Hope and Grass Science in the Face of Climate Change
Most people--as I did for over 30 years--overlook the importance of grass. It has been relegated by modern society to suburban lawns, soccer fields, golf courses, and strip mall embankments. Though our modern ways too often prevent grass from doing so, this unassuming little plant plays a vital role in the management of the earth's carbon cycle--the reason we have air, food, and water. Simply put, if we hope to grab a hold of runaway climate change and continue to live on a habitable planet...we must not overlook the grass. In fact, that "miracle ally" in the fight against climate change that we're all waiting for...might be right under our feet.
OK. Now that the compelling introduction is out of the way...let's get down to business.
According to the World Resource Institute, grasslands cover 40.5% of the terrestrial earth (that is, the planet's land mass if we exclude the permanently-frozen climates in Greenland and Antarctica). That's over 20 million square miles...of grass. Clearly, anything covering that much of the earth is a force to be reckoned with. And so, if we're wrestling with questions concerning the global climate shouldn't we fully understand the evolution and workings of one of the globe's biggest forces?