Poll

Who is more Incoherent?

MKing
7 (77.8%)
RE
2 (22.2%)

Total Members Voted: 8

AuthorTopic: Waste Based Society  (Read 176981 times)

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 37845
    • View Profile
Waste Based Society
« on: June 12, 2012, 11:07:41 PM »
Discuss here the Waste Based Society series on the Diner Blog.

Waste Based Society
Waste Based Society II-Vendor Financing and Planned Obsolescence
Waste Based Society III-Solutions and Alternatives

RE
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 01:51:09 AM by RE »
Save As Many As You Can

Offline agelbert

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 11820
    • View Profile
    • Renewable Rervolution
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2012, 02:45:40 PM »
RE,
Thanks for those excellent pictures. :icon_sunny:
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 37845
    • View Profile
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2012, 04:03:45 PM »
RE,
Thanks for those excellent pictures. :icon_sunny:

YW AB  :emthup:

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline agelbert

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 11820
    • View Profile
    • Renewable Rervolution
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2012, 04:47:02 PM »
In regard to the Waste based society part II article, I wholeheartedly agree.
One of the most pernicious aspects of present technology and what we have access to is patent law. Government and big corporations, in addition to saddling us with planned obsolescence, when a bright inventor comes along that figures out a way to increase the longevity of consumer products or, better yet, invents something that, not only lasts longer and can't be de-engineered to a predatory capitalist MTBF sufficiently short to keep the profits coming, but actually replaces the "cheap printer and expensive ink" business model all together, he is prevented from marketing the product.

The lie about finding a niche in the market, inventing a new widget and getting rich is a fairy tail akin to the "free market" propaganda pushed on us.

Corporations that got rich off of patents developed by the U.S. government like IBM, Bell labs and Hewlet Packard then proceed to use the U.S. government to block the path of someone inventing something better. Under patent law, the government can stifle a patent based on "national security". We have seen how that excuse was used by presidents for anything but national security.

Those gate keepers kept solar power from replacing fossil fuel by refusing to fund solar panel development until they needed it in space. After that they constantly stifled funding for further development, increased MTBF and mass production. The herding never stops.

The media whores pushing the idea that we live in "The best of all possible worlds" in regard to technology and innovation like some non-satirical version of Voltaire are just living up to their Orwellian Bernays tutors.

Truth to be told, the chief technology corporations are the fiercest saboteurs of new technology and innovation while claiming to be working hard to give us the latest and greatest.

A current example of this is the massive cork that has been put on computer peripheral devices that actually do physical labor. It's all about I/O. Anything geared to entertainment is pushed. But outside the factory in the consumer area, how many robots do you see building houses, digging ditches, washing cars, doing gardening or guard duty? Yet you can play games where the software does just that in a virtual world. The I/O ports in 'modern' consumer computers are USB 1, 2 or 3. Find out how many industrial (or any other kind that isn't a toy) robots out there run on USB linked software (my guess is few to none). It's deliberate.

Everything they do always involves making us more dependent. Helping us to be more independent is anathema to the parasites.

So, as you said, the first order of business is a social order that, not only Orkins the current group of humanity destroying pathogens, but  targets and isolates anyone in the future that wishes to push the 'get RtG through waste and hooked consumers' business model.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2012, 05:27:31 PM by agelbert »
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Solid State Max

  • Guest
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2012, 01:42:16 PM »
AG, first, big thanks for the article. There's lots to think about with all said and done. Given the long term planning that went into financing the mess, it looks like those at the time who could buy out and then use the power of the fed to create phony "loans" out of thin air got the best of us. The funny but tragic thing in all of this is that when it comes to real personal responsibility such as reusing, calling out manufacturers who lower the quality of products, and advocating making things out of biodegradable eco-friendly material, the goons who preach "personal responsibility" sneer and hiss at those of us who practice it with an integrated, not agitated, mindset. And that's another thing. The powers at the top are dead set on keeping the populace as agitated as can be. Imagine having something made out of hemp or bamboo and lasting much longer than the same product made out of fossil fuels but doesn't last long. It all looks like it's difficult to know where to start on how to solve it all but I think that in the end, it'll take a multi-approach for any significant changes to happen. I have plenty more to think about this and I've been thinking this through for about a week. Thanks and will return.

alan2102

  • Guest
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2012, 09:06:53 AM »
"The planet earth DOES NOT have an energy crisis.... What the planet earth has, is a HUMAN GREED AND STUPIDITY crisis" .....

"Can it be done? Yes. Will it be done? Probably not." .....

"As for fertilizers and food production machinery requiring a massive amount of fossil fuels to feed 7 billlion humans, the fact is that using decentralized permaculture with humanure (after appropriate and low tech local processing to avoid disease pathogens) along with greenhouse technology for nordic climates can replace the fossil fuel required to run tractors, make fertilizer and insecticides and herbicides." .....

"Growing food and the fossil fuel ‘requirement’ is a dependency created by the fossil fuel industry but we CAN shake that dependency without mass starvation and depopulation" .....

