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“You have done a wonderful thing with your organization—gathering a remarkable and varied group of sponsors and partners and advisors and putting on seminal conferences. I strongly support your efforts at eco-restoration for preserving  biodiversity and helping to mitigate climate change.”

Dr. Eric Chivian, co-author of Biodiversity and Human Health, Founder Emeritus of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University, Nobel Laureate

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We’re an organization with global impact
promoting biodiversity, eco-restoration,
regenerative agriculture, self-sufficient
communities, justice, and
paths to a livable climate.

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Our November conference, Climate, Biodiversity and Survival: Listening to the Voices of Nature, was a great success!  Here are a few of the enthusiastic reviews:

“The event was splendid. I learned more in two days than I’ve learned in the last 20 years, and I was thrilled to be included.”  Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

“I loved the eclectic nature of the overall program, which at the same time was faithful to its theme.  Well done!”   Ralph Baker

“The speakers were amazing, top-notch science combined with bringing their specialties into the larger context, and their personal journeys into spiritual wholistic understanding of the world. Length of talks was good. Nice mix with art, poetry, a little music (more!) Workshops! Dialogue! Rice milk!”   Walter Kittredge

Complete reviews on our conference page, videos available by early January.  

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Check out our new Introductory Video Playlist

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April 26, 2018 Video of the popular
Soil-Carbon Sponge presentation
by Walter Jehne
here.

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Want more details about the science and practice behind our work?  
Check out the three issues to date of our Compendium of Scientific and Practical Findings Supporting Eco-Restoration to Address Global Warming. Free download.

Our Mission: Restoring Ecosystems
to Reverse Global Warming

We now have eleven highly successful conferences behind us on the road to restoring ecosystems to reverse global warming. To learn about remarkable stories around the world, please view the videos on each conference’s program page.

Our Work: Education and Activism

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Biodiversity for a Livable Climate brings you information about decades of scientific research and the practical experience of land managers around the world.  We work to remedy the information gap in mainstream climate advocacy which tells us that virtually the only practical effective action we can take is to reduce fossil fuel emissions.  There is another way. 

Primarily based in the physical sciences, climate scientists generally do not yet recognize what life scientists and ecologists have long known: the power of life has molded almost every aspect of the physical earth, including the climate.  Wise human management of the biosphere can undo the eco-mess we have created, and regenerate a planet that we can live on.

chihuahuan desert - before

chihuahuan desert - after

Site in the Chihuahan Desert in Mexico before and after restoration with Holistic Planned Grazing.  There is roughly six times more water captured in the ground by plants (bottom photo) than there was in the artificial pond (top photo).

While reducing emissions is of critical importance, there is far more that we can and must do, especially considering that emissions reductions efforts have to date been insufficient – and even if emissions were to go to zero today, we would still be faced with catastrophic effects of climate change. 

According to the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report:

A large fraction of anthropogenic climate change resulting from CO2 emissions is irreversible on a multi-century to millennial time scale, except in the case of a large net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere over a sustained period . . . (p. 28, emphasis added)

Global warming is a symptom of a much deeper problem, and to address the problem effectively we need to get to root causes: the human-caused degradation and desertification of lands worldwide.  Regenerating  healthy global ecosystems – and moving gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere back into the soils on billions acres of degraded land – is the answer. There is reason to believe that it’s possible to return to safe pre-industrial levels of atmospheric carbon in a matter of decades.

We bring speakers from around the world to our conferences, and they have inspired thousands of people with hope and practical, inexpensive, low-tech solutions – and stunning results.  

There are many tools in the eco-restoration toolkit, and there’s something for just about every habitat on the planet. Approaches include permaculture, holistic planned grazing, wetland restoration, reintroduction of native keystone species (e.g., otters, kelp, prairie dogs, mangrove forests, beaver), innovative water cycle management, reforestation, biochar, rock powders, coastline and fisheries restoration, regenerative agriculture – the list of promising options continues to grow. And we know how to put these into practice – now!

We have lost far more carbon to the atmosphere from soil disruption since the beginning of agriculture than the excess carbon that is currently in the atmosphere. We must turn this around:  Through eco-restoration and regenerative agriculture, we can take gigatons of carbon out of the atmosphere and put it back into the ground.

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The American Dust Bowl, 1930s. Tons of carbon are moving from formerly healthy soils to the atmosphere. Since the beginning of agriculture, worldwide soil degradation from farming, deforestation and other human activities has caused greenhouse gas pollution that rivals that currently in the atmosphere.

(Please take a moment to join our new monthly giving program!)

