Lopa Brunjes on Biochar and Carbon Reduction


Lopa-brunjes (2)Lopa Brunjes started her TEDxBerkeley talk by asking the audience how many people had heard of BIOCHAR, which is essentially a porous charcoal, through a process called pyrolysis.

Biochar is known to slow climate change by sequestering, or trapping, carbon that would otherwise have seeped into the atmosphere. It apparently also improves the fertility of the soil and the quality of ground water, leading to more productive agriculture.

The problem today? Organic biomass naturally decomposes and when it does, carbon dioxide gets released into the atmosphere. By taking that organic biomass and thoroughly cooking it at extreme temperatures in an oven without oxygen (pyrolysis), it locks the carbon inside the cooked material (biochar).

She talked about how she came to learn about the climate change, which was while meditating with ants on a small island near Lombok. It was here where she came to the realization that climate change is an interconnectivity issue. Early on in ‘her search,’ she jumped around a lot to find something that had meaning for her. By the time she was 24, she had already had 30 jobs.

The quote that most moves her? Work is love made visible – Khalil Gibran.

She’s finding meaning now through her work with biochar and carbon reduction. “The bottom line,” she says, “we’re putting too much carbon into the atmosphere. To make a real difference, we have to put the carbon back. Lopa currently manages a comprehensive strategy at Biochar Engineering in Golden Colorado, that focus on removing market barriers to scaling biochar, via market development, attracting capital, and stakeholder engagement.

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Some sad facts: 1,000 years of work and growth and modern agriculture can destroy it in 30 years.

Lopa feels that biochar, which builds soil structure, has a key role to play in climate change and the green revolution.

Half of the carbon ends up in biochar and the other half of biochar offsets fossil fuels. If this was used on a global scale, biochar could convert 12% of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

At a somewhat peak moment of her talk, she simply walked off the stage without saying a word and then a seconds later, came back with a wheel barrel full of biochar.

She dumped it on the stage and says with conviction: “if we don’t put it back into the earth, it’ll end up in the air.”

Not a bad way to make an impact. Lopa believes that in order for us to really change course and make it a sustainable change, we all have to work together and that each one of us is a piece of the puzzle to the solution.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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