The age-old balance of this system determines the quality of the biosphere to sustain life.
From the primordial cyanobacteria that first oxygenated the planet, to the Azolla ferns that sequestered over half the CO₂ in the atmosphere under the Arctic Ocean about 50 million years ago, photosynthetic life forms have, time and time again, brought the climate into a balanced state.
From a planetary perspective, our current time is not unique for the quantity of CO₂ in the atmosphere, which pales in comparison to prehistoric volcanic eruptions. What is unprecedented is the rate at which emissions are occurring, on a scale of centuries rather than tens of millennia, and the fact that living organisms, ourselves, are unlocking these emissions.
The reason: we have discovered processes for metabolizing energy that are outside of our own bodies, starting with fire and accelerating to the burning of ancient stores of carbon buried underground.
In doing so we have massively increased the rate and efficiency of respiration, with energy flows and CO₂ outputs far beyond anything seen before.
The question of our time is not if a balancing will occur, but rather if it will occur over decades, through our own efforts in partnership with the biosphere, or over millennia as a result of the degradation of our complex societies by an unstable and heating world.
Are we capable of storing carbon using the same abilities that have allowed us to release it?
At Living Carbon, we believe that this challenge is the biggest opportunity for global mobilization we have ever seen.
It is an opportunity to learn how to use technology to rebalance our ecosystems rather than further alienate us from them.
If we see ourselves as a lonely species on an alien planet, the fact of climate change is overwhelming and can lead to despair.
As a species physiologically embedded in the ecosystem of our planet, we see that we are not alone.
We have the opportunity to continue the work of billions of years of evolution to develop living solutions to our climate instability.
We work with the inherent power of plants, informed by generations of scientific research, to restore ecosystems, improve biodiversity, and enhance the ability of photosynthetic organisms to draw down and store carbon from the atmosphere.
We support the natural processes which have proven effective at restabilizing the climate over eons, and adapt them to the scale of human lifetimes.
Now is the launch window for large-scale carbon removal solutions.
A blink in geological time.
The opportunity to achieve a first in our planetary history.