Skip to content

London chapter holds workshop on passive solar construction & carbon farming

The Council of Canadians London chapter hosted a workshop on passive solar construction and carbon farming earlier this week.

The chapter’s promotion for it noted, “Our monthly event on May 17 will be a workshop on the topic of passive climate change mitigation, covering two aspects of this: (1) passive solar construction and (2) carbon farming. The workshop will start at 6:30 pm with a workshop facilitated by Celeste Lemire on carbon farming (carbon dioxide sequestration using various types of no-till agriculture), and after a short break for social and snacks, Roberta Cory will facilitate a hands on workshop on passive solar design in housing construction, in which participants will make a model passive solar house from a box.”

That outreach highlights that Cory farms her backyard in addition to farming a garden plot in Thames Park and helped design her own passive solar home, which was featured in popular magazines and books.

Cory explains, “Active solar uses technology to collect sunlight, convert it to heat or electricity, and move it to a storage area for future use. A passive solar house is both a furnace and a storage unit for winter heating by DESIGN OF THE HOUSE ENVELOPE AND THE SITE OF THE HOUSE ON THE LAND. While in the far north heating may be the only criteria for design decisions, in our climate cooling is as important as heating. Passive solar also turns the house into an air conditioner in the summer. Many existing buildings and houses can be remodeled for passive solar and even apartments with south facing windows can benefit from understanding how passive solar works.”

To read her presentation, please click here.

350.org founder Bill McKibben describes carbon farming as “a powerful vision”, one that he hopes will “presage major changes in our species’ use of the land.”

Modern Farmer explains, “Carbon farming is agriculture’s answer to climate change. Simply put, the goal is to take excess carbon out of the atmosphere, where the element causes global warming, and store it in the soil, where carbon aids the growth of plants. The principle is pretty straightforward—the practice, not so much. Plants add organic matter to the soil when they decompose, and photosynthesis, by definition, removes carbon dioxide from the air and pumps it through the roots of plants and into the soil.”

It has also noted, “No-till farming is a practice that started to gain traction in the late ’70s, and has slowly picked up steam since then. Roger Claassen, agricultural economist with the USDA, says only 5 percent of U.S farmers were no-till in 1988. In 2008, that figure had jumped to 25 percent (and is likely higher now).”

One advantage of no-till farming is water conservation: “No-till farming leaves crop residues on the surface, which absorb water and limits runoff. This water retention can be a boon to farmers in drought-stricken areas.”

You can read more about no-till farming in this article.