A central theme of my book on climate is that if we are to focus our attention on a single substance, it should be not carbon dioxide but water. Beyond greenhouse effects, water is crucial in the ways the world maintains conditions for life to thrive.
I've been a regenerative farmer and forester for over a decade now...entered into this from my work in environmental activism more or less...no prior farming experience in our families. One of our main drivers was to help change the ag system to be more "climate friendly". What a joke, frankly.
I can't say how important it is to stop focusing on carbon. Sure, it's an added benefit of proper soil/forest management (ie the storing of carbon) - but not so much to pull it out of the air, moreso that it (carbon) helps to build healthier soils - which have a remarkable, cascading effect on ecosystems, with the water cycle being one of the most important.
Support the ecosystem, and all of our ecological crises will return to balance. The impact on our property alone is remarkable in any measure you care to mention, from increased nutrient-dense food for our community, positive economic impacts from our business, astounding increases in biodiversity in our fields, forests and ponds and an overall abundance that warms the heart.
What's intriguing is how many of us (small scale regenerative farmers) are questioning various narratives at this stage. A lot of us are well aware of the links between the various "leadership" factions across the globe, their actions over the last 3 years and their unrelenting push for managing (and monetizing) carbon. We are actually questioning the entire argument and trying to push for precisely what Charles is talking about here. It's about water - not carbon!
Thanks again Charles for your continued support and contributions to this topic!
Great video and insights Charles. Jimi's work is awesome!
It's really very simple why carbon became the bogey-man. It was the easiest to monetise and the EU carbon market in the early 90's was the start of it all. Unfortunately, late stage global capitalism and its several money-making sops to Nature (such as ESG etc.) are all about monetising Nature wherever possible. Now that we have monetised the air my greatest fear is that water and earth are next.
So, if you really want Conservation, Regeneration and Detoxification to succeed then you need to figure out how the 1% can monetise them for their own gain. Of course I'm joking but sadly I'm probably not too far from the truth either. At the end of the day we (as a collective global society) will eventually realise our mistakes and start seeing things holistically. Or we will die.
I'm reminded of being an apprentice, which etymology ultimately comes from the PIE root *ghend- "to seize, take hold of." Ultimately an apprentice must observe in order to understand and seize the knowledge. Far too many are pretending to be masters already without doing the work of observing. And for me OBSERVING IS THE WORK, as it leads to the correct understanding, which results in the correct actions. Indeed, the word "observe" itself comes from "ob + servare" meaning "to watch, keep safe, protect."
At the end of the day, I think the old monastic orders understood our symbiotic role with Nature best. Laborare et Orare - To work is to pray. For it is only in doing the work, that we will save our planet, and maybe even save ourselves in the process.
Charles, I hope you might get a chance to mention the work of Amory Lovins at Rocky Mountain Institute. He promotes what he calls the "soft energy path". It is actually cheaper to improve energy efficiency than to build new power plants, whether they be solar or coal or nuclear. RMI has demonstrated 200-MPG cars and their HQ is a building that uses no fuel or electricity for heating -- just super-insulation, heat exchanged ventilation, and passive solar. This in Snowmass, CO where temperatures go to minus 30 every year.
Using energy more efficiently is a viable alternative to cutting down forests for "solar farms", and even competes favorably with rooftop solar.
Agree with all of it. However I don't believe it is the flawed science or a limited eco perspective that truly prevents us from taking care of our precious earth home. it is the basic culturally embedded arrogance caused by a dominator 'master of the universe' model adopted and reinforced for multiple generations. We naturally. instinctually and biologically know how to work and live and survive in harmony with the planet who gave birth to us. We have simply been trained and domesticated out of that knowlege with a multi-generational ponzi scheme of epic proportions. The only way forward I see at this point is for the individual human to consciously choose to stop listening to our supposed 'leaders' and take back our own sovereignty. So the burning question for me these days is why oh why are so many still willing to follow these insane alphas over the edge of the cliff ??? We can now prove up one side and down the other why we should absolutely NOT being doing what most of our leaders are telling us to do. Yet here we all are anyway. If I could only understand why so many choose to follow bad leaders rather than claim their own power and soveregnty, I might be know what best actions to take. I realize there are lots of legitimate causes of this follow the leader shit, but surely surely surely at the end of the day when the survival of our entire species is threatened, some gentic/concsiousness switch will kick in and we can alter our behavior. At least I used to hope so.
Very good points Charles. Thank you. Such is the modern binary decision process. If you’re not on board with the WEF DAVOS crowd anticarbon nonsense you must want to destroy the planet. No, we see the horrific negative impact humans are having, and it cannot continue in its present form, but being ruled by self appointed technocrats and herded like sheep is not the answer.
Beautifully and succinctly put Charles. Your message is simple and based on intelligent love. Many thanks for having the courage and perspicacity to challenge the current 'zero carbon ' mono narrative.
Thank you so much for this, Charles. This is probably the first and only non-polarising article I have read on climate change. Finally, something that actually makes sense, and means I no longer feel alone.
