Building soil to capture and “fix” carbon from the atmosphere through plant growth is the most helpful strategy humans can undertake collectively on a large scale to address climate change. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) processes that have functioned to build carbon-rich soils for 450,000,000 years since life on Earth expanded from the seas to invade the land. Humans have emerged as a dominant species on Earth by learning how to channel the energy captured by the green leaf and stored its fossilized remains.
If as a species we do not learn to work in conjunction with green plants to restore atmospheric carbon to the soil in massive amounts we will not survive our own cleverness in learning how to release stored solar energy. There may be non-solar forms of energy that we learn how to tap, but there will never be a post-agricultural civilization because humans need food captured from sunlight. Plants in turn need roots grounded in soil. No matter how we try, we don’t grow plants. If we begin now, we can learn to grow soil, and soil will grow plants.
We need collectively to change our behavior to stop killing and degrading our life-giving soils. As a keystone species we could change our behavior to assist build soils that capture carbon rather than release it. If human intelligence proves to be adaptive in evolutionary terms, it will only be because we will have discovered this truth in time to turn away from our soil degrading and depleting practices of treating soil like dirt and toward our restorative role as stewards of the soil.