ISBN: 9781603582551 Year Added to Catalog: 2009 Book Format: Paperback Book Art: Color photos Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 Number of Pages: 128 Book Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Release Date: January 12, 2010 Web Product ID: 495
Also in Nature & Environment
The Biochar Debate
Charcoal’s Potential to Reverse Climate Change and Build Soil Fertility
"Our planet is in an existential crisis. While scientists fret and economists debate, politicians dither and business leaders derail. There is a disconnect between physical reality and political reality. And yet, the physical one always trumps; did we imagine it otherwise? James Bruges has got this right. Biochar offers us a last chance to cheat death, but we'll only be given one try. Fail and our epitaph will be a hard black layer writ in the strata: Here Lies the Human Experiment, R.I.P."
—Albert Bates, author of The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook and founder of Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology
"The buzz of interest and activity around biochar in recent years is accelerating. In this concise but engaging book, James Bruges gets us up to speed with the ecology, economics and politics of biochar. Over three decades of speaking about and teaching permaculture, I have come across very few sustainable 'technologies' that appear to change the rules about how to work with nature. Biochar is one of those few. Could biochar be the simple solution by which we can save civilization from the twin crises of resource depletion and climate catastrophe? This sounds like an absurd claim, but not one that can be easily dismissed. James Bruges steers a course between the hope and the hype."
—David Holmgren, co-originator of the Permaculture concept and author of Future Scenarios
"A brilliant, readable review on the critical need to restore our degraded lands back to fertility—be it to sequester greenhouse gases naturally, support forests, improve soil moisture or increase crop yields. Bruges outlines how supporting natural terrestrial sequestration is the cost-effective, proven practice to extract carbon from the atmosphere, and that this can be augmented via the use of soil amendments such as biochar. He concludes with examples that elucidate why tying biochar-based land-management solutions to one-size-fits-all market incentives risks time, money and public health. Our students say, 'It's a 101 must read'—a strong recommendation, indeed."
—Alison Burchell, Geologist, Natural Terrestrial Solutions Group
"A brilliant synthesis for everyone concerned with solutions to climate change, enhancement of our soils and the future of energy policy. An enjoyably readable introduction to the vital field of biochar. Highly recommended."
—L. Hunter Lovins, founder and President of Natural Capitalism Solutions, cofounder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and coauthor of Natural Capitalism
"It's not enough to stop burning fossil fuels. We also have to remove much of the carbon dioxide that has accumulated in the atmosphere for over a century. Biochar is one of the few tools available for that purpose. If you don't know what biochar is, this book tells you what you need to know."
—Peter Barnes, author of Climate Solutions and Capitalism 3.0
"Biochar is a relatively new word in the green lexicon, but one you'll hear more about going forward. It isn't a silver bullet, but it may be a useful help in the climate challenge—this slim book will let you think knowledgeably about it, and start to act in your own backyard."
—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
"The Biochar Debate is an intelligent and even-handed look at the potential for both improving soil and addressing global warming offered by the decentralized production and use of biochar. The potential pitfalls and unknowns are clearly acknowledged--this is not another faddish silver bullet approach, but offers some real world examples and practical ideas that anyone can use."
—Grace Gershuny, coauthor, The Soul of Soil
"What we need is a charcoal maker on every farm so the farmer can turn his waste into carbon. . . We have to grow food, so why not help Gaia do the job of CO2 removal for us?"
—James Lovelock, originator of Gaia theory
"Bruges' book is up to date and as comprehensive as any book could be at this extremely early stage of interest in the issue."
—Dennis Meadows, coauthor of Limits to Growth and Emeritus Professor of Systems Policy and Social Science Research, University of New Hampshire