Every time somebody says "atmospheric carbon" ... drink

On DinarDaddy.com you can go down the rabbit hole into the world of Iraqi currency speculation.

The shtick is pretty simple … Iraqi currency is worth far less than pennies on the dollar at the moment, but revaluation is imminent, as the US Government clearly sees the nation as too important to fail. And if you just bought some Dinar now, you could turn a few thousand into a few million before you can say “shock and awe.”

Now, you can’t buy the Dinar through traditional channels like “banks.” But you can buy it through online Dinar brokers who will fedex you an envelope full of colorful bills. Of course, there is the slight concern of getting expired, worthless Iraqi currencies which closely resemble the current Dinar, as well as outright counterfeit bills, as well as a litany of other potential scams that surround and infect the concept.

“I don’t care,” admitted a slightly inebriated sales rep at a meeting I attended a few weeks back. “I am in. WAY in.”

As I told the Dinar story to a 20-something friend last night, he smiled in the same patient way that my oncologist used to when I asked him about medical marijuana.

“Maybe it’s a generational thing,” he said. “But it just seems to me that investing shouldn’t be about sending money to some faceless place in hopes of some killer return. It should be about putting money into slow growth ideas in your local community, and knowing that even if you don’t make a ton of money, at least you know you’ve done the right thing …. I just wish there was a way to put my 401k into things like this.”

The Ward farm is a new farm, approximately 90 acres, and just down the road from my house. It’s been an open, uncultivated field for the last few decades, but it’s now the site of about a dozen crops … a diverse mix of berries and herbs and nuts that were carefully selected for high market value. Stuff like echninacea and goldenseal. There are also some sheep kicking around the property, as well as some loaner cows that just showed up a few days ago, there to help take the carbon from the air and insert it back into the soil.

And that small idea -- turning atmospheric carbon into soil organic matter, and moving from the 'age of oil to the age of soil' -- was the topic of the night.

The Soil-Carbon Coalition, a traveling road show based out of a renovated yellow school bus, complete with a working piano, was there at the Ward Farm to do some baseline soil testing for a 10-year challenge known as the Soil-Carbon Challenge. The idea is pretty simple: instead of proposing hypothetical solutions to climate change, why not just start doing things right, start measuring them, and start telling people about it.

As I understand it (and forgive me if I hack this up), the soil in the Challenge will be measured for numerous things, but the big kicker is the carbon. Because if we can show that sustainable use of soils can take the carbon out of the air and create usable healthy soil at the same time, we can not only start backing down from the climate change cliff ... but we can address numerous other challenges at the same time.

According to the SCC guys, the current mindset on addressing elevated carbon in the atmosphere is severely limited. Measuring, forecasting, and prescribing climate treatments based solely on fossil fuel usage is much like a doctor treating a specific symptom without ever considering the cause.

They also got a conversation going about how we’d be facing the same problems with carbon and climate change, even if we’d never used a drop of fossil fuels -- thanks to static land use strategies that allow some soils to harden from disuse and others to suffocate from overuse.

If it’s any consolation, I thought it was going to just be a Friday night kegger, too.

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