Yes, yes, yes, yes.  I've been making and documenting these exact points for years, back on the old Latoc forum, on the energyresources list, and elsewhere.  Not that it did much good!  Dyed-in-the-wool Malthusians -- members of the Church of HansoNihilism, as I used to call them -- just Don't Get It, and perhaps cannot get it.  They think that catastrophic collapse and dieoff is a true inevitability, as sure as the laws of physics. Whereas, it is nothing of the kind. It is a collective DECISION, and one that we'll probably make. But still a decision.  There's no "shortage of resources"; only a shortage of intelligence, discernment, creativity, humor, perspective, charity, modesty, and other spiritual qualities ("shortages", I might add, that CAN be remedied, with sufficient social will).

Such a view is denounced by the Malthusians as "cornucopianism" -- a foolish epithet, trotted-out when they've been caught with their pants down, and it is evident that there really isn't an "energy crisis". The problem here is not "cornucopianism", but DOOM-ucopianism: the denial of glaring realities inconsistent with the  Malthusian view.

A point of fact:
you write: "It was the enormous reduction in infant mortality brought about by antiseptic procedures that caused the population explosion, not fossil fuels."

More broadly, it was public health initiatives that caused the population explosion; "antiseptic procedures" (medical) had a modest role.  And, paradoxically, it is public health initiatives, combined with general socioeconomic development, that brings about the demographic transition, which is causing fertility to drop dramatically, worldwide.  (And with that, eventually, population; 50-100 year time frame.)

you write: "Remember the green revolution of the 60s, 70s and 80s that supposedly caused the population explosion? The numbers are in. The yields are not statistically different with all the fossil fuel fertilizer, herbicides and insecticides than without them. The green revolution is a lie fostered by, you guessed it, the fossil fuel lobby."

Could you cite your sources for the middle sentence, about yields? I've got my own sources, but I'd like to see what  you've got, as well. Compare notes. Thanks.

Regarding the "green revolution", you might get a kick (and some useful links/reading) out of this reply of mine, just penned, to a Big Ag apologist:
http://www.a2politico.com/2012/04/the-sustainable-mantra-%e2%80%94-organic-local-and-slow-%e2%80%94-wont-save-the-worlds-hungry-millions/comment-page-1/#comment-159358


Offline agelbert

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 11820
    • View Profile
    • Renewable Rervolution
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2012, 07:22:22 PM »
Solid State Max,
Yes there is a lot to think about and frankly, I'm a bit pessimistic about our future because I believe the people controlling our system are losing it mentally. I hope I'm wrong.

alan,
I'll have to do some digging on the fossil fuel produced crop yields but I will get back to you. The Union of Concerned Scientists is one place I remember reading that but I'm not sure right now.
As to your experience of banging your head against a wall trying to wake people up, I hear you and agree. The Automatic Earth has a nice article on the slightly quixotic nature of people like us.  We are either real stubborn or we just know we are right and feel we must keep at it. It does get old sometimes.
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline agelbert

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 11820
    • View Profile
    • Renewable Rervolution
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2012, 12:10:55 AM »
alan,
In order to discuss the fallacy of the alleged high yields of the "Green Revolution", we must first look at what an organic crop "yield" REALLY is and compare it to a fossil fuel chemical, pesticide, land plowing and soil degrading crop "yield". The reason the claim of a "green Revolution" was initially supported had a lot to do with the fact that Farmers get paid by the weight of a crop, not by the amount of nutrients. As you will see the "high yields" had more to do with $$$ profit "yield" than food crop "yield".  This whole thing with chemical fertilizers is a more sophisticated equivalent scam of butchers injecting meat cuts with saline solution water to increase "yield" but even worse because the heavier metaphorical "meat cut" in big ag has LESS nutritive value than the non-injected lighter (organic) equivalent while costing much more to grow as well as wreaking havoc on the environment within a few decades.
First, some info from the Land Institute in Kansas:
Some progress on perennial crops (no till and not annual is a huge cost saving from mechanized farming).
[Abstract:
Annual cereal, legume and oilseed crops remain staples of the global food supply. Because most annual crops have less extensive, shorter-lived root systems than do perennial species, with a correspondingly lower capacity to manage nutrients and water, annual cropping systems tend to suffer higher levels of soil erosion and generate greater water contamination than do perennial systems. In an effort to reduce soil degradation and water contamination simultaneously -- something that neither no-till nor organic cropping alone can accomplish -- researchers in the United States, Australia and other countries have begun breeding perennial counterparts of annual grain and legume crops. Initial cycles of hybridization, propagation and selection in wheat, wheatgrasses, sorghum, sunflower and Illinois bundleflower have produced perennial progenies with phenotypes intermediate between wild and cultivated species, along with improved grain production. Further breeding cycles will be required to develop agronomically adapted perennial crops with high grain yields.]

http://www.landinstitute.org/vnews/display.v/ART/2011/04/22/4db199966cf1a
Then we have the reason organic farming doesn't use fossil fuel chemicals:
Snippet:
[Why are synthetic fertilizers not permitted in organic agriculture?  The use of synthetic fertilizers is not allowed in organic agriculture because the substitution of natural, renewable resources for plant nutrition with non-renewable petrochemicals is not sustainable, disrupts natural cycles, pollutes the environment through runoff and leaves toxic residues in the soil, just to name a few of the negative implications.

