Fighting Climate Change One Worm at a Time

When discussing strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change, most people focus on the need to develop and implement technologies that will reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. Although advancements such as hydrogen cars, wind turbines, solar energy, etc. will be essential in addressing global warming, we can sometimes lose sight of the basic (low-tech) actions that can be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, South Africa’s luxurious Mount Nelson Hotel is here to remind us of such things as vermiculture. The hotel currently processes 20% of its organic waste through an extensive onsite worm farm. The worms, which are capable of reducing waste by 70%, produce two nutrient rich products (‘worm tea’ and compost) that are used by the hotel as fertilizer. More importantly, this program allows the Mount Nelson Hotel to divert a substantial amount of waste from landfills. In addition to the energy required for transport, organic waste releases a substantial amount of carbon dioxide and methane when left to decompose. Methane emissions from landfills present a particularly serious threat as the gas has roughly 20 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide. Due to the success of its current program, the hotel has announced plans to process 100% of its organic waste through vermiculture within the next year. This project certainly sets a good example for the rest of South Africa, a nation that hopes to stop sending waste to landfills by the year 2022. See also ::Naturemill Low-energy Indoor Composter and ::"Worms Eat My Garbage"