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The twin sides of the fossil-fuel coin: presenting in Massachusetts

Mon, Dec 10, 2012

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Presented without additional commentary is video from my recent speaking tour in Massachusetts. It’s my latest and most comprehensive assessment of the twin sides of the fossil-fuel coin, climate change and energy decline. In response to this presentation, I’ve heard via the occasionally accurate grapevine that I’ll never speak on that campus again.

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157 Responses to “The twin sides of the fossil-fuel coin: presenting in Massachusetts”

  1. Liag Says:

    I was wondering about the lack of the Q & A afterward. Did that occur? And, if so, do you know why it was not shown?

  2. Guy McPherson Says:

    Liag, there was time for only two or three questions before we had to give up the room. They were recorded but not shown, for reasons unknown to me.

  3. Ron Says:

    FUCK-EM if they don’t have a sense of humor – or a sense of humility – or enough sense to listen – fewer folks to pollute the earth!

  4. Daniel Says:

    Guy,

    Glad to see Game Theory introduced in your latest presentation. Given that Game Theory is IMO, the most accurate description of why climate negotiations have always been doomed to fail, and even though most people here, are probably aware of it, I’m wondering if maybe a brief outline–as it pertains to curbing emissions–might be in order, at least for those who have never made the connection. Keep up the great work!

  5. Jeff Campbell Says:

    Good morning Mr. MacPherson,
    Thank you for doing the “dirty work.” By that I mean the tiresome task of organizing and presenting unpopular concepts and information in a coherent and professional manner. And in the process exposing yourself to more than your fair share of contempt and criticism. Your work motivates me to raise my head up from the usual escapist activities and address the reality of my/our predicament. Thank you again for all your efforts.

  6. Guy McPherson Says:

    Daniel, here is the introduction to game theory at Wikipedia.

    Jeff Campbell, thanks for your complimentary first-time comment.

  7. Daniel Says:

    Guy,

    There are so many insoluble dilemmas concerning industrial civilization, it’s almost impossible for anyone to attempt to propose a “solution”, or attempt to describe the work that now needs to be done, without becoming a hypocrite.

    At this stage, hypocrisy is unavoidable. Beyond the point of overshoot, at least in our culture, all that’s required to be a hypocrite, is to be alive.

    I have watched your presentation evolve over the last few months, and with this latest one, something struck me as peculiar. You’ve added this line:

    “If we act as if it’s too late, then we becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy”.

    Basically, implying that we shouldn’t accept that it’s too late. Yes?

    The evidence that now exists, has established an immovable catastrophe, which is now, well outside human agency ( aside from the looming boondoggle of geo-engineering). This is what the evidence shows.
    We have effectively already become a self-fulfilling prophesy. The most dire warnings of the last three decades, have now become prophetic. What are eight non-reversible feedbacks if not a physical manifestation of a self-fulfilling prophesy?

    I understand, that by speaking publicly about this new evidence, you’re willingly and courageously entering into a minefield that explodes with every step. And attempting to leave the audience with any semblance of hope at this point, probably demands a certain degree of duplicity. How could it not?

    But, “your” or rather “any” presentation of the evidence, paints an incredibly vivid picture that it is simply too late, in fact, this is exactly what the evidence now shows. Runaway global warming is already occurring, and there is nothing we can do to prevent it, and runaway global warming is the end of most of life on earth. Damage done.

    With that said, the very next logical thought, is obviously that there is nothing to be done. Which is IMO, the opinion of many, if not most everyone here. We are not discussing the details of NTE, because any of us think that by not accepting it, we can somehow prevent it.

    So saying “if we act if it’s too late, then we become a self-fulfilling prophesy”, when the very evidence presented shows “It is too late, we have become a self-fulfilling prophesy, and there is no longer any reason to act”, that’s a very mix message. One that is probably impossible to avoid, and is why attempting to publicly speak about NTE, is either already, or will soon become a futile act.

    And I’m sorry, but acting as if it’s not too late, because there is a one in a billion chance that it might not be, is the same logic as playing the lottery, which is just a waste of time, and it runs contrary to resigning ourselves to the very evidence we’re in the process of accepting.

    So again, while I greatly admire your courage in being one of the first people to ever attempt to present this information (and I won’t even begin to describe the major impact it has had on my life, thank you), I guess I’m at a loss as to what your motivation is at this stage.

    You have already stated that you believe that the human race will not survive to the middle of this century, so I’m wondering what can possibly be the take home message at this point?

    Because my friend, what you’re now presenting, which again, is only what the empirical evidence of non-linear rates of change now proves, is the basic groundwork of the ethics of suicide, whether you’re intending to or not.

  8. Robin Datta Says:

    The saying goes “Every Cloud has a Silver Lining”: is this the silver lining to a mushroom cloud?

    Barents Observer
    46 vessels through Northern Sea Route

  9. Guy McPherson Says:

    Daniel, you’re asking the same questions many others have been asking lately. I’ll try to respond with my next essay, which I’ll complete and post in a couple days.

  10. Robin Datta Says:

    I’ve heard via the occasionally accurate grapevine that I’ll never speak on that campus again.

    Perhaps that’s their way to stave off climate change. Banish the blasphemers.

    But then again, some see a different future:

    Centre for High North Logistics
    Logistics operations in the High North

    - It’s a good bet they did not see Dr. McPherson’s presentation!

  11. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Guy–did the grapevine include any specifics?

  12. Guy McPherson Says:

    BenjaminTheDonkey, a few details were included. I’ll reveal some with my next essay. The others will remain under wraps in the spirit of protecting the guilty.

  13. Paul Chefurka Says:

    That’s a wicked problem you get there, Dr. McPherson – you should do something about it ;-)

    Seriously, that was a nice talk. Clean, straight-forward, not too much sugar coating. It hit a lot of the high points.

    If you’d entertain one suggestion, I think the effects of extreme weather variability deserve more prominence. After all, droughts and floods are what’s going to pinch the global food supply. A reduction in food will crash the GlobCiv bus faster than anything else – including Peak Oil, ocean acidification or rising mean global temperature.

    A couple of years of 10% reductions in global grain harvests due to droughts and floods would set loose the Horsemen in very short order. My spidey-sense is telling me we’re on the brink of that eventuality.

  14. Kathy C Says:

    Ah well, maybe something else will get us
    Newly-discovered asteroid 2012 XE54 will fly by Earth tonight only 139,500 miles away or slightly more than half the distance to the moon. The rocky body, estimated at between 50-165 feet across (15-50 meters), was discovered only yesterday and will reach minimum distance tomorrow morning around 4:10 a.m. (CST) as it zips through northern Puppis southwest of Sirius.

    http://astrobob.areavoices.com/2012/12/10/asteroid-2012-xe54-may-be-eclipsed-during-close-flyby-tonight/

    This is the second asteroid that I have heard of recently that was found just a day or two before a close earth pass. Maybe nature will play a trick on us and just as we are about to extinct ourselves by our own hand, take us down. That would mean we can’t even claim the distinction of our own destruction :)

  15. Edward Kerr Says:

    Guy,
    I’m almost lost for words when I contemplate the implications of this information.

