Re: Beill 66 and Scientific American

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Lloyd Helferty

Jan 11, 2019, 3:45:56 PM1/11/19
to Thomas Vanacore, Shannon Purves-Smith, Biochar-Ontario, CBI (Canadian Biochar Initiative) [google],, joanna campe, Gloria Boxen, CoSWoG - googlegroup, RNUPP (Google group),, Joe Agg, John Slack, Martin Hodgson, Todd Leuty, Kessel, Christoph (OMAFRA), Phil Dick, Sean Thomas, Bob Helleur, Ph. D, Larry Hughes,,

Thank you very  much for these additional comments, Thomas.

 Indeed, I would like to incorporate these many concepts into our "Beaver Project" here in Markham / York Region / Greater Toronto Area, if possible.

 Do you know anyone (besides John S., who may be local to the Toronto Area and whom I may be able to chat with about supplying our various projects / field trials here in ON with "rock dust" / basalt / BEST)?

note: I am also talking with farmers here in Ontario about the possibility of undertaking some (future) "integrated biochar trials", specifically for increasing soil health and productivity in "Norfolk sandy soils" (north of Lake Erie).

CC: Martin Hodgson, Farmer
Todd Leuty, Christoph Kessel and Phil Dick, Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Ontario Government

 They might also be interested in some of these concepts that you have presented (below).

Also, since you have mentioned the "Canadian Maritimes", I copy a few people from the original "Atlantic Biochar" organization -- which had included  members from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and PEI... and was once coordinated by Soil Foodweb Atlantic Inc (at the Biosciences Centre in Halifax, NS) and the Institute for Bioregional Studies Ltd. (in Charlottetown, PEI).

 I am not sure which contacts are still valid, but let's try:

  • Dr. Bob Helleur, Ph. D, Professor of Chemistry and Environment Science
    Biomass Chemistry Research Group, Memorial University
  • Dr. Larry Hughes,  PhD, Professor
    Energy Research Group, Dalhousie University
  • Dr. Andrew Hammermeisterr, PhD,  PAg, Director, Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC)
    Department of Plant and Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University
  • David B. Hopper, MES, Private Land Conservation Coordinator
    was with: Nova Scotia Environment, Protected Areas Branch

CC: Gloria Boxen, Liz Couture, Joe Agg -- Drawdown Richmond Hill (new group)


Lloyd Helferty, Executive Director
Resilient World Institute (RWI)
5 Shields Court, Suite 108
Markham, Ontario, L3R 0G3
cell: 647-886-8754
Engineering Technologist &  Principal, Biochar Consulting (Canada)
  System Leader and Sector Expert for the "Climate Smart" Platform
  & Project Development Director, Energime University
  A member of The Energime Family of Companies
  "Education, training, knowledge and empowerment for responsible environmental management and resource sustainability."
  Not-for-profit Tax Exempt Status: 501(3C) DLN 17053330310044
  48 Suncrest Blvd, Thornhill, ON, Canada
  Skype: lloyd.helferty
  Co-founder, CSF Consulting Group
  and Science for Peace (SfP) CoSWoG Climate Smart Food sub-Working Group (CSFWG)
  Founder, "Future Farming" group
  Steering Committee coordinator, Canadian Biochar Initiative (CBI)
  Chair, Community Sustainability (CoSWoG), A working group of Science for Peace!forum/coswog
  President, Co-founder & CBI Liaison, Biochar-Ontario
  Manager, Biochar Offsets Group:
  Advisory Committee Member, International Biochar Initiative (IBI)
  Sustainable Biochar Expert, Passive Remediation Systems Ltd. (PRS)
  Former Promotions Manager, Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN)
  Core Group team member, Drawdown Toronto
  Founder, Energime-Global Cooperation Day Turtle Island

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."​ - Willy Brandt
On 2019-01-10 8:53 a.m., Thomas Vanacore wrote:

Thanks for copying us in your email. In reference to Mercater's Sabin Fuss latest group effort, her abstract evaluates "enhanced weathering, ocean fertilisation, biochar, and soil carbon sequestration" of the six climate stabilization methods included in the latest IPCC report. To clarify for your readers, "Enhanced Weathering" in this context goes well beyond Olivine, and the most recent thinking from the academics goes back to a much broader group of geologic materials and methods which have been associated with the "Remineralization" of soils, namely the broad elemental spectrum geologic materials such as the alkaline silicates including the basalts, glacial deposits, and other naturally occurring silicate rocks, olivine included.

