|Blister beetle devouring an ocra flower|
Me: Thank you for having me on the show!
|Blister beetle devouring an ocra flower|
Me: Thank you for having me on the show!
Me, I am here to stay in the farm. Before I sleep – and immediately after I wake up, and also all through the day – I listen to the birds and crickets, to the toads and the dog packs, the thunder and rain, the occasional firecrackers on somebody’s birthday or on one of the many festivals scattered all across the calendar like in medieval Europe. Just now it has been Diwali, also known als Deepavali, the Indian festival of lights. Not so many lights here in Tamil Nadu, rather aircrackers the size of bombshells. No kidding. Don’t go anywhere on Diwali. Children put the damn things in the middle of the road or in a hollow tree trunk by the side and light them just before you are passing by. If your Karma is tied to the tree both of you are going to pass. Just pass. Not by.
|Bodhi the villain|
|just being unique|
|By NASA Langley Research Center, public domain|
Focussing on the history of Indian farming and agriculture practices since the dawn of civilization, Jackson and Coelho give a new account of the succession of ideas and notions around tending the land. This is at the same time a history of modern science and its failures to grasp what almost every culture on Earth understood: that humans are an integral part of the world, not separate from it, and that the way we relate to it has consequences on a material level; that in fact relationships are the actual substance of reality.
|by MLWatts, public domain|
“It is not possible to describe the simultaneous interactions of three or more bodies in one equation; say for example, the sun, planet, and the planet’s moon, or the entire solar configuration, or a human body or a landscape” (p73)
“Measurements of carbon dioxide levels taken from aircraft, satellites and on the ground show that the amount of CO2 emitted from Alaska’s frigid northern tundra increased by 70% between 1975 and 2015, in the period between October and December each year. […]
Whereas soils 40 years ago took about a month to completely freeze over, the process can now take three months or longer. In some places in the state, the soil is not freezing until January, particularly if there is a layer of insulating snow. The result is a huge and continuing expulsion of CO2 [not to talk of methane].
A lot of models were predicting this thawing would happen, but not for another 50 to 100 years.”
“The upshot of the judges’ opinion? Monsanto has engaged in practices that have violated the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food, the right to health, and the right of scientists to freely conduct indispensable research.The judges also called on international lawmakers to hold corporations like Monsanto accountable, to place human rights above the rights of corporations, and to ‘clearly assert the protection of the environment and establish the crime of ecocide’.”
“In the present day, the biomass of the entire human race is approximately equal to 300 million tonnes. This is more than double that of all large terrestrial vertebrates that lived on Earth prior to human civilization, and an entire order of magnitude greater than that of all vertebrates currently living in the wild. At 30.11 trillion tonnes, the size of the technosphere is five orders of magnitude greater than even that. It is the equivalent of every single square metre of Earth’s surface being covered with nearly 50kg of matter.”
“The only way I can honor Earth Day is to grieve all that has been lost, and to refuse to participate in the ongoing destruction.”
|“Are we going to arrive in time?” – “I think so. Emergency services are pretty quick these days.”|
“Don’t worry. We can fix this.”
Some of the more ‘interesting’ articles regarding systems in collapse, especially climate, global civilization, food & farming, human consciousness and ecology. I recommend them for either their illustrative information on the state of affairs, or their profound insight into what said information might mean.
“This essay focuses on observations of what appears to be the start of runaway warming in the Arctic that may have profound effects on global climates over the next few years;”
“Worldwide, scientists have repeatedly warned that climate change driven by human dependence on fossil fuels presents serious problems for farmers: many crops are vulnerable to extremes of heat, and climate change presents a hazard for harvests in Africa, Asia and Europe.America in particular could face substantial losses, and, at the most basic level, the grasses – almost all the world’s staple foods are provided by the grass family – may not be able to adapt to rapidly changing climates.”
“If global warming is contained at 1.5°C – the ideal target identified at the 2015 climate summit in Paris − the researchers say the number of megacities, with populations over 10 million, in the danger zone will double from today’s figure […] Other scientists had already established that if global temperatures rise by 4°C this century − in the notorious business-as-usual scenario in which humans go on burning fossil fuels and depositing ever more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere − then some parts of the globe could become intolerably hot for at least part of the day, and potentially uninhabitable.”
“The study’s authors say excessive abstraction of groundwater for irrigation – part of the wider virtual water trade – is leading to rapid depletion of aquifers in key food-producing regions, including north-western India, the North China Plain, central US, and California.”
“Despite international efforts to address food insecurity, around 108 million people in the world were severely food insecure in 2016, a dramatic increase compared with 80 million in 2015, according to a new global report on food crises released in Brussels on 31 March 2017 […]
The dramatic increase reflects the trouble people have in producing and accessing food due to conflict, record-high food prices in local markets and extreme weather conditions such drought and erratic rainfall caused by El Niño.”
“India is now facing a water situation that is significantly worse than any that previous generations have had to face. All Indian water bodies within and near population centres are now grossly polluted with organic and hazardous pollutants. Interstate disputes over river waters are becoming increasingly intense and widespread. Not a single Indian city can provide clean water that can be consumed from the tap on a 24×7 basis. Surface water conditions are bad. However, the groundwater situation is even worse.”
“Nearly half of India’s jobs are now in the agricultural sector. If the current trends continue, by 2030 nearly 60% of Indian aquifers will be in a critical condition. This means that some 25% of the agriculture production will be at risk. This would aggravate India’s employment situation.”
“This approach of viewing the transmission of ideas as a key determinant of the emergent reality is increasingly validated by various branches of science, including evolutionary theory, quantum physics, cognitive linguistics, and epigenetics.”
Highly recommended for reading.