    When I retired in June of ’11 I decided to blog about the issue of energy as my studies and common sense told me that we (humanity) would need to develop alternatives to fossil fuels. I avoided, for almost a year, talking about AGW as it had become a “hot potato” issue due to the efforts of the GW deniers and “climate gate”. I felt that the issue of the necessity for a seismic change (complete abandonment of FF) was more than justified by the “they will run out” argument. As you know that falls on deaf ears.

    Recently though, I have added GW to my argument as it simply cannot be ignored. I thought that we had a little bit of time and that wind and solar would be able to replace coal, NG and nuclear and that oil from algae could replace fossil oil in a carbon neutral way.(were GW not an issue I still maintain that that mix would work-yes I know that it would be a daunting task but what other option do we have)

    I have been aware of the Methane positive feedback possibility for several years but hoped that it might wait. The bomb has exploded and we are &%^$@#. The only hope for me now is that the projections might be off enough to make a difference but when one looks at the corporate/political landscape, it’s impossible to think that it will matter regardless of how correct they might be.

    My only problem at this point is how am I to talk of this with my children and grandchildren? What was abstract and far off has become real and immediate. Reminds me of the situation in a book (Shakasta by Doris Lessing) were the issue of complete extinction as adverse to individual death was a salient issue.

    I’m sure that it has been as difficult for you to be the messenger as it is to be the recipient of the message. You have my sympathies…

    With best personal regards,
    Edward Kerr

  16. Paul Chefurka Says:

    Edward, like you I used to feel that Peak Oil was the keystone issue (if you’ll pardon the expression). Then I realized that running out was not the problem – the real problem is that we won’t run out soon enough.

    If climate change holds off that long, we will put all 1000 GtC of fossil fuels we have at our disposal into the atmosphere over the next 50 or 60 years. If we anticipate a +2C world in two to three decades, it’s obvious that our race is run. If the climate doesn’t get us first, we will continue to emit carbon faster and faster until it does get us later. Either that, or GlobCiv runs completely our of steam as we burn our last carbon around 2070. In my most optimistic estimate, GlobCiv has until 2070 at the latest – sometime between 2025 and 2070 the wheels will fall off.

    I hate this knowledge. How I wish I could un-know it…

  17. BC Nurse Prof Says:

    Today Canada formally withdrew from the Kyoto protocol in order to avoid paying the $14 million in penalties that has accrued because the country never met its targets.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1100802–canada-first-nation-to-withdraw-from-kyoto-protocol

  18. BC Nurse Prof Says:

    Last Friday, Harper ok’ed the takeover of a large Calgary-based company in the tar sands, Nexen, by a government of China oil company, CNOOC, and another tar sands company, Progress Energy Resources by Malaysian state controlled firm, Petronas.

    http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/energy-resources/Ottawa+announce+decisions+Nexen+Progress/7668113/story.html

  19. BC Nurse Prof Says:

    In order to explain Harper’s desperation, we have an excellent article by Andrew Nikiforuk in The Tyee:

    http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/12/08/Nexen-Harper/

    This article contains some excellent global statistics of which we should all be aware.

  20. BC Nurse Prof Says:

    Here is the info about the hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_ward_on_mass_extinctions.html

    Purple oceans, mass extinctions. “They hate us animals. They want their world back.”

    Don’t worry about the medical applications he discusses at the end, they will never happen. In Greece right now, none of the hospitals have the funds for gowns, gloves and masks. As a result, cases of antibiotoc resistant organisms is skyrocketing. After Greece, Spain, after Spain, Italy. Then France. Then the U.S.

    All we need is for a multiply resistant virus to combine with a flu virus in one person in a hospital, to create a pandemic spread by aerosols. Voila.

  21. Jane Says:

    I think that game theory explains the lack of action….

    http://kapundagarden.blogspot.com.au/2009/11/game-theory.html

    …. and I have written about it previously.
    Now that I know the reason, how can I change the outcome?

  22. Tom Says:

    You won’t have to go back Guy, by next year things will have changed to the point that most everyone will know we’re in deep doo-doo.

    More people are noticing that the largest and oldest trees are dying.
    i saw articles on dying pines, cedar, oak, maple and now:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22589-dying-aspen-trees-sound-alarm-for-worlds-forests.html

    Looks like the predictions are coming true sooner than anyone (who’s been asleep for the past 10 years) expected. Lookin’ more and more like Silent Spring next year or the year after.

    Robin: Dutchsinse, who posts videos and blogs about earth changes (weather, earthquakes, HAARP, chemtrails, etc) has twisted that adage so that it reflects the new reality of geoengineering -

    ” . . . every dark cloud has a silver IODIDE lining.”

  23. BC Nurse Prof Says:

    I believe the game theory study Dr. McPherson is referring to is this one:

    Barrett, S. & Dannenberg, A. (2012). Climate negotiations under scientific uncertainty. PNAS 109(43), 17372-17376. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1208417109

    http://www.pnas.org/content/109/43/17372.short

  24. Tom Says:

    Fukushima is DEFINITELY not cleaned up and is still spewing radiation all over the US. According to this video, it will be about a century before they can completely decommission it.

  25. John Stassek Says:

    Guy,
    I thought this was the most devastating presentation I’ve seen you give. (Maybe that’s because the news keeps getting more devastating) You gave a clear, concise, logical and hard-hitting talk. And thankfully, you showed some compassion and offered a little hope as you ended. I understand the dilemma Daniel and others have spoken of. How can you offer hope in a hopeless situation? But one who is terminally ill deserves to know. The time we have left is precious. Everyone needs to know that. Yes, this should be on the evening news. But it’s not. So thank you for taking the time and making the effort. It continues to be an honor to know you.

  26. Kathy C Says:

    Not sure if this was posted here earlier or not
    Many of us have wondered at some point in almost precisely these terms: “Is Earth F**ked?” But it’s not the sort of frank query you expect an expert in geomorphology to pose to his colleagues as the title of a formal presentation at one of the world’s largest scientific gatherings.
    Nestled among offerings such as “Bedrock Hillslopes to Deltas: New Insights Into Landscape Mechanics” and “Chemical Indicators of Pathways in the Water Cycle,” the question leapt off the pages of the schedule for the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. Brad Werner, a geophysicist at the University of California, San Diego, is one of the more than 20,000 Earth and atmospheric scientists who descended on downtown San Francisco this week to share their research on everything from Antarctic ice-sheet behavior to hurricane path modeling to earthquake forecasting. But he’s the only one whose presentation required the use of censorious asterisks. When the chairman of Werner’s panel announced the talk’s title on Wednesday, a titter ran through the audience at the naughtiness of it all.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/12/is_earth_f_ked_at_2012_agu_meeting_scientists_consider_advocacy_activism.single.html

  27. Christopher Says:

    Guy, thank you so much for this.

  28. Ripley Says:

    Dr. M:
    Thanks for another superb presentation, my favorite so far.

    In the data I could find on climate history, it doesn’t look like ave temp was ever warmer than about 22 c (about 10 c warmer than today), since the Cambrian, when most of complex life began.
    But this planet was at 22 c for much of that time, so, I’m guessing life could regenerate and live at that much warmer temp, and it would be of the reptilian order. But even though life existed at that temp in the past, very little of what lives today (even reptiles) would survive because of the inability to adjust to so rapid a temp change.
    If the predicted 16 c increase happens though, that would put us beyond anything experienced by life on this planet above a very primitive level, and we would essentially be leaving earthly climate experience and be sprinting towards a Venusian climate experience. Then, it would be game over, for complex life forms, forever.

