This project teaches small-holder farmers to make biochar, an alternative to open field burning of crop waste. Farmers increase incomes, renew soil, eliminate soil pollutants. Agricultural burning is a major contributor to greenhouse gases. Our "Stop the Smoke!" project is active in rural northern Thailand, among the worst air quality in the world. Project is globally replicable, expands the village coop model producing biochar products; improves health outcomes, reduces global warming.
Global warming is a complex problem. What we do know is that around the world agricultural field burning creates 330,000 gigatons of black carbon annually - the 2nd biggest contributor to global warming - and huge quantities of methane and NOx, greenhouse gases 25 and 298 times respectively more warming than CO2. The problem is that many poor farmers do not know of any other way to get rid of excess crop waste than through open field burning. They are unaware of their impact on global warming.
To stop the burning farmers need incentive. We are setting up a model village cooperative social enterprise that pays farmers to make biochar and others to convert it into a saleable product. At the end of the year, the members - farmers and "factory workers" - divide the profits according to how much biochar each made or processed. The system is profitable (and so sustainable) and enviable (and so likely to grow locally and be imitated by other villages, decreasing the amount of burning).
This project sets up the model for one group of villages to reduce their impact on global warming while improving their incomes, the soil, and community health. Making biochar reduces the smoke added to our atmosphere every year. The project is replicable globally and is attracting African communities. Biochar helps reverse global warming: when put into the soil it brings the soil back to life, restoring the ecological balance, retains water, improves quality of plants, while it sequesters CO2.