Happy Earth Day! Climate Champion–Dennis Chestnut, plus Stone Cold CO2 Sequestration in Oman. Climate Change Arts Project, “Down To Earth,” and Arizona State University and the Audubon Society Earth Day Events

by | Apr 22, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Climate champion–Dennis Chestnut, plus stone cold CO2 sequestration in Oman. Climate change arts project, “Down To Earth,” and Arizona State University as well as the Audubon Society’s Earth Day events.



Climate champion and DC Native Dennis Chestnut just wanted to keep the street in front of his Ward 7, Hillbrook neighborhood home clear of broken glass so his kids could safely play. Word got out and soon he was organizing whole block cleanups. 

When a Boy Scout Troop Leader recruited him to help organize a community clean up in a local park, Chestnut found his true calling. 

In 2009, he became founding executive director of Groundworks Anacostia River, DC., He then convinced the city to install a Bandalong Litter Trap in the Anacostia’s Watts Branch Tributary, The Bandalong has proven to be both effective in removing litter from those waterways, and a great educational tool for teaching DC’s climate change conscious youth.

Chestnut’s received many awards, including the 2019 River Network River Hero Award and the Chesapeake Conservancy 2020 Lifetime Champion Award, too. And why does Dennis Chestnut matter to us? He’s a great example of one person whose concern began hyperlocally, but whose effect has grown to encompass an entire region




Geologist Peter Kelemen and his collaborator, geochemist Juerg Matter, have a bold plan to save the planet.  They believe that decomposing rocks in Oman could help humans solve climate change. It’s an idea the two have been working on for nearly 20 years. 

The rocks in question contain exotic minerals that don’t normally exist at Earth’s surface. They’re part of the Earth’s mantle (the middle layer between the crust and the outer core) and are exposed in an area of Oman about the size of the state of Maryland. According to the duo, these rocks petrify 50,000 to 100,000 tons of CO2 per year naturally already.

While that’s tiny compared to the 30 billion tons of CO2 that humans release each year, Kelemen and Matter and their colleagues believe the Omani rocks could one day solidify up to a billion tons of CO2 per year.

How does it work? When rain falls, it trickles into cracks in the rock, carrying gases from the air with it.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the rainwater latches onto magnesium and calcium atoms in the rocks, forming white carbonate veins, trapping the CO2 in the rock. 

Their bold idea is to not wait for it to rain in Oman, but pour massive amounts of seawater onto those rocks with a goal of trapping a billion tons of CO2 annually.

Trapping a billion tons of CO2 per year will require massive amounts of electricity for all the required machinery.  Fortunately, Oman gets plenty of sunshine. Some 600 square kilometers (230 square miles) of solar collectors could supply the electricity needed.  “It’s not insurmountable,” says energy economist Ajay Gambhir. “But it’s a bit of a challenge.” 

Why do Kelemen and Matter matter to us? Bold ideas like theirs and bold visions like theirs are the level on which humans need to imagine and act to help slow or reverse the worst effects of climate change.

DEEPER DIVE: ScienceNewsforStudents


Climate change champions come in all varieties, including the cultural kind. Down to Earth, a creative collaboration between the Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Caandor Labs and Capital Fringe is just that. The purpose of Down to Earth is to shine a light on the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and Ward 7’s past, present, and future with a sharp focus on the climate emergency and its intersectionality with systemic racism in DC. 

Through a diverse collection of media, the project explores the nexus of Ward 7’s Kenilworth community, its original native peoples, animal and plant life, as well as its relationship to the soil, expressed through the lens of the four calendar seasons and the senses of different DC artists. Anybody can explore this unique Washington, DC climate change activism by visiting downtoearth.capitalfringe.org.

 Why does Down to Earth matter to us? It grapples with the preparation, incubation, and illumination that comes along with creative work and community advocacy. We evaluate our learning along with each season artist as they fulfill their creative visions of the community and environment. 

Three members of Capital Fringe, the mission of which is to connect exploratory artists with adventurous audiences by creating outlets and spaces for creative, cutting-edge, and contemporary performance in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area, have even created a virtual tour of Kenilworth Gardens called Echoes. By downloading the app, and visiting the gardens, one can experience it through the minds and voices of Ward 7 residents.

DEEPER DIVE: Capital Fringe, Down to Earth, Caandor Labs



This week Arizona State University (ASU) dedicated a new $192 million research and teaching facility, part of ASU’s Global Futures Laboratory, as part of its Earth Week activities. The lab does innovative work at the university to address the climate crisis and the opportunities for students to build careers in the field.

ASU’s earth week was filled with exciting and captivating presentations, lectures, panels, interactive installations and tours. Each day has been based around a special theme highlighting the efforts underway at ASU and beyond. It’s capped off today with big picture looks at what our future may hold and how humanity is acting now in order to shape tomorrow, today, for a future where all of Earth’s inhabitants may thrive.


Let’s not forget about the grandpappy of conservation groups, the Audubon Society. 

The National Audubon Society’s 2022 Earth Day theme is Invest in Our Planet. The organization is marking the event with national, state and local level events all around the country.

One activity you can join from anywhere is their virtual event called Park Bench Chat hosted by the Trust for Public Land. You won’t want to miss it. It features actor Nick Offerman and Danielle Williams, founder of Melanin Basecamp and Diversify Outdoors.

They’re gonna be speaking about making sure people of all backgrounds and abilities can safely enjoy the outdoors. There’re all sorts of other events from evening beginner bird walks to cleanup events to story time and craft making–all taking place at a local Audubon Center. Check out the Audubon’s website for a local event near you!  And Happy Earth Day!!

DEEPER DIVE: Audubon Global Futures, AZ Central