While in principle all of this makes sense, until people feel like they matter they won't treat the Earth's resources as as though they matter. Everywhere you look people are traumatized and acting out there trauma on each other, including and especially the oligarchs. Much of the work you're doing addresses this, but I'm inclined to think that until we find a path to healing that trauma, we'll be fighting against the tide of mutual and self-hatred.
I love the work of Brené Brown who talks about shame and how foundational it is to our sense of / lack of self-worth. The predatory capitalist model is based upon and profits greatly from our sense of inadequacy and fear of the future. They drive this insecurity through advertising and convince people that their only value comes through material acquisition.
As citizens of the world we need to tear down this predatory competitive capitalist model which exploits human vulnerabilities for profit and power. Only by creating a more holistic, cooperative economic system - with the means of production owned by localized communities, not the state or corporations - can we restore wholeness in our psyches which empowers us to restore wholeness to our communities. Then, perhaps we can commit energy to healing our relationship to our home planet Earth.
Water is the lifeblood. Had dinner with a friend who wanted to move to a pretty town in the South that I'd also considered. I said it was great on the surface but had a dark past -- and an active nuclear cleanup site. He didn't know because he hadn't considered the waters.
It's the first thing I ask before moving: how clean is the water? The soil and the wells? What will I drink every day? Where I am now, I drink artisan spring water that is 99% pure.
I lived in a gold standard state for environmentalism and moved to one that is stuck in the 80s. Incredible beauty -- everything you mentioned about insects, birds and vegetation exists here -- but litter lines the roads and crusts the waters. Plastic bags in trees and gutters. A rep from the Forest Service advised a local friend to spray Roundup on her vast acreage (which she refused). The people are genuinely nice, yet I can't understand how this treasure is taken for granted and trashed by some.
However, I am not separate from "some". I am that person when I thoughtlessly buy plastic, overshop, ignore litter or curse those who trash the planet. I was "some" before my 5th grade teacher taught me about the Earth and why we shouldn't litter. I am that person because I write on a laptop that could have been built by a slave.
However, things are slowly changing as we all grow conscious, heal our traumas and open to love. I live in a stunning natural landscape that will endure beyond our lives. My addition provides a picture of a healthier future, even as I choose to move on. We don't have to live anywhere permanently to leave our mark. The state I moved from was nearly deforested in the 1800s by sheep farms. It's coated in trees now.
"A more beautiful world" exists in the our consciousness before any physical protest or movement. The world I'm in now -- this present physical state -- will change in the next 5 years, in no small part from my imprint. I come to bless the waters, the animals and insects, love the people -- even if litter blows my mind -- it will improve. It already has. It was only a few decades ago that I thought my mom was crazy for recycling milk jugs!
This planet is changing for the better and I may not be alive to see how wonderful it will become, I still hold the vision.
Almost exactly right. The regenerative word, like sustainable, is now also being reappropriated like regenerating the Borg.
I know of holdings where the caretaker has implemented a designed planting that feeds wildlife and its working to produce an increase in the diversity and amount of life. If enough people pitched in this would be fixed quickly.
I agree with what you say but I would add that we need another dynamic to add to love of nature. I think it’s indisputable that most people are not primarily motivated by this spiritual approach and live their lives in a more practical way. They need a society that enables them to make a living in a way that doesn’t use too many resources etc.So it’s a question of economic equality and distribution of power - how do we achieve that?
Here is my podcast interview of Charles Eisenstein on the topic of water, climate, and environment, released last week https://climatewaterproject.substack.com/p/charles-eisenstein-water-and-the#details
Just saying ecological campaigner not environmental campaigners would help a lot seeing us as part of that ecology not observers of it.
Added to that we should have a big category for emotional health not mental health. A large number of depressions are not 'mental' issues but ones of loss of connection and meaning
I live in LA in a high-fire area. At a community meeting one of the head fire chiefs spoke. I caught up with him afterward and asked if a policy could be implemented in the valley of LA, which can have very high urban temperatures, for homeowners to be subsidized for watering and caring for the large trees that provide a canopy and thus shade. I swear to God he wanted to pat me on the head for an idea from a 'good little girl.' He was not white. And I do not attribute the attitude to sexism per se, but to the attitudes by our officials. I have also written officials to ask why in the world LA uses asphalt for all its roads increasing temperatures and pollution. Driving to Palm Desert from LA and encountering the massive windmills, you don't have to be a scientist to think they are not a good idea. UCLA is now partnering with the government and private entities to carbon capture using the ocean. What could go wrong? Hmmm. Maybe the death of sea life? This is what happens when busybodies, who don't actually do the work, create plans. Natural Gas is a great interim source. Pushes to enhance the gas combustibles' efficiency would be far more effective than solar farms. But common real-world solutions are not the goal.
We should stop geoengineering and see how fast the Earth heals. I think it would help immensely
I read this right after I saw an article about deep sea mining for precious metals for electric cars and wind farms. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/mar/26/deep-sea-mining-for-rare-metals-will-destroy-ecosystems-say-scientists
You hit the nail on the head with this one, Charles! It's all been rebranded for more exploitation.