I have been writing this daily column for a full year now. I think that there were only one or two instants that I lacked an obvious topic. In any event, this is as good a time as any to reformulate my theme of the application of agriculture to resolving our perceived difficulties with CO2 in particular and environmental issues in general.
I have always looked for ways in which the small farmer, who represents a likely third of the global population, can adopt beneficial protocols.
My initial postings commenced with the need to restore good husbandry to the maintenance and use of the woodlot in temperate North America. We recognized the need to produce a larger authority than the individual who could be capitalized over the long time spans necessary. We opened discussions on the methods and established practical protocols.
What I am very conscious of is that all protocols must be first properly implemented by some form of collective agency that has access to title creation and enforcement. After all, why are you going to grow a Macadamia nut plantation if after five years I can come in and convert the wood to charcoal?
This form of agricultural barbarism is inhibiting agricultural development in the underdeveloped world. The impoverished and disenfranchised simply do not care if their neighbor’s family is thrown into poverty and this is the selfish foundation of so called ethnic cleansing.
We went on to almost immediately discover terra preta. There was little coverage then but that has since totally blossomed. The power of terra preta is that it clearly answers the age old problem of maintaining soil fertility and I showed how even the original makers used corn waste to make it happen. This can be done today by any subsistence farmer.
Getting that world wide problem behind us was extremely necessary and very timely. Now that we know how to produce highly fertile soils in only a few years, we will be able to at least tolerate poor practices until the current operators are replaced. We actually have the time. I expect to see the ruined soils of Mesopotamia to be fertile again.
Education and gentle pressure will do the rest.
More exciting, millions of acres of tropical forest soils, now been cropped on a slash and burn system can be converted to continuous sustainable agriculture, This actually puts feeding our projected population of ten billion within easy reach.
We talked about the buffalo commons development that is quietly underway with no need to call on government involvement. I expect that in two centuries, that we will have more buffalo ranched than was ever alive in the wild. This particular protocol will also be implemented in the Asian steppes where their brethren were wiped out many thousands of years ago.
Recently we have been made aware of the productivity of cattail culture which allows a wetland protocol that will produce massive amounts of starch suitable for ethanol. This was unexpected and promises to be hugely productive and very low cost. The agricultural protocol can be applied from the tropics to deep in the Boreal forest. Whoever thought that there would be a crop that could prosper in those dismal swamps? Even the moose will be happy. The mosquitoes and black flies will be even happier which is why the work will have to be largely done after first frost.
We also discussed the onset of peak oil conditions in the energy markets. Pricing was shifted from an abundance regime to a chronic shortage regime. This obviously hurts and is now creating a huge immediate market for ethanol. Again, the obvious first step is to impose optional ethanol usage on all new vehicles. Industry and agriculture will sort out how to do the rest.
Many other protocols are now been experimented with and we have reported on these as they arose.
It is very comforting to know however, that almost all global soils in use can be easily restored to full health, that most wetland areas can become massive producers of starch for ethanol and if we care, for human consumption, and that temperate dry lands are best served by buffalo husbandry.
I have also commented on the need to bring the entire ancient hunter gather protocols under proper management. This will not likely occur until the hunters are run out of business. I do not think that it will be too difficult to restore the soon to be extinct salmon fishery or the soon to be extinct blue fin tuna fishery when the so called owners are completely out of business. It did happen to the world’s greatest cod fishery and once they are finished wrecking the ocean bottom so that any other form of fishing is impossible, it should be possible to get agreement with everyone to stay away forever and allow a full optimized recovery.
I welcome my readers to comment and I also welcome new ideas that I have never seen. Feel free to contact me through this blog.