For 4 years, this project has taught small-holder farmers to make biochar, cutting greenhouse gas and PM2.5 emissions. It has trained 3,000 in Thailand and 5,000 in Africa who have made thousands of tonnes of biochar that they sell or use to restore soil, mitigate climate change and increase yields. Stop the Smoke! works in N. Thailand (that has among the worst air quality in the world) and Africa, but the project model can raise public health and food security, and slow climate change globally.
Global warming is complex; e.g., few know that poor, developing world farmers burn 10 billion tonnes of crop waste annually, releasing 18.1 billion tonnes of CO2/CO2e (methane only) and 66 million of PM2.5. Are they lazy? Stupid? No. They have no better alternative to fire to clear fields of waste for planting. They know the smoke sickens them. (This much PM2.5 is equivalent to 4.7 trillion cigarettes!) Many know about climate change. Without an alternative, they still burn. What to do?
To stop the burning farmers need incentive, payment for the hot, hard work of clearing their fields. We have set up a model social enterprise that pays some farmers to make biochar and others to convert it into a sellable product. Those who work at the enterprise divide the profits. Being profitable, the system is sustainable and enviable (thus likely to grow as it is imitated by other farmers and villages, steadily decreasing the amount of burning).
This project creates a model for one group of villagers to reduce their impact on global warming while improving incomes, soil, and community health. Making biochar reduces the GHGs and PM2.5 added to our one planet's atmosphere every year. The project is replicable globally, addresses rural poverty at the root, and helps reverse global warming. Put in the soil, biochar brings soil back to life, retains water, improves plant quality, cleans ground water and sequesters CO2.