Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 at Town Hall Seattle
Sustainable Path Foundation, in partnership with Climate Solutions, held a seminar on the topic of biocarbon and how human practices can promote the benefits of biocarbon. Biocarbon refers to the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by photosynthesis and its storage in biological systems like plants and soils. A biocarbon approach represents a second (and necessary) avenue to mitigate climate change, complementing attempts to reduce fossil fuel usage. In the Pacific Northwest, agricultural and forestry practices and urban greening are the main areas in which this approach is relevant. A biocarbon initiative is especially attractive because many practices that increase carbon storage in vegetation and soils will have other benefits, such as protecting water supplies, preventing floods, building soil fertility, and reducing urban storm water runoff. Additionally, efforts to recycle the carbon in biological waste streams will provide new sources of energy, industries and jobs. These ideas are explored in detail on Climate Solutions’ website.
The seminar helped create a better understanding of the biocarbon initiative in the Pacific Northwest. Our region’s abundant capabilities for growing trees and food, commitment to land conservation and restoration, plus the progressive ideas at play in the major cities, allow us to become a leader in testing and refining the best practices for harnessing photosynthesis for the dual benefit of human society and nature.
The moderator was Patrick Mazza, research director at Climate Solutions (). Patrick has been central to Climate Solutions’ Northwest Biocarbon Initiative and has authored a detailed report on this issue. Patrick introduced the topic of biocarbon and its importance for fighting climate change. He also moderated the Q&A and discussion period.
One of the speakers was Dr. Chad Kruger, the director of the Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, and leader of CSANR’s award winning Climate Friendly Farming Project. Chad addressed the ways in which forestry and agricultural practices in our region can be improved to enhance carbon storage and other services that nature provides. He also discussed the creative ways in which biological waste streams can be used to provide economic and societal benefits.
The second speaker was Professor Nancy Rottle, from the Landscape Architecture department at the University of Washington, who directs the Green Futures Research and Design Lab. She focused on how the urban environment can be modified in various ways (such as urban forests, parks, green roofs, rain gardens, pocket wetlands, urban agriculture) to promote carbon uptake while providing simultaneous benefits such as storm water filtration and reduction, urban cooling, flood protection, recreation and healthy food.
Presentations from these speakers was followed by a moderated Q&A and discussion period that provided the audience the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers. In addition to the three speakers, a series of short talks from other individuals, representing business, government or NGOs, and who are actively working on projects related to biocarbon was presented.