This is the World Organic News for the week ending the 13th of May 2019.
Jon Moore reporting!
Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
As you may recall I finished last week’s episode in a bit of a frustrated funk. We know we have to do, we have the techniques to do it but our political classes are still fighting battles from 15 years ago.
So this past week has been one of deep contemplation, discussion with peers and a moment of satori, a moment of enlightened clarity.
Let me explain. Looking at the “big” things that have changed parts of society in this millennium I came to a conclusion. Single use plastic bags from supermarkets being banned, incandescent bulbs being withdrawn from sale and the wonders of separating household waste for collection all have a few things in common.
They are virtuous. They do not make our lives easier and they make very little difference to GHG accumulations. That those plastic bags are called single use is a misnomer to begin with. We always used ours for more than just bringing home shopping. As we know by now plastic can be made from renewable sources that are biodegradable but we have to have the virtuous effects to make change worth while, apparently. Most people I have observed have just replaced thin, single use plastic bags with heavy duty plastic bags. I’ve also observed that many people still use these as they used to use the “single use” bags. So that the organisations pushing for the change can feel warm and fuzzy but the “on the ground” effects are negligible.
With the loss of incandescent bulbs we have lost a simple way to keep chicks warm in a brooder but that’s not a big market segment, I’ll concede. What we do have is lighting that’s inferior to what went before and a huge increase in the consumption of mercury and it’s release when these things are not disposed of “properly”.
It also turns out that much of the separated household waste ends up in the same tip or dump if that’s your word where you live. Clearly this is a resource going to waste. Waste in the Bill Mollison sense of a resource in the wrong place.
But what to do?
Our federal election next Saturday does not provide much hope. The left of centre parties are stuck in the decarbonise the air part of this show’s tagline but no one I could find was thinking about the soil.
Google searches revealed a few things. There is plenty of info, organisation and advocacy for regenerative techniques for agriculture. A plus in my mind. There is very little on how these things can be brought to bare on the greatest consumers of water, glyphosate, pesticides and fungicides: the suburban and urban regions of the world. And to make matters worse some 68% of humanity will be living in these areas by 2050 according to a UN report, link in the show notes.
At about the same time my other favourite Bill Mollison quote kept tapping on the inside of my skull:
The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone.
And other more annoying quote of who’s origin I have no idea also joined in:
Be the change you want to see.”
So to that end, wheels were set in motion, ideas were brainstormed and any other metaphor you care to insert here. I have joined with my co-host from the Permaculture Plus podcast to create an online seminar/conference set for the 16th to the 21st of September. These will run annually but the inaugural event Living Soils 2019 will be focusing on permaculture zones one and two (Link in the show notes) and how we can create regenerative gardens.
We are contacting specialists to present at the event. Biodynamics, biochar, permaculture and if any of my obviously good looking and deeply thoughtful listeners have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them. email me at email@example.com. There is a link in the show notes.
We are in the planning stage so more will be revealed as we lock things in. The effect changing ten percent of suburbia from consumption to production in a regenerative form is mind blowing. In the same way suburbia has become a renewable engine of massive proportions with the falling price of PV cells, I’m sure we can turn this same part of the land surface of the earth into a carbon sink powerhouse.
From window boxes to McMansions to smallholders and even huge agricultural affairs, people live in dwellings and this is where we need to start. From every front and back door we can roll out the regen revolution.
And unlike the virtuous ideas, this actually makes our lives and the climate situation better and you end up with food. Food that doesn’t need to be purchased from elsewhere. This actually saves you money, reduces food kilometerage, mileage if you’re on the old money, and is still a benefit for the biosphere.
So next week I’ll return to use usual form of the podcast with news from around the world but I’ll also add a “What’s Happening” section for the Living Soils 2019 online conference or whatever we end up calling it.
And on that no longer frustrated but actually hopeful note I’ll draw this episode to a conclusion.
The podcasting checklists are still available over at Jon Moore Podcasting Services
Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next week.
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UN: 68 percent of world population will live in urban areas by 2050