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I've saved the best for last. Terra preta is new to Western science, but it is an old technology from the Amazon that disappeared when the native populations were wiped out by European diseases after Columbus. The technology of black earth is simple: Instead of slashing and burning the rainforest to make way for agriculture, long lost Amazonian civilizations burned forest slash in smoldering piles to make charcoal, and then buried the charcoal in the soil. This produces an astounding increase in soil fertility. The charcoal itself adds nutrients to soil, but it also acts as a sponge to absorb and retain any manures or other added fertilizers for very long periods of time. Some of the terra preta soils created more than 500 years ago are still highly fertile today. Terra preta could be a win-win-win-win solution (pdf) of tremendous magnitude. Here's how it would work: Farmers would start by growing biomass for energy - cornstalks, for instance. The material would be heated with solar furnaces to make the charcoal, which releases gases like methane. These gases can be collected and burned for energy. Then the charcoal gets buried in the fields, making them more productive. But the biggest prize of all is the carbon sequestration. This is a highly effective process for pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it into long-term storage in the earth. The best thing about this idea is that anyone can do it. My resolution for 2007 is to try this in my own garden. But all the voluntary efforts of individuals and even corporations won't be enough to tackle the energy/climate crisis. We need a society-wide mobilization of resources to develop these excellent ideas and others, and put them into practice. My hope for 2007 is that the new Congress will be up to it.