Earth School Educational Foundation, Inc. (ESEF) dba Carbon Nation, is a [501(c)3] not-for-profit venture, founded in 2007 to produce and distribute media about climate change solutions and environmental stewardship.
Earth School Educational Foundation, Inc. (ESEF) dba Carbon Nation was founded in 2007 to produce and distribute media about climate change solutions and environmental stewardship. Additionally, since 2014, ESEF facilitates scientific research projects on regenerative agriculture and documents these scientific studies and results on film, to amplify the scientific findings. ESEF focuses on regenerative agriculture as a powerful tool to combat a host of environmental issues, including climate change.
Current Media Project
Roots So Deep (you can see the devil down there)
Documentary Series, anticipated general release, May 2024
“Roots So Deep (you can see the devil down there)” is a film project that captured and documents the Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) Grazing Research Project and its scientific findings in the Southeast USA. (See the program description below for more details on the research.) It is a 4-part documentary series all about the inventive farmers and maverick scientists who participated in the research and shows how they are building a path to solving climate change with hooves, heart and soil.
The series is an entertaining and effective vehicle to amplify the scientific findings and outcomes of the research project. The series will reach a far greater audience than a typical scientific literature audience. We aim to get more producers to adopt AMP grazing practices, and to educate consumers, policy makers, educators and other stakeholders about the benefits of regenerative agriculture and AMP grazing practices specifically. The documentary series is completed and we have started screening it in communities around the US, as well as in the UK, with overwhelmingly positive responses from audiences.
The next objective is to execute a robust Distribution, Marketing and Outreach campaign to support the Video on Demand release of “Roots So Deep (you can see the devil down there)” in May 2024.
Scientific Research Project
Program Title: Adaptive Multi-Paddock Research Project in the South East (SE) & Northern Great Plains (NGP)
2017 - Ongoing
The research question: Can Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing contribute to sequestering carbon in soils and improve delivery of ecosystem services and socio-ecological resilience in grazing ecosystems.
AMP grazing is a flexible methodology that uses multiple fenced paddocks, which are grazed for short periods, during which a predetermined plant consumption is monitored, followed by an adequate time of recovery after grazing. This method emulates the way co-evolved grassland ungulates (e.g., bison, wildebeest, caribou, etc.) moved across grassland landscapes; usually quickly, and they may or may not return for a year or more (the recovery period) to the same area. The method has been shown to reverse ecological degradation. This research examines if AMP grazing, in relation to widespread continuous grazing practices, contributes to measurable differences in overall soil health, sequestration of atmospheric carbon in soils, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, water use efficiency and water quality, and biodiversity, among other ecosystem services.
Phase 1 of the AMP Grazing Research Project was conducted in the Southeast (SE) USA region from 2018 to 2023. This geographic focus represented high rainfall, reasonably available full year moisture and growing seasons, and significantly higher vegetation production, yields of crops and forage, compared to other regions in the USA.
We successfully completed Phase 1 of the AMP Project on SE ranches. Findings published in peer reviewed journals document AMP grazing 1) creates significantly increased soil carbon stocks 2) maintains larger stocks of plant available soil nitrogen levels even though AMP farmers do not apply nitrogen fertilizer and CG farms use nitrogen fertilizers 3) increases wildlife biodiversity especially endangered grassland birds, soil microbes and beneficial insects, and 4) water infiltration was significantly increased by > 300%.
In Phase 2 of the AMP Research Project, in progress as of 2023, we are studying the NGP for its short growing season, low rainfall & and presumed lower annual soil carbon accrual rates. The advantage to the NGP is the ranches are on average 50 x larger than the SE farms and is home to a large sector of U.S. beef production.
Inclusion of both regions (SE and NGP) allows for national modeling of AMP grazing benefits at scale. The data & insights can inform the future of grazing & associated food supply chains.
Past Media Projects
Short Film Series, released 2014 – 2020
The second ESEF dba Carbon Nation production was Carbon Cowboys, a 10-part documentary short film series, focused on regenerative grazing.
Carbon Cowboys profiles farmers and ranchers who are practicing regenerative grazing - a way to graze cattle that mimics how herds of bison grazed The Great Plains of North America, and built some of the world’s deepest and richest soils.
Regenerative grazing involves quickly rotating cattle from pasture to pasture, before they can damage the land - similar to how bison herds moved across The Great Plains. The practice, which does not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, builds soils that are richer in carbon, which in turn boosts crop and livestock yields. It also makes the land better equipped to cope with drought and reduces flooding.
The short films screened in numerous festivals. “One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts” in the series, won Best Short Documentary at a string of festivals, including at the Cleveland International Film Festival, and Phoenix Film Festival amongst others.
Feature Film, released 2011
The documentary feature film, Carbon Nation, was the first production of ESEF dba Carbon Nation.
Carbon Nation is a documentary film about climate change SOLUTIONS. Even if you doubt the severity of the impact of climate change or just don't buy it at all, this is still a compelling and relevant film that illustrates how SOLUTIONS to climate change also address other social, economic and national security issues. You'll meet a host of entertaining and endearing characters along the way.
Carbon Nation's optimism and pragmatism are appealing across the political spectrum. While other good films have been about problems, blame and guilt, Carbon Nation is a film that celebrates solutions, inspiration and action.