• Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees.

  • Turn off lights when you leave a room.

  • Unplug your electronic devices (or plug into a "power strip" and turn off) when you are not using them.

  • Change to LED light bulbs.

          

 

(Estimated cost over 20 years: Incandescent=$211, CFL=$54, LED=$34*)

 

Try Carbon Sequestration in your yard

 

  • If you own or rent a little land on which plants can grow, you can sequester carbon from the atmosphere into your soil. The following are a few practices you can adopt in your yard that can increase the amount of carbon that you can sequester.    More carbon can be stored when you create more humus in your soil.  This supports the relationships between actively growing plants, fungi, soil microbes and all the other small critters that build healthy soil and increase the roots and soil that can store more CO2.

 

Carbon Sequestration Considerations for your Lawn:

  • Taper off fertilizer and chemicals to avoid adding a serious nitrous oxide greenhouse gas into the atmosphere and killing off necessary soil animal life, mow high (set the mower at 3”) and let the clippings remain on lawn to return nutrients to the soil, and top-dress in fall and/or spring with weed free compost.

 

  • Reassess your fall clean-up routine; fallen leaves and other organic “mess” are all soil-building, carbon-storing materials that will decompose into your soil throughout the winter.  Do your major yard clean up in the spring after butterflies and moths (whose chrysalises overwintered on the leaves) have emerged. 

 

  • Wherever possible, use native perennials, shrubs and trees that all have longer roots and can store more CO2 in your soil as well as use less water and chemicals to be healthy.

  • Increase your yard’s biodiversity with a bit less lawn and more plant varieties  to allow for an improved environment to attract more diverse beneficial nutrients and soil microbes.

Carbon Sequestration and your Garden:

  • Eliminate tilling and extensive digging of your garden. The digging and turning slices up important humus aggregates, breaks up the vast fungal networks and, by exposing the soil to air, releases stored CO2. Lifting the soil slightly with a garden fork will aerate the soil without disturbing the humus aggregate significantly.

 

  • Phase out fertilizers over a couple of years so that soil micro-biology can regrow to feed and sustain your crops as well as store more CO2.  Over fertilizing and over watering lead to the off-gassing of Nitrous Oxide, a greenhouse gas that is 100 times more potent than CO2 as it lasts so much longer in our atmosphere before breaking down.

 

  • Large garden areas, where everything is harvested in the fall, benefit from cover crops sown in the early fall or by spreading straw mulch or 1” of compost.  Keep the soil community alive.

 

  • In the spring, leguminous cover crops/"living mulches" can be planted in the rows between vegetables.

Carbon Sequestration taken, in part, from the article, WHY NOT START TODAY: BACKYARD CARBON SEQUESTRATION IS SOMETHING NEARLY EVERYONE CAN DO

By Adrian Ayres Fisher, originally published by Ecological Gardening

Septemaber 2, 2015