Urban Carbon Sinks
A regenerative solution to the diminishing oxygen-supply crisis
In partnership with the recently announced Lambda Alpha International (LAI) Global Regenerative Land Economics Initiative (GRLEI), Ei seeks funding for an Urban Carbon Sink Pilot Project currently under development. Grant proposals and other potential funding sources are underway. By partnering with the GRLEI, the potential global impact is significantly magnified.
Simply, a carbon sink is an area of land where plants drawdown more carbon via photosynthesis – the process plants use to convert carbon dioxide and sunlight into sugars for energy – from the atmosphere than is released from the soil into the atmosphere.
The oceans are technically carbon sinks as they currently absorb more atmospheric carbon than is released. Current excess carbon in the oceans causes ocean acidification that kills plankton at alarming rates. As marine plant life (phytoplankton, kelp, and algal plankton) photosynthesis generates the vast majority of atmospheric oxygen, the Earth is heading towards an oxygen-deficiency crisis.
By re-establishing abundant land-based carbon sinks, the carbon cycles may return to balance via atmospheric carbon returning to the soils. Once a threshold of lowered atmospheric carbon is reached, the oceans will release their stored excess carbon into the atmosphere. Thus, ocean acidification will reverse and marine plant life may revive back into healthy oxygen-producing states.
Regenerative Agriculture | Grounds Maintenance
As well documented in the 2017 RiA Magazine article, Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions, regenerative agriculture is a viable solution for restoring weakened soil ecosystems and drawing significant carbon from the atmosphere back into the soil. Thus, regenerative agriculture creates carbon sinks.
Within the article, Ei announces intentions to create urban carbon sinks via integrating regenerative landscape and grounds maintenance practices on corporate complexes, college | university campuses, highway medians | shoulders, airport land surrounding runways, parks, and other available urban lands. Collectively, the regenerative landscaped areas are destined to serve as urban carbon sinks and aid in restoring the carbon-cycle balance.
Urban Carbon Sink Pilot
Utilizing Ei’s extensive corporate network and prominent Advisory Council, the Urban Carbon Sink Pilot (UCSP) will recruit corporate, local government, and university participants enthusiastic to reduce their carbon footprint by overhauling their landscape and grounds maintenance practices. Ei Advisors will educate on regenerative practices and support in the implementation. With strong documentation of challenges, successes, and lessons learned, Ei will craft an Urban Carbon Sink template for replication.
The carbon drawdown will be tracked via measuring the organic matter (carbon) in the soil. Prior to UCSP implementation, soil tests will establish the pilot’s baseline; future soil tests at specified intervals will document carbon-drawdown success.
Integral to Ei’s model is in-depth documentation of a pilot’s purpose, environmental and economic benefits, implementation stages, along with testimony from participants. Documentation includes RiA articles, detailed photo albums, and case studies. Additionally, the UCSP will prepare educational webinars to share with industry associations such as the U.S. Green Building Council, American Society of Landscape Architects, International Facility Management Association, and more.
Benefits Beyond Carbon Drawdown
Regenerative landscape and grounds maintenance practices are “cide-free” with no pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides used. By mimicking natural systems, healthy foliage grows without the use of toxic chemicals commonly used in grounds maintenance; these toxins run-off into local streams and water systems. Thus, local water systems benefit.
As “cides” are fatal to many pollinators, the local insect population benefits as well as their predators. Thus, the local urban-wildlife system benefits.
Inherent within regenerative landscape practices is the use of native foliage that evolved to thrive within the local climate and soil conditions. With healthy soil retaining more rainwater and native plants are often able to sustain on rainwater, there is potential for a significant reduction in irrigation water used. Thus, a reduction in the facility’s landscape costs and a benefit to the community as a hole.
The local population benefits from available public parks and other greenways free from toxic chemicals.
The UCSP is in partnership with the LAI GRLEI currently in the formation process under Ei Founder Holly Elmore’s leadership. LAI is a land-economics honorary with a prestigious global membership. Many Ei Advisory Council members also serve as GRLEI Industry Experts.
The associated Land Economics Foundation is a potential matching-funds source.
Thus, the UCSP has access to global land-economics professionals including real estate developers, landscape architects, city planners, and other decision makers in urban development and public policy.