For a global initiative at scale, the basalt is an appropriate material, as it is increasingly being recognized as a prime natural resource, readily available in many locations in economic supply (I.e., Canadian Maritimes) either through existing aggregates mining operations as by-product dusts or tailings or associated with heavy and light metal extraction as tailings, and more often than not contains a well balanced array of base cations and micronutrients that when applied to land stimulates soil biology, nutrient transport and assimilation which not only fixes carbon in the form of carbonates chemically, but also encourages photosynthesis, a primary biological mechanism for sequestering carbon in soils, while reducing nitrous oxide emissions, also a potent greenhouse gas. Olivine, being heavy in magnesium, while also having the inherent capacity to capture CO2 through carbonization, is by definition a concentrate of magnesium, and as such can only be applied to land (or sea) at levels which will not wreak havoc on ecological systems in excess. In other words, it is much more suited to engineered settings than deployment as a key ingredient in a unified and global approach to working with nature rather than against it.

We are combining Enhanced Weathering (utilizing the BEST, Broad Elemental Spectrum Tectonic geologic materials) with biochar in a carbon capture initiative on land (soil) in agricultural and forestry. This results in the rapid increase in the capacities of earth's natural systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land. Result; the measurable net reductions in GHGs such as CO2 and N2O, CH4. Note, in this context the release of the base cations from mineralization reactions on land (i.e., enhanced weathering) contributes to buffering effect of the oceans downstream, but through no direct ocean fertilization as a primary method. Reversing ocean acidification is a critically necessary feature of stabilizing a runaway climate. We do it primarily through natural biologic and geologic weathering on land. 

We are already doing all of the above in a commercial setting at scale using biological management and regenerative practices. What we need to do is to scale up, and rapidly. We need help convincing the governments of Canada, and the U.S. to support this effort here in the Americas, rather than to suppress it through climate denial platforms aimed at protecting fossil fuel interests. By focusing solely on a "switch to renewals" in the energy sector alone, political climate activists are missing the opportunity to engage competing interests in support of doing the absolute necessary; grounding GHGs though agriculture and forestry. Political gridlock is a death sentence to us all regardless of political affiliation.  

Note: Biochar, as a sequestrate, goes well beyond carbon architecture in soil. Biochar should be viewed as a core technology at the nexus of Biomass and Energy production, in the context of an end use in agricultural soils; forestry, shoreline stabilization, wildfire suppression, water purification, and as a feed additive for human and animal health. In short, biomass derived carbon is a vital element in any successful unified approach to stabilizing the climate within a century. 

More information here: - (Scroll down for the scientific papers underpinning Enhanced Weathering and the use of "Rocks and Crops" to stabilize climate),  - On the history of remineralization and the current global community engaged in using this magnificent initiative in agriculture and agro-forestry world wide, and
Youtube posting: An interview with Prof. David Beerling, director of the Leverhulme Foundation, one of the leading academic researchers in the field of Enhanced Weathering from the recent Climate Summit in Poland...

Thanks for sharing.


Thomas Vanacore

Rock Dust Local, LLC

Bridport, Vermont 05734

Ph: 802-758-2220

cell: 802-349-2289



From: "Lloyd Helferty"
To: "Shannon Purves-Smith"
Cc: "Biochar-Ontario", "CBI (Canadian Biochar Initiative) [google]",
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2019 1:29:23 AM
Subject: Re: Beill 66 and Scientific American

This is quite significant, Shannon., thank you for sharing!