Organic farmers use legumes – peas, beans and other plants – that naturally fix and enrich nitrogen in the soil. The application of synthetically produced phosphorous, another important plant nutrient, is also not allowed in organic agriculture. Because organic farm management creates a healthy soil structure, fungi called mycorrhiza enable plants to utilize phosphorus in the soil.

Organic farmers use on-farm recycling (composting) of biomass to supply nutrients to plants. Farms that use chemically intensive farming methods have largely abandoned traditional and natural methods of nutrient recycling, resulting in the degradation of the soil and increasing the susceptibility of plants to pests and diseases.

The use of synthetic fertilizers has caused a great deal of environmental pollution. One major problem all over the planet that has resulted from the use of synthetic fertilizers is the increased growth of algae in lakes and water reservoirs. A harmful algal bloom (HAB) occurs when certain types of microscopic algae grow quickly in water, forming visible patches that harm the health of the environment, plants, or animals. HABs deplete oxygen in the water and block the sunlight that other organisms need to live, and some HAB-causing algae release toxins that are dangerous to animals and humans.

The production of synthetic fertilizers uses large amounts of energy, which mostly comes from the burning of fossil fuels, thereby increasing dependency on external energy inputs.]

Source: http://www.ifoam.org/sub/faq.html

The following snippets from a long article on U.S. farming and yields and my comments along the way form much of my view that there was never any "Green Revolution":
Snippet 1:
[“The distrust on the part of nonagricultural groups is well justified. With the publication of Rachel Carlson’s book entitled ‘Silent Spring’ we, in agriculture, loudly and in unison stated that pesticides did not contaminate the environment—we now admit that they do. When confronted with the presence of nitrates in groundwater we responded that it was not possible for nitrates from commercial fertilizer to reach groundwater in excess of 10 parts per million under normal productive agricultural systems—we now admit they do. When questioned about the presence of pesticides in food and food quality, we assured the public that if a pesticide was applied in compliance with the label, agricultural products would be
free of pesticides—we now admit they are not.

Certainly, the availability of new instrumentation and ability to detect trace amounts of pesticides in water and food have changed the meaning of absolute zero. Although this may be used as an excuse for our belief that agriculture was not a contributor to environmental degradation, the truth is, we are not conducting the research and/or making the appropriate measurements to insure that this was the case.”

This is a very strong indictment by one of us in professional agriculture!

Today, we might well add more concerns to that list. For one, we are learning that many surface water bodies have levels of phosphorus high enough to promote excessive growth of blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) leading to eutrophication. Often these raised levels of phosphorus are associated with the presence of concentrated livestock operations. What is more, we do not know whether optimal levels of soil phosphorus and nitrogen applications for crop production pose serious hazards to water bodies, and if they do, when, under what conditions, and to which ones.

Another situation concerns the growing hypoxic volume in the Gulf of Mexico near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Finally, recent evidence suggests that transgenic corn producing some Bacillus thuringensis proteins is harmful to certain non-target insects. We must ask ourselves whether and how far we can trust present methods of testing to assure the public that we will not have to change previous conclusions.]

Snippet2:

[.. some problems are slow in manifesting themselves, and most rewards to public servants went to new ideas, not for warnings. Besides, agriculture became obsessed with the need to be as efficient as possible in crop and animal production to maintain a competitive edge and succeeded admirably in total food and fiber production. Much of the competitive edge depended upon increasing yields with externally supplied inputs. But we have ignored the real cost of our applied technology at the farm level because we have not had to pay for the consequences, and society at large has not fully determined nor assessed this cost, nor has been willing to pay more for alternatives. After all, the upland farmer does not directly pay for the cost of dredging the Mississippi River or reimburse the loss of Gulf of Mexico fisheries, nor does the farmer in north central Iowa have to worry about nitrate removal from river water used for drinking in Des Moines. Neither do users of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics in animal production compensate for losses in the effectiveness of similar products in human or veterinary medicine. In bearing these added costs in other ways, parts of society are paying the “hidden” costs of inexpensive food.

Why, then, had we come to this kind of a situation?

The Report on Alternative Agriculture, commissioned in 1985 by the Board on Agriculture and published in 1989 by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Science, summarized the work of a committee on the role of alternative agricultural methods in modern production agriculture. The late William Brown, president of Pioneer Hi-bred International, Inc., was chair of the Board, and Paul Johnson, a farmer and member of the Iowa General Assembly, was also a Board member.

