New film features ASU’s Peter Byck’s solutions to climate change

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Peter Byck, a professor of practice at ASU’s School of Sustainability, produced a film featuring farmers and scientists with different viewpoints discussing the carbon footprint of both conventional and regenerative cattle grazing.

The Arizona premiere of “Roots So Deep (You Can See the Devil Down There)” took place in late October at ASU. Michael Crow, ASU President, said the film helps us “to better understand the relationship between agricultural production and climate change.”

The film analyzes the relationship between agriculture and climate change. It focuses on how the soils absorb carbon and if they’re not treated well they can end up emitting carbon.

“Soils, if treated well, absorb carbon. When treated poorly, they emit carbon, or they don’t absorb carbon,” Byck said. “What we were looking for after we did Carbon Nation, was what solutions could we really focus on that would have great scale? Agriculture came up in our research and then we found out that these folks who were doing grazing, it replicates the way the bison moved across the Great Plains.”

Byck said that those people were having a great effect on their farms. They were getting themselves out of debt, their pastures had a variety of plants growing and their animals were very healthy.

“What’s amazing about our research is that it’s clear that animals burp methane, cattle burp methane, that’s a warmer. There’s a lot of nitrous oxide that comes out of farm systems, that’s warmer as well,” Byck said. “But there’s so much more carbon coming down that knowing that, it’s a cooling.”

The team is currently on a road trip called “The Hometown Roadshow.” They are showing the film to people across the country. Byck expects the film to be available to rent in April.

Peter Byck, Professor of Practice, ASU School of Sustainability

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