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Friday, May 29, 2020

Urban Carbon Sinks: a regenerative solution to the diminishing oxygen-supply crisis

In partnership with the Regenerative Working Group (RWG), Elemental Impact (Ei) seeks funding for an Urban Carbon Sink Pilot Project currently under development. Grant proposals and other potential funding sources are underway. By partnering with the RWG, the potential global impact is significantly magnified.

Carbon Sinks
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
carbon sinks.
Big Cypress Preserve in the Everglades
The oceans are technically carbon sinks as they currently absorb more atmospheric carbon than is released. Current excess carbon in the oceans causes ocean acidification that kills plankton at alarming rates. As marine plant life (phytoplankton, kelp, and algal plankton) photosynthesis generates the vast majority of atmospheric oxygen, the Earth is heading towards an oxygen-deficiency crisis.

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
Utilizing Ei’s extensive corporate network and prominent Advisory Council, the Urban Carbon Sink Pilot (UCSP) will recruit corporate, local government, and university participants enthusiastic to reduce their carbon footprint by overhauling their landscape and grounds maintenance practices. Ei Advisors will educate on regenerative practices and support in the implementation. With strong documentation of challenges, successes, and lessons learned, Ei will craft an Urban Carbon Sink template for replication.

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"
community garden 
As “cides” are fatal to many pollinators, the local insect population benefits as well as their predators. Thus, the local urban-wildlife system benefits.

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.

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.

About Elemental Impact:
Elemental Impact (Ei) is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 2010 as the home to the Zero Waste Zones, the forerunner in the nation for the commercial collection of food waste for compost. In June 2017, Ei announced the Era of Recycling Refinement was Mission Accomplished and entered the Era of Regeneration. Current focus areas include Nature PrevailsSoil Health | Regenerative Agriculture, and Water Use | Toxicity.

To work with industry leaders to create best regenerative operating practices where the entire value-chain benefits, including corporate bottom lines, communities, and the environment. Through education and collaboration, establish best practices as standard practices.

Ei’s tagline – Regeneration in ACTION – is the foundation for Ei endeavors.

The following mantra is at the core of Ei work:

Ei is a creator, an incubator.
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done.
Ei brings the possible out of impossible.
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

For additional information, contact Holly Elmore at 404-261-4690 |

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