We know now that the safest and most effective approach to reducing atmospheric carbon is to capture it with millions of species of green plants, animals, insects, fungi and micro-organisms, which bury it deep in soils in carbon-rich molecules that are stable for centuries or longer. In the process, because complex organic carbon molecules retain many times their weight in water, we restore vibrant life to billions of acres of parched, desertified areas that were once healthy forests or grasslands.

There’s more good news: with biodiversity and eco-restoration we can unite people, organizations and governments, even those who have been fighting and maneuvering for advantage for decades.  Everyone will agree that a magnificent stretch of wooded hills or green fields of grasses full of life are preferable to those rendered parched, cracked, barren and lifeless due to human misuse. Therefore, the mission of Biodiversity for a Livable Climate is to promote seeing the world in wholes to re-establish biodiversity and the water cycle, store carbon in the soils, maximize photosynthetic solar energy capture, eliminate bare soils and reverse global warming by applying regenerative approaches to the land worldwide.  

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Contact: info (at) bio4climate.org

Real Climate Reality

Adam D. Sacks, Executive Director
Biodiversity for a Livable Climate
adam.sacks@bio4climate.org
December 7, 2016

SUMMARY

Based on widely accepted scientific measurements, global emissions reduction efforts, while essential, have not succeeded in reducing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

The annual rate of carbon released into the atmosphere is accelerating (for many reasons which need not be discussed here). Reducing emissions and building out alternative energy are necessary but insufficient to address global warming and, based strictly and objectively on atmospheric carbon numbers, have yet to show significant signs of success.

While we have gone through many phases of optimism – and a dramatic change is always possible – there is little evidence that such necessary atmospheric carbon reductions will take place in a suitable time frame. Indeed, the unprecedented rate of growth of atmospheric carbon to over 3 ppm during 2016 despite major advances in development and deployment of alternative energy is testament to an incomplete and not-yet-effective strategy. (See http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/gr.html.)

The only practical, inexpensive and readily available “technology” for the massive carbon drawdown necessary is photosynthesis and associated biodiverse processes.  Such essential eco-restoration brings many advantages, including low cost, high food productivity, mitigating and often ending floods and drought, local economic self-sufficiency, and eliminating conflicts over scarcity. Land managers across the world have decades of eco-restoration experience on millions of acres. Evolving management approaches are highly effective and well-known outside of the conventional management practices that created the problem in the first place.

It is therefore time to reassess our climate strategies and proceed accordingly. Continue reading

Geo-Engineering – An Idea Whose Time Ought Never Come

By Adam D. Sacks
Executive Director, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate

Climate urgency is very clear.

There is an established belief in science that there are roughly 20-to-30-year time lags between a year of emissions and the perceptible  appearance of their effects. Therefore we are currently seeing the consequences of carbon concentrations 40 to 60 ppm less than at present. Furthermore, the signature of positive feedback loops is acceleration – it is apparent that in the last 2 or so years we are witnessing that acceleration in spades, as heat records are broken right and left, wildfires rage, etc. etc. 

Those of us who research and educate about eco-restoration have these accelerating phenomena firmly in mind. What considerations might be at the top of the list in approaching our daunting portfolio of problems? Here are some suggestions: Continue reading

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Won’t End Global Warming

by Jacqueline Sussman
Research Associate, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate

Solar panels on rooftops. Hybrid and electric vehicles. Meatless Mondays. What do all of these indicators of societal progress have in common? They are just some examples among the many widely attainable, lifestyle modifiers for reducing energy consumption in our fossil fuel-addicted world. But while replacing SUVs with hybrid cars and changing lifestyle habits to reduce individual carbon footprints is important, it simply isn’t enough to reverse climate change. We have long surpassed the point where phasing down fossil fuel emissions alone will arrange for a biologically-diverse and livable climate.

Grid-connected PV and wind system

Continue reading

A Call for Sanity

By Helen D. Silver, Director of Policy, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate

In September, members of the United Nations will convene a round of climate change negotiations. It’s not hard to guess what is on the table: greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Yet after almost three decades of effort, during which atmospheric carbon concentrations have only gone up, another meeting focused primarily if not exclusively on emissions reductions appears to hold little promise for success.  While emissions reductions are of course essential and we must keep working to end the burning of fossil fuels, we also have to do something else. Something that brings new hope to addressing global warming.  That something is soils.

