Become a Carbon Farmer

Joanna Schroeder

Do you ever sit around your kitchen table and contemplate other crops you might like to grow? Here is a novel idea – grow carbon. What you ask? Growers across the country are becoming carbon farmers as highlighted in the documentary film Carbon Nation. The film touts itself as a “climate change solutions movie that doesn’t even care if you believe in climate change.” Yet this movie does care about climate change. The narrator says, “We thought we had time to figure things out. Trouble is there is no more time. Climate change is happening now.”

While the film covers the custom gamut of climate change solutions from renewable energy to energy efficiency, it enters new territory by featuring “carbon farmers”. How might you become one of these? By adding wind turbines to your land, or solar panels to your operations or add an algae farm interspersed within your fields.

One of the featured growers was Cliff Etheredge, a cotton farmer, aka wind farmer, in Roscoe, Texas. He along with 400 other landowners are sharing in the payment royalties from wind energy production. “Farmers really do appreciate these things,” he says. This is dry land. We sit out here and pray for rain and cuss the wind. Now what we’ve been cussing all these years turned out to be a blessing.”

The movie was well done, interesting and had great graphics. In addition, I really liked some of the people who were interviewed – real down to earth people who are taking clean technologies into their own hands. The other thing I liked about the movie was the way it broke down how each technology or action will or can affect carbon.

What do I mean?

For example, globally, the world uses 16 terawatts (TWh) of energy each year. Of those, it is estimated that when fully developed, solar could produce 86,000 TWh, geothermal 32 THw, and wind 870 THw. In other words, these three technologies alone could replace all fossil fuel based energy and leave room for growth. This doesn’t even include the amount of energy saved and carbon reduced when you factor in gains from energy efficiency and land use strategies.

People tend to get overwhelmed with solutions and oftentimes feel they can’t comprehend a way for them to make a difference.  This movie can help you do just that – throughout and at the end there are easy ideas for people to adopt to effect change.  For those who are interested in carbon’s role in climate change this is an entertaining and educational film and definitely worth the investment in cost and time.

Agribusiness, Book Review, Climate Change, Education, Environment, Video