    I could have put question marks after each of those sentences. So if any of you can confirm or correct any of it, I’d appreciate it. It’s based on a cursory online search. Thanks.

  29. Ripley Says:

    From the Slate article:
    “Resistance, Werner argued, is the wildcard that can force dominant systems such as our current resource-chewing juggernaut onto a more sustainable path.”

    Its not any easy thing to talk about, but it might be time to take notice and admit that capitalism has crushed, and will crush, anything that gets in its path, even if that path is proven with scientific evidence to lead to extinction. The evidence and the scientists, are simply one more thing that will have to be crushed or made to disappear, in one manner or another. It will happen in stages. Right now they are in stage one: (Ignore or minimize) -especially the urgency part of the message, mainly using their corp owned media.

  30. Tony Weddle Says:

    Guy,

    I’ve watched many of these talks and whilst much of it is very concerning and founded on research, I wonder why you continue to include the claim that methane release in the Arctic has gone exponential. There were some outlier readings at one monitoring station which raised plenty of eyebrows but other stations didn’t pick that up. All readings are subject to review and some are expunged, from time to time, as being explained by temporary glitches or temporary local phenomena. The readings you include don’t now appear on the record and the readings have now resumed their general upward trend, though not exponential.

    Why do you leave that reference in your talk?

  31. dairymandave2003 Says:

    I woke up this morning with a rant on my mind:

    AMEG, Arctic Methane Emergency Group, is in favor of economic growth and maintaining civilization and the industrial economy. The woman in the video talking about Fukushima seems quite knowledgeable about the subject but refers to the “food chain”. There is no such thing as a food chain. We hear intelligent people talk about “make your own reality”. As long as smart, educated, influential, important people continue to speak nonsense, we don’t have a chance. We might have had a chance because none of this “maybe” would not have happened if we knew how the world really worked.

    Why do people take out a 30 year mortgage on a house and work their asses off for 30 years to pay for it and spend weekends caring for it? Because they think they need it. They need a roof, warmth, water, electricity, refrigeration and all that the house provides. Same for their car; they work to pay for it and take care of it so it will keep running well. All the while we are fucking over our Mother Earth every way we can because we don’t know how it works, how much we need that Mother. We need it more than we need our house or our car. We were taught the “food chain” idea. A chain has a beginning and an end and we are at the end, at the top, the top predator. Everything on Earth ends up with us at the top and we can then throw the waste away because it is no longer needed. Truth is, Mother Earth needed it.

    As Guy points out, what we need are food, water, some sort of house and clothing, and community. Now we hear a lot about increased food shortages and how farmers don’t know what to do. I’m a farmer and here’s what I would like to see done (starting 100 years ago). Teach children about the cycles of life, the life sciences; the food web, the nitrogen cycle, the oxygen cycle, the P and K cycle, the energy cycle, photosynthesis, the CO2 cycle. Teach the children (you can’t teach adults anything, I guess) that they are part of these cycles and they must contribute their part in the cycle while Mother Earth contributes her part. We are part and a participant in a complicated web. Even the “do-good” environmentalists break the cycles with their stupid “composting”. So sad. How could intelligent people be so stupid? Underground shelters simply makes my point: they are stupid.

    Regrets is what tears me apart. This didn’t need to happen.

    David

  32. Kathy C Says:

    Mother of all Economic Collpases?
    1 min Max Keiser rant

  33. dairymandave2003 Says:

    Tom, we need(ed) to integrate information about how the living earth system works. We didn’t. The problem with veganism is it causes dust bowls and erosion. Sod crops need to be the main crop if farming, plowing. Folks don’t want to eat sod crops. A living Earth works best with animals as well as plants. We all know that.

    I’m willing to bet that the most voracious, top predator, 1%, elite billionaire takes good care of all his mansions, cars, yachts, helicopters and jet planes. He wouldn’t burn his own house down. Why would he burn down his own environmet, the mother of everything he really needs? He doesn’t know he needs it. He attended ivy league colleges.

  34. wildwoman Says:

    dairymandave,

    Everyone has their pet theories about where we went wrong. My own is that the seeds of destruction were planted when we were forced from a matrilineal, earth based religion to the cults of Abraham and Jesus.
    Dominion. Patriarchy. Separate from nature. Prior to the Inquisitions and Crusades (not to mention witch burning), we lived much closer to the earth. We didn’t let go easily or quickly, but were forced.

    I think about this every Christmas and Easter. What could have been.

  35. Guy McPherson Says:

    Tony Weddle, I include the information from AMEG and I clearly cite them as the source

  36. Tom Says:

    More on (moron) our “intelligence” community:

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2012/12/10/us-intelligence-community-still-not-getting-it-on-climate-change/

    Thanks dmdave – i was only going for how we even fuck THAT up with radiation, stupid farming practices, chemistry misapplied (as well as biology, botany, etc) to agriculture (which is itself problematic), and on and on . . . On the billionaires, millionaires, wealthy – i realized a long time ago that these people are not only not ‘special’ in intelligence or at anything else other than making money, but also are just ordinary people blinded and entrapped by their money-making worldview (completely missing the point to their lives) by bias, reinforcement of “rewards,” and hubris (among many other factors).

    going WAAAAY back (from NewScientist this week):
    (well, i can’t get the goddamned link to open so i’ll TYPE the fuckin’ thing)

    p. 12 THIS WEEK (section)
    Captured: moment life changed forever
    Colin Barras
    BILLIONS of years ago, a tiny cyanobacterium cracked open a water molecule – and let loose a poison that wrought death and destruction on an epic scale. The microbe had just perfected photosynthesis, a process that freed the oxygen trapped inside water and killed early Earth’s anaerobic inhabitants.
    Now, for the first time, geologists have found evidence of the crucial evolutionary stage just before cyanobactera split water. The find offers a unique snapshot of the moment that made the modern world. With the advent of photosynthesis came an atmosphere dominated by oxygen and, ultimately, the diversity of life forms that we know today.
    “This was the biggest change that ever occurred in the biosphere,” says Kevin Redding at Arizona State University in Tempe. “The extinction it caused by oxygen was probably the largest ever seen, but at the same time animal life wouldn’t be possible without oxygen.”

    (skipping to the end of the single page article which explains the experiment, some earth histo-biology, etc – all interesting)

    What Fisher’s team has found is evidence of the initial step in this process: an anoxic environment rich in manganese that has been stripped of electrons and left in an oxidised state, almost certainly by privmitive cyanobacteria. “There had to be some intermediate step in the evolutionary process,” says Redding.

    i’ll skip the last few sentences because my head is buzzing with topics right now:

    1. So here’s evolution at work well before “intelligent beings” – so there’s some underlying force for direction of this “life force” amid supposedly inanimate objects devoid of mind.

    2. Here we are, humanity – the pinnacle of life (according to us), possessed of “intelligence”/ “willful intent”/ altering of the biosphere such that now we’re going back to the primitive state where we no longer inhabit the planet, and the Earth continues along probably via the same underlying “life force” (for want of a better word – i’d like suggestions) that caused the subject of this article.

