Simply, a carbon sink is an area of land where plants drawdown more carbon via photosynthesis - the process plants use to convert carbon dioxide and sunlight into sugars for energy - from the atmosphere than is released from the soil into the atmosphere.
|Vibrant forests are natural|
Big Cypress Preserve in the Everglades
By re-establishing abundant land-based carbon sinks, the carbon cycles may return to balance via atmospheric carbon returning to the soils. Once a threshold of lowered atmospheric carbon is reached, the oceans will release their stored excess carbon into the atmosphere. Thus, ocean acidification will reverse and marine plant life may revive back into healthy oxygen-producing states.
Regenerative Agriculture | Grounds Maintenance
As well documented in the 2017 RiA Magazine article, Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions, regenerative agriculture is a viable solution for restoring weakened soil ecosystems and drawing significant carbon from the atmosphere back into the soil. Thus, regenerative agriculture creates carbon sinks.
Within the article, Ei announces intentions to create urban carbon sinks via integrating regenerative landscape and grounds maintenance practices on corporate complexes, college | university campuses, highway medians | shoulders, airport land surrounding runways, parks, and other available urban lands. Collectively, the regenerative landscaped areas are destined to serve as urban carbon sinks and aid in restoring the carbon-cycle balance.
Urban Carbon Sink Pilot
|Public parks are perfect|
venues for urban carbon sinks
The carbon drawdown will be tracked via measuring the organic matter (carbon) in the soil. Prior to UCSP implementation, soil tests will establish the pilot’s baseline; future soil tests at specified intervals will document carbon-drawdown success.
Integral to Ei’s model is in-depth documentation of a pilot’s purpose, environmental and economic benefits, implementation stages, along with testimony from participants. Documentation includes RiA articles, detailed photo albums, and case studies. Additionally, the UCSP will prepare educational webinars to share with industry associations such as the U.S. Green Building Council, American Society of Landscape Architects, International Facility Management Association, and more.
Benefits Beyond Carbon Drawdown
Regenerative landscape and grounds maintenance practices are “cide-free” with no pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides used. By mimicking natural systems, healthy foliage grows without the use of toxic chemicals commonly used in grounds maintenance; these toxins run-off into local streams and water systems. Thus, local water systems benefit.
|Honey bee in "cide-free"|
Inherent within regenerative landscape practices is the use of native foliage that evolved to thrive within the local climate and soil conditions. With healthy soil retaining more rainwater and native plants are often able to sustain on rainwater, there is potential for a significant reduction in irrigation water used. Thus, a reduction in the facility’s landscape costs and a benefit to the community as a hole.
The local population benefits from available public parks and other greenways free from toxic chemicals.
The UCSP is in partnership with the LAI GRLEI currently in the formation process under Ei Founder Holly Elmore’s leadership. LAI is a land-economics honorary with a prestigious global membership. Many Ei Advisory Council members also serve as GRLEI Industry Experts.
The associated Land Economics Foundation is a potential matching-funds source.
Thus, the UCSP has access to global land-economics professionals including real estate developers, landscape architects, city planners, and other decision makers in urban development and public policy.
When asked about the motivations to dedicate her life to environmental and societal dilemmas, over the past decade Ei Founder Holly Elmore's answer is consistent:
In order for life as we know it to survive and once again thrive on Planet Earth, we MUST return the water and soil microbial communities back to a healthy, balanced states.Urban Carbon Sinks are one avenue to let the Earth heal herself from human intervention within her natural cycles.
______________________________The photo images in the article are courtesy of Holly Elmore Images.