There is one fundamental rule in nature: Given enough dilution, given enough time, Nature will handle anything. The trick is to know how much dilution and how much time. To some extent, the two factors are interchangeable. Fortunately, humus (that complex mixture of hydrocarbons, carbo-hydrates and proteins with significant colloidal capacity) is a very effective chemical “buffer” which will smooth out release of toxins and nutrients. There is also a biological buffer in that the mycorrhizae can be selective and take what they need (and no more) from an otherwise too high a concentration of a toxin or nutrient in a feedstock (such as compost). These mechanisms add enormously to the safety of recycling to land.
Having said that, like all living mechanisms, don’t push it too far, knowing how far depends on reading the research, using common sense and not rushing the fence – build up slowly and learn to manage the stress in the system.
Also see “How to make on-farm composting work”, by Bill Butterworth, MX Publishing, London 1998,
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 6 June 2018
“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest
Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.” – Cicero, 55 BC
So, evidently, we’ve learned nothing in the past 2,070 years.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 24 March 18
Today, 24th December, the book “Survival” can be downloaded free. Today, you can read, for free, a chapter on shale gas which is a balanced view of what was known at the time, and that things have not changed much. No doubt, today or shortly, there will be howls of anger and disagreement from the anti’s in the groups who purport to stand up for the “environment” and some will post rude comments on Amazon and wherever. Well, they are entitles to deny the facts and be generally bigoted. The truth is that, in isolation, they are partly right; shale gas, if we had the option, would be best left in the ground and we would use “renewable” fuels. Unfortunately, that is only part of the truth. The Earth is already grossly over-populated and people need food and energy. The UN says that around 10 million (yes, 100,000,000) people in central Africa are on the edge of starving to death. (Not a nice way to die.) Food production takes energy. Electric cars need electricity. We need these things now, not at some time a few decades down the line. Shale gas is a transition fuel with a clean burn. We need to bridge the gap. We need it to close the national debt before we become another Greece.. We need the jobs. We need to use shale to re-build an economy which currently is superficially still OK but is actually sliding downwards quite quickly. We need to use shale gas as a step in generating a genuinely sustainable economy and environment. We need to all pull in the same direction to do that. Would that we had leadership that could create that vision and lead us into it.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 24 Dec 17
Global population and human survival are issues not just for our children but for this generation. There will be a global collapse. When?
The British people and government would do well to look to food security. Note the graph; there will be . repeat WILL be, a global population collapse. The evidence is compelling. (See “Survival”). There was a discussion on Radio 4 today about whether a woman could or should be able to get IVF on the NHS. We already have twice as many people on this earth than is, by reasonable thought, sustainable. There are plenty of kids already here who need a family. For everyone’s sake, don’t make any more!
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 31 October 2017
Water and power; fundamentals of all production and especially farming.
On 24 August 2017 the Water Resources Institute published a piece on their website looking at “7 Reasons We’re Facing a Global Water Crisis” in a piece written by Leah Schleifer. With credit to them, I try here to relate those lessons to British farming and maybe farming elsewhere in developed counties that do not really think water may be a significant economic problem sooner rather than later.
Reason 4. Water infrastructure is under pressure.
It is certainly true that water companies in the UK are spending £billions to reduce leakage. However, the Victorians where good at building reservoirs and we, now, are not.
Conservation farming action;
- Build traditional, on farm, reservoirs if there is a stream. (Old tyres can be used to bind clay in a dam. (See link below.).)
- Clean gutters and harvest water.
- Build top-soil reservoirs using composted waste. (See https://www.amazon.co.uk/Survival-Sustainable-Energy-Wastes-Shale/dp/1523264217 )
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd., September 17
We have the power and the technology. Do we have the micro components?
Common sense tells us that if we use manufactured mineral fertilisers to produce food, eventually, the soil store of trace elements will decline, followed by a decline in the harvested crop, followed by a decline in the health of th4e crop, followed by a decline in the intake of trace elements by humans, followed by a decline in the health of humans.
This common sense understanding of the loss of micro-nutrients in human diets has been shown many times and, again, recently by a paper on soil Selenium decline by Steve McGrath et al and reported in the current edition of The Auger, journal of the British Society of Soil Science.
What do we do about it? See https://www.amazon.co.uk/Survival-Sustainable-Energy-Wastes-Shale/dp/1523264217 with government employing the BSSS nationally to monitor and guide on not too much and not too little.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd
It will take several human generations to move from internal combustion engines to electric drive. However, we could change maybe 90% of such engines to clean-burn shale gas in, say, 20 years.
All this fuss about diesel fumes if stretching the truth a bit too far. Firstly, smoking and obesity are far greater evils, in terms of human health and death. Secondly, modern, Euro 6 diesels do have more particulates in their emissions than latest design petrol engines but not much more and they produce around half the Carbon dioxide per mile. Thirdly, never mind cars, what about trucks? Go electric? How long would it take to change 13 million cars over to electric drive? In any case, where do you think the electricity comes from?
There is a fast, clean alternative. It creates UK jobs and dramatically reduces imports. Shale gas is a clean burn.
Land Research Ltd 23 April 17
P.S. “Survival – Sustainable Energy, Wastes, Shale Gas and The Land” by Bill Butterworth, published by Land Research, is available in paperback from good bookshops or Amazon on the web as paperback (at around £10) or electronic version (at only £2.46) for computer or Kindle. For the next couple of Sundays, it can be downloaded free at Kindle.