My name is Jason Mraz. I am a Grammy-winning recording artist, and a lover of Soil. That’s right -- rich, dark, alive, soil. I’ve even written songs about it. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we need soil for every single thing we eat. We literally couldn’t exist without soil.
But right now, the way we farm strips our soil of all the carbon and microorganisms it needs to stay healthy. That’s bad for farmers, bad for climate change, and in my drought-stricken home state of California, it lets our dwindling water go to waste.
We have a chance to change that. Soon, California is going to decide how to spend $2 billion they’ve set aside to fight climate change.
I need your help, the Governor needs your help. Sign this petition to tell California elected officials to make sustainable soil programs a part of their climate change initiatives.
I know, at first it sounds a little silly. Investing in soil? But California is the leading agricultural economy of the world. The way we treat our soil has a massive impact on our environment, our water supply, and farmers throughout the state.
We have a major opportunity RIGHT NOW to support Governor Brown in funding Healthy Soils -- $160M of the $2 billion that’s been set aside could go to land management practices that would rebuild healthy soil so we can grow more nutritious food, fight the drought, and take carbon out of the air to help reverse climate change.
Our very future depends on the health of our soil. Help me and my friends at Kiss The Ground tell the State of California to make responsible investments in building back our soil.
From what I hear on the news, after this fire season there is going to be LOTS more biochar in California.
Of course, it's probably going to be in places that used to be forest or hillside, not on the agricultural land that is in need of soil rebuilding. Still, when and if the rains show up and the biochar can get incorporated into the soils, it will start the long road back to soil fertility.
One thing that is glossed over in the discussion of biochar and Terra Preta soils in the Amazon is how they got there. Often in the excavation of terra preta soils, goodly amounts of pottery shards are found, and one could draw the inference that the area was settled by people that made pots from the river clay and practiced slash-and-burn agriculture --- with a big emphasis on the burn part. I would make the hypothesis that without the increased burning and production of biochar by humans, the natural rate of biochar production by forest fires doesn't keep pace with the rate at which rains wash the biochar bits into rivers and eventually out to the ocean. Conversely, when humans are producing copious amounts of charcoal and digging it into the soil beforeit gets washed away, it can build up quickly and maintain soil fertility for quite a long time.
Just think of where we would be if we had put 2 and 2 together back in the Dust Bowl days and had gone all in on biochar technology in the 1930's. I say "put 2 and 2 together", because biochar is not really that high tech. Chemists have known since the 1800s about the absorptive properties of charcoal, and plant scientists have know even before that what kind of nutrients help plants grow. But it took until the 1990s for the two to meet and become well studied science. If we had been producing biochar by the megaton and digging it under, perhaps we would not be having such a problem today with CO2 emissions.
Fall is my biochar producing season, and I spend the winter and spring digging it in. I have seen the results in my own garden, but alas, my results fall into that most disparaged of data categories -- anecdotal. I wonder how long it will be before the USDA gets on board with serious incentives for ALL farmers to adopt it.