If your plan is for one year, plant rice.
If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.
I was lucky enough to watch "The Need to Grow" recently. I can only recommend that you watch it, too. The film will definitely give you food for thought. If you are like me, it will sadden you, make you angry and surprise you.
One of the most inspiring sections of the film was about The Green Power House, designed by Michael Smith. This works in a closed loop system. Here, wood waste is fed into "The Dragon", a kiln where it is heated to a high temperature with no air present. This produces high quality bio-char, which can be fed to the soil, locking up carbon and adding a huge number of new "homes" for soil microbes. One Green Power House can stabilise 1 ton of carbon per day - the equivalent of 50.000 trees.
|Eric Cutter and Michael Smith at The Green Power House, Montana, USA|
The energy from "The Dragon" runs the entire Power House, which is completely off grid! There is enough surplus electriciy to power 100 homes. (Michael Smith calls this a "by-product of our process"). The excess heat is used to cultivate algae in a "Liquid Prairie" greenhouse. The CO2 in the Dragon's flue is taken to the tanks in the greenhouse to boost the production of algae. Algae are removed and mixed with the char in a bio-digester to form a powerful soil conditioner. Vegetable growers, like Eric Cutter in the film, are reporting amazing effects on plants grown in the resulting soils, with a big increase in size and vitality. Finally, methane from the bio-digester is sent back to heat The Dragon, so completing the cycle.
The design produces no waste, recycles all inputs, the outputs become the inputs of the next stage. Many outputs are produced. We should try to count how many! (Have you heard of something similar?)
This film is full of inspiring people. Among them is the well-respected permaculture teacher Larry Santoyo. He says, “Those alert enough amongst us are obligated to help”. The great stories here show us how we can all help our planet.