Just yesterday, I was browsing through a discussion on a Linkedin group over the concern expressed in The Guardian that Greenhouse gas emissions were rising at the fastest rate for 30 years and that the Earth was running out of time. It was being suggested that we had to shift from mitigation to adaptation to stay abreast of Carbon dioxide (CO2) emission rates
One suggestion was that conversion of CO2 to methanol would solve all the CO2 problems, and there would also be a surplus of cheap renewable fuel that would be available for all to use. I commented that the only truly sustainable method in my opinion would be what Mother Earth did in her younger years – to fix CO2 into plant biomass (specifically trees) and release oxygen.
I feel that solutions like converting CO2 to methanol would only postpone the problem – when methanol is burnt, CO2 is again released out, so what then? Besides there is more energy required to convert CO2 to methanol, and would that not release more CO2? At best it can be used as an interim option just to buy more time. The process of converting CO2 to biomass is no doubt slow, but it is fuelled by free solar power through photosynthesis. The other benefits of creating forests (like enhancing biodiversity) goes without saying.
Shubhendu Sharma’s for-profit social enterprise called Afforestt has created a beautiful model of creating a multi-layer forest in as short a time frame as 20 months anywhere, starting with land as barren as can be. They came upon this idea by drawing inspiration from Toyota’s method assembling multiple models of cars on a single assembly line… they just replaced the idea of different models of cars with different species of trees! As Shubhendu Sharma puts it… “… an area as big as a 6-car parking lot can be converted into a mini forest for less than the cost of an iPhone…” WOW!
So… if you have a small patch of land and would like to see a forest there quick, contact Afforestt … Now!
The above perspective – that sequestering CO2 into biomass (as organic carbon) is the best way forward – is the very reason why we at Life Link are such avid and sworn advocates of Soil Biotechnology (SBT) based Sewage and Effluent Treatment Systems. We sharply differ with the growing school of thought proclaiming bio-methenation as the “green” and economical solution for managing organic solid wastes and wastewater. We prefer to go Mother Nature’s way.
(A slightly modified version of this article was published in Linkedin Pulse)