Meet the 2021 Children’s Climate Prize winner, plus trees ain’t just for forests. Visiting the Alegria Fresh Regenerative Microfarm, and eyeballing the Asarasi Sparkling Tree Water’s unusual, sustainable business model.
2021 Children’s Climate Prize Winner, Trees Ain’t Just For Forests, the Alegria Fresh Regenerative Microfarm, Asarasi Sparkling Tree Water’s Sustainable Business Model
TREES AIN’T JUST FOR FORESTS
The world needs about 2 trillion trees planted between now and mid-century. Half of that by 2030, by some estimates must be planted to offset the effects of climate change. That’s put a lot of pressure on the need to reforest and create forests. However, a new study reveals that trees outside of forests (TOF) can be as beneficial in sequestering carbon as trees inside of forests.
According to the study, just published in Nature Communications, Worldwide, there are many non-forest landscapes with considerable tree cover and increasing biomass, which are important sinks for carbon.
For example, a recent analysis of more than 1.8 billion isolated trees outside of forests across almost 2 million acres in West Africa. These trees are both widely spaced natural trees and tree-based production systems actively managed by local farmers. We estimate that the carbon stocks here could be up to 22 MgC ha–1, which is higher than what was estimated in global biomass mapping5 and is thus essentially hidden from the international dialogue on natural climate solutions.
By the way, those areas were previously thought to be desert or highly degraded savannah. This analysis concluded a relatively high and unexpected density of trees. How was it done? Using new Earth-observation methods. And that’s one reason why this matters to us. Emerging new capabilities for measuring and mapping trees outside forests allows humans to observe and measure with an accuracy land-based technologies could never achieve.
The other reason this matters to us is non-forest tree-based systems could provide broad additional benefits, including landscape restoration, conservation of biodiversity and enhancing the livelihoods of more than a billion people, many of whom live in extreme poverty, including here in the good ol’ USA.
TOF systems enable smallholders to create a diversified portfolio of products other than annual crops alone, often with significantly higher economic value as compared to annual crops. Benefits shared in both developing and developed nations.
2021 CHILDREN’S CLIMATE PRIZE WINNER
Earlier this year, we here at The Climate Daily reported on the Children’s Climate Prize. It’s an international prize annually awarded to young people taking actions to bring sustainable solutions for our planet, and was founded in 2016 by the Swedish energy company, Telge Energi.
When last we reported on the Children’s Climate Prize, Telge Energi had not yet announced a date to announce this year’s winner. Well, finally, they did! And the 2021 Children’s Climate Prize winner is–Reshma Kosaraju!
The fifteen year-old resident of Saratoga, California submitted a project to use AI against forest fires. Forest fires have become a global problem, causing over 339,000 premature deaths worldwide – and threatening biodiversity by destroying animals and nature. The project, AI against forest fires, can predict forest fires with almost 90% accuracy. Reshma uses open data, such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, soil moisture and human behavior to, with the help of AI, calculate where and when the probability of a forest fire occurring is greatest.
Reshma hopes the Children’s Climate Prize will draw attention to her project, so that more people can become aware of the AI model’s existence.
Why does all this matter to us? Reshma represents the best of youth entrepreneurship: brave, innovative and solution-oriented. Plus the AI against forest fires project is an example of an extraordinary and creative solution based on a systemized approach.
ASARASI SPARKLING TREE WATER FROM MAPLE TREES!
Did you know that sap is a fluid that transports water and nutrients throughout plants and trees? Did you know in maple trees, 97% of sap taps is pure tree-drawn water? Only 3% of sap becomes what we know and love as maple syrup. I discovered that tidbit researching this story. Adam Lazar, founder and CEO of a nifty little water company called Asarasi, discovered that while attending a maple syrup farmer’s open house with his daughter.
What he also discovered was the essentially tree-filtered water was being tossed. Seizing on a sparkling opportunity, Lazar founded Asarasi Sparkling Tree Water was born in 2014.
Asarasi claims to be the World’s only USDA Certified Organic Water, in a completely new category of “Organic Water” that Adam Lazar has created. produces sustainable and renewable water that is harvested from the byproducts of maple trees, offering an environmentally friendly, organic plant-based alternative to bottled water sourcing.
In 2018, the company participated in the Chipotle Mexican Grill’s Accelerator program. And this year, The Nature Conservancy and Asarasi Sparkling Tree Water are partnering to protect dwindling fresh water resources. Asarasi will contribute $100,000 over the next two years (April 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023) to support TNC’s reforestation work through the Plant a Billion Trees campaign and protection of the Colorado River Basin.
ALEGRIA FRESH REGENERATIVE MICROFARM
Alegría Fresh is a zero-waste, regenerative urban microfarm employing organic soil-based growing systems. The microfarm repurposes unused spaces deployed over man-made surfaces close to where people live and work. It’s a concept they call “tractorless” farming. Its optimized soil biology results in superior nutrient dense vegetables, salad greens, fruit, flowers and medicinal herbs, and its locally grown produce is clean and natural and contains zero toxic pesticides.
Erik Cutter is Managing Director of Alegría Fresh, headquartered in Laguna Beach, CA. He has over 35 years experience growing ultra nutrient-rich produce using regenerative organic techniques. The mission of Alegria Farms is to increase adaptability and resilience and combat auto-immune disorders by creating greater awareness of the numerous health benefits of consuming fresh, regenerative organic food.
Cutter is also Founder of the Alegría Farmacy (spelled with an F), an integrated carbon neutral food production system designed to grow superior produce anywhere, anytime.
The company’s goals include connecting individuals with where their food comes from and how it should be grown in living soil to optimize microbiome health, influencing positive change in resource management, teaching healthy eating habits, promoting entrepreneurship programs and creating green jobs in urban agriculture.