Yes, Tessa, we absolutely can stop climate change.

Rob Moir
3 min readAug 24, 2023

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Yes, Tessa, as you say, we absolutely can stop climate change. Groups of people are taking positive steps to do so all around the world where they live.

Indigenous people, particularly Native Americans, have, for the most part, better practices because they do little plowing, furrowing, fertilizing, irrigating, etc. These practices cut open the soil to let moisture and carbon bleed out. Dead plants not incorporated back into the soil oxidize, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere. Regenerative agriculture is the least harmful, most restorative practice.

Carbon from burning fossil fuels and other tinder and oxidizing dead stuff has caused atmospheric carbon to rise from 350 parts per million to about 420 ppm. The global carbon atmospheric burden has gone from 700 billion tons of carbon to 800 billion tons.

To stop climate change and to restore the Earth to where we liked it, we need first to achieve Net Zero emissions, which means our emissions should be no more than the amount of carbon being drawn by plants — no gain.

We need to draw 100 billion tons of carbon out of the atmosphere to restore and heal the planet. There are 564 billion tons of carbon in biomass, all the world’s plants and animals. You can’t put all the carbon there.

In soil that covers less than 20% of the land is 2800 billion tons of carbon. Soil contains more than three times as much carbon as is in the atmosphere. To put another 100 billion tons of carbon in the soil would only be an increase of 4%.

Whenever plants photosynthesize, they take carbon dioxide and water with energy from the sun to manufacture carbohydrates; they retain about 2/3 of the liquid carbon for themselves, their biomass. Plants push out about 1/3 to build soil and feed all the microbes and little critters in the soil. Grasses are the champions, pushing about half of the carbon they make into soil. For one ton of soil, grasses pull more than 7 tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere because carbohydrates are bigger organic compounds.

Much of the climate change despair is because we look to nation-states and individuals to make a difference. Yet, nations are too large and political and individuals too small. We succeed in groups where we appreciate the contributions of individuals and work together successfully when each step is achievable- or change tack. Groups team up into organizations. Organizations influence governments that regulate those who need it for the greater good. The rewards are not in the destination but in the group effort, the teamwork, and knowing one did the best they could and will go at it again.

Restoring the earth starts at home in local neighborhoods where no one is better than another (vegans and carnivores working together) — advancing mutual ways to reduce emissions and increase the number and coverage of plants — potted plants on top of cement count. Restore nature in your community to find nature-based solutions to heal the planet (and ourselves).

Yes, we can stop climate change and we may live together in harmony with some shade.

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Rob Moir

Rob Moir is writing environmental nonfiction and writes for the Ocean River Institute and the Global Warming Solutions IE-PAC newsletter.