Natural is THE Solution

terra preta
The effects of biochar on a leached, acidic, dead tropical soil. Terra preta, a living thriving soil is the result.

In the 70’s, organic transformed my gardening. In the 90’s, natural transformed my beekeeping. Today our planet is overflowing with people whose consumption of energy, food, water and fiber have mangled almost every natural process. Every intelligent person knows were headed in the wrong direction. And some drastic change is needed now.

But what kind of change? Out west, where coal and oil are king, carbon sequestration seems to be the answer. Huge megaworks would pump carbon dioxide, removed from flue gas and the air,  far underground. With sequestration, coal and oil could continue to be extracted and burned.

It’s logical and an extension of the thinking that created our dependence on coal and oil in the first place. But my own experience indicates that if an industrial based technical focus created the original problems. That same focus put to solving those original problems will only create more of the same.

Natural is the best place to look if a natural, sustainable solution is to be found. Living plants, powered by sunlight, are the best gatherers of carbon dioxide. They produce energy, food and fiber. All which will be needed by our populous earth.

But we’ll have to use them in a different way. A way that will allow us to obtain their benefits without putting carbon back into the atmosphere. And hopefully remove more than we produce as well. That’s where biochar comes in.

Ever read about it and how it’s the secret to living, growing soils that have sustained themselves and man’s activities for more than a thousand years? Lot’s of information is available on web:
Bioenergylist.org

And like natural beekeeping, it’s a direction I’ve intuitively known is the right one for a long time.

The commercial production of biochar, from crop and forest residues, is carbon negative. The condensates fuel the process. And surplus condensates form a feedstock for liquid biofuel.

I’d sure like to get my hands on some. And put it to the test in my own garden. But it’s in short supply. So, I’ll have to make my own. Fortunately it’s a thousand year old technology and quite easy to make on a small scale:

Biochar.info
Two barrel retort video.

I think I’ll proceed along this line using these ideas.

TLUD based grill
TLUD based grill from WorldStove.com. Nice!

Maybe a TLUD based grill is a better option. Smaller more frequent batches of biochar with fun and eats on the side. And no old drums to store. Biochar is looking better all the time. 🙂

Natural solutions like biochar makes the soil richer, the earth greener and cooler, food and fiber more abundant, and puts carbon dioxide back into the ground in a form that can’t leak out. It’s a win-win-win-win-win situation that gets us headed back in the right direction. And I want to be part .

And there are some neat associated technologies concerning wood gasification and biochar production. Much of the rest of the world still heats and cooks with crop/forest residue. Those open fires produce a polluted home environment with major impacts to mother/child health. And they consume forest resources at an unprecedented rate with deforestation as the result.

The best and brightest have designed small, efficient wood gasifying stoves that almost eliminate the pollution associated with an open fire. They use  crop and forest wastes that are unsuitable for a traditional open fire. And they burn it efficiently. Some of the designs, like the TLUDs, even produce biochar as a byproduct:

World Stoves
TLUDs
Rocket Stoves

Its surprising what happens when a beekeeper’s focus goes natural. By its nature that focus can’t remain inside the box. But it spreads in every direction as all things are interrelated and connected. When a beekeeper becomes a natural beekeeper, the initial focus will like probably start with the bees. But that focus is actually about how the beekeeper views himself and his relationship to the world. The bees are just the start. Health and quality life for both the beekeeper and the planet will be the result.

-dB

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