November 12, 2019
Entering the season of change with a spirit of both gratitude and global challenge can be invigorating —to the point of exhaustion and collapse. The world humankind has made is full of challenges, atrocities, grace, greed, rogues, heroes, turmoil, suffering, and the need for inner spiritual sustenance, wisdom. This week we look into a world in tumult.
But first the news.

THE RELUCTANT RADICAL

Meaningful Movie Group @ The Park Church

If a crime is committed in order to prevent a greater crime, is it forgivable? Is it, in fact, necessary? THE RELUCTANT RADICAL follows activist Ken Ward as he confronts his fears and puts himself in the direct path of the fossil fuel industry to combat climate change.

The film reveals both the personal costs and also the fulfillment that comes from following one’s moral calling- even if that means breaking the law. The film follows Ken through a series of direct actions, culminating with an action that shuts down all the U.S. tar sands oil pipelines and threatens to put him behind bars for 20 years.

Ken Ward has no regrets, but is his valve turning action in the best interest of others or of the climate movement? Even trained gas & oil industry employees can cause mistakes, even deadly explosions, when adjusting valves. [See Errata notice at the bottom of this edition—Editor] Post-film discussion will focus on the following questions:

  • Is Ken Ward’s turning of valves a violent or non-violent action?
  • Is Ward’s action responsible or irresponsible activism?
  • Should Ward have been sentenced to jail time for putting people at risk (he received 30 days community service)?
  • Is Ward a hero or a menace?
  • How do YOU define direct action?
  • Is it OK to break the law to shine a light on injustice?

Further reading: ‘I’m Just More Afraid of Climate Change Than I Am of Prison’New York Times Magazine, 2/13/18

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 7:00
Discussion & light refreshments to follow
The Park Church
Beecher Hall

208 West Gray Street,
Elmira, NY 14901 (Enter via parking lot side door near Gray St.)

Free, public event

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Click for Facebook Event info

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JP Morgan Chase is the world’s biggest funder of big fossil fuel projects in recent years.
Join Extinction Rebellion Ithaca to express our demands regarding their behavior on their opening day.
This rally is intended to be 100% peaceful, non-disruptive, non-arrestable, non-shaming;

Tues, Nov 12 from Noon to 1PM
301 East State St (City Centre building)
Ithaca, NY 14850 

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Tell the PSC: Lack of action is climate change denial!

Tell the PSC: Lack of action is climate change denial

Join us to witness what happens in the 19th Floor Boardroom.

  • Last week we found out that although NYSERDA has extended their heat pump incentives through the end of March 2020, the PSC did not put the Energy Efficiency order on their meeting agenda – AGAIN!
  • Will the PSC finally issue the long-awaited energy efficiency order?
  • Will we again hear climate change denial from a Commissioner?
  • Will the PSC acknowledge that the uncertainty generated by not having a plan thwarts our efforts to
  • promote energy efficiency and renewable heat and emboldens fossil fuel infrastructure buildout?

On November 14 we will again gather in Agency Building 3 in the 19th Floor Boardroom at
9:30am for the 10:30 PSC meeting
.

Then the Renewable Heat Now campaign, concerned New Yorkers, and New York legislators will hold a 1:30pm press conference in Legislative Office Building Room 130 reacting to the what was (or wasn’t) addressed by the PSC.

Please fill your car with allies and join us in the 19th Floor Boardroom of Agency Building 3 at 9:30am Thursday for the 10:30am meeting and join us in LOB Room 130 at 1:30pm for Renewable Heat Now press conference.

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XR Global Hunger Strike – Extinction Rebellion

XR Global Hunger Strike – Extinction Rebellion

On November 18th the Extinction Rebellion Global Hunger Strike will officially launch!

Everyone who will participate as a hunger striker will need to fill in this form (linked below). The form is mandatory and if a striker is not registered, they will not be considered as part of the Extinction Rebellion Global Hunger Strike. This is for safety reasons!