    Perhaps this is all baked into the plan – we did what we were supposed to do – fuck the place up so we couldn’t live here any more after accomplishing a lot of planetary chemistry, physics, botany, biology, introduced new (quantities of) nuclear elements, virus, bacteria, etc and altered the planet in the process of “living” according to our (turns out to be “stupid” in that it kills us off) “biological imperatives” and civilization supporting activities which include procreation (yeah, but to the extreme?) and all the other behaviors including agriculture, pollution, environmental degradation, resource depletion, geo-engineering, mountain top removal mining methods, mining in general, and the rest.

    Please share what you think.

  37. dairymandave2003 Says:

    Read this one, The Circular Economy. After reading it you realize that they skipped the whole subject of the living earth, the food web and all the cycles we depend on. Just recycle stuff. Blah, blah, blah.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/blog/circular-economy-private-sector-zero-waste

  38. dairymandave2003 Says:

    We could say that John Phipps is the spokesperson for big ag. He does a TV show, The US Farm Report. He speaks here about population and global warming:

    http://johnwphipps.blogspot.com/2012/12/were-not-going-to-10.html

    About what you would expect.

  39. Cathy Says:

    Of course, when the SHTF, those deniers who failed to listen people like Dr. McPherson will surely turn on the rest of us and blame (or worse) us for not making the issues more clear to them before the cstastrophe. Somehow, it will always be our fault. And if they suspect that you have made any preparations for the calamity, then god help you.

  40. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Game Theory for Doomers

    What’s doom, in this math that’s so eerie?
    A short cut for those getting weary:
    We need not rehash
    Johnny von Neumann and Nash,
    It’s game over—and there’s your game theory.

  41. Robin Datta Says:

    Here is the link:

    New Scientist

    Captured: moment life changed forever

  42. Robin Datta Says:

    Please share what you think.

    The apparent material world continues in its own ways. The perception of agency of being the “doer” and “enjoyer” and “sufferer” are all part of the same appearance. As are thoughts.

  43. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    David, you threw me with the “stupid composting” comment. Can you elaborate on that?

  44. Tom Says:

    Thanks Robin.

  45. ed Says:

    DMD: What’s a sod crop? I farm on the east coast and its not a term I am familiar with. Also why does vegan cause dust bowls? Not arguing with you on either of your statements, just looking for more info.

    Thanks

  46. Robin Datta Says:

    How to “paper over” depleting resources and depleting energy flows:

    uS Debt Ceiling

  47. dairymandave2003 Says:

    Dr. House, About composting, I’ll start from the beginning and let you decide. Folks complain about loss of topsoil, dust bowls, and erosion and drought. Good soil structure will prevent all of these problems. When I took my first agronomy course back in 1961, we had a white haired professor who spent a lot of time explaining what soil is. It was 50 years later before I understood why he stressed it so much; the university really didn’t want it taught. I believe he retired the next year. Big ag doesn’t care about good soils. They want to sell things to fix soil problems. Good soil has structure. You can’t buy it. You probably know all this but I’ll go over it for the benefit of others. Imagine a hotel 20 stories high. Then demolish it. The hotel is all still there but now it is compacted. It no longer has structure. Structure is built by microorganisms. There is more volume of life below the surface of the ground than above it. This life lives and builds and moves around, making something like a hotel with rooms. These organisms need food. Since they are hidden from the sun, they depend entirely on waste organic matter for energy. Their food is first calories (energy), and also minerals. Fertilizer is just N and minerals, no energy. Building up soil with fertilizer makes just dirt plus chemicals, no structure. So to get structure, we need the organisms and the organisms need food. Food is organic waste and undisturbed nature provides lots of it. Here on the farm we spread 10 tons of plant food each day. The “bugs” build the soil. We would not ever compost this material because energy would be lost. Note that there are many animal and insect organisms in the world and none of them compost. They poop where it does good, for some other organism so as to prevent spread of disease. Later in the loop, there will be food again. And around it goes. There is never enough energy available for soil organisms when humans take so much from the land. Don’t waste any.

    It’s a lot of wasted work, too, and cost.

    David

  48. wildwoman Says:

    Dairymandave,

    I was under the impression that compost fed the soil for the structure you’re talking about.

    I’m not following you about the plant food you are talking about.

  49. depressive lucidity Says:

    Guy, in the comment section of the previous post Palloy explains that the IPCC model incorporates feedback mechanisms:

    The IPCC climate model certainly does have a lot of feedback mechanisms in it, all the feedbacks that scientists agree on in Assessment Report 4 (2007) were in there, and AR5 (expected in 2014) will no doubt refine that, especially in the area of the Arctic where the temperature rise (predicted and actual) is highest.

    The model accepts plug-ins so that any competent programmer can write there own particular feedback modelling formula and plug it into the main program to produce their own version of the standard model. The tricky part is then to convince everybody else of the correctness of the new model, but if you can, then it will be adopted in AR5.

    I know that AR5 is intentionally omitting permafrost methane. My question is, if the IPCC model includes feedbacks in its projections, why is it so inadequate? Or, is Palloy incorrect?

  50. Guy McPherson Says:

    IPCC 4 includes none of the eight feedbacks we’ve triggered. It includes minor feedbacks associated with, for example, cloud cover.

  51. Bones288 Says:

    Easily one of the best climate presentations I’ve seen in a decade.
    One of my other favorite presentations was an animation from 2007, I think it was. It covers some of the feedbacks (in mind-candy bite sized chunks) that are covered my Prof. McPherson here:

    wake up freak out: http://agilewlprd.qualcomm.com/Agile/PLMServlet;jsessionid=dLxTQHGFM4n8hgs62SjNMRZnvg1LS11bTTdPJZpcWL7lT6vfL9Rv!-1822763560!-352977793?module=LoginHandler&opcode=forwardToMainMenu

    I hope I’m not violating any post rules. Enjoy.

    -Bk

  52. Bones288 Says:

    Terribly sorry. I should have realized that link was WAY to large. Pls disregard it:

    wake up, freak out

    And thanks again Professor McPherson. . .I’ve watched your presentation twice in two days and will probably do so again tomorrow.

    -Bk

  53. dairymandave2003 Says:

    wildwoman, I’m sorry, I meant that I spread 10 tons of microorganism food, not plant food. The point is to feed the soil, not the plant. Fertilizer feeds the plants. With organic farming, you focus on feeding the soil. Then the soil feeds the plants. The important concept to understand is that the life below ground level has no access to the sun for energy and depends exclusively for life above ground for its energy supply. Life above ground gets the sunshine. One could argue that life above ground exists solely to feed the life underground however I think they have a symbiotic relationship; they need each other. This matter is part of the care of the biosphere. This group focuses on CO2 and methane quite a lot but destruction of soil is another part that tends to be ignored. Man harvests the above ground growth and ships it off to the city. Life below ground needed that material and didn’t get it. It was robbed. When the transportation lines break down and farmers can’t get fertilizer, they will need to feed their soil with organic matter or not much will grow. Where will they get it? Those organisms below ground want and need high energy food, not burned out compost. They are the ones who build soil structure, not the compost itself.

    Another mistake is to use organic matter to produce methane in a digester. That’s another stupid idea. All the soil ends up getting is minerals, no energy. The energy has been siphoned off to charge our smart phones. After I explained this to Stoneleigh, she quit her job working on methane digesters.