“We need a way to distinguish authentic pathways to a sustainable civilization from false solutions. I suggest three ways to consider any proposal you might come across:
“Geoengineering proposals are based on the notion of the earth as a massive piece of machinery to be engineered for human benefit. Not only are these approaches morally repugnant for anyone who sees Nature as having intrinsic worth, they are also fraught with massive risk, since the earth’s systems are in fact not machine-like, but the result of complex, nonlinear relationships that are inherently unpredictable.”
– “The situation is certainly going from bad to worse. At this rate, the water will last for only the next 90 days in most places. We are taking all possible measures, but irrigation is perhaps the last thing on our minds now as we need to save water for all other purposes […] The [Kerala] government decided to, for the first time ever, impose a water rationing system across households and industries.”“Farmers in Mandya district, part of the Krishnaraja Sagar dam ayacut area [Karnataka], have failed to harvest even a single paddy crop this year.”[In Tamil Nadu], “around 40 farmers protested outside the Trichy collector’s office, holding dead rats in their mouths, stating that over 47 farmers had committed suicide in the state in the last two months. [Chief minister] Panneerselvam declared all 32 districts drought-affected […] with the deficit [rainfall] ranging from 35% to 81%”“The numbers in the three states have raised alarm bells everywhere, and what is even more worrying is what they indisputably portend — the coming water wars that will stem from Tamil Nadu’s dependence on its neighbours.”
People need to be prepared, carefully, to expect this, and worse, to extend into the foreseeable future, and to find ways to live on less. And not just in India — also in all other countries in the world, especially the industrialized regions. No one is going to deliver food into the cities when farmers are starving, themselves.
Most of the permaculture scene, like all the rest of society, does not question the origin of the many crises this planet is currently going through. These people are still looking for technical solutions when it was technology – and the mindset of separation and control behind it – that has created those crises. Even if we solved one of them – which I doubt because we will not stop wanting to grow, and therefore wanting to produce stuff, and therefore using more energy, and therefore producing more destruction – there still is mass unemployment, mass poverty, mass extinction, desertification, dying oceans, diminished forests, resources depletion, overpopulation, criminality, war, nuclear waste, plastic pollution, child labour, inflation, … you name it. All of this is inherent to the thing that Mumford called the Megamachine, civilization. None of it will go away as long as the notion of separation from, and control over nature prevails, a notion which lies at the very heart of civilization. Civilization HAS to end, or the price we pay is our planet losing its green cover.
If there is any hope for survival of life on Earth it will not lie in doing, for it was doing that brought us here; hope lies in the collapse of belief in the ideology of control. Hope, though, is part of the collective illusion that prevents us from seeing reality as it is rather than the way we wish it to be. Awakening to the true nature of existence is a task that has to be picked up by each person individually, and it implies surrendering to the possibility of complete annihilation, without fear. Fear of death kills everything.
Grief, yes, we will grief for the loss of loved ones – butterflies, bluebirds, sequoias, relatives, friends, last not least ourselves. And it will be for the love of these that life may find a way.
Yet, as a farmer, I have to say: Read the newspapers, look at the figures, and give yourself a minute of wondering what’s the matter with civilzation when its origin, its very basis, the foundation of life in the cities, feels like killing itself off.
Save the whales, save the kingfishers, save the tuna, save the aquifer, save the atmosphere, save the indigenous peoples’ knowledge, save the topsoil, save the ozone layer, save the rainforest, save the farmers, save… our breath and take a step back. What is it, that needs saving, and from what? Why should the force that is killing everything else on the planet spare the human race? Can we consider this phenomenon as a natural and healthy reaction to a condition that is inherently unsustainable? Root causes, anyone?
Ah, yes, I saw you guys grimacing over my last entry, joking about how I don’t respect the rights and feelings of the plants. Let me tell you – I do!
I am alive, therefore I eat; like all other life forms on Earth. But in doing so, I choose to have the least impact possible. I eat as little as necessary and I avoid concentration camp crops, currently even shifting to 100% home grown… you know, where the plants are running free 🙂 Given you treat them with dignity, as fellow beings as opposed to an industrial product, none of those plants has to suffer a miserable life or die. They naturally reproduce by offering their fruits, feed soil creatures with their “droppings”, or go through a cycle of manifestations like grain, salad, and potato. Receiving these plants’ gifts means meeting their needs, not ripping them off, literally.
Yes, I might not be able to avoid their suffering in every given moment, but the key phrase here is dignity. It is the least, yet the most basic thing, we can offer them in return for their services to us. When we don’t hold life, including plant life, precious, we’re mindlessly going to kill it off. Look around you. See something like that? Today, almost 50% of the food in the Western world gets thrown away. Half. That’s the lives of carrots and cows, grass and geese, wasted.
And wouldn’t you know that feeding on animals not only leads to countless cruelties against animals, it adds an innumerable amount of plant suffering to it. Depending on the kind of stock you breed, from minimal 3 up to 15 plant calories have to be fed to the stock in order to get one meat calory. No one knows to how many plant lives that translates. As long as there are edible plants available you can’t justify eating meat, no matter how you put it.
Treating all beings with dignity won’t buy them a new life, but it guarantees that we do neither overconsume nor torture. Instead, we care for having them fulfill their appropriate role, their purpose in the community of life.
Before we eat, The Mother says, let us thank all those who helped bringing the meal to our dishes: The farmers, the drivers, the cooks; and make sure to be grateful to the life forms our meal consists of. The Christians’ saying the grace reflects a piece of that wisdom of caretaking. Native Americans knew it all along, and so did mankind from its earliest days: Thanks for offering yourself to me.
For all those still mocking on the sensitivity of green beings, here’s one for you:
“The Secret Life of Plants“