Workshop: Carbon Cycling and Soil Organic Matter (Ithaca, New York)

Saturday, February 8, 9:00am-3:00pm
SONG Common House at Ecovillage, Ithaca (map)
Suggested donation: $25-$35 (lunch included)
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.

Expected outcomes 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 on Sunday as he establishes a baseline plot for the Soil Carbon Challenge on a local farm.