Sequestering Atmospheric Carbon in Peatlands is goal of Homer Drawdown
A group of local residents and organizations have come together to implement a local “carbon drawdown.” That’s the act of lowering the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas.
Kim McNett is a local artist, guide and educator and a participant in Homer Drawdown.
“This group specifically focuses on how we can work within our community, collaboratively, to implement positive solutions. And the drawdown philosophy is centered around the quantitative understanding that if implemented globally over the next 30 years, small, community projects like this one show the most likely chance of our climate reaching a stable and healthy level.”
The action the group decided to take locally was to sequester atmospheric carbon in Alaska’s abundant peat bogs, also known as tundra or muskeg.
“It was an eight-month process to select a project we thought we could implement with volunteer effort and the resources that we have. The group chose a peatland project. And I think this is a real reflection of our community’s connection and affection for our landscape.”
Brentwood Higman is a Seldovia geologist. When he got involved, he thought the group might recommend something along the lines of electric bicycles, not a peatlands carbon sequestration project.
“I think part of what drove that desire to look at peatlands was really this quantitative idea that comes through drawdown, where it’s like, there are many, many pieces in how we interact with the climate, and you can to some extent measure which ones are bigger. There aren’t that many people here, but there are a huge amount of peatlands around us, and it turns out that’s one of our biggest ways we interact with the planet.”
Higman said peat is good for carbon sequestration because of the low decomposition rate in bogs.
“Peat is accumulations of organic material, or plant material, in places where it’s wet enough that plants grow, but when they die, that dead material falls down below the water, where there’s not much oxygen. So the result over time is it accumulates. So this accumulation can be quite significant. You can have 10, 15, I think there was one measurement around Homer recently of 35-feet of peat that has accumulated over thousands of years since glaciers were in that place.”
There are currently two survey teams in the field around Homer, quantifying the local peat abundance.
“I see long-term it’s really vital to lay the groundwork now to be good stewards in the future of our peatlands.”
There is also an art component to the project with details at HomerDrawdown.info.