Category Archives: sustainability

Food security, global population and IVF

 

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, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink

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;

  1. Build traditional, on farm, reservoirs if there is a stream. (Old tyres can be used to bind clay in a dam. (See link below.).)
  2. Clean gutters and harvest water.
  3. 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

 

Soil trace elements and human health

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

Diesels and clean burn

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.

3 Million Starving;Food, Famine and Failure

Municipal waste on its way to Frog Island on the Thames estuary There is enough waste in western society, to fertilise enough crop,s to feed western society,

The UN warning of 3 million people facing what will for most of them be unavoidable starvation and death is not new.  Malthus predicted it in 1798 and we have been doing a bit since then but not enough. If you are comfortable, why do anything at all about it?  In any case, as an individual, what you do is insignificant.

An international consequence is that empty bellies always lead to war.  In the history of the world, that has always been true.  Could we fill bellies globally?  Technically, the answer is yes, we can.  Military conflict often gets in the way.  Political will in developed countries always gets in the way.  It is almost a lifetime away that Bob Geldoff stood up in the EU Parliament and observed that the situation of global hunger and the plenty of Western counties was “obscene”.  It is now worse.

How do we fix it?  Simply use urban wastes to fertilise land and grow better crops.  It has been done in the UK and Egypt, and lots of other places. We need to scale it up and urgently. It would save a lot of imports in the UK, too, The environment would be better off, See “Survival”.

Land Research Ltd 25 MaRCH 2017

Nitrogen and the Environment

Shredded waste carpet, containing wool (as an organic nitrogen source). If the carpet contains synthetic fibers, too, then so much the better for soil structure and holding water (so reducing irrigation need and reducing flood risk lower down in the catchment).

Nitrogen and the environment is in the news again.  The truth is that we can have more than enough Nitrogen to grow even higher yielding crops, provided it is organically bound. That means that farming either has to find organic sources of N (not always available and likely to be expensive), or make them.  The way to make them is potentially both safe and profitable.

The one great blessing of the expanding numbers and wealth of the human race is that that expansion is mirrored by an increase in urban and industrial wastes. Most of that waste can, despite the reticence of the regulators, be safely recycled to land.  To do so not only solves the waste recycling problem, it can and will grow better crops with higher yield, with less cultivation energy, less crop disease, and dramatically less Nitrogen run-off.

How do we know that?  Because it has been done. Search; How to make on-farm composting work

Land Research Ltd  13 March 17

Wastes, fertilisers and sustainability.

 

mist

Urban waste could, safely, be sufficient fertiliser to feed the people who made the waste in the first place. If we do not do this, soon, then, logically, the human race will die out.

Nearly all we have came from the land and must eventually go back.  Nearly all municipal wastes, including sewage, will make good compost and good compost can be used to reclaim the desert and make arid land productive.  “Nearly all” does, of course, mean some exceptions such as lead or Cadmium-based batteries.  However, many hydrocarbons and plastics are bio-degradable provided the right process and the right bugs are available in the bio-population or can be added. (Mealy bug larvae will live and multiply quite happily on expanded polystyrene.) Sewage is a great source of nutrients and micro-organisms for a successful bio-process.  Of course, testing and controls are a necessary part of a professional operation but it really is true that most urban waste scan safely be used to make enough fertiliser to feed the people who made the wastes in the first place.  That is sustainability. The challenge is to get the instruments of governments to understand and find a way of constructive regulation.  Soon rather than somewhen.

Oh, and by the way, composts will absorb and hold between 5 and 16 times their own weight of water.  That might be useful in creating jobs in upland composting in Cumbria, Lancashire, and anywhere in the upland catchment areas for any of our rivers running through urban areas, including London.

“Survival – Sustainable Energy, Wastes, Shale Gas and The Land” by Bill Butterworth, published by Land Research, has just been released and 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.