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Geoengineering with Fences and Cows

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posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 02:59 PM
Many people equate geoengineering with Solar Radiation Management (SRM), which is altering how much the sun heats up the earth. There are no known actual SRM schemes in operation other than (partially) the cool roof initiative.

Actual practical geoengineering currently focusses on reducing the amount of CO2 in the air. There's two ways you can do this: Put less carbon in, or take carbon out.

Putting less carbon in is what most people are familiar with, and it's basically burning less fossil fuels by either using less energy, or using renewable energy sources.

Taking carbon out can be done with artificial scrubbers, or it can be done naturally, by plants.

That brings us to the fences. All you do is build fences in grazing land, then rotate which areas the cattle graze on. The bigger the grass grows between grazings, the more carbon it traps beneath the ground in its roots. Then the cows eat it, they move on, new grass grows, more carbon is trapped, repeat.

Here's a ranch in Mexico, where cattle graze freely:

And here's the adjacent ranch, where they rotate the grazing with fences.

In the first ranch, the cattle keep the grass grazed short, so the roots remain short, and very little carbon is trapped below ground. In the second ranch, the grass grows long, so lots of carbon gets trapped below ground.


Now, you might not think of this as geoengineering. But it is. It's a deliberate modification of the environment with the specific purpose of altering the future climate of the planet.

edit on 20-8-2011 by Uncinus because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 03:35 PM
very good topic. During some of my studies, the term "Crop rotation" came up, and the problems with mono-cultures, and how paying attention to these well-studied effects really pays off, yet, trying to convince most farmers to give way to an alternative way of doing things, was an impossible task.

posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 05:31 PM
reply to post by Hellhound604

Yeah, it's kind of the "The Tragedy of the Commons",

The market does not do the best of jobs in managing earth's limited resources.

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