Quivira Coalition 2010 Annual Conference
The Carbon Ranch - - Using Food and Stewardship to Build Soil and Fight Climate Change
Every 25 years or so, if one is lucky, they’ll be part of a world-changing movement. In the mid 1980s I had that fortune while being part of The Electronic Networking Association which was home base for pioneers of the Internet Age. We talked about UUnet, and ArpaNet, Delphi, The WELL, and, ahum, CompuServe, and we knew that the future would be emerging through the advent on online communities. Among us were people called “porters”, who would manually transport communications from one disparate network to another. They were a special breed, like Tolkien Rangers in the realm of bits and bytes, not yet formally called cyberspace.
Recently, I’ve had the fortune, once again, of being part of a community of pioneers that I believe will recast the conversation about what is possible in the world, and shine a positive light into what many perceive as a murky future. These are the people who organized and participated in the Quivira Coalition 2010 Annual Conference: The Carbon Range - Using Food and Stewardship to Build Soil and Fight Climate Change. I can honestly say, this is the most important conference I’ve ever attended (and I’ve attended many). It was special because of both the message and the messengers. The message is that the answer to climate change mitigation is actually below our feet, in the dirt, or more appropriately, in the soil, or, more appropriately still, in the organic matter of the soil which is the largest terrestrial store of carbon we can utilize and which is like a living layer of skin on the planet, regulating both carbon dioxide and water tables. Soil health equals atmospheric health. The potential for carbon sequestration through soils dwarfs those of other means, such as trees, and can be harnessed quickly, effectively, and in a way that supports land-based economies. The messengers were an eclectic mix of scientist, ranchers, farmers, politicians, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, analysts, and a few gawkers, like myself. I guess you could say it was the primordial soup for a new climate dialogue, a bitches brew of contrarian confluence. Double. Double. Toil and Trouble.