The dominant conclusion was that laws and policies governing agriculture, especially commodity policies, are among the major obstacles to “alternative” agriculture. These commodity policies came to dominate agricultural producer behavior at the farm level in ways that acted against achieving the goal of sustainability.]
-- -----------------------------------------------------------------
As you can see, big ag was doing the old "externalize the costs" trick so dear to the hearts of our predatory capitalists everywhere. When the total cost of "high yield" mechanized, tilled soil, chemical fertilizer and pesticide on the farm land and the planet (don't forget human health care costs from lower crop nutritive value and harmful chemicals) are compared with organic, friendly insect introduction for pest control, no till, labor intensive, no chemical fertilizer or pesticide application and much lower irrigation requirements from perennial type crops (deep root systems absent in annual crops), both the yield and the efficiency numbers for the Green Revolution are shown to be a fossil fuel lie.
Of course the author of the above article is much more charitable since he is part of big ag but he contradicts himself when he talks of high U.S. yields and efficiency and then schizophrencally admits to all those "other" costs that somebody has to pay and cannot seem to subtract those "other" costs from his "high yield" and "efficiency" claims. WTF!? "Inexpensive" crops!? I don't think so! :icon_scratch:

Big ag has been involved in a 100 year bubble destroying the soil to force it to produce high numbers of crops decreasing in nutritive value. If "yield" means anything at all, it means how many people you can feed PROPERLY (not with depleted nutrition) for a given price and maintain a balance with nature. If you cheat and force the crop at the soil's expense, that's a bogus high yield. :evil4:

And the U.S. Government was/is actually pushing this insanity: :(
Snippet 3:
[The amount of subsidy a farmer received under previous recent farm bills was calculated, in part, on the base acreage and on the base yield of land in program crops. The farmer, therefore, has been encouraged to strive for maximum yields and to keep the highest acreage of land in program crops. There is evidence that this has led to over-application of fertilizers and other chemicals, and the cultivation of fragile land to grow more program crops.]
-------------------------------------------------------
After discussing how alternate farming methods are not mandatory but should be introduced because the are environmentally friendly, the author, near the end of the article, says this much that makes total sense while paradoxically not showing any sense of outrage that U.S. big ag is in no hurry to go full organic. :icon_scratch:

Snippet 4:
[Neil Hamilton, who was quoted earlier, wrote: “The relation of sustainable agriculture to the multitude of environmental, social, and economic issues associated with modern farming practices makes the debate over the issue one of the most significant in the history of U. S. farm policy.” Earlier I expressed the conviction that a sustainable agriculture is critical to the survival of humankind in its present lifestyles.]

Source: http://www.wallacechair.iastate.edu/PDF/2001pesek_lecture.pdf

Now look at this gem. It's more proof that the "Green Revolution" was bogus:

Snippet:
[The problem of hidden hunger grew out of the 1960s "green revolution." That boom in agriculture relied on new varieties of high-yield crops and chemical fertilizers to staunch world hunger by upping caloric intake in the developing world. Unfortunately, those high-yield crops are typically low in micronutrients, and eating them has resulted in an epidemic of hidden hunger. At least a third of the world is already lacking in some chemical element, according to the U.N., and the problem is due in part to a steady diet of micronutrient-deficient green-revolution plants. Iron deficiency alone, which can cause cognitive impairment in children and increase the rate of stillbirths, affects some 4.5 billion people. Lack of iodine, another micronutrient, can result in brain damage and is a serious problem in 130 countries. According to the World Bank, hidden hunger is one of the most important causes of slowed economic development in the Third World.]
Source: http://eartheasy.com/article_food_bad_ugly.htm

In other words, theose "high yields" were NOTHING OF THE KIND!  :o
Sure they had numbers and size but at the expense of NUTRITION?  :exp-angry:
This sounds more like increasing the size of the cracker jack box, while decreasing the amount of cracker jacks in it. It's more Madison Avenue monocrop eye catching packaging than food production for the hungry masses.

More bad news:
Snippet 1:
[Of the 13 major nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, six have declined substantially, according to a study by Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas at Austin.
Using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Davis claims the average vegetable found in today’s supermarket is anywhere from 5% to 40% lower in minerals than those harvested just 50 years ago. His research finds that recently grown crops have shown decreases of up to 38% in protein, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, phosphorus, iron, zinc and riboflavin when compared with produce from past decades.]

Snippet 2:
[“Farmers get paid by the weight of a crop, not by amount of nutrients,” Davis said. He called this the “dilution effect”: As fruits and vegetables grown in the United States become larger and more plentiful, they provide fewer vitamins and minerals.]
http://eartheasy.com/blog/2009/05/fruits-and-vegetables-yielding-fewer-nutrients-than-in-the-past/

The "Green Revolution" was quite "$$$ green" for big ag, chemical corporations and fossil fuel pigs but it actually INCREASED world hunger by decreasing nutrition of crops. Sure, they are bigger but, due to chemical fertilzers, lack the nutrition of organic crops. The "high yield" and "efficient" high U.S. mechanized farming to feed the world was a huge lie which we are all paying for with ongoing subsidies for environment destroying farming (big ag seems also to have left out subsidies from their "yield" calculations) and increased health care costs from poor nutrition.

The REAL numbers tell the story of less yield with chemicals and fossil fuels than organic.

