Compost could help with climate change

Compost could help with climate change JP Pinard's letter (the News, Feb. 13) on climate change raises some very important points, in particular that it is not business as usual anymore. When the Rockefellers divest themselves from oil stock the wind i

JP Pinard’s letter (the News, Feb. 13) on climate change raises some very important points, in particular that it is not business as usual anymore.

When the Rockefellers divest themselves from oil stock the wind is changing direction. Most of the battle about climate change mitigation rages over energy usage and conservation. These are very important issues, of course, but to give full perspective to our collective predicament, energy usage accounts for less than half of the carbon we have released into the atmosphere.

Recent IPCC-sanctioned figures estimate that as much as 66 per cent of today’s atmospheric carbon has come from our soils. This is because of the industrial model of agriculture that we use to produce our food.

This model degenerates soil, and literally results in the evaporation of soil organic matter as carbon dioxide. It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. Even the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, traditionally cheerleaders for the agrochemical and equipment industry, are now advocating the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices. They have even gone so far to designate 2015 as the International Year of Soil.

By growing our soils we can capture enormous amounts of carbon for many decades to come. This will improve our food security and food quality, increase the area of farmable land, reduce the impact of flooding and drought, mitigate the effects of climate change and protect us from disease and pestilence, amongst a long list of other benefits.

We can do our part at home too. For example, about one kilogram of carbon is emitted to produce one kilogram of nitrogenous fertilizer. The City of Whitehorse uses about 8,000 kg per year on its lawns, which is roughly equivalent to 24,000 kg carbon dioxide being released so we can have green lawns.

This does not include the trucking, etc. Home gardeners, and other lawn managers, combined, will use way more than this amount.

Instead of using chemical fertilizer, compost provides needed nutrients, is a source of soil carbon, and stimulates further carbon sequestration. If the city used its own compost on all the lawns (which they don’t), the total amount of carbon dioxide that would be locked in the soil would be in the range of 40,000 kg per year. The lawns would also be healthier and require less maintenance.

Perhaps, one day, our leaders will see the sense and urgency in caring for our soils. The Yukon government and the city could phase out the use of chemical fertilizers on its lawns, and use compost instead.

As part of the Yukon government’s desire to improve food security in the territory, assistance could also be given to farmers to improve their soil using compost, instead of chemical fertilizers. Improving Yukon soils is a massive cost and a significant barrier to food production.

The benefits of using compost are legion, and it can play a huge role mitigating climate change. Conserve energy, buy less junk and use compost. In the absence of leadership, these are the things we can do for our children.

Garret Gillespie

Whitehorse

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your furnace and your truck need to go

Perhaps the biggest commitment in the NDP deal with the Liberals was boosting the Yukon’s climate target

Air North president Joe Sparling said the relaxing of self-isolation rules will be good for the business, but he still expects a slow summer. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News)
Air North president expects a slow summer

Air North president Joe Sparling suspects it will be a long time before things return to pre-pandemic times

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

Most Read