Become a Climate Change Influencer

Become a Climate Change Influencer, Talk About Carbon and Soil.

Course Description

You already know the calamities that will result from global warming. There’s already enough greenhouse gas in the air to raise the sea level by a predicted 20 meters by mid-century and possibly end civilization or even cause a sixth extinction. (Five times before in geologic history, almost all life on earth was killed off.) Considering such a prospect, you’d think that every human on earth would be working nonstop to prevent it. But we aren’t. Why not? Perhaps because we assume that nothing would actually work.

· But solutions have been proposed – called “geoengineering”– that are very controversial. The controversy is not about whether geoengineering can actually cool the planet. It can. The controversy is about whether there would be serious unexpected side effects. We aren’t sure. So, until recently, most people have been horrified at the idea of taking such big potential risks.

· But not all geoengineering proposals are equal. Some are not controversial at all. Planting forests, for example. Or the method that we’ll study here, which is called “enhanced rock weathering.” Nature has been doing that for millions of years.

· How does nature take CO2 out of the atmosphere? Mainly through rain. As it falls, rain absorbs some of the CO2 that’s in the air, becoming carbonated fizz water, which is slightly acidic. When this acidic rainwater falls onto rocks on the Earth’s surface, it reacts with the minerals to form bicarbonate ions – what we call baking soda. This stuff is soluble in water, so it flows through rivers to the ocean, where it reacts with calcium in seawater to form calcium carbonate, which traps the carbon in a solid form that falls to the ocean floor and stays there for millions of years. Pretty nifty, eh?

· But this process is slow. Fortunately, we can speed it up by pulverizing the rock. This increases its surface, which multiplies the effect of the carbonated water.

· Moreover, those rocks contain the very minerals that plants use to produce healthful food for us – minerals that poor farming techniques have been depleting from the soil. Today, your food is not as nourishing as what your grandparents ate. But if someone smashes the rocks and spreads the powder onto the fields, that replenishes the missing ingredients. So, it’s usually a good investment for farmers to add such amendments.

· Besides the rock dust, some other things, especially seaweed and charcoal, also help remove carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it. When combined, those three ingredients make a splendid soil amendment.

· Over the past six years I have hosted 592 YouTube forums about preventing disasters to humanity. Now I’ve condensed five of these one-hour-long shows to make five lessons for you to watch.

· These are not the kind of lectures that Udemy usually offers but are excerpts from my conversations with experts. The information you need cannot be found in any textbook, for the research on climate is happening so fast that the scientists themselves are constantly learning it from each other and sometimes even disagreeing. You will learn more about “cutting edge research” from hearing the informal conversations of experts than from studying “fully established facts,” which inevitably are old news or even obsolete. So, I’ll help you, as an influencer, to keep up-to-date. But you may need help with the scientific terminology.

· Each lecture is about twenty minutes long and every three or four minutes, the topic changes somewhat. At that point you will hear a gong ring. I recommend that, when you hear the gong, you pause the video for a moment and do two things:

o (a) in one sentence, summarize (either silently or aloud) the topic of the preceding segment; and

o (b) write down any word in that segment that you hadn’t fully understood. Later, be sure to look up those words. In fact, I created a glossary for you that contains many of them.

· Also, since the point of this class is to help you make a real contribution to saving the planet, there is a practical assignment for each lesson. To benefit fully, you’ll spend more time on these new experiences than watching the lectures or reading the assigned magazine articles. You can finish the course without doing the assignments (I won’t test you), but to become an influencer, you need to practice and compare experience with other learners. So, I recommend that after you finish an assignment, write a 200-word description of the experience and post it on the Q and A section for this course, where discussions are possible among students and with instructors. I suggest that you reply there to two or three other members of the class who also describe their assignment experiences.

· If you finish the course, you’ll be able to personally make a difference. Really! You can become a truly influential person in your community and even beyond.

· But you’ll need to learn about current research and become comfortable bringing up the subject with people who would never have mentioned it themselves. Talk is the first step in saving life on Planet Earth. And in this course, you’re going to become a great talker. I promise you!

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