157. The Horrors of CAFOs Plus GHGs ~ Regen ag fixes all that!

This is the World Organic News for the week ending the 25th of February 2019.

Jon Moore reporting!

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
Just a quick note to let you know one our neighbours is weaning calves at present and they are incredibly loud. If some of that seeps into the I do apologise in advance.
We begin this week with a piece entitled: How Factory Farming Contributes to Global Warming from Ecowatch.
Quote:
When you add it all up, the picture is clear—contemporary agriculture is burning up our planet. And factory farms or, in industry lingo, Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), play a key role in this impending disaster.
End Quote
And then the piece talks about fossil fuel extraction and use, then:
Quoting Again:
Today, nearly 65 billion animals worldwide, including cows, chickens and pigs, are crammed into CAFOs. These animals are literally imprisoned and tortured in unhealthy, unsanitary and unconscionably cruel conditions. Sickness is the norm for animals who are confined rather than pastured, and who eat GMO corn and soybeans, rather than grass and forage as nature intended. To prevent the inevitable spread of disease from stress, overcrowding and lack of vitamin D, animals are fed a steady diet of antibiotics. Those antibiotics pose a direct threat to the environment when they run off into our lakes, rivers, aquifers and drinking water.
End Quote.
The inhumanity of these setups is reason alone to shut them down. The antibiotic resistance they are creating is a time bomb waiting for a trigger. We have been incredibly lucky so far not to have a major outbreak of antibiotic resistant disease.
The groundwater contamination will take generations to repair. On the odd occasion the manure lakes in some of the less well regulated areas gives way and is as catastrophic as you would imagine. The arguments for these industrial units is the cheapness of the food. Having spent some time in the US last year and not being a cheese eater, or eater of any sauce for that matter, I actually tasted the meat, without adornment. It is the most bland meat I’ve ever eaten. As bland as any mass produced food, this shouldn’t be a surprise.
Now because of this and a huge cheese mountain back in the 1980s, the USFDA developed new ways for the food industry to add more cheese to its products. The industry and the consumers, it appears, leapt at this. The huge amounts of food containing cheese is mind boggling.
I can eat all dairy products except cheese. It leads to stomach cramps and other unpleasantness. It is for this reason I can assure you there is cheese in so many processed foods. The answer, of course, is whole foods and grow our own but that’s a different episode.
The point I’m making, eventually, is that the cheapness of the food is offset by the use of excessive flavourings linked to heart disease, obesity and so on. The true cost of feedlot beef is way beyond the price in the supermarket. But healthcare is not included in the price of the meat. So we have at least one hidden cost.
There are even more troubling issues.
Quote:
CAFOs contribute directly to global warming by releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere—more than the entire global transportation industry. The air at some factory farm test sites in the U.S. is dirtier than in America’s most polluted cities, according to the Environmental Integrity Project. According to a 2006 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, including 37 percent of methane emissions and 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions. The methane releases from billions of imprisoned animals on factory farms are 70 times more damaging per ton to the earth’s atmosphere than CO2.
End Quote.
Toss in the transport of feed in and cattle out and the climate change impact grows further.
The numbers quoted are mind bogglingly worrying. All because it’s “cheaper” to treat animals inhumanely for profit. The argument for CAFOs is that animals “waste” energy walking around to find feed. If they just stood still all the feed would be converted into two things: 1) keeping them alive and 2) growing meat quickly. As I mentioned above, one of the side effects of this is bland, flavourless meat. To me this convert walking energy into meat production seems a fallacy. We aren’t working with machines but living beasts. This way is not sustainable, ethically, environmentally or when the legal action kicks in, financially.
But I hear you ask: Is there a system that could replace feedlots? I’m so glad you asked.
From the site, Matter of Trust.org,
Quote:
The really good news is that we have already found a solution that addresses virtually all of these problems.
It doesn’t matter if you believe climate change is an issue worth your consideration or not. It doesn’t matter whether you believe water shortages are a pressing concern, or whether you care about preserving our butterfly, bee, or fish populations.
Even if you care about just one of these many issues and pooh-pooh all the rest, your time, money, and effort is best spent by supporting regenerative farming.
The reason for this is because regenerative farming helps rebuild and optimize soil quality, and the benefits to air, water, ecosystem, food, animal welfare and human health are downstream results of this optimization.
End Quote.
And that’s from a piece entitled: Regenerative Farming — One Solution That Solves Many Problems.