    David

  54. ulvfugl Says:

    David, pardon me, but you do come up with some very confused statements. You’ve ranted against the term ‘food chain’ several times. Okay, it may not be the best – perhaps a three-dimensional net would be more accurate – but at least it indicates something that actually happens,in that nutrients ( chemical ) pass along a chain from one organism to another. There’s nothing out there that corresponds to your Lego bricks.

    And you don’t understand pH ? And you think vegetation doesn’t need oxygen ?

    And now you’re knocking composting ? Composting is for gardeners, as I understand it, or for horticulturalists. Farming is rather different, no ? So you’re not comparing like with like. And it makes a lot more sense to compost organic material and vegetable waste and use it on a garden to fertilise the soil and grow vegetables, than to send it off to land fill, where it will rot and produce methane.

    ( Small scale methane digesters may also have their place in the Third World, as a low tech energy source, where no other is available, especially if they replaced something more harmful, but that’s a separate issue ).

    And now you’re talking about farming and feeding the soil. Look, there’s nothing natural about farming. The soil doesn’t ask to be fed. If you were not there with your farm, the area would be perfectly happy, with the soil and the trees and the deer and whatever else that lived there. The whole concept of imposing a farm onto a natural system is a gross insult, a perturbation.

    Yes, some insults are worse than others. At least, you are attempting to put something back, in return for what you take. You could cover your area with concrete and tarmac.

    But when you say ‘life below ground needed that material’, are you sure you know what you are talking about ? Perhaps ‘life below ground’ never wanted you there at all. Perhaps ‘life below ground’ would prefer the ecology to be as it was, in the absence of human interference ?

  55. Bernhard Says:

    Ulvfugl
    I don’t see the need for the harshness in the arguments, people we are
    f**cked anyway.
    Dairymandave is right in his approach. Had there never been the so called Green Revolution, that is degrading the soil to a mere grip, a hold for the plants, we would have hundreds of years to go, maybe thousands. Because if we had understood the importance of the living soil, we sure likely had understood so many other things(and omitted that endless row of our stupidity). I think the Chinese in ancient? times returned the human excrement back to the land, even from the cities.
    Organic farming still is an “island” of life compared to the chemical poisoned desert.
    “Perhaps ‘life below ground’ would prefer the ecology to be as it was, in the absence of human interference ?” Perhaps.
    Some “study” I read decades ago implied, using this approach, at any time there would have been space for 10 maybe 20 million humans as hunter gatherers to feed of the wild earth.
    What I always wondered was the approach to consider food and the production of it, the same value as any other “commodity”. Say for instance nail polish, having the same value as food, as everything is measured in money. The production of food no more “sacred” than the production of nail polish. Ah well, lots to go through to try to understand our predicament; And make peace with it.
    Peace.

  56. dairymandave2003 Says:

    ulvfugl, As I stated, you can’t teach adults anything, at least not right away:

    http://www.physicstoday.org/resource/1/phtoad/v64/i10/p39_s1?bypassSSO=1

    David

  57. dairymandave2003 Says:

    This is just for Christmas:
    …stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.

    http://www.monbiot.com/2012/12/10/the-gift-of-death/

  58. dairymandave2003 Says:

    Or we could look at composting from the carbon point of view. Do you want to release the carbon into the air in your back yard as CO2 or sequester it into the soil where you are trying to grow something? Or what about water? Do you want to pump water to your garden or hold the rain that falls? Think about this and try to give up your religious beliefs. Haven’t we fucked over the earth enough yet? I know what farming is and isn’t but most of you eat and will continue to eat farm food until it’s all over.

    Indeed, there is a lack of understanding on this subject. One of my daughters attended Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I asked her yesterday if they really teach life sciences. She didn’t even know what I was talking about. She studied things like sociology and ethics. I believe that if they did teach life sciences, most of those graduating would make a career of dismantling industrial civilization. Couldn’t let that happen, could we. Got to keep the truth about soil science over there in the religious box, organic farming, where it won’t interfere with Big Ag. As long as they are busy composting, they never will have time to scale up to farming size. Monsanto supports organic farming. The co-op that buys my milk does too.

  59. ulvfugl Says:

    you can’t teach adults anything

    David, I am an adult. I learn new stuff every single day.

    Fuck Christmas. It’s part of the death culture. I ignore it.

  60. ulvfugl Says:

    Bernhard, it goes back to Liebig. This is one of the problems that the enthusiastic supporters of science have. Of which I am, to a degree one. We end up with Hiroshima and Fukushima and Hanford and Chernobyl.
    Liebigs research seemed quite sensible and innocent, but we end up with the catastrophe of intensive agribusiness and Monsanto. One reason was that after WW1, the explosives manufacturers didn’t want their profits reduced, so they looked for new markets, and fertilizers and pesticides for farmers was just what they needed. So then came the propaganda from the marketing men, which persists today…

  61. ulvfugl Says:

    David Or we could look at composting from the carbon point of view. Do you want to release the carbon into the air in your back yard as CO2 or sequester it into the soil where you are trying to grow something? Or what about water? Do you want to pump water to your garden or hold the rain that falls?

    Erm, the carbon that gets released from compost from decaying plants, then taken up again by growing plants, is not a problem.

    The problem we have is from the carbon that was buried in the geological strata as coal and oil, and gets released into the atmosphere.

  62. dairymandave2003 Says:

    ulvfugl, the old professor at Cornell I spoke of also had field plots of corn containing one species of non-hybred corn which he showed grew just as well as the hybreds. “They” let him plant that corn, he said, but I’m sure they didn’t do it after he retired. He also posted “ethics” across the top of the black board, a different phrase each day. I’ll bet they don’t do that any longer, either. He was a real old timer. I wish I could thank him for being what he was.

    David

  63. dairymandave2003 Says:

    pardon me, “being who he was”.

  64. ulvfugl Says:

    David, carbon does not get sequestered into the soil, unless you use a specific technique, such as biochar or terra preta, to hold it there.

  65. dairymandave2003 Says:

    If the organic matter is consumed by the microbes, which is what this is all about, it becomes part of their bodies, not being burned off as CO2 and water. The carbon is measured as soil organic matter, dead and alive. Why are you against it? It’s how the world works.

  66. ulvfugl Says:

    And when the microbes die, their bodies decay, and the CO2 and water returns to the air.

    I’m not against ‘it’. I’m saying that you don’t understand ‘it’.

    If you were correct, the amount of carbon in the soil would keep on increasing, so that if someone measured it a century ago, and again last week, they’d find a huge increase. People have done the experiment. There’s no significant change. Yes, you can increase the amount of organic matter. And yes, the micro-organisms will increase and will break it down, and then you’re back where you started.

    If you want to actually fix CO2, long term, you have to use biochar or terra preta, that way, you can sequester carbon for a 1000 years or so as well as improving soil ferility and texture.

