Biochar carbon offsetting
Our biochar process offsets carbon emissions by making charcoal (through a process called pyrolysis) and adding it to our compost and then to our soil, locking the carbon out of the atmosphere at the same time as helping to lock important nutrients into the soil. At Sacred Earth we have our own biochar kiln on our site in Horam, East Sussex where we use local wood waste by-products and coppiced wood from our woodland to produce the biochar.
You can reduce the environmental impact of your plane flight by making a donation to the Sacred Earth Biochar Project through Localgiving.com.
Tackling global issues at a local level
Our biochar project was set up as a local response to the interconnected issues of climate change and soil degradation. Climate change, caused by the build-up of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is a universal threat to humanity and the biodiversity of life on the planet. Soil degradation, caused by intensive farming using chemical fertilisers, is increasingly considered to be a threat of similar proportions in relation to our food security. We urgently need to respond to these challenges in whatever ways we can.
Local projects like ours help in a number of ways. At Sacred Earth we reduce CO2 emissions by sequestering carbon (in the form of biochar) in the ground. This helps to regenerate the soil which supports our food, herb growing and tree planting projects including our community orchard. We also provide work opportunities and educate young people in sustainable practices, all of which contributes to a healthier environment and a more vibrant and resilient local community.
What exactly is biochar?
Biochar is charcoal which is made at lower temperatures than ordinary charcoal. Because it has a sponge-like structure beneficial microbes in the soil can colonise the biochar and so it becomes a “coral reef” of nutrients for the plants to easily access through their roots. Remains of biochar which are 600 years old have been found in the Amazon rainforest – it’s a very resilient substance!
What does “carbon offsetting” mean?
Carbon offsetting is a strategy for reducing the overall amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) we add to the atmosphere (from activities such as transport, heating and food production) by engaging in activities which reduce or remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Some approaches to carbon offsetting focus on reducing CO2 by increasing energy efficiency (e.g. improving the insulation in our homes) or investing in renewable energy such as wind, solar and hydro power. Like planting trees (which recycle CO2 into the oxygen which we breathe), creating biochar is a carbon negative process, which means it removes carbon from the atmosphere, sequestering it in the ground.
How does biochar off-set carbon?
Picture this: In the course of a tree’s life it “breathes in” a great deal of CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere and stores it in it’s trunk, it’s branches and it’s leaves in the form of carbon, breathing out oxygen in the process. When the tree dies this carbon is released back into the atmosphere through decomposition or when it is burned as firewood. At Sacred Earth we make charcoal from local wood waste by-products or coppiced and pollarded wood from our own woodland. We add this charcoal to our compost where it begins the process of becoming biochar. When the compost is ready we add it into our soil. Once the wood has been turned into biochar the carbon that was taken from the air as carbon dioxide cannot be released back into the atmosphere. In addition to this, biochar reduces the release of two other highly potent greenhouse gases from the soil – methane and nitrous oxide.
Do we calculate the carbon based on the distance of your flight?
No. Mitigating the worst effects of climate change is not just about removing CO2 from the atmosphere. In addition to capturing CO2 using the biochar process, the Sacred Earth Biochar Project supports tree planting, soil regeneration and education in sustainability. Our work reduces environmental impacts on many different levels. Your donation will make a valuable contribution to this work at the same time as reducing the environmental impact of your plane flight.