- to be carbon conscious and
- to choose products and services that are carbon neutral, even when they cost a lot more in terms of dollars and cents,
- big corporates no longer just trade in dollars, they’re trading in carbon too.
Carbon counting is BIG BUSINESS. And in this year of Sustainable Energy for All, socially and politically important too.
Ever wondered where your little patch of suburban garden fits into the GREEN scheme of things…..
Carbon cycle for beginners
Most of us understand the basics of the carbon cycle – in a nutshell,
- Plants take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – which is good. The more plants there are, the more they can take it up.
- The burning of fossil fuels causes carbon dioxide to be released in the atmosphere – which is bad.
So, if you have a garden with a couple of trees, a bed of roses and a patch of lawn, your garden is helping to STOP global warming by taking up CO2. Whoopee.
Ooops, to keep your garden from slipping into a wild weed infested jungle, you need to get out the garden equipment on a regular basis. Some of this equipment relies on old fashioned human power to work, but lawnmowers and weed eaters, need more high octane juice. The high octane juice is fossil fuel based, so it’s releasing CO2 – sometimes directly, usually indirectly through electricity.
Oh dear…. your garden is a carbon polluter too.
Adding up carbons in the suburban jungle
A group of scientists, based at UC Santa Barbara, decided to take carbon counting down to the level of the suburban garden.
The team set up a system of sensors, which could pick up carbon changes in the atmosphere above the suburbs of a typical town in the heartland of America. The town has a few public parks and lots of tiny little personal patches of green space, in the form of suburban gardens.
The system tracked the carbon levels over the town for a period of a year, to ensure seasonal changes were included in the final calculation.
Suburban greenery counts
The team found, as expected, the trees and lawns did their bit to absorb CO2 and other pollutants, at the height of summer.
Green gardens were GREEN. Lol.
But during the dead of winter, when all the grass died and most trees shed their leaves – backyard gardens ceased being carbon sinks.
But the not so green gardens, still left the neighbourhood GREEN overall.
Green enough to be neutral
The splurge of green in the summer months was big enough, to balance out the fossil emissions created in the process of cultivating the green.
Before you get excited and begin looking for ways to monetize your garden, through selling your garden’s carbon credits. STOP! The research did not conclude your garden can “offset” the total amount of CO2 released by your household. The best it can do is to “offset” it’s own carbon emissions.
So your green space, mower and all, is a GREEN place.
Green living is good for you
Mowing the lawn in the peak of summer is a tedious job, requiring lots of physical footprints. Thanks to this research you can rest assured you’re not leaving a carbon footprint, but instead take comfort on the POSITIVE imprints you’re making on your health.
The fancy foot work behind mowing the lawn, will put you on a trajectory to better health,
- as you build some muscle pushing the heavy machine up and down the turf, while
- the sun turns that pesky cholesterol in your skin, into a healthy supply of vitamin D, and
- the mouthfuls of dirt you swallow, primes your immune system, so it won’t fight you.
Enjoy leaving footprints in the garden this summer.Continuous measurements of net CO2 exchange by vegetation and soils in a suburban landscape. Journal of Geophysical Research (2012) 117:G03005. Emily B Peters, Joseph P. McFadden.
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|To bury excess carbon the world needs to burn more trees||Painting your desk green will make studying more pleasant||And the gold medal for country with the greatest biomass goes to…|
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