Tags: MidPoint | Peter Byck | soil | filmmaker | save

Global Warming Filmmaker: Save Our Soil

By    |   Thursday, 08 Jan 2015 07:51 PM

If farmers and ranchers can keep planet-warming carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and in the ground where it belongs, the soil-management techniques available to do just that will prove to be a win-win for everybody, "Carbon Nation" filmmaker Peter Byck told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

But Byck, a documentary director and professor of sustainability at Arizona State University, admitted to "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that farmers and cattlemen have not yet, as a group, bought into "carbon sequestration" — the process of keeping CO2 in the soil where it does essential, life-sustaining work.

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Byck said they are "slowly, slowly" coming around, but that among those who work the land he still encounters a cultural resistance, which he summarized as, "My grandfather didn't do it that way, and I don't want people laughing at me at the bar on Saturday night."

Byck described his documentary, "Carbon Nation," by its tagline: "A climate change solutions movie that doesn't even care if you believe in climate change."

He said he is trying to move the conversation past "blame and shame" and into a cooperative space where people feel comfortable considering strategies that not only tackle rising temperatures but pay dividends to those who buy in.

To that end, he has produced a short "Carbon Nation" companion film, "Soil Carbon Cowboys."

Farming and ranching are ideal for climate-related sustainability initiatives, said Byck, because of everything that science knows about soil, CO2's critical role in soil's health, and the problems that arise when traditional land-management techniques release CO2 from the soil into the air.

As much as a third of the CO2 "that's up in the atmosphere right now, warming us, is actually from the soil," he said.

The techniques that he champions — from crop production that doesn't tear up soil to strategic rotation of grazing cattle — have yet to reveal any downside after eight years of study, said Byck.

The upsides, he said, are healthier and more bountiful crops, higher-quality grasses for grazing, and cleaner water in aquifers.

"What happens is, that system [of carbon sequestration] turns on the soil, and you get amazing water infiltration, you get amazing nutritional values in your food," he said. "It's a beautiful thing. The ranchers can make money easier. They can get out of debt faster."

He said the goal along with slowing climate change is "making the farmer and the rancher more resilient to the ups and downs of the market, making the land more resilient in flood and drought" — all of which happens, he said, when carbon sequestration is allowed to work its healing powers on the watershed.

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If farmers and ranchers can keep planet-warming carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and in the ground where it belongs, the soil-management techniques available to do just that will prove to be a win-win for everybody, "Carbon Nation" filmmaker Peter Byck told Newsmax TV.
Peter Byck, soil, filmmaker, save
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2015-51-08
Thursday, 08 Jan 2015 07:51 PM
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