  67. Kathy C Says:

    When I first read Ruth Stout’s No Work Garden I felt a sense of rightness about it. You don’t compost, you just put stuff on top of the soil and let it self compost right there. You don’t have to throw away vegetable waste because you don’t have a compost pile, you just lift up a bit of hay or move aside some leaves, put the vegetable matter underneath and put stuff back on top. I do compost now, I compost our humanure. I do that so that any human disease bacteria in it can have time or temps to be disabled. I also let the leaves and chicken manure from our chicken house compost for the same reason. But I don’t do any other composting. The whole garden is a compost pile in a sense as I put the vegetable matter there and let the bugs in the soil pull it in and take care of it for me. I remember Ruth Stout saying that she thought mulch was better than manure as putting it through a cow meant that some of the content was lost to the cow.

    I have read that earthworms form a sort of compost pile – perhaps to grow fungi
    Kemper is so tuned in to worms, he claims he can feel their droppings through the soles of his shoes. These droppings, called casts, are often laid in piles and form noticeable mounds—up to an inch or more high—on farmland, as well as urban lawns.
    He also looks for middens, which are especially large in the Midwest. Worms form middens by covering fresh pieces of crop residue with casts over a worm hole. “These middens are worms’ cross between compost piles and root cellars,” Kemper says.
    Each midden is one worm’s grazing grounds. By surrounding the crop residue with moist casts, the worms encourage mold growth. They eat the mold’s hairlike filaments, or hyphae, using muscular action and suction to slurp the strands in much the same way as people do spaghetti.
    Berry says the answer to the question of why worms build middens is as uncertain as many other aspects of worm behavior. There are several possible answers, including food storage—snacks are nearby, ready to be pulled into the burrow. Middens also hide the tops of burrows and control interior climate, much as office workers use doors. Kemper has learned to peel open these middens to find earthworms.
    http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/may95/worms0595.htm?pf=1

    I remember when I first learned of the size of the microbial life in the soil. That is when I understood why Ruth Stouts method works better – it leaves the microbes in place. Even turning a spade full of soil puts aerobic bacteria underground and anaerobic bacteria above ground. Unfortunately the soil here is depleted from years of cotton farming and following that pine tree harvesting, so I still dig holes and add compost for my tomatoes and squash, but the goal is to have a garden soil so rich from years of adding leaves and straw that anything can be planted anywhere just by pulling aside the mulch and poking the plant or seed in.

    Dave thanks for bringing up the subject of soil.
    Steve Solomon runs a library for out of print books
    I recommend the following from http://www.soilandhealth.org/ Can’t give you a direct link as you have to promise to respect the library and any copyrights before getting in. But once you do that you can go to the agriculture library and find this (and lots of other good reading material).

    Dale, Tom and Veron Gill Carter. Topsoil and Civilization. Norman, Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Press, 1955.

    This classic survey of world history should never have been allowed to fall out of print. It demonstrates how every civilization from Mesopotamia to Rome has destroyed its agricultural resource base and thus destroyed itself. The book also looks at modern-day Europe and the United States with considerable uncertainty about the sustainability of our own system. Downloads as a PDF of 1.56 mb.

  68. ulvfugl Says:

    David, you stated that you know what farming is and what it isn’t. But look, there are hundreds and hundreds of different farming methodologies around the world.

    In UK, there’s been many different ones tried over the centuries. None of them are ‘natural’. They all destroy and replace nature. The last natural system was hunting and gathering, when people had a very low population density, and fitted in to the natural ecology just like the bears and the wolves and the wild boar and the deer, fishing and gathering nuts and so forth. As soon as people began felling and burning trees and ploughing up the land and so on, they started to change the environment. It wasn’t noticeable at first, but it sure is now.

    People have tried to figure out a ‘natural’ way of farming, that is methods that mimiced natural ecology. Are you familiar with any of those ideas ?

  69. ulvfugl Says:

    Here you go, might be helpful

  70. ulvfugl Says:

    More… think of your cows gut as a composting machine

    http://www.savoryinstitute.com/

  71. dairymandave2003 Says:

    If left alone, the amount of carbon in the soil would remain steady. I’m not trying to sequester excess atmospheric carbon to fix a man made problem. That problem has already passed the tipping point. Permaculture is a great idea but a little too late. It would require depopulation. The one straw revolution, too.

    We’ll farm until we can’t.

  72. Kathy C Says:

    Ulvfugl, since organic matter contains Carbon, that carbon does not become CO2 until it breaks down. However to say no Carbon is sequestered by organic matter in the soil seems wrong. The top soil (read organic matter) in our area was said to be 5 feet deep when Europeans came. Now it is mostly gone. Thus all over this area 5 feet of carbon from falling leaves was not in the air, and to have that more had to be being added than being taken out or it would not have accumulated.

    Isn’t Coal made from just such organic matter that built up to huge levels and then got covered and compressed. Didn’t the carbon have to be sitting there on the ground before covering, rather than in the air? Some of the ground I turned into garden I first treated by laying down cardboard and then leaves on top of it. That I started about 10 years ago. When I dig in some of those areas that have not been disturbed before by digging I will find pieces of the tape from the cardboard an inch of more down. Don’t I have then 1 inch of carbon in the form of broken down leaves sequestered right there in my garden. In the breaking down some carbon was released but what else is that beautiful dark soil on top of the clay but organic matter partly broken down but none the less mostly sequestered? So if there was 5 feet of such organic matter on top of the clay when the Europeans came here that was 60 inches and if I accumulated 1 inch in 10 years that would be 600 years of organic matter sequestered.

  73. Kathy C Says:

    I made the mistake of posting the following with 2 links and so I am going to break it up so it posts now

    When I first read Ruth Stout’s No Work Garden I felt a sense of rightness about it. You don’t compost, you just put stuff on top of the soil and let it self compost right there. You don’t have to throw away vegetable waste because you don’t have a compost pile, you just lift up a bit of hay or move aside some leaves, put the vegetable matter underneath and put stuff back on top. I do compost now, I compost our humanure. I do that so that any human disease bacteria in it can have time or temps to be disabled. I also let the leaves and chicken manure from our chicken house compost for the same reason. But I don’t do any other composting. The whole garden is a compost pile in a sense as I put the vegetable matter there and let the bugs in the soil pull it in and take care of it for me. I remember Ruth Stout saying that she thought mulch was better than manure as putting it through a cow meant that some of the content was lost to the cow.

    I have read that earthworms form a sort of compost pile – perhaps to grow fungi
    Kemper is so tuned in to worms, he claims he can feel their droppings through the soles of his shoes. These droppings, called casts, are often laid in piles and form noticeable mounds—up to an inch or more high—on farmland, as well as urban lawns.
    He also looks for middens, which are especially large in the Midwest. Worms form middens by covering fresh pieces of crop residue with casts over a worm hole. “These middens are worms’ cross between compost piles and root cellars,” Kemper says.
    Each midden is one worm’s grazing grounds. By surrounding the crop residue with moist casts, the worms encourage mold growth. They eat the mold’s hairlike filaments, or hyphae, using muscular action and suction to slurp the strands in much the same way as people do spaghetti.
    Berry says the answer to the question of why worms build middens is as uncertain as many other aspects of worm behavior. There are several possible answers, including food storage—snacks are nearby, ready to be pulled into the burrow. Middens also hide the tops of burrows and control interior climate, much as office workers use doors. Kemper has learned to peel open these middens to find earthworms.http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/may95/worms0595.htm?pf=1

  74. Kathy C Says:

    I remember when I first learned of the size of the microbial life in the soil. That is when I understood why Ruth Stouts method works better – it leaves the microbes in place. Even turning a spade full of soil puts aerobic bacteria underground and anaerobic bacteria above ground. Unfortunately the soil here is depleted from years of cotton farming and following that pine tree harvesting, so I still dig holes and add compost for my tomatoes and squash, but the goal is to have a garden soil so rich from years of adding leaves and straw that anything can be planted anywhere just by pulling aside the mulch and poking the plant or seed in.