Furthermore, we are imposing a strict 24 hours limit for participants under 18 to hunger strike for health and safety reasons. For an under 18 to participate they MUST have both medical and parental consent.

Registration Form Over 18 https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScpvNlUmOYLq089uB15hS4OxOMl98cGlrvBnTpRBcnHuaTWMg/viewform

Registration Form Under 18
https://docs.google.com/document/d/11J4IGryiLs7P_7IK_4rVT3boj15KDcNma_S-IjZP3Bw/edit#

It is recommended to read through this document before registering.…”XR Global Hunger Strike,” Extinction Rebellion

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Bankrupt Philly refinery gets interest from 15 potential bidders;
aims for a January auction

Bankrupt Philly refinery gets interest from 15 potential bidders; aims for a January auction

The next two months could determine the fate of the 1,300-acre Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery complex, which shut down after a catastrophic explosion on June 21.

PES’s proposal sets a stalking-horse deadline one day before final bids are due, which “will create confusion, delay and may tend to discourage bidders” who might not know what they are attempting to outbid, said Vara, who is appointed to oversee the bankruptcy case.—U.S. Trustee Andrew Vara, CNBC

The company, which declared bankruptcy after the dramatic fire and explosion, has proposed a Jan. 10 date for an auction to sell the South Philadelphia complex, the largest refinery on the East Coast. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross has scheduled a hearing in Wilmington on Thursday to consider the refinery’s request to establish bidding procedures.

PJT Partners, the refinery’s investment bank, granted 37 potential bidders access to detailed data about the refinery’s assets, and 15 submitted written indications of interest, according to the refinery’s filing. Potential bidders must submit proposals by Nov. 22 to qualify for the final bidding process. In recent weeks, potential bidders and their investors have taken bus tours to examine the damaged complex.

Further reading U.S., Philadelphia officials object to PES refinery sale process
A gas war looms in Pennsylvania, but the battleground is not at the pump
S. Philly refinery blast released 5,000 pounds of a deadly chemical, federal investigators say
Court allows bankrupt Philly refiner to award secret bonuses

Two potential bidders have publicly declared an interest in the property. A group led by former chief executive officer Philip Rinaldi is the only known bidder that proposes to restart the refinery, adding renewable natural gas production to the mix. S.G. Preston, a Philadelphia biofuels marketer, wants to convert the refinery into a producer of renewable diesel and jet fuel.…—Andrew Maykuth, “Bankrupt Philly refinery gets interest from 15 potential bidders; aims for a January auction,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/10/19

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BXE Disrupts Danly Hearing for FERC Commissioner

 

Members of Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) spoke out at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing for James Danly, who was nominated by President Trump to be the third Republican commissioner at FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. BXE members unfurled a banner reading “Reject Danly” and yelled “FERC: No more fossil lovers! Wind and solar now!” before being arrested. The Danly nomination has been controversial because the Republican Danly was not paired with a Democrat nominee, as has been the norm at FERC for years.

Danly is not qualified to be a FERC commissioner. Let us count the ways:

He just graduated from law school in 2014. He had no regulatory experience when he was appointed by Pres. Trump in 2017 to be general counsel at FERC.

He does his work as a triumvirate, having brought two colleagues from his former job to the agency, who accompany him everywhere. This does not bespeak competence.

His philosophy of “the humble regulator” harkens back to the desire of conservatives to shrink government small enough to drown it in a bathtub. He is a strict constructionist whom one advisor to regulators says, according to an article in E&E News, “To suggest that FERC may do nothing not explicitly stated is to misunderstand Congress’ intent. Congress chose not to describe every specific tool the Commission may use, because no Congress would have the expertise or foresight to know what those tools are.” This brand of ‘malicious compliance’ will only worsen FERC’s reputation as a weak regulator. FERC has only rejected 2 out of 400 projects in the last 30 years.

