This new marketplace pays farmers to fight climate change
Returning to more traditional farming techniques can have a huge effect on emissions. Now companies looking for offsets can help incentivize farmers to do it.
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One of the biggest solutions for the climate isn’t as obvious as wind power or electric cars. But if farmers make changes to the way they manage soil on farms—and that happened on farmland globally—it could theoretically suck a trillion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, or as much as humans have emitted since the Industrial Revolution.
The changes aren’t particularly complicated, and involve things like rotating crops, planting cover crops, and avoiding tilling the soil. These “regenerative agriculture” techniques also aren’t new, though they became less common with the advent of modern agriculture, as techniques like plowing released carbon that had been stored in the ground. To go back, a new marketplace called Indigo is trying to incentivize farmers by connecting them with companies and others who want to pay for carbon offsets.
“What we’re talking about is the most hopeful thing I know about with regard to climate change,” says David Perry, CEO of Indigo Agriculture, a company that develops tech to improve sustainability on farms (and one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies) and which developed’s the new marketplace, called Indigo Carbon. “Almost everything that’s talked about with regard to climate is in the millions of tons [of carbon removal], or the largest initiative might be a gigaton. But the problem is on a trillion-ton scale.” A trillion tons is a teraton, and so punning off that, the company is launching what it calls the “Terraton” initiative, of which the marketplace is a part.