Fight Climate Change: Focus on What’s Beneath

Photo courtesy Stopwaste &nbsp&nbsp A StopWaste workshop participant practices carbon farming by spreading compost.

Fight Climate Change: Focus on What’s Beneath

Communities all over the world have love and pride for where they live and Californians are no different. There are places here for everyone: mountains and coastlines, grasslands and forests, even a backyard garden or a city park. No matter the landscape one connects with, we can all direct our love and thanks to the same thing: the soil. 

But the land that we love is changing. In Alameda, a breath of smoke during the fire season is all it takes to make it real. Take a walk through Crown Memorial State Beach and come face-to-face with bare lawn where tall trees once stood. California’s trees and plants are less resilient to climate change, in large part, because we have neglected our soil.

It’s easy to overlook the soil because it lies right beneath our feet. Some people think of soil as just “dirt” — something dusty and lifeless. However, that is far from the truth, and we must reconnect with the soil if we want to protect the land we love.

Healthy soil is dark, wonderfully crumbly, and smells sweet and earthy. Healthy soil is alive — a single tablespoon can contain billions of organisms. The healthier our soil, the more carbon that plants and trees pull from the air and store in the soil, which helps fight climate change. The healthier our soil, the more resilient landscapes are to drought, erosion from intense rainstorms and even fire. 

The best way to build healthy soil? Feed it with compost. Many Alameda gardeners make their own compost in their backyards. Compost is full of carbon — carbon is the backbone of life, and more of it belongs in soil, not the atmosphere.

California is home to a new generation of carbon farmers — a coalition of people working to build healthy soil and fight climate change. Anyone with access to soil can be a carbon farmer. The soil in our front and backyards is thirsty for carbon. 

On Monday, Jan. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m., Alameda Backyard Growers (ABG) will host a free movie screening of Symphony of the Soil at Rhythmix Cultural Works at 2513 Blanding Ave. It will be followed by a presentation from StopWaste on carbon farming and how to get started. Come learn about the important connection between growing healthy soil and the fight against change.

Trevor Probert is a program services specialist for StopWaste, a public agency working with residents, businesses and schools to reduce waste in Alameda County.

ABG is a network of gardeners in Alameda interested in growing food and donating fresh produce to neighbors who face food insecurity. Find the schedule for ABG’s monthly education meetings at 

ABG’s Project Pick is always looking for fruit trees to pick and volunteers to help pick them so more fresh fruit can be delivered to the Alameda Food Bank. To sign up, email or leave a message at 510-239-PICK (510-239-7485).