The article continued, “Evidence of Danly’s belief in the ‘humble regulator’ theory might be found in his leading the commission last year to abandon the approach it had employed toward evaluating the effects of downstream greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas projects, using authority found in the National Environmental Policy Act.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit criticized FERC for its “decidedly less-than-dogged efforts to obtain the information it says it would need to determine that downstream greenhouse-gas emissions qualify as a reasonably foreseeable indirect effect of a project.”

Finally and most importantly, climate scientists say we have until 2030 to cut global greenhouse gases in half if we hope to avoid irreversible climate catastrophe. Building out fracked gas projects such as those that FERC rubber stamps will not cut it. We need to transform FERC into FREC — the Federal Renewable Energy Commission. Danly’s contributions would only send us backwards.—Shane Capra, “BXE Disrupts Danly Hearing for FERC Commissioner,” Beyond Extreme Energy, 11/5/19

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Season of Change
5 Alberta scientists tell us why they joined 11,000 scientific colleagues in declaring a climate emergency

5 Alberta scientists tell us why they joined 11,000 scientific colleagues in declaring a climate emergency | The Star

More than 11,000 scientists around the world have signed a letter declaring a climate emergency. Wrapped up in their warning is a message of hope.

Climate change is an emergency, and more than 11,000 scientists across the globe have sounded the alarm. But wrapped up in the warning is a message of hope, say five of the signatories from Alberta Canada.

An open letter signed by thousands of scientists from around the world and published Tuesday in the journal BioScience clearly demonstrates their near unanimous agreement on the emerging global climate crisis.

The letter, which includes 11,258 signatures from 153 countries — including 409 from Canada, is another example of a growing willingness for scientists to leave their labs and attempt to persuade the public to take seriously what their research is telling them.

“We declare … clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” reads the letter’s opening statement.

Further reading Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’
World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

On Tuesday, The Edmonton Star spoke to five of those scientists based in Alberta to find out why they signed the letter and what they hope it will accomplish.

On Tuesday, The Edmonton Star spoke to five of those scientists based in Alberta to find out why they signed the letter and what they hope it will accomplish.

Mark Poesch, associate professor, Faculty of Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Alberta

Kind of like Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, who speaks for the trees, Mark Poesch’s job is to speak for the fish.

He studies fish populations to understand what causes their decline — be it invasive species or contaminants — and what can be done to stop it.

“Climate change is obviously one of those factors,” he said.

Having worked in the north, which has seen higher temperature increases than other regions, Poesch said the effects of climate change are felt by everyone from Indigenous communities that rely on fish for food, to commercial and recreational anglers operating in the area.

“It’s really become evident that this is a climate crisis, not just a change in temperature.”

However, Poesch knows that most people are tied up with their own lives and don’t get to see the problem as he does. That’s why he decided to sign the letter. He says it’s his obligation to not only tell the public what he’s observing, but to lend his name to efforts to sound the alarm.

“I don’t think it’s meant to be doom and gloom,” he added. “I think it’s meant to provoke action today that will help save tomorrow.”…—Hamdi Issawi, “5 Alberta scientists tell us why they joined 11,000 scientific colleagues in declaring a climate emergency,” The Edmonton Star, 11/5/19

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‘Nothing else matters’:
school climate strikes sweep New Zealand

‘Nothing else matters’: school climate strikes sweep New Zealand

Tens of thousands turn out for protests as activists deliver letter calling on parliament to declare climate emergency

Tens of thousands of children and adults in New Zealand have stopped work and school on Friday to take part in the country’s third climate strike, billed as the biggest yet and the first display of “inter-generational” action.

More than 40 towns around the country were holding marches with 260 businesses involved, including most of the country’s tertiary institutions.

New Zealand’s strike was being held a week later than hundreds of thousands took to the streets in other parts of the world, including Australia, Britain and the US, because some high school students had exams last Friday.

A open-letter signed by 11,000 New Zealanders was delivered to parliament on Friday morning calling on the government to declare a climate emergency – following the lead of numerous councils around the country.