And this is the sort of thing we need to focus on. One change with huge downstream benefits. So rather making people use thicker plastic bags rather than single use bags both made from petrochemicals, rejig the plastic manufacturing so the inputs are cellulose based rather than fossil fuels. That way the bags break down and return nutrients to the soil and so on. Rather than blaming individual consumers for not changing the world, let’s apply pressure on the root causes of these problems.
CAFOs replaced with regen ag, electric vehicles replacing petrol/diesel ones and hemp based paper instead of pine pulp just to kick off a few ideas.
We can do this, we need to do this. Those twelve years to take action we were told about back in October 2018, well we are now down to eleven years, seven months and the clock is ticking.
[Insert clock ticking here.]
Let’s get this sorted people. This is beyond left and right of politics, this is universal. If you have an election where you live in the next little while, raise the issue, give ‘em hell, make things change! We can, we must, do this. Probably yesterday but today and tomorrow and the day after that. We can do this.
And on that note I’ll draw this episode to a conclusion.
Remember: Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
The podcasting checklists are still available over at Jon Moore Podcasting Services
Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next week.

~~~~

LINKS
PODCASTING CHECKLISTS CLICK HERE
Facebook Page:  World Organic News Facebook page.
WORLD ORGANIC NEWS No Dig Gardening Book: Click here
Permaculture Plus
http://permacultureplus.com.au/
Topical Talks
How Factory Farming Contributes to Global Warming
https://www.ecowatch.com/how-factory-farming-contributes-to-global-warming-1881690535.html
Regenerative Farming — One Solution That Solves Many Problems
https://matteroftrust.org/14409/regenerative-farming-one-solution-that-solves-many-problems
 

155. Drought Morphs into Killer Flood and a Defection from the Dark Side.

This is the World Organic News for the week ending the 11th of February 2019.

Jon Moore reporting!

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
We begin this week with a couple of stories. One of loss and devastation and one of apparent mind changes  which illustrates that we might be waking up from sleepwalking into climate change disaster.
The first is from the ABC in Australia entitled: Queensland floods have likely killed hundreds of thousands of cattle, farmers facing ‘catastrophic’ losses.
These floods are west of the ranges in what’s called the channel country. Eventually all the water out there heads towards but doesn’t always make Lake Eyre. The last big flood in this area was back in 1974. This flood is a metre and more above that mark. Two weeks ago the farmers living in the area were crying out for rain. The drought there had been prolonged, even by Australian standards and now individuals have lost the last of their stock. The process during a drought is to cull down to your best animals. Hand feed them and hope to breed up after the rains arrive. Across vast parts of Queensland there are now only dead animals. To give some idea of land sizes for our American listeners, the State of Queensland is about two and half times the size of Texas and an are or about half the size of Texas is underwater.
Now this flooding came suddenly, as I say, following years of drought.
And I quote the Australian Prime Minister from the piece:
“This will be heartbreaking to these communities, that have been experiencing years of drought only to see that turn into a torrential inundation which threatens now their very livelihoods in the complete other direction,” he said.
End Quote
Tropical monsoons and bare soils are not a healthy combination. The photos in the article are quite confronting. Bloated carcases and the mud that comes with flooding. There’s the usual cash from government in a crisis and a mob called Rural Aid is running semis of fodder to the area. The army is then dropping the fodder from choppers as the ground is still too wet for vehicles and for the stock too. The after flood death toll amongst livestock is likely to be almost as high as that caused by the flooding. There’s nowhere for stock to lie down, their feet and hocks are in mud. The country, if not the world, will look with sympathy before the next big story. The people on the ground will do what they have to as they always have.
This Summer of heat waves, bush fires and now floods after two similar Summers has brought the majority, if it were ever a minority, of the population to conclusion that all these odd weather events are probably related to climate change. Who’d have thunk it? The curious other thing that’s occurring across this wild brown land is a series of elections.
A quick bit of background. As in the US of A, the further to the right on the political spectrum a party or individual politician is the more likely he, and it is usually a he, he is to claim climate change is a hippy/communist conspiracy. The most far right of our three major parties is the National Party which is a humorous name given they used to be called the Country Party and represented wealthier farmers. That they now represent mining and agribusiness might explain their recalcitrance on Climate Change. You would think.
But….
We have an election happening in New South Wales in March and a Federal election some time before May and this seems to have awoken some in the Nationals and I suspect across the political spectrum.
From the Sydney Morning Herald,
Quote:
A senior Nationals minister says the impact of climate change on farming is now undeniable, conceding his views differ from “many of my colleagues”.
NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the “sands were shifting” on the climate change debate as he prepared for a Council of Australian Governments meeting of agriculture ministers in Adelaide on Friday.
