Courtney White, author of Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey through Carbon Country and the recently-released Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, will join Kansas ranchers to teach and share his optimism about scientific observations and what people can do to improve the environment.
White will explain how a highly efficient carbon cycle captures, stores, releases, and recaptures biochemical energy, mitigating climate change, increasing water storage capacities in soil, and making green plants grow. Best of all, we don’t have to invent anything new—a wide variety of innovative ideas and methods that put carbon back into the soil have been field-tested and proven to be practical and profitable.
In his book, Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey through Carbon Country, Courtney White provides a compelling and practical account of how carbon—an essential element and building block of life—may hold the answer to many pressing issues. Smart land use that captures carbon in the soil can enhance the climate, plant and animal diversity, our waterways, the quality of our food, and our quality of life in general.
White, an engaging storyteller, will share how farmers, ranchers, scientists, artists, and many “everyday” people are putting these ideas into action, examining the link between our soil and the future of our planet. Currently removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities. These include already existing, low-tech, and proven practices: composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.
His recent book, Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, profiles fifty innovative practices that soak up carbon dioxide in soils, reduce energy use, sustainably intensify food production, and increase water quality. The “two percent” refers to: the amount of new carbon in the soil needed to reap a wide variety of ecological and economic benefits; the percentage of the nation’s population who are farmers and ranchers; and the low financial cost (in terms of GDP) needed to get this work done.
They’re mostly low-tech, relying on natural resources such as sunlight, green plants, animals, compost, beavers, creeks, and more. He will share what he calls the “regenerative toolbox,” that includes holistic grazing, edible forests, biochar, weed-eating livestock, food co-ops, keyline plowing, restoration agriculture, bioenergy, aquaponics, animal power, Farm Hack, bees, bears, wildlife corridors, rainwater harvesting, native seeds, and various other projects.
A former archaeologist and Sierra Club activist, White dropped out of the “conflict industry” in 1997 to cofound the Quivira Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to building bridges between ranchers, conservationists, and others around practices that improve economic and ecological resilience in western working landscapes.