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Peter Donovan, founder of the Soil Carbon Challenge, will present “Understanding our Role in the Carbon Cycle”  tonight - Thursday, February 6th - at 7pm in Textor Hall Room 101. Whether you have a 300-acre farm or a 300-square-foot back yard, your land management practices affect biological soil processes. Learn more about the soil under your feet and its relationship to global carbon and water cycles. The Soil Carbon Challenge is an international as well as local competition to see how fast land managers can turn atmospheric carbon into water-holding, fertility-enhancing organic matter. This event is free and open to the public.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Marian Brown at or (607) 274-3787. We ask that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible.

Peter Donovan regularly facilitates workshops for scientists and nonscientists, farmers and non-farmers, climate activists and climate skeptics. In these workshops, Donovan tells the fascinating story of why and how carbon cycling was discovered, why the problem-solving orientation of most individuals, organizations, and institutions camouflages the opportunity to successfully manage wholes such as carbon and water cycling, and what individuals and communities can do about it.

Peter Donovan’s free public talk at Ithaca College provides an overview of topics to be covered in more detail during a workshop on Saturday, February 8th from 9:00am – 3:00PM. This workshop, titled “Carbon Cycling and Soil Organic Matter” will be held at the SONG Common House at Ecovillage at Ithaca. Suggested donation is $25-$35 and includes lunch. Space is limited; RSVP to Mary Kate Wheeler or via Facebook.

This workshop will delve into the evolution of human knowledge about the carbon cycle and the social and environmental implications of our current understanding.  The workshop will be of particular interest to individuals who are, or will be, managing for more carbon and enhanced ecological function in their soils, and to individuals/organizations working to promote sustainable soil and water management in our region.  Topics to be covered include:

  • the major discoveries of the carbon cycle by western science from 1600s to the present; major shifts in understanding are ongoing
  • the separation of scientific disciplines that has contributed to today's fragmentary and confused views of the circle of life
  • human influences on carbon cycling from Paleolithic times to the present
  • why soils are the center of gravity of the circle of life, even though oceans and rocks contain much more carbon
  • how and why carbon cycling is an emergent phenomenon or process, resulting from the choices and metabolisms of trillions of autonomous, self-motivated organisms, from humans to microbes
  • the deep relationship between carbon and water, in the soil pore and in the atmosphere
  • the surprising implications of these changing understandings for policy, decision making, leadership, and long-term investment.

 xpected outcomes for workshop participants include gaining a deeper understanding of the carbon cycle, identifying human opportunities to make a difference, and developing a strategy that participants can employ to foster positive change in our region. Workshop participants are invited to join Peter Donovan on Sunday as he establishes a baseline plot for the Soil Carbon Challenge on a local farm.

Peter Donovan’s appearance and events are co-sponsored by Snug Planet, Good Life Farm, Sustainable Tompkins , and the Sustainability Initiative at Ithaca College 

For more information: 

Tonight: Peter Donovan to speak on the "Carbon Cycle"at 7:00pm | 0 Comments |
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