End Quote
We live in interesting times. That a Nationals member could say out loud, on the record, he thought climate change was real is a thing almost beyond belief but there you have it. Now all we have to do is convince them of the benefits of regenerative agriculture and that’s game, set and match. I can close down the website and the podcast because the world has been put to rights.
Well not this week.
There seems to be some hope. It is only once people admit the problem we can come together and fix it. One Nationals member does not make a Summer but it does represent the first crack in the dam wall of ignorance and monied politics.
It is not just in the antipodes that the obvious is coming into plain sight. From the blog Deep Agroecology comes the piece: Extreme Weather & Food Shocks Compel Climate-Emergency Plans.
Quote:
At this point most of us need look no further than outside our windows to see that climate change is upon us. For me in New Mexico, the alarming sight of a neighborhood emergency out the window came last summer in late July. That’s when a “thousand-year storm” ripped up our yard, overflowed the arroyos, inundated the basement of Santa Fe’s city hall, and washed-out streets around the region. The storm swamped gardens and farm plots aplenty.
From polar vortexes and churning tornados, to the relentless string of hurricanes, floods, and forest conflagrations, the earth changes of climate chaos are raging. To ignore this rampant reality, and to do nothing about it, is to invite peril.
End Quote
These once in a thousand year events keeping racking up in a most peculiar way. I guess if we get them out of the way at the start of the millennium then the rest of the 1000 years should be a doddle.
The author of the Deep Agroecology blog Steven McFadden then goes onto list the following pieces of evidence:

  • Five Straight Record-breaking Hot Years
  • Gigantic Hole in Antarctica
  • Ice Shelf Tearing Apart
  • Himalayas Melting

We can add on the forest fires and droughts of the last European Summer and the droughts, bushfires and floods in Australia and clearly there’s a need to do something.
McFadden refers to the Club of Rome Climate Emergency Plan and I know the words “club of Rome.” will only confirm for some people the left wing, socialist, new world order conspiracy ideas but I’m really past caring about that. I’ll advocate for whatever works, I’ve been involved through employment within a few large organisations and the bigger the organisation, the more incompetent it is. Running a global conspiracy is, to my mind, an impossibility but that probably just shows I’m in on it.
Having actually read the Climate Emergency Plan, it seems to be a reasonable approach to the problem. You can follow the link in the show notes. Indeed I would encourage you to do so. I would also encourage you to read the Deep Agroecology blog, Steven has some really interesting material there.
And on that note I’ll draw this episode to a conclusion.
Remember: Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
The podcasting checklists are still available over at Jon Moore Podcasting Services
Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next week.
 
LINKS
PODCASTING CHECKLISTS CLICK HERE
Facebook Page:  World Organic News Facebook page.
WORLD ORGANIC NEWS No Dig Gardening Book: Click here
Permaculture Plus
http://permacultureplus.com.au/
Topical Talks
Queensland floods have likely killed hundreds of thousands of cattle, farmers facing ‘catastrophic’ losses
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-08/graziers-confronted-with-devastation-as-floods-kill-cattle/10793502
‘Sands are shifting’: NSW agriculture minister to push climate cause
https://amp.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/sands-are-shifting-nsw-agriculture-minister-to-push-climate-cause-20190207-p50wa9.html?fbclid=IwAR2aQtxIl7modhyCarwEl1YnFbbjIwDMamsQDoi5BLOGBlIRd3aGzyxQTAo
Extreme Weather & Food Shocks Compel Climate-Emergency Plans
https://thecalloftheland.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/extreme-weather-food-shocks-compel-climate-emergency-plans/
Club of Rome Climate Emergency Plan

Episode 33: Factory Farming, Climate Change, Seed Saving, Soil Carbon & Ancient Barley.

This is the World Organic News Podcast for the week ending 19th of September 2016.

Jon Moore reporting!

This week we focus on Climate Change. The blog truth-out.org has a post on the evils of factory farming entitled: Time to Drive Factory-Farmed Food Off the Market. Not only do they point out the need for this form of industrialised production to end, they point out to a way forward:

Quote:

Millions of Americans are rejecting Big Food’s tainted fare, voting with their consumer dollars for healthier, humane, environmental- and climate-friendly foods and products. Our job as consumer advocates is to move organic and regenerative food and farming, including meat, dairy and eggs, from being a niche market to being the dominant force in US and world agriculture. 

End Quote Continue reading “Episode 33: Factory Farming, Climate Change, Seed Saving, Soil Carbon & Ancient Barley.”