Don’t Worry, Direct Air Capture has Us Covered?
I often hear the complexity of the bind we are in winnowed down to one overly simplistic solution.
We have spent the entire industrial revolution creating this situation and we have many interdependent knots to untangle and restring into eco-literate systems.
We often look for one thing to save us. Electric cars, a gathering of world officials that will finally start enacting real policies, a spaceship to mars. (Sorry Elon, not quite what we really need, but have fun I guess.) And now, a giant filter to clean up our mess.
Short of the spaceship to Mars, I actually fully support the solutions above, and more.
My point is that it is not one thing. It’s not one solution. It is not even just climate change. Climate change itself is a symptom of a colossal imbalance in how we and our industrial systems relate to the living systems of the biosphere.
If we solve climate change tomorrow, we still have degraded ecosystems to support and almost every industry and profession on the planet needs to realign its practices so we don’t create yet another crisis. These are the ‘knots’ we need to undo.
If we look more closely, we will see that there are clearly multiple angles from which we need to address climate change. Most fundamentally, this is about how we power our lives.
Most of us have very little choice over how we power our lives. An electric car still likely uses coal or natural gas to power it. Maybe some solar and wind, but not predominantly. It’s a complex system without clear answers. This is an inherent quality of a wicked problem. There is exhausting and extreme complexity when restructuring the systems that caused this.
DAC is energy intensive and is far from a solution for safe storage that can be broadly applied. Electric cars require fossil fuels to charge and are directly connected to *mining practices that are horrific for the humans in the mine and the local ecosystem. It’s hard to get new forests to grow in degraded soils.
There are some real hurdles to overcome but that is what innovators do, we overcome hurdles.
Perfection is an obstacle here, not a goal.
Direct air capture, electric cars, reforestation, fuel economy, solar and wind, some regeneratively grazed meats, some vegan and vegetarian diets, are all likely key components in solving climate change.
It’s not one thing.
I write this just 5 days after the 2nd and 3rd largest bank failures in American History, and 1 day after Credit Suisse received its latest bailout. There are clearly complex socio-political and economic variables that drive our action/inaction to climate change. All the while adding more complexity to our ability to provide solutions.
Most of us feel powerless to effect these larger needed changes and in reality, for some things, we very well may be. This is a truth of the complicated times we live in.
But that does not mean we are totally powerless to effect real change.
We must not let anything prevent us from utilizing our skills to provide solutions.
We must look to our strengths, our expertise, and our purpose in life. That intersection holds power that can sustain us for the duration.
Enter our landscapes and our design practices. This is where our work dovetails with the needs of humanity and the biosphere.
By addressing carbon, water, insectary, and healthy soils, we leverage our existing skill sets and professional positions to provide key solutions.
Landscape needs to take the lead to show how we can create balanced living systems.
We are the ones to lead our profession, and the world, on the path from extractive to regenerative.
We have the ability and the responsibility to design systems that take into account both the needs and desires of humans while also providing the necessary ecosystem services to offset our impact AND enhance and repair the degraded components of the ecosystems we inhabit.
Your work matters and our current project is where you start.
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