Books by Albert Bates
Conventional agriculture destroys our soils, pollutes our water and is a major contributor to climate change. What if our agricultural practices could stabilize, or even reverse these trends?
The Biochar Solution explores the dual function of biochar as a carbon-negative energy source and a potent soil-builder. Created by burning biomass in the absence of oxygen, this material has the unique ability to hold carbon back from the atmosphere while simultaneously enhancing soil fertility. Author Albert Bates traces the evolution of this extraordinary substance from the ancient black soils of the Amazon to its reappearance as a modern carbon sequestration strategy.
Combining practical techniques for the production and use of biochar with an overview of the development and future of carbon farming, The Biochar Solution describes how a new agricultural revolution can reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to below zero while increasing world food reserves and creating energy from biomass wastes.
Biochar and carbon farming can:
* Reduce fossil fuels inputs into our food system
* Bring new life to desert landscapes
* Save cooking and heating fuel with super-efficient stoves
* Help build carbon-negative homes, communities and nations.
Biochar is not without dangers if unregulated, and it is not a panacea, but if it fulfills its promise of taking us back from the brink of irreversible climate change, it may well be the most important discovery in human history.
Albert Bates was a civil sector representative at the Copenhagen climate conference, trying to point the world back towards a stable atmosphere using soils and trees. His books include Climate in Crisis and The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook. Working with the Global Ecovillage Network he has taught appropriate technology, natural building and permaculture to students from more than 60 nations.
One of the clearest pictures of the greenhouse effect – how it works, what is happening now, and what we can do about it. This book, now a classic, if dated, drew upon the available scientific literature prior to 1990 to project what would happen if emissions continued and efforts to negotiate a binding treaty failed. The predictions are astonishingly prescient and hold up well more than 20 years later. Bates’ chapter on the worst-case “runaway greenhouse effect” is especially gripping, given recent evidence of tipping points having been reached. Graphs and illustrations to help you visualize a complex science. This book came with a foreword by then Senator Al Gore, who sent it to all members of Congress and read it as inspiration for Earth in the Balance.
Over the coming years we will need to move from a global culture addicted to cheap, abundant petroleum to a culture of compelled conservation, whether through government directive or market forces. The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook provides useful practical advice for preparing your family and community to make the transition.
This book takes a positive, upbeat, and optimistic view of “the Great Change,” promoting the idea that it can be an opportunity to redeem our essential interconnectedness with nature and with each other. The many rifts that have grown up since oil became the world’s prime commodity can be mended: between cities and their food sources; the design of the suburban-built environment and its car-oriented sprawl; runaway greenhouse warming, and the clearing of forests and toxification of rivers, oceans, and land.
Topics covered include:
• Rebuilding civilization
• Changing your needs
• Water and waste disposal
• Energy and transportation
• Equipment and tools
• Food storage and first aid
Also including lighthearted, playful recipes—some using basic, wholesome foods, some illustrating food growing or preservation, and all emphasizing organic, flavorful, and locally grown produce that can readily substitute one for another—this book is about having your catastrophe and eating it too.
About the Author
Albert Bates is an Environmental Educator and Founder of the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm in Tennessee. He has been instrumental in facilitating the growth of the worldwide ecovillage movement into an organization of more than 20,000 communities on six continents with more than one million residents.