California agriculture accounts for 12 percent of greenhouse gases. Burning fossil fuel and decomposing organic soil matter produce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O), greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change when they get trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, warming its surface.
Dolan reduces CO2 and N2O emissions by allowing sheep to graze in the vineyard, enriching soil with natural fertilizer, and he limits the number of insects and other vineyard pests without using pesticides.
“Since the 1850s, Americans have relied increasingly on diverse energy sources rather than human power to produce their food and forest products. These relatively cheap and abundant supplies of fossil fuel have been substituted for human and draft animal energy,” says David Pimentel, professor at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.