This post was researched and written by Holly Rose, she is a writer, blogger, environmentalist, and Kiss The Ground accredited soil advocate. She writes about regenerative agriculture, sacred ecology, and rewilding on her blog HollyRose.eco / Instagram @hollyrose.eco
Since the dawn of time, there has been the same number of carbon atoms on this planet. Never increasing or decreasing, just moving – usually by choice, but more recently by force – between its three storage systems (soil, life, atmosphere).
If you anthropomorphise carbon, thinking of it as the nomadic peoples our ancestors once were, you can imagine the holistic migration it had. Unfixed, borderless, and regenerative, it flowed naturally, and benevolently, bringing balance between all life above and below the ground.
Carbon prefers, given the choice, to store itself safely in the soil humus (the topsoil we grow our food in), aiding carbon-based life forms (like plants, animals and humans) in existing, before shapeshifting to the atmosphere to complete/continue its cycle.
If you think of this in human terms, humus is home. The place we prefer to be and thrive best in. Ideally where we live in symbiosis with our communities and all living things. Once in a while, we might like to travel, like carbon does; rising into the atmosphere to collect tales, tastes and memories from other places. As long as we’re not gone too long, we usually have our chosen humus to come home to.
The problem is, that due to the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, conventional farming practices, deforestation, mining, tilling, pesticides, chemicals, and so on, we have fiercely forced carbon from the humus it calls home. Leaving behind insufficient biosphere for it to find its way back into the soil.
In our frenzy of uncontrolled consumption, we have cultivated a relationship with the world and each other that is void of belonging, filling the hole dug with a false bounty of belongings. Driven by greed, not need, we’ve thickened the blanket of greenhouse gases; warming our oceans and dramatically impacting our climate.
Like many of the 70.8+ million people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes due to violent conflict (caused directly or indirectly by the practices listed above), or the estimated 25+ million “environmental refugees” whose homes have been made inhabitable due to the effects of climate breakdown (droughts, flood, environmental disaster, sea level rise etc…), both carbon and humans have been coercively displaced from their humus/homes.
To reverse global heating, to make this earth fruitful and inhabitable for everyone, carbon needs to go back into the soil. To do that, we have to stop pumping out of the ground and into the atmosphere through the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. We must revert to renewable energy, take up the various forms of agroecology / regenerative agriculture (a product of Traditional Ecological Knowledge), which can quickly and effectively draw carbon home to its humus, creating resilience from drought and protection against flooding while offering food security, clean water, shelter and safety simultaneously.