Whether they are bringing their own bags to the grocery store, trying out vegetarian recipes for meatless Mondays, or composting everything from coffee grounds to leaf piles, many Americans are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. As a country, the United States is making enormous advancements in carbon-reducing and green technology, but the majority of that cutting-edge tech is designed for large corporations like Amazon, Walmart, and Unilever. However, Joseph Kelly, executive director of HiveMind and The Sacred River Project, is bringing the carbon sequestering technology he developed to fight climate change for big business right to your lawn.
HiveMind is the only company that successfully sequestered both CO2 and N2O using natural agents. By inoculating plants with a blend of mycelium, a type of fungus made of fine filaments, they discovered they could increase the amount of carbon dioxide a plant sequestered and that the CO2 stayed in the soil even after the plant’s death. The plants also captured more N2O, which is 298 times more heat-trapping than CO2, and the plants proved more resistant to drought, heat, and pollution.
After a successful five-year test in Chicago, HiveMind has been working with Shell Oil, and other Fortune 500 companies and sequestering over 100 million metric tons of CO2 with their natural agents. Now you can bring that same climate-change combatant to fight for the environment in your own backyard. “The problem with (carbon offsets) is that only big corporations can buy it–it’s billions of dollars, we want someone to be able to buy one for $20,” Kelly shared with The Business Download. “We’re building this global community so you should be able to do your part.”
Mycelium Mushroom Orbs
NetZero is launching soon on Kickstarter, and customers can preorder their Mycelium Mushroom Orbs to turn their own lawns into carbon-sucking machines. With shapes like the planet Earth and 20-sided dice, these orbs may look and feel like bath bombs, but they are a serious weapon for fighting climate change. “We wanna make it fun,” Kelly shared, “Because so much of the talk about climate change is so doom and gloom.” When you drop one of these orbs into your watering can it will fizzle and froth just like a bath bomb, but when you pour the water on your lawn you are inoculating the root system with a special blend of mycelium fungi that will increase the health of your plants, suck carbon out of the air, and retain greenhouse gas in the soil. NetZero reports that just one application will capture one ton of CO2 every year for over 10 years.
Unlike the majority of carbon offsetting solutions, the mycelium orbs will begin to draw carbon out of the atmosphere almost immediately after you pour them into the soil. The mycelium creates a capillary-like root system around the plants in your yard. This mycelium structure extends the roots of plants, allowing them to take in more water, more nutrients, and more CO2 from the atmosphere.
Not only does the mycelium make your plants more efficient, but they will be more drought tolerant and resistant to high temperatures. Inoculating your yard with mycelium isn’t harmful to animals or children, and it also retains the CO2 captured in the soil even after the plants in your yard die. These orbs use the symbiotic relationship of mycelium and existing root systems to turn your yard, forest, or garden into a carbon-sucking factory. “It’s 100% safe for children, pets, and crops.” Kelly said, “You know that the agricultural sector already uses mycelium. They don’t use it for carbon, but they use it for growth.”
With American lawns taking up 2% of the United States’ contiguous land, over 154,440 square miles, Kelly projects these mycelium orbs could capture 1.3 gigatons of carbon every year if they were planted in every yard. This would make a sizable impact on the U.S. carbon emissions, returning roughly 15-20% of the nation’s annual carbon emissions to the soil. To slow or stop global warming, it’s necessary to take this carbon out of the atmosphere, so solutions like NetZero that actually pull it out of the air are a necessary tool in the fight against climate change. Since it only takes an afternoon of watering, capturing this carbon could soon be a reality.
NetZero’s parent company, The Sacred River Climate Project, is already a testament to what can be achieved with mycelium inoculations on a large scale. The Sacred River Climate Project empowers women in developing nations by employing them in reforestation efforts while inoculating indigenous forests to capture more carbon and retain it in the soil virtually forever. If you live in an urban area and don’t have much of a yard don’t worry. Kelly said, “If you’re living in Manhattan, you don’t have a lawn, and you don’t want a lawn, you can just inoculate your house plants.”
NetZero is poised to become a one-stop shop for consumers looking to offset their carbon footprint. “We’re also launching an app in 2021, which is an important missing piece of the puzzle for people. It has an AR component that lets you see your footprint, actually through the phone, like you’re playing Pokemon Go, but with the climate,” Kelly shared. “And there’s tons of confusion on this– like what is a tonne of CO2? It doesn’t make any sense. It’s a gas right?” NetZero’s app will give people a way to visualize their carbon footprint and a language to help them talk about it. The average American’s carbon footprint is 16 tons according to The Nature Conservancy, and NetZero is on a mission to help us reduce this impact one lawn at a time.