Finally, there's this article on a GREENER REVOLUTION:
Snippet:
[Biologically intensive agriculture is a prolific and sustainable method for growing
food which has its roots in the history of humankind: it was practiced 5000
years ago in Ethiopia, 4000 years ago in China, Japan and Korea, 2000 years ago
in Greece, and 1000 years ago in the Mayan culture. In 2009 it was the method
featured in the primary case study in the UNEP-UNCTAD report Organic Agriculture
and Food Security in Africa, with positive results.
Using Biointensive agriculture in its modern, scientifically proven form, at intermediate-
level yields, with a reasonable buildup of soil quality and farmer
skill, on approximately 4000 square feet (317.6 square meters) per person it is
possible to raise:
• A complete vegan diet, plus
• All the carbonaceous and nitrogenous compost materials necessary to
maintain fertile soil, and
• A modest income.
Per pound of food produced, as compared with conventional mechanized agriculture,
the Biointensive method has the capacity to use:
• 66% less water,
• 50-100% less purchased nutrients*,
• 94-99% less energy in all forms, while producing
• Substantially increased yields, and
• A 100% increase in soil fertility!
The Biointensive method is organic, sustainable, low-input, high-yield agriculture,
and is already being implemented by small farmers in 141 countries
around the world. It truly has the potential to combat hunger and establish
food security, and to be the “greener revolution” this planet needs.16]

Source: http://www.growbiointensive.org/PDF/BiointensiveAgricultureAGreenerRevolution_English.pdf

There's more. China used humanure effectively for well over a thousand years feeding a huge population without mechanized anything and organic farming WITHOUT ever depleting their soil. This is mentioned in this  article I have posted some snippets to here only briefly.
http://www.wallacechair.iastate.edu/PDF/2001pesek_lecture.pdf

I can't find it now but I believe the permies have a free book on the web that goes into a lot of detail about how the Chinese did this. In addition, they add up all the fossil fuels required to make, transport and distribute fertilizers and pesticides and the fuel for the machines that spray them and the horrendous costs to the environment as opposed to humanure. It's absolutely mind boggling what chumps we have been taken for by the fossil fuel and chemical corporations.

I rest my case.

« Last Edit: July 11, 2012, 05:30:45 PM by agelbert »
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 37845
    • View Profile
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2012, 12:28:03 AM »

In order to discuss the fallacy of the alleged high yields of the "Green Revolution", we must first look at what an organic crop "yield" REALLY is and compare it to a fossil fuel chemical, pesticide, land plowing and soil degrading crop "yield". The reason the claim of a "green Revolution" was initially supported had a lot to do with the fact that Farmers get paid by the weight of a crop, not by the amount of nutrients. As you will see the "high yields" had more to do with $$$ profit "yield" than food crop "yield".  This whole thing with chemical fertilizers is a more sophisticated equivalent scam of butchers injecting meat cuts with saline solution water to increase "yield" but even worse because the heavier metaphorical "meat cut" in big ag has LESS nutritive value than the non-injected lighter (organic) equivalent while costing much more to grow as well as wreaking havoc on the environment within a few decades.

Are you gonna repost this on TAE AB?  I suggest you do.  SWAMP Mr. Censorship.  FORCE him to respond substantively or BAN you.

I will back you up here on the Diner every step of the way.  I got your back on this one.

RE
Save As Many As You Can

alan2102

  • Guest
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2012, 05:06:06 AM »
Agelbert: thanks for the detailed reply! I will read it more carefully over the weekend.

For now, a comment regarding nutrient levels: 

An almost universally-overlooked aspect of higher atmospheric CO2 levels is the effect on plant growth. The effect is good, at least superficially. Plants LOVE CO2, of course; it is like oxygen for them -- the most critical nutrient of all. They respond by growing faster, more luxuriantly.  There's overwhelming evidence for this.

However, that growth is at the expense of dilution of everything else. The resultant plants are lower in nitrogen (protein), minerals, etc.  This means, in turn, that the organisms consuming said plants will be more poorly-nourished; those organisms being not only plants and animals, but more importantly insects, arthropods, and soil micro- and macro-fauna and flora of all kinds. Healthy plant populations, and healthy ecosystems, depend on the full array of nutrients, not just CO2.  CO2 could be seen as "empty calories" for plants; it is good as far as it goes (lots of calories are needed to support growth), but it needs to be balanced with the other elements.

Now, here's an  idea for you, which I admit is wildly idealistic, but I cannot resist:  It would be possible, with concerted effort over a few decades, to convert the bad into the good, by enriching soil with all the other nutrients required for fully-healthy plants and their consumers (animals, people).  That is, to view things not so much in terms of "excess CO2", but "insufficient-everything-else".    The idea, then, would be to take advantage of the growth-stimulating effects of CO2, and to fully REALIZE that advantage by completing the nutrient picture with supplemental N,P,K PLUS Ca,Mg,S,Si,Fe,Zn,Cu,Mo,Mb,B,Co,Ni,etc,etc.   See? 

