Combatting Climate Change
Combatting Climate Change

Compost – Combatting Climate Change

Among its many other benefits, compost is also a key tool in the global fight against climate change. Compost benefits the climate in a few different ways, including by reducing greenhouse gas emissions at landfills, by promoting uptake of carbon dioxide by vegetation, and by making our projects and gardens more resilient to the effects of climate change. 

Reducing New Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Compost diverts organic materials from landfills where they would break down and be emitted into the atmosphere as methane – an extremely potent greenhouse gas. Instead of wasting this “black gold”, compost puts it to good use where it can benefit the environment.

Absorbing Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)

Not only does compost reduce GHGs, but it also removes additional emissions from the atmosphere. By promoting healthier and more vital plant growth, compost is a key mechanism for plants to take in carbon dioxide and convert it into leafy growth. While at the scale of an individual project this may seem like a small benefit, when taken as a whole this has a significant impact on the well-being of our climate.  Not to mention soil is cooler in the shade of plants.

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Increasing Resilience to Climate Change

Finally, compost also helps to increase resilience to the effects of climate change – drought, extreme weather, and others- that we’re already seeing play out. As was further discussed in the Erosion and Water Conservation sections, compost plays a vital role in helping to prevent erosion during extreme storm events and in retaining water when there are droughts. Both of those events are increasing with climate change and compost can help to buffer our planet from their effects.

Research into Compost and Climate Change

The Composting Council Research and Education Foundation (CCREF) has been a leader in identifying compost’s role in addressing climate change. Check out their newest publication on the subject by clicking the link below.

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