    Dave thanks for bringing up the subject of soil.
    Steve Solomon runs a library for out of print books
    I recommend the following from http://www.soilandhealth.org/ Can’t give you a direct link as you have to promise to respect the library and any copyrights before getting in. But once you do that you can go to the agriculture library and find this (and lots of other good reading material).

    Dale, Tom and Veron Gill Carter. Topsoil and Civilization. Norman, Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Press, 1955.

    This classic survey of world history should never have been allowed to fall out of print. It demonstrates how every civilization from Mesopotamia to Rome has destroyed its agricultural resource base and thus destroyed itself. The book also looks at modern-day Europe and the United States with considerable uncertainty about the sustainability of our own system. Downloads as a PDF of 1.56 mb.

  75. Kathy C Says:

    Ulvfugl – how much land are you gardening or farming on? What plants are you growing or did grow this last summer? What methods are you personally using? I probably missed it but I can’t remember you actually saying what method you use, what you grow, how it is doing.

    Bernhard, nail polish isn’t food? What if you bite your nails :) When I first heard of the “service economy” I had this vision of a circle of people all doing each others nails and paying each other creating GDP but slowing starving to death …. someone has to grow food

  76. ulvfugl Says:

    Kathy : Isn’t Coal made from just such organic matter that built up to huge levels and then got covered and compressed. Didn’t the carbon have to be sitting there on the ground before covering, rather than in the air?

    If I’m understanding you correctly, yes to all of that… but there’s a clear distinction to be made, the benign carbon cycle, involving soil, trees, etc, which had us at the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 level 280ppm, which was fine, the stuff just goes into the animals and plants and soil and out again, around and around.

    And then there’s the ancient carbon that was locked away, that we unlocked and converted into CO2. That’s a vast quantity. Incidentally, apparently, it can never happen again, because it only occurred at that time because the organisms that would have broken down those buried forests had not yet evolved. Hmmm, there’s some food for thought perhaps…

    CO2 is released from your garden compost heap, or when you dig your garden soil, or when farmers plough fields, and cattle belching methane, and so on, but the additional CO2 that has caused global warming has come from fossil fuels. That’s proven by the fact that it has an identifiable isotopic marker.

    Not quite certain if that answers the point you were making ?

  77. ulvfugl Says:

    Kathy how much land are you gardening or farming on? What plants are you growing or did grow this last summer?

    My health has deteriorated to the point that I do very little, Kathy. Long ago, in childhood, I began with conventional veg gardening, then discovered the organic movement, then taoist and zen gardening, then Seymour’s self-sufficiency, then permaculture and Fukuoka, Robert Hart’s forest gardening, and so forth, so I have bits and pieces from all of those, on twenty five acres, but in the light of the ways things are going, my feeling is that species conservation should take priority… and anyway, I can’t continue much longer, so perhaps this is a good moment to mention, if anyone is interested in taking over, I may be open to suggestions, scroll down for email address.
    The last project has been forest garden, planting many different fruit trees, in 4 acres of what has been grass, based on the idea that there are woodland soils and grassland soils, and they are quite different, so mimicing woodland soils by chipping twigs for mulch, called ramial wood, which are the small twigs from trees which hold a lot of minerals and hold carbon for a long time, decaying slowly, to build up the sort of soil found beneath tree cover, rather than a grassland or prairie type of soil.

    http://www.monsangelorum.net/?p=7

  78. Tom Says:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/12/11/1269901/the-salt-lake-tribune-editorializes-a-killing-climate-global-warming-unchecked/

    geez – at this rate, the mainstream media may catch up to just how bad it is as we begin massive human die-off. (dept. of way too late, but better than not at all somehow).

  79. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Dave, thanks for your response. I think perhaps my idea of composting is different than yours. I “compost” by taking any organic matter from the house and returning it to the garden. The chickens, cats, and dogs usually get most of it before I can get it covered up. Even when I do get it covered, the chickens will dig most of it up anyway. But that’s okay. They’re getting value from it and then they poop all over the rest of the property returning what they didn’t use. And we eat their eggs and, as soon as I start harvesting my chickens, we’ll eat their meat. In my mind, we are about as natural as it gets in today’s world.

    You’re right that we eat lots of farm grown/store bought food. We’ve been trying to reduce what we buy as much as possible, but it’s a process. Soon, I suspect we won’t have any choice. Hopefully, we’ll be more prepared when that time comes.

  80. Ripley Says:

    Some of you may like this book: A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization by John Perlin. It’s not an academic text, but I thought it was pretty good.

    “Until the ascendancy of fossil fuels, wood has been the principal fuel and building material from the dawn of civilization.”

  81. OzMan Says:

    Just put the time in to watch the presentation.
    Great points Guy.

    Shame about the Qand A missing.

    If I haddn’t heard it before I’d be throwing up, and that’s as about as good a compliment I can give.

    Keep up the great work Guy, many appreciate the hard work you do.

    Yoy are right…live as though we have got a chance.
    Thanks.

  82. OzMan Says:

    Ripley

    Yeah, wood has got a lot to answer for!!!

  83. Kathy C Says:

    Ulvfugl, you got an earlier start on gardening than I. I never grew anything until I got married. I only did conventional gardening for a few years. After discovering Ruth Stout and the continual mulch method I have never done anything else. It feels very right and works for me, although since I have moved all over the country I have had to do some adaptations in each location. Ruth used straw, and I would love to use straw, but leaves here are free and easy to get since in the town I grocery shop in they are required to bag their leaves.

    I have never grown all of our food needs, and like you find declining health to limit what I can do. Sometimes when I speak of taking an early exit people think I should stay on for my children and grandchildren to help them out. Even if they should come here and even if their is enough rain 10 years from now to grow food, after I imparted knowledge I would be a drain on their being able to survive a bit longer. My early exit would then be a gift, just as it was in some hunter-gatherer tribes. I read a story of a !kung tribe that would leave their elders when they could no longer keep up with the long treks they had to make at times. They would make a small thorn bush structure and leave them tearfully, knowing the structure would not buy them much time from predators. Per the author who was there once when this happened, no one had to force the elders to stay, and the young understood that if they lived long enough this would be their fate too. But that said I still can grow a lot of food, just a bit less every year.

    While perennials and trees once seemed a great way to go with climate becoming so unpredictable it seems that a wide range of annuals to choose from will work better. Or people can pick perenials and trees that have large ranges and can withstand flooding and drought. That would be more important now than flavor of even production.

    Here is one company that carries a lot of native trees http://www.oikostreecrops.com/store/home.asp I got my Apios Americana (also called ground nuts but unlike peanuts they are a tuber) from them and hope to dig them after our first heavy frost and report. The Native Americans used them as a staple – they can be grown in the south as well as the north and despite usually growing near water ours have done OK even in our drought – well OK on the top, we shall see how the tubers are soon.