This stuff is cheap, and available in near-unlimited amounts for this purpose, except for phosphorus. We could treat the circa 1.4 billion hectares of arable land, on planet earth, for perhaps $1-2000 per hectare (possibly much less, but I'll take a high SWAG); that would be a total cost of $2-3 trillion, or less than 5% of global GDP. It would probably require repeat applications at 5-year intervals for a while, as the soil and micro-flora/fauna populations are being rebuilt. There is also the exciting possibility of increasing, perhaps greatly, the arable land on the planet.  The 1.4 billion hectare figure is not etched in stone. Improved nutrition for plants and soil micro-flora/fauna could reclaim currently barren or nominally "not arable" land. One of the great things about some of the trace elements, like silicon, is the way in which they increase the drought-resistance of plants. This has HUGE implications for reclamation of desertified areas, and  what is thought to be non-arable land. Silicon also partially compensates for P deficit, while protecting against a variety of heavy metal and other toxins.

It could be seen, metaphorically, like an alchemical transmutation: to  "alchemically"  (ALL-CHEM-ically, if you will) transmute the "lead" of high atmospheric CO2 into the "gold" of a dramatic biospheric expansion with improved health for all organisms -- a TRUE GREEN **REVOLUTION**, as opposed to the fake corporate/Big-Agribiz one that was foisted on us.  This would also, incidentally, solve the CO2/climate-change problem, eventually, as the CO2 would be sucked-up by all the new growth.

Yes, yes, I know, it is a crazy scheme, VERY unlikely to come to pass. At least in our lifetimes. But hey, it is fun to think about. And, you never know who might be listening. It is a meme that needs to built and transmitted. I think that it is important to think things that need to be thought, and write things that need to be written, whether or not one can directly, measurably act on them at this moment.  As long as these ideas are floating around in the cloud (the web), there is the possibility of viral/memetic effects.

And, BTW, I admit that it is not really my idea. Hamaker was talking about it, 30 years ago, in his books about rock dust soil amendment to remedy climate change. Except, he never quite got or expressed the idea that higher atmospheric CO2 levels could be seen  as an OPPORTUNITY for something quite fantastic. He was all about reducing CO2, as though it were a poison.

Also, his focus was too narrow on rock dust as the total solution. Rock dust is cool, but rock dust combined with a bunch of other stuff would be even better.  Soluble silicates are fantastic; indeed, much of the benefit of rock dust is probably because of the silicon therein. There is an entire large scholarly book on silicon in agriculture, and just reading the table of contents of it is breathtaking -- the scope of silicon's benefits is so vast. And the fact that agronomists and others have ignored this mass of data is outrageous, even scandalous.   Boron is an important, overlooked nutrient for plants. Molybdenum is extremely important, for N fixation and overall yield.  There's very intriguing Russian lit on Co and Ni soil amendment for improved yields and quality. And so on. There is a WORLD of literature on this stuff, which I am just starting to plumb.  And most of it is totally unexploited!  There's solutions to our problems, sitting in the books; we just don't apply this stuff. We're lazy.

The idea that we've tapped-out our resources, and that we're now (by virtue of absolute resource limits) at the peak of agricultural yields for all time, is  incredibly ignorant and wrong.  We might be at that peak, but if we are, it will not be for lack of any material thing. It will be for lack of the spiritual qualities already mentioned up thread.

I laugh when I think about the "green revolution", and what a pathetic fraction of a true green revolution it represented.  That was the "green revolution" for Big Agribiz, and it was much more about revolutionary profits -- green $$$ -- than it was about greening the earth or feeding the organisms on it.

It is time for a REAL Green Revolution.

Offline agelbert

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 11820
    • View Profile
    • Renewable Rervolution
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2012, 02:16:11 PM »
RE,
I just got taken to the wood shed by ilargi for questioning Nicole's EROI math on gas. I replied as politely as possible to him because I believe the field of economics and investing related to energy product pricing clouds the mind of intelligent and knowledgeable people like ilargi and Nicole (She has the stoneleigh handle, right?).

The problem lies, not simply with predatory capitalist economics deliberately eschewing "externalities" for the cost calculation, but in the difference between chemistry (organic - hydrocarbon chemical reactions and their energy output as well as inorganic - ionic chemical reactions) and biochemistry.  The enzymes in living systems "cheat" by lowering the energy of activation for a reaction to take place and also lowering the energy released when some molecule is split. Most people who are experts in hydrocarbon chemistry are aware that the fossil fuel industry uses catalysts to facilitate chemical reactions but they are not aware that these catalysts DO NOT change the energy output numbers; they merely lower the activation energy. Once the reaction begins the energy output (energy density per mole of reactants) is quite predictable. Hence, the more complex and seemingly "impossible" manipulation of molecules by biochemical enzymes (our natural catalysts) to keep temperature and pH controlled so you don't die is magic to a hydrocarbon expert. 
So they think you are incorrect and scandalously out of bounds when you start questioning the whole EROI thing. I merely stated that EROI on fossil fuels must include the cost of poisoned aquifers and ilargi and Nicole became very unhappy campers. For me to challenge the actual reaction chemistry numbers by talking enzymes is a very tall order in this situation. This would entail a radical change in thinking for people used to the quantification of energy by how big a boom the thing makes when it is oxidized. This is wrong but maybe you can come up with some way to bridge the gap between these worlds. I perceive that, anybody that makes a little money out of investing in energy products would feel threatened by what I am pointing out and would go in to instant denial, angry accusations and total rejection not because what I am saying isn't scientifically sound, but because I am stepping on somebody's money making paradigm.