“How the Carbon Capture Strategies Stack Up.”

"Forestry, Bioenergy, Biochar, Weathering, Direct air capture, Ocean fertilization, and Soil sequestration"

With regards to "Weathering", I know some of the top people in this field too...

Essentially this is not a "natural" process, but encompasses a large-scale man-made "engineering" project -- using Chemical methods of capturing CO2:

Olivine refers to a group of silicate minerals that react with carbon dioxide to form other compounds. Enhanced weathering aims to amplify this chemical interaction by mining huge quantities of olivine – which is widespread and relatively abundant – and pulverising it to maximise its exposure to the air, then spreading it over areas such as agricultural fields to add carbon to the soils.

note: Olvine can also be used to fertilise the oceans. This would cause a boost in important nutrients that would lead to an increase in phytoplankton which, when it dies, decomposes and sinks to the seafloor, taking the carbon with it.

This phenomenon occurred naturally during recent ice ages when the Southern Ocean was fertilised with dust from South America and Australia. But any project that attempted to alter the biochemistry and ecology of the oceans would very quickly run foul of international conventions, and rightly so.

The law of the sea would forbid you from dumping things that will affect the environmental chemistry or ecology.

I also ready somewhere an estimate that, "Spreading ground olivine along seacoasts is estimated to be capable of removing up to 1 years worth of emissions every year, at a cost of ~US$1.0 trillion per year".


 Lloyd Helferty
On 2019-01-09 4:35 p.m., Shannon Purves-Smith wrote:

Hi, Lloyd, Happy New Year. It is nice to start the day reading your wise words. I started this email a few days ago, but action on the Bill 66 Schedule 10 is roaring here in Waterloo Region, and I am really busy with that. I hope people in the GYO are as well.


Having just read Richard Conniff’s depressing article “The Last Resort” (removing CO2 from the atmosphere) in the January issue of Scientific American, I have to agree with you that we will unlikely ‘”make the "transition" that will allow us to reach this "tipping point" fast enough.’ However, I was at CIGI recently attending the second meeting of a bunch of people who, I think, possess the seven virtues that you mentioned in a recent email. We have banded together from many environmental and social justice organizations to join other such mixed groups in the province to try to prevent the damage that Schedule 10 of Bill 66, “allowing municipalities to pass an "open-for-business planning by-law,” in a campaign to try to bring our own local MPPs and council members onside to stop it. We are also planning public meetings with speakers like Dr. Dianne Saxe and people involved in the water crises in Walkerton and Elmira, and also discussing matters related to climate change. The fact that groups are uniting is a positive step. I’m sure you know of others. If we really do face a worldwide catastrophe for all living things, I want to be one, among 7.5 billion humans who at least fought the battle to the end. I felt that way when Michael wrote Rocky Mountain Locust. If that book were here when it all came to a disastrous end, at least there would be evidence in the universe, that someone tried to save “our only home, the biosphere,” and “Paradise on Earth,” as he called it our beleaguered planet.


A bit of happier news: That same SF article showed statistics from Mercator’s Sabine Fuss and her colleagues evaluating “How the Carbon Capture Strategies Stack Up.” Her research includes the following solutions: Forestry, Bioenergy, Biochar, Weathering, Direct air capture, Ocean fertilization, and Soil sequestration. Interesting how many of those reflect the theme of our Roundtable session, and that direct air capture is the only completely technological method, although I don’t know if weathering (”a natural process,” they say) might need some human assistance. If only we could convince the politicians of the world that fossil-fuel jobs could be replaced not only with renewable solutions, but with labour-intensive farming, tree-planting, restoring lands, etc. Workers doing outside jobs would be fit as well.


I was happy, too, to see in the article a photograph of biochar and a paragraph devoted to explaining what it is and what it might do if deployed on a large scale. A lot of people read this magazine, and your baby just had its photo in it. I don’t know if the issue is online yet.





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