  84. Kathy C Says:

    Stalking the Wild Groundnut
    In case of a famine…a plant that grows everywhere

    BY TAMARA DEAN
    PHOTO BY JASON HOUSTON

    http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/458/

  85. Kathy C Says:

    From Fukushima Diary
    Murata ex JP ambassador, “Coolant system of reactor4 was broken 12/8~12/11, concrete base is terribly deteriorating.”
    Posted by Mochizuki on December 11th, 2012 · 7 Comments
    According to Mr. Murata, former Japanese ambassador in Switzerland, the coolant system of SFP of reactor4 was stopped from 12/8 to 12/11, and the concrete base is terribly damaged already.
    Knowing this trouble, mass media did not report it at all.

    On 12/11/2012, Mr. Iwakami Yasumi, Japanese journalist received this email from Mr. Murata.

    Dear Mr. Iwakami

    I received this message on 12/9/2012..

    「The pump of the SFP in reactor4 had been having the spotty trouble, but it went out of order on 12/8/2012 at the end.

    Nuclear workers were collected for emergency to replace the pump but it takes more 2~3 days to fix they say. (Extra workers were brought by helicopter even at night.)

    According to a nuclear worker collected for emergency, the concrete to reinforce the SFP is terribly deteriorating to be in the “dangerous state”. 」

    I called Mr. Naka, the president of Tohoku enterprise co.,LTD to confirm and he admitted it was true, but it would take shorter than 2~3 days. He said, he reported it to Ohshima, a member of NRA. Ohshima told him Tepco went to Fukushima to confirm the situation at 5:00 of 12/9/2012, and the situation is under control.

    In the afternoon of 12/11/2012, I called both of them to confirm the coolant system was back on.

    It’s questionable why it was not reported by mass media, and if they reported it to near residents.

    Also, a former executive manager of a major company commented this, which is very insightful.

    “My fear has come into the truth. If it was merely the problem of the pump, it wouldn’t be such an issue but if the base to support SFP4 has some damage where we can’t see, the situation is much more serious.”

    They warn the possibility of M8 earthquake, I would love the government and people to take care of Fukushima plant very well. ・・・

    Mr. Iwakami called Mr. Murata after receiving this email. Mr. Murata said, “I sent this email to all the chief editors of national newspaper companies, NHK and influential people of major mass media but they all ignored it. I was shocked. I called the manager of disaster headquarter of Fukushima prefectural government but he didn’t know that. It seems like they didn’t report it to Fukushima local government. ”

    http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/12/murata-ex-jp-ambassador-the-coolant-system-of-reactor4-was-broken-1281211-the-concrete-base-is-terribly-deteriorating/

  86. ulvfugl Says:

    Kathy you got an earlier start on gardening than I.

    I learned from my mother, who learned from her grand parents who had a smal holding and were almost completely self-sufficient. It’s the best way to learn, you don’t even know you know, like can you remember learning how to use a knife and fork and spoon ?
    My mother would say to me and sister, go and pick french beans, or peas, or black currants, and we enjoyed it, it wasn’t like work, and she had various patent gadgets that clamped to the table edge and a handle to turn, with different sized slicing cutters, to cut up beans and stuff, that was fun too. I guess everything like that is electrified nowadays, people got too lazy to turn a handle.

  87. dairymandave2003 Says:

    Do I practice what I preach? Well, I’m caught in the debt trap, I use machinery and fuel. So I found a way to build soil and yet still plow. Of course we have lots of manure, brown gold. I plant one year of corn on good sod heavily manured. Almost no fertilizer. No side dressing. The yield in 2011 was 7.6 tons/acre. Neighbors corn yielded 3 to 4 tons with lots of fertlizer. It works. I told lots of folks in the area, no one was interested. A farmer likes to think HE made the corn grow, not some damned bugs.

    David

  88. Kathy C Says:

    Ulvfugl, certainly coming from a farming family is a great start in life. Lucky you. I found however that gardening came rather naturally to me when I started. I grew up with an older brother who took me on field trips to learn to identify birds and their calls. He also made flash cards for me to identify birds and reptiles, and kept a large terrarium. In the winter I helped him force feed frogs and snakes etc. when we couldn’t get live food for them. Better just to encounter them outside, but I certainly didn’t grow up with an aversion to dirt or critters. :) Surprised a toad in the garden yesterday. The no till makes the garden a happy place for toads. Of course it was a surprise because usually they are not hopping around this time of year. Every child should have the magic experience of looking close at a toad and seeing the gold glitter in their eyes. http://www.art.com/products/p14216495-sa-i2902833/george-grall-the-eye-of-an-american-toad.htm Of course the experience of watching your dog trying to pick up a toad and then start foaming at the mouth is pretty darn fun too…. :)

  89. Kathy C Says:

    Dave, we are all trapped by civilization. While we can no longer save humans or the species they take down with them, in the end we never could because the sun will go nova one day. So it seems to me to just do the things we can that seem the most in harmony in the natural world is a good way to end our lives.

    Tom we have listened to about 1/2 of the vid you posted. If I understand it right at the start they said that they experimented with having young people spend several weeks underground where they were removed from the natural resonance of the earth and that caused them problems. So does this mean that when TPTB go to their pre-planned underground bunkers they are going to get sick and go nuts. That would be great news because it would mean that if they have made the surface unsafe they have nowhere safe to go….Hah!

  90. Kathy C Says:

    Extirpation Nation: How much of the US will be habitable in 50 years?
    by Dan Allen | TODAY

    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2012-12-10/extirpation-nation-how-much-of-the-us-will-be-habitable-in-50-years

  91. BC Nurse Prof Says:

    So here come the geo-engineering geeks:

    http://www.windsorstar.com/technology/study+suggests+could+refreeze+arctic+should/7675453/story.html

    “Environmentalists seem to think the time has come.”

  92. Tom Says:

    Kathy: If you find the time to listen to the rest of it, there’s even more evidence that cell phone use can lead to brain cancer and that the ubiquitous towers, like Fukushima radiation (only worse), constantly bathe us in these waves, contributing to everything from birth defects (esp. autism it seems) and cancers of all kinds.

  93. Gilles Fecteau Says:

    Considering the high probability of life extinction within such a short time, we (all civilized nations) need to start a major war effort the reverse the damage of GHG. Geo-engineering appears to be the only way to save the planet. The proposal from BC Nurse Prof is a good start.

  94. BC Nurse Prof Says:

    What we have to look forward to:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/05/egypts-real-crisis-the-dual-epidemics-quietly-ravaging-public-health/257072/

    Epidemics of avian flu and hoof-and-mouth disease are ravaging Egypt and they have no money to mount a public health response.

    Civilization is so fragile. Back off just a tiny bit and wham! biology steps in kicks you when you’re down.


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  4. [...] Guy McPherson’s last presentation affirms a core premise of my last articles in the expectation that a catastrophic climate system state change is now unavoidable. It does however add two new elements, one how imminent it is and two that it might only be an equally short lived stepping stone to another state change of the geophysical system that is entirely outside the bounds of what the geochemical system we call ‘life on earth’ or more sentimentally Gaia is able to survive, let alone exercise the kind of control over geophysical cycles that it has enjoyed for a few billion years. [...]

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