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Biodiversity for a Livable Climate (BLC) seeks to redirect the climate conversation to include large-scale carbon sequestration through ecosystem restoration.  Given that we know that healthy soils have the potential to sequester vast amounts of carbon dioxide, indeed enough to potentially reverse climate change, why haven’t policies seized upon this simple, apparent opportunity?  I have found the following questions helpful:

1.  Have GHG emissions reduction efforts reduced emissions?  Clearly not.  Despite admirable attempts and sincere commitment, climate policies have resulted in little meaningful mitigation of the climate crisis.  Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have climbed to 400 parts per million (ppm), far above what most scientists agree is the upper bound of a safe level.  Emissions continue rising annually, and all the while disruptions from climate change – in the form of rising temperatures, unpredictable water supplies, widespread drought and more violent storms – are being felt on every continent with ever-increasing frequency and intensity. Continue reading

Changing the Climate Conversation

by Steve Wineman

“Everything is connected to everything else.” – Barry Commoner, The Closing Circle

Like most climate activists, for a long time I thought that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were THE driving force behind climate change.  It followed that reducing emissions was our overriding goal. 

 A steady stream of messages from both the climate movement and the mainstream media are constantly reinforcing the perception that GHGs and the climate emergency are synonymous.  The most prominent activist organization is named after atmospheric carbon levels.  Even the climate deniers reinforce this focus when they react against the claims of scientists and activists  about carbon.  GHGs and what to do (or not do) about them frame the debate.

Biodiversity for a Livable Climate is dedicated to expanding the terms of the climate conversation.  We want to bring to the table measures for restoring degraded and desertified lands, re-establishing balanced water cycles, managing forests and reforestation, and restoring ocean food chains.  This is not instead of working to reduce GHG emissions, but in addition.  These are measures that have the potential to store huge amounts of carbon in the soil, reduce flooding and drought by stabilizing local climates, address the immediate dangers posed by the world’s diminished water supplies, restore habitable environments for innumerable species,  increase food supplies and create jobs.  Why would such measures not be on the climate table in addition to emission reduction?

Spanning the specific benefits of individual measures is the overarching need to restore the balance of Earth’s interconnected natural systems.  Why would we not place carbon reduction into this larger ecological context?

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changing the conversation-web 
I can think of several reasons why it’s not easy to change the conversation. Continue reading

Cool It! Water and the Climate Crisis

By Judith Schwartz, Advisory Board Member and author of Cows Save the Planet

With a record drought in California, floods in the UK and snow paralyzing areas of the South that have hardly met a plow, people are starting to make the connection between climate change and water. But generally the cause-and-effect link only goes one way, noting how climate change will affect water by putting stress on global water sources while parts of the world get soaked. This is a real concern. But we’re not seeing the other part of the picture: the effect that water can have on climate. You see, water in its various forms is an important thermoregulator of climate. By working with the water cycle—most basically by keeping water on the land in soil and vegetation—we can address climate changes locally, regionally and even beyond.

thermals from park in Trebon new water paradigmPhotograph of the square and adjacent park in Trebon, Czech Republic, taken with a thermal camera. The differences in temperatures between the vegetation, facades and roofs of the houses – from 15°C (59°F) to 30°C (86°F) – are visible.
[From New Water Paradigm, p. 33]

Continue reading

Carbon Farming: Paying for Results, Not for Data (Soils Are Far Too Important for a Commodities Market!)

By Adam D. Sacks, Executive Director

At Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, removing carbon from the atmosphere by regenerating ecosystems and restoring biodiversity is our non-profit mission. Supporting farmers, herders and ranchers around the world to work in ways that both sequester carbon in soils and provide major benefits in productivity is a key means to that end. Unfortunately, the resources that carbon farmers need to accomplish this are currently in short supply. We need to develop a conceptual framework outside the current carbon-market mechanisms to advance the soil solution to global warming, and to provide funds, training and supplies that make worldwide carbon farming on billions of acres a reality.

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Why everyone – vegetarians and vegans included – should be passionate about Holistic Planned Grazing

Helen D. Silver, Director of Policy, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate

Happy New Year!

fifties woman with meat

Over the holiday season, I had the luxury of sharing many meals with family and friends, including latkes and apple sauce; Tofurkey and yams; and locally caught shrimp and farm-raised oysters.  In discussing my work, I was asked several times, “But how can you not eat meat and be so passionate about Holistic Planned Grazing?”

Easily. Holistic Planned Grazing promotes reversing climate change, restoring grassland ecosystems, animal welfare, and healthier food.  That Holistic Planned Grazing offers a sustainable meat source is incidental for most ecological purposes, in particular restoring degraded land (notably, 74% of the land in North America).  Such restoration is necessary here and worldwide to avoid the worst impacts of climate change in the near and long term.

Continue reading