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Capturing Carbons at the Barracks

Carbon Footprint is Bollocks

You've no doubt heard me say it before, and, knowing my own propensity to repeat myself, you will no doubt hear me say it again, but the notion of a personal carbon footprint is helpful bollocks. It's helpful because it does provide a tool by which you can become more aware of the fact of humans and impact, and it can be helpful to highlight the truth that the more developed a nation, the higher ratio of carbons per person.

The Barracks' sequoia. When I planted this Californian Giant Redwood, two years ago, it was 40cm tall. It's now 170 and catching me up fast. I'd like to plant a whole army of these magnificent trees, but there are super expensive. I am going to try taking cuttings this year...

But it's mostly bollocks because you, me, individuals are not responsible for climate change. Our consumption is driven by the political imperative towards perpetual growth and the solution to the climate catastrophe is political change.

It is fundamentally easy to legislate for the complete and unequivocal phasing out of fossil fuels. Sure, there are treaties to be broken, power blocks to be shattered and vested interests to be danced all over. But fuck'em. The only thing failing is political will and the fossil-fuel-company created idea of "Carbon Footprint" is to make sure that the individual spends more time worrying about plastic bags than assisting the politicians to acquire will through letter writing, emailing, protest, direct action and civil disobedience.

That said..

I want the barracks to be a place of shining authenticity. I know from experience how hard it is to talk about radical subjects without being dismissed through strawmanning, whataboutism and in fact, the whole range of logical fallacies that Twitter mislabels debate. So, it is of absolute imperative importance that I fill all those holes before anyone tries to crawl through one of them.

Imagine putting me on a podium discussing with some bought-and-paid-for politician who tries to dismiss me with a "but you do suchandsuch... " argument. I've been bitten by that one too many times. This time, baby (in the immortal words of La Roux), I'll be (sing it, Elly!) bulletproof.

Carbon Capture 2022

So with this in mind, I like to capture carbons. Being carbon neutral is relatively easy. If you don't take holidays, drive around in cars, live at 25 degrees in the winter, or eat anything you didn't grow yourself.

But carbon neutral is for amateurs.

The maths is imprecise, but I've done my research, and using the best numbers I can find, I'm pretty confident in saying that last year at the barracks, we sequestered 15 tonnes of carbons.

The average European emits 6.9 tonnes of carbons. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the readers of this blog are, on average, considerably bigger emitters than that.

2.45 tonnes saved into the earth by the actions of grass- and wetlands

5.76 tonnes in the creation of compost

6.84 tonnes pulled down and made into trees in our 1.3ha of mixed woodland

0.22 tonnes from the orchard. I'm counting this separately from "trees" because new trees are not the same as mature trees

Carbon Capture 2023

In 2023, I want to double these numbers by:

  • More than doubling the size of the annual plant growing areas, predominantly through the production of grain crops, all except the seeds of which will be composted (after being shat on by piggies for a few weeks, probably).

  • Growing (for the first time) extensive winter manure crops which will be ploughed straight back into the ground in early spring

  • Being even more creative in the creation of compost - which all just then becomes better fertility to grow awesome vegetables in

  • Doubling the size of the orchard - plus with every year of maturity, even without any extra trees, the carbon capture of young trees rises by about 50% until they are mature

  • Planting a new area of forest. I'm hoping to plant 100 new trees - predominantly evergreen oaks, horse chestnuts and hollies - but with your help (coming soon!), that could go up by quite a bit. Ultimately, I want to double the woodland area of the barracks, but this might not be possible. I do have an option to expand outside the barracks, but .. well... spensive, innit?

  • Starting a bamboo planting programme. Kinda for fun, but also because nothing captures carbons like bamboo, and having a never ending supply of bamboo stakes would indeed be a Useful Thing.

There's a lot of work in this, but I am working on getting people to help. Sure, doubling to 30 tonnes of captured carbons is a big target, but I've never been accused of being insufficiently ambitious!

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