I believe the stubborn adhesion to that paradigm is destroying the biosphere so I try to break the mindlock that paradigm has on otherwise intelligent people. I guess I'm not being too successful with ilargi and Nicole. :-[

So how do I know all this stuff?
six months pre-engineering
another year pre-engineering
two years business administration courses including managerial accounting
three years pre-med (including 35 college credits in varies biology courses)

Despite all this education, I never did get a degree. I was employed as an Air Traffic controller and later as an automation analyst by the FAA so I did most of this stuff out of personal interest. Before the FAA and after the year and a half of pre-engineering, I switched to aviation (college program) and obtained commercial and flight instructor pilot licenses.

My wife does have a bachelor in science degree (cum laude) in chemistry so we do bounce a lot of this enzyme talk back and forth as well as discuss rather obscure topics like mast cell mediation of histones in the inflammatory response in regard to immune system function (and sometimes dysfunction).

I keep up on much of the scientific advances in medicine through the internet. Although medical journals always want to charge you for reading them, much can be discerned from the abstracts which are free. There is a lot of excellent free hard science information out there but you have to be willing to wade through the rather boring jargon. I also, for personal reasons, read extensively about cardiology and pacemakers.

I've got lots of time so I do it.

Finally, I don't know any of those people at TAE except you and Ashvin who both have been decent enough to share views with me. I only started reading TAE a few years ago when they were talking about the "nuclear village" mentality in Japan. I had mostly commented on Common Dreams (where I was banned three times for shooting my mouth off on the treason of the MIC and its enablers in the USA with all the predatory capitalist wars - it doesn't go over too well to say the USMC works for corporate greed  :icon_mrgreen:). I used to go mano-a-mano with the nuclear apologists at CD right down to showing (with equations) how the photon energy of radionuclides is augmented 50,000 plus times by residing inside human tissue due to the tiny nanometer distances involved. There is just so much bullshit out there that I felt compelled to try to throw some truth into this greedfest we are infested with that lies day in and day out to preserve the suicidal path they have us on.

If you (or anyone else reading this) have any suggestions on how to overcome the reductionist economics view of EROI on fossil fuels at TAE, I would appreciate them.

« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 03:59:48 PM by agelbert »
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 37845
    • View Profile
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2012, 02:33:45 PM »
RE,
I just got taken to the wood shed by ilargi for questioning Nicole's EROI math on gas. I replied as politely as possible to him because I believe the field of economic and investing related to energy product pricing clouds the mind of intelligent and knowledgeable people like ilargi and Nicole (She has the stoneleigh handle, right?).

Have you checked in the Puke off the Keyboard of Ilargi thread here?  We are taking Ilargi to the Woodshed there for his reply to you.

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline agelbert

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 11820
    • View Profile
    • Renewable Rervolution
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2012, 03:49:36 PM »
alan,
 You said, "Now, here's an  idea for you, which I admit is wildly idealistic, but I cannot resist:  It would be possible, with concerted effort over a few decades, to convert the bad into the good, by enriching soil with all the other nutrients required for fully-healthy plants and their consumers (animals, people).  That is, to view things not so much in terms of "excess CO2", but "insufficient-everything-else".    The idea, then, would be to take advantage of the growth-stimulating effects of CO2, and to fully REALIZE that advantage by completing the nutrient picture with supplemental N,P,K PLUS Ca,Mg,S,Si,Fe,Zn,Cu,Mo,Mb,B,Co,Ni,etc,etc.   See?"

Yes, I see and agree that the only approach to a viable future is to dispense with any food production computations unless they include absolutely every downstream effect on the entire biosphere. As Vanadana  Shiva has said, due to the mechanized reductionism inherent in the scientific method, modern science and the corporation mindset that makes short term hay out of scientific innovation is failing us because it discards the whole picture. One of the things that got me to sit up and take notice about the possibly flawed nature of scientific inquiry was when a professor in a college chemistry class stated that conclusions about the macro world as to proportions of chemicals in it are based on micro sampling. IOW, they sample the air in a "statistically significant" (that's another bone of contention too) portion of the atmosphere in microscopic amounts then assume that the total atmosphere has exactly the same proportions. I see a huge potential for "scientific" assumptions about this or that to exclude very significant (but sufficiently trace or so tiny that they are missed in sampling) chemicals. I believe this is exactly what happened in the development of chemical fertilizers.

In the human body, extremely tiny amounts of chemicals can trigger tremendous changes. The thyroid can cause you to grow uncontrollably or accelerate or decelerate your metabolism to make you so skinny you die or make you so fat you die, regardless of what you eat. This counterintuitive concept to the "bigger is more influential" default setting in our amygdala (reptilian brain) is what blinds us to obvious flaws in our system.

