How Can Soil Help Combat Climate Change?

By

Greener

·

November 28, 2022

At first, you may think of soil as just dirt. But did you know, soil is actually full of living organisms that help to support life on Earth.

The dirt on soil

At first, you may think of soil as just dirt. But did you know, soil is actually full of living organisms that help to support life on Earth. In fact, one teaspoon of healthy soil can have more than 10 billion microorganisms1 all working to keep our planet healthy. That’s nearly 30% MORE than all the people on earth!

And given an incredible 95% of humanity’s food supply comes from the ground2, that means, there’s no life without soil and no soil without life.

With all those billions of microorganisms working away under our feet, you could even say that soil is alive.

Living and breathing, absorbing and storing carbon from the atmosphere. So it isn’t so ‘dirty’ after all.

So that begs the question… Can soil actually help combat climate change?

Most people already know about our good old forests, trees and plants modestly working round the clock to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

Perhaps what not many people know is that healthy soil actually stores an extraordinary quantity of carbon, about 2,500 gigatons3 of it, to be exact. To let that sink in, that’s more than three times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and four times the amount stored in all living plants and animals.

So here’s the deal: plants suck out the CO2 from the atmosphere and soil then captures and stores the carbon. 

The healthier the soil, the more carbon is captured and the longer this carbon is stored for. 

But how do you make healthy soil I hear you ask? 

Well we’ve done some digging and here’s what we know. 

When soil becomes damaged or degraded, it can release  CO2 or methane back into the atmosphere. And considering how much carbon our muddy mates are storing, that’s a whole lot of climate change causing emissions.

But the soil solution is here! It’s all about practicing “ regenerative agriculture”.

What even is regenerative agriculture, we hear you exclaim? Turns out, it’s basically farming in harmony with nature.

Things like: 

  • rotating crops and moving herds to new pastures to allow fields to grow back quickly,
  • increasing manure and composting, and 
  • limiting soil disturbance caused by ploughing.

These are all examples of regenerative agriculture that helps to create healthy soil and trap carbon in the ground.

And with farming contributing to around 16% of carbon emissions4 nationally, and around a third of global emissions5, it’s more important than ever to get up to scratch on all the things we can do about it like buying from businesses that support farmers that are getting better for the planet.

The great part is, if managed in the right way, soils could be made much healthier and more fertile, which is not only good for food production, but also means it’s storing a whole lot more carbon...and helping to end climate change.

Low key obsessed like us? 


We don’t know about you, but we suddenly love the ground we walk on now, more than ever!

Why not add these to your Netflix Watch List.

Kiss the Ground
Down to Earth - Episode 2: Regenerative Agriculture

How else can you make a difference?

By buying organic and supporting businesses that source products sustainably, you are supporting a natural world that’s clean and rich.

Sources: 

  1. https://gisera.csiro.au/toiling-in-the-soil-why-we-love-microbes/
  2. https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-soil-day
  3. https://e360.yale.edu/features/soil_as_carbon_storehouse_new_weapon_in_climate_fight
  4. https://agriculture.vic.gov.au/climate-and-weather/understanding-carbon-and-emissions/greenhouse-emissions-and-agriculture
  5. https://www.sustainability-times.com/green-consumerism/decarbonizing-the-global-food-system-is-a-big-step-towards-mitigating-climate-change/