facilities.
Before future entrepreneurs are able to set up shop in the market square, they
will need to go through a training program that helps these budding
entrepreneurs fully prepare for the business world. GSR believes that such
training programs are necessary in order for small businesses to become a
reliable resource for the community and for these businesses to function in a
solvent manner. Together with the VDC we train these entrepreneurs about the
fundamentals of business economics, finances, laws, marketing and sales and