Michael Whitman - The City of Thousand Oaks is Testing Biochar
Have you ever wondered about a way to reduce water use, increase plant growth, and create long-lasting soil health without using toxic fertilizers or inorganic soil enhancers? Check out this informative overview of Biochar, an ancient soil amendment that is essentially charred organic material, with Michael Whitman founder the Southern California Biochar Initiative, at the City of Thousand Oaks Household Hazardous Waste Facility.
Like the traditional cat’s cradle string game, the hydrological, carbon and nitrogen cycles are interconnected and any one change affects the whole. These complex cycles support life as we know it. Humans have intervened in these natural cycles for thousands of years and just as practices based on ignorance or limited knowledge have resulted in the degradation and collapse of natural systems, recent developments in agricultural practices are restoring natural processes and improving productivity while also reducing input costs.
In Australia, the Carbon Farming Initiative has been rewarding good agricultural practice with Australian Carbon Credit Units since 2011. By December, 2014, ten million ACCUs had been issued. Recent developments in satellite technology will soon make it possible to see both good and poor agricultural practice from space. Restoring life to landscapes will change agricultural land from a major source of emissions to a sink for greenhouse gasses.
On the beach, in the jungle, and tucked in between mountains, biochar-producing cookstoves are making an impact in homes and soils across Costa Rica. These low-emission, high efficiency cookstoves can burn alternative fuels like farm waste or bamboo while simultaneously producing a biochar end-product.