Alan, I don't think we know the full picture of human nutrition and biosphere interactions yet. I believe this requires us to return to something that was proven to work while we launch an all out scientific inquiry to try to get the whole picture by dispensing with the mechanistic reductionism that limits sample size (with computers we can now do this), increase the study period to at least a generation and then carefully weigh the results. We are a function of the biosphere and we need to stop behaving like the biosphere is a function of us. Any technology that involves some new industry which produces trace elements for balanced and nutritious food production world wide must be weighed against the possibility of corporations hijacking it to make sure some human populations are favored and some are targeted for elimination (through deliberate malnutrition), not to mention what negative effects on the biosphere these industrial processes might have. Adequate safeguards would be needed. We have no such safeguards now. :(

For now, I favor Vandana Shiva's approach to decentralization of farming and decommoditization  of farm products with a switch to full organic in order to suffocate the profit motive and replace it with the biosphere harmony motive.

I agree with you that CO2 increase will bring have many unforeseen problems. For example, nobody talks about that other greenhouse gas known as water vapor that is much more powerful than CO2. When you burn a hydrocarbon this is the way the equation goes (I use the simplest hydrocarbon which is methane but it works in all of them):
CH4 + 2 O2 ---> CO2 + 2 H2O (balanced equation required by stoichiometry)

This means that  TWO molecules of water are produced for every single molecule of CO2 produced. This also means that, slowly but surely, Oxygen is being taken out of the atmosphere faster than it is being put in. Since we are talking about PPM (parts per million) the oxygen depletion is probably no big deal now. BUT, water vapor is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2 and we are adding water to our atmosphere at twice the rate we are adding CO2. I get really angry at Hansen and the rest with their computer model of projected warming excluding the thermal effect of increased water vapor from increased CO2. That may explain why these scientists keep getting surprised at the acceleration in warming that "wasn't supposed to happen" according to their computer models. HEY, add H2O, I say.

There is a lot going on and not enough people trying to really fix it. I celebrate your efforts as a brother in arms and authorize you to pass anything I have posted along with or without attribution. I, like all humans, seek peer group acceptance but the priority for all of us now is to get out the truth that what we are doing is going to kill us and many other species as well. We need to come up with a way of thinking that puts nature, rather than humans at the head of the biosphere table. Otherwise, whatever we come up with will be flawed. It's really big picture thinking or extermination that must be our new thought process paradigm. Nothing else matters at this point.

 Time for a cup of coffee. :coffee:
 
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 06:56:45 PM by agelbert »
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline agelbert

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 11820
    • View Profile
    • Renewable Rervolution
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2012, 04:03:30 PM »
RE;
I'll head over to the ilargi thread you pointed to as soon as I get some coffee.

Maybe I should get some popcorn too.  :icon_mrgreen:

Thank you, friend, for being such a straight arrow. :icon_sunny:
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 04:08:29 PM by agelbert »
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

alan2102

  • Guest
Re: Waste Based Society
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2012, 09:03:02 PM »
Agelbert: "Any technology that involves some new industry which produces trace elements for balanced and nutritious food production world wide must be weighed against the possibility of corporations hijacking it to make sure some human populations are favored and some are targeted for elimination (through deliberate malnutrition), not to mention what negative effects on the biosphere these industrial processes might have."

Well, we're too late! The corporations (or rather, The Borg, which includes but is not limited to the corporations) have already hijacked it to make sure that some humans are favored over others. You and me are the favored ones; the people in the third world are not. So, to the extent that that is true, we have nowhere to go but up. From a social justice standpoint, little that we do could make matters much worse than they are. So I don't think that that thought ought to inhibit us.

You might be interested to know that this whole idea (my last post) stemmed out of long and deep research into the nutritional status of people in the third world, and the reasons for the shockingly-high prevalence there of trace element and other deficiencies (in addition to other health and developmental problems). I became interested in the whole food chain, and indeed the whole chain of life, starting with the soil. I came to realize that enduring solutions to the human problems that concerned me had to begin with the soil, and the feeding of the soil. Later it became evident that this idea had more profound implications for the whole biosphere than I had initially imagined. It is clear to me now that real solutions to the human problems are (in accord with the holistic emphasis that you express) simultaneously solutions -- or at least important parts of solutions -- to the plant problems, soil problems, climate/environmental problems, and so forth. It is all connected.

As for negative effects on the biosphere of industrial production of trace elements for purposes of soil amendment: I'm not too worried about this, because the environmental harm caused by those processes is greatly less than the benefit to be realized. Refraining from doing what I suggest would be much more harmful than doing it. (Indeed, we ARE so refraining, right now, and we're paying for it, bigtime!) Keep in mind that most of this stuff is VERY abundant and cheap; worrying about overusing it would be a little bit like -- on a personal level -- fretting about overuse of toothpicks, and the environmental implications thereof. It would be a strange ethic indeed that would have us continue to use computers and the internet, and generally live an urban-industrial-dependent life, while refusing to add small amounts of vital trace elements (available in vast quantities) to the soil in order to avoid unforeseen environmental stress!

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
4 Replies
1944 Views
Last post February 27, 2016, 12:50:34 AM
by RE
4 Replies
1094 Views
Last post December 17, 2015, 02:01:54 AM
by azozeo
21 Replies
2808 Views
Last post March 23, 2016, 04:44:52 AM
by g