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Healthy Soils, Livable Future

Regenerating Earth’s Carbon Sponge

Welcome to Mothers Out Front’s gateway to its explanatory resources about the vital roles that healthy soils and trees, grasslands, wetlands and regenerative agricultural practices play in combating climate change. By regenerating nature’s capacity to draw carbon from the atmosphere, we reduce the harmful climate warming effects of burning of fossil fuels. While climate change activism has focused largely on curtailing the use of fossil fuels, scientists are providing evidence of the ways that regenerating nature’s carbon, water and nutrient cycles is essential to us preventing a global rise in temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius. That rise, scientists tell us, will lead to catastrophic consequences. After several centuries of degrading the soil with harmful agricultural, lawn and gardening practices, regenerating our eco-system’s natural functions to good health is critical – and doable.

  • Discover how rapidly depleted agricultural soil and grasslands and bodies of water can be regenerated to health to act as vital carbon sponges—instead of being emitters of carbon and other greenhouse gases.
  • Learn about the grass-roots regenerative solutions happening throughout the world.
  • Explore pathways and develop strategies that broaden public awareness and spur regenerative actions.


We have a public Facebook community – Soil, Carbon and Climate Change – where we share stories and videos and insights as we educate each other about these topics.

If you have any questions—or information you believe should be added to this resource—please contact

Books for Adults

Book suggestions:

Books for Children

rockshardsmooth.jpg  Rocks, Hard Soft, Smooth and Rough by Natalie Rosinsky, illustrated by Matthew John

  • All soils starts out as sand, silt or clay, and it is living biology that brings soil to life. This book tells a wonderful story about the ways in which rocks form and how they break down to form the basis of soil.

wigglingworms.jpg  Wiggling Worms at Work by Wendy Pfeffer and Steve Jenkins

  • This book talks about worms and what they do underground. It is a good introduction to the life of and within soil.

dandelionseed.jpg  The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony and Chris Arbo

  • A dandelion seed looks for where it belongs. This book tells its story with beautiful drawings of healthy soil in which this seed finally finds a home.

DirtThescooponsoil.jpg  Dirt The Scoop on Soil by Natalie Rosinsky and Sheree Boyd

  • This is perhaps the most comprehensive of these books about soil. It discusses how soil forms, as well as its qualities that keep it alive. In simple prose and with beautiful illustrations, it introduces the child to the most important things to know about soil and soil health.

UpintheGardenDownintheDirt.jpgUp in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal

  • A child and her grandmother plant a garden and observe all the animals and plants above and below the surface of the soil, which form the web of life that keeps the garden healthy.

Here are a few other books about the relationships among plants and animals in the forest:

TheTreeIntheAncientForest.jpg  The Tree in the Ancient Forest by Carol Reed-Jones, Christopher Canyon

TheGreatKapokTree.jpg  The Great Kopak Tree by Lynne Cherry

Presentations about Regenerating Earth’s Carbon Sponge

  • Allan Savory, a grassland ecosystem pioneer, gave a TEDtalk in February 2013 about restoring grasslands by bringing back animals that once grazed on grasslands, along with predators with whom they co-evolved.
  • Walter Jehne, founder of the Soil Carbon Coalition, and Didi Pershouse, author and board chair of Soil Carbon Coalition, present their findings on the soil carbon sponge at Harvard University, April 2018.
  • Cowboys, Carbon, SoilIn this video, Allen Williams, Gabe Brown and Neil Dennis, who are ranchers, demonstrate how they are regenerating their soil – turning it ON – while making their beef cattle healthier, as they graze on the land, and their operations more profitable. Healthier soil means that rainwater sinks into the earth instead of running off and makes their ranches more resilient in a drought.
  • Leave It To BeaversThese resources describe the effects of returning beavers to a creek in Nevada. Beavers play a major role in holding water in the soil and creating carbon- rich wetlands. Once widely hunted, beavers are returning either naturally or due to the efforts of conservationists. Many lands that are dry today were once wetlands when they served as beaver habitat.

Learn More

Learn more about

how regenerating soil can help combat climate change.