Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Men argue; Nature acts." Voltaire

Imagine what our landscape would be like if we had started carbon farming in earnest a decade ago... Imagine if, 10 years ago, instead of arguing about climate change, we had acted. Imagine if Australia's agricultural lands had been managed to increase carbon in the soil for decade. In 10 years even the driest, hottest landscape could have experienced what ecologists called the 'emergent properties' of a natural system. Would one of these emergent properties be the 'micro-climate' effect, a feedback loop that starts with increased vegetation causing cooler air which attracts more moisture which in turn leads to increased vegetation. It is related to the albedo effect, which occurs when harsh sunlight is reflected from a light-coloured, smooth surface (like bare earth) more effectively that from a darker surface (like vegetation). If cooler air could be released, it may mean more rain. What if the 'microclimate was an entire district? Or a series of districts? Would we see a series of cascading feedback loops, working in our favour this time? I believe we could draw down the Legacy Load and at the same time set the microclimate/albedo dynamic free upon the land. Imagine if we had had even 5 years already of steady carbon farming... What could we have done?

1 comment:

Claire said...

I really like this proverb from Voltaire. So very true. And yet, here we are again, asking ourselves the "what if" questions related to the past!

Lets just look at the future and act now!