Promoting innovation for productive uses of carbon resources in the atmosphere. –

The current climate change narrative, whether gloom and doom or denial, is not effectively motivating change in either the demand or supply side of our energy regime. This suggests the need for a new narrative: One that is both positive and constructive. Developing such a new narrative is the goal of the Carbon Challenge.

A Carbon Challenge that implies an economic benefit associated with success in dealing with atmospheric CO2 may well be more persuasive. I suggest, for example, that a Carbon Challenge is a better way to inject the words pyrolysis and “biochar”, or pyrolytic carbon, into the national conversation.

I see this as a cross cutting, multi-disciplinary collaborative effort involving at least gardening, energy, engineering, environment, cooking, policy, soil science, etc. Of course this concept needs to be fleshed out; I’d love to have the chance to talk with you about the potential of a Carbon Challenge.

Examples of companies already inventing a new narrative are:

Cool Planet


As a side note, Cool Planet has expressed interest in participating. They have already supplied the Harvard student garden with a super sack of inoculated biochar. They may also supply biochar to Shelburne Farms for some experiments there involving run off from composting as well as several applications at the Farm’s dairy operations. Dartmouth’s student garden may well be in the mix too. Would your team be interested in exploring the possibility of getting a super sack of inoculated Cool Planet biochar to experiment with? As you may know, Cool Planet is best known for successfully converting grass into gasoline. Their conversion process also yields grass biochar, now certified by the IBI.

Here are two early examples of Educational Carbon Challenges.

1. Biochar Activity Kit

2. Pyro ⦿ Grilling: An Educational Carbon Challenge

If we can develop enough interest from college gardeners, the hope is that we can organize a meeting that brings everyone together in 2014. This would build on the previous three Campus Cultivation Conferences. Tufts, of course, hosted the third conference in 2013. It might be worth considering the possibility of a Campus Cultivation track at the NOFA VT conference in Feb. 2014, or at some more convenient, latter date.

NOFA VT Winter Conference

What do you think – is this something your team might be interested in??

Your thoughts, comments, suggestions are welcome. Please post them as comments.

Thank you,

Jock Gill