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GSR Newsletter Issue No. 6 - September 2013


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GSR's Monthly Newsletter. This month features a in-depth guest article about Carbon Sequestration through Sustainable Restorative Agriculture (SRA) by Chris Danch.

Published in: News & Politics, Technology
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GSR Newsletter Issue No. 6 - September 2013

  1. 1. 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. GSR Newsletter Issue No. 6 September 2013 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
  2. 2. 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- replicating. Carbon Bio-Sequestration 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 annually. 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 adequate funding). 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 tons/acre) · 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
  3. 3. talks [i] , 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. Additional Resources This is a sampling of some resources about restorative agriculture and its role in reversing climate change. Helpful Links: Holistic Management International SavoryInstitute Quivira Coalition SoilCarbonCoalition (GSR Advisory Member) Christine Jones TonyLovell JudithSchwartz Articles/Videos: Holistic Management AllanSavory MichaelPollan TonyLovell JudithSchwartz Examples of Practitioners: ColinSeis Gabe Brown Belcampo Farms Ian Mitchell-Innes: June 2013 Interview Onreversingland degradation
  4. 4. Onmanagingchaos (managing for what you want, not for what you don't want) Footnotes To arrive at the figure of 100 tons of atmospheric CO2 per hectare per year, Tony Lovell calculates as follows: · 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") ( among other agreements. 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
  5. 5. 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 institute. 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 maximum productivity 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 community 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
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. specifically address the concerns of their sector whether it is retail, industry, trade, or services. Once entrepreneurs have gone through the program and taken an examination to confirm their newfound expertise, they are granted a certificate which grants them the ability to incorporate a business, either by striking out on their own by renting out a store lot from the VDC market square or forming a partnership with their peers or existing businesses. Entrepreneurs can then decide what method is the best route for success and are welcome to work closely with GSR. GSR will offer special financial and trade services to these businesses. We offer to buy up all excess materials these shops produce at a fair market price and sell this surplus in regional or global markets, thus ensuring the stability of both the local and global markets. Follow on Twitter Friend on Facebook Connect on LinkedIn Copyright © 2013 Green Self Reliance, Inc., All rights reserved. Visit our website: Our emailing address is: ||