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Graphic Series: Earthly Ideas, Biochar
Andy Lubershane, 2 Apr 09

This week's cartoon describes biochar -- a product that can be made from agricultural waste and other organic material. Biochar, which mimics the charcoal component in a rich black soil called terra preta created by indigenous farmers in South America, promises a way to achieve a net reduction in carbon dioxide while feeding nutrients back to the soil. While biochar offers encouraging possibilities for waste reduction, carbon sequestration and sustainable agriculture, it's worth noting that critics question the strategy's potential side effects, particularly if it were to be produced on a large scale. You can read more coverage of biochar and terra preta in these articles from the Worldchanging archive: Terra Preta: Black is the New Green and A Carbon-Negative Fuel.

Click image to enlarge

Editor's note: This post is part of a series featuring Worldchanging ally Andy Lubershane's original graphics. While many of the issues covered in the comics have been discussed on Worldchanging in the past, we hope that you'll be able to use this new medium in a different way … whether it's in your classroom, on your office wall, or to help explain ideas to friends and family.

Andy Lubershane researches, writes and cartoons about sustainability from his home in Boston. Check out more of his illustrations here

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Cute. =) I like the CO2 molecule.

Posted by: Charlie on 2 Apr 09

I'm glad Worldchanging linked to the "dark side" of Biochar in the Monbiot piece. It helps Worldchanging's reporting credibility to report on both sides of the story. I still love Biochar, but as always "too much of a good thing" could be very bad indeed. It's all about scale, and appropriate use of a technology.

Posted by: Eclipse Now on 2 Apr 09

I have a belief that biochar can be employed wisely.It is up to the wall soon for all of us as these times demand answers. Lets hope the world's scoffers provide sufficient cushion against abuse of scale ,ed P

Posted by: Edward Peters on 4 Apr 09

I am glad the understanding of biochar as a climate policy is spreading.
On my HP and my blog, there are lots of comments on biochar, and an answer to what I regard as a misunderstanding by Montbiot and other anti-charrers

Posted by: Folke Günther on 8 Apr 09

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