“Our representatives need to show us meaningful and immediate action that safeguards our futures on this planet,” School Strike 4 Climate national coordinator Raven Maeder said.

“Nothing else will matter if we cannot look after the Earth for current and future generations. This is our home.”…— Eleanor Ainge Roy , “‘Nothing else matters’: school climate strikes sweep New Zealand,” The Guardian, 9/27/19

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Ardern says New Zealand on ‘right side of history’
as MPs pass zero-carbon bill

Ardern says New Zealand on ‘right side of history’ as MPs pass zero-carbon bill

Centre-right opposition National party throws support behind the legislation that has been applauded around the globe

Jacinda Ardern’s landmark climate legislation has passed in New Zealand parliament, with historic cross-party support, committing the nation to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and meet its commitments under the Paris climate accords.

The climate change response (zero carbon) amendment bill passed on Thursday afternoon with the centre-right opposition National party throwing their support behind it late in the day, despite none of their proposed amendments being accepted. The bill passed 119 votes to one.

Climate change minister James Shaw said the bill, which commits New Zealand to keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees, provided a framework for the island country of nearly 5 million to adapt too, and prepare for the climate emergency.

“We’ve led the world before in nuclear disarmament and in votes for women, now we are leading again.” Shaw said.

{“Climate change is the defining long-term issue of our generation that successive governments have failed to address. Today we take a significant step forward in our plan to reduce New Zealand’s emissions.”…—Eleanor Ainge, “Ardern says New Zealand on ‘right side of history’ as MPs pass zero-carbon bill,” The Guardian, 11/7/19

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Unfamiliar Ground:
Bracing for Climate Impacts in the American Midwest

Unfamiliar Ground: Bracing for Climate Impacts in the American Midwest

Reporters from across the Midwest explore the climate risks and the strategies communities are using to adapt.

Think of a Minnesota with almost no ice fishing. A Missouri that is as hot and dry as Texas. River and lake communities where catastrophic flooding happens almost every year, rather than every few generations.

This, scientists warn, is the future of the Midwest if emissions continue at a high rate, threatening the very core of the region’s identity.

With extreme heat waves and flooding increasingly making that future feel more real, city leaders have started looking for ways to adapt.

In a joint project organized by InsideClimate News, reporters across the Midwest are exploring how communities are responding to climate change. Read their stories below, including an overview of the challenges and some solutions from Rochester, Minnesota (InsideClimate News); stories of adaptation planning after disaster in Goshen, Indiana (Indiana Environmental Reporter); climate concerns in Michigan’s cool Upper Peninsula (Bridge Magazine), including mining pollution washed up by heavy rainfall (Bridge Magazine); questions of whether to retreat from flood risk in Freeport, Illinois (Better Government Association); and whether infrastructure, including highways and power lines, can handle climate change in Missouri (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).…—Dan Gearino, “Unfamiliar Ground: Bracing for Climate Impacts in the American Midwest,” InsideClimate News. 11/11/19

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Meet a Blackfoot elder who worked for 20 years
to showcase Writing-on-Stone to the world

Meet a Blackfoot elder who worked for 20 years to showcase Writing-on-Stone to the world | The Narwhal

Áísínai’pi, home to the highest concentration of rock carvings and paintings on the Great Plains of North America, was designated as Alberta’s first World Heritage site in 25 years because of the Blackfoot stories that surround it

Martin Heavy Head’s grandfathers never went to Áísínai’pi, the area also known as Writing-on-Stone — a stretch of coulees and cottonwoods that straddles the Milk River in southern Alberta. 

They didn’t go because they probably wouldn’t have been allowed. 

At that time, Indigenous people were forced to apply for permission from the Canadian government if they wanted to leave the reserves they lived on.

“Since the start of reservation days, we were by law more or less confined to our reserves,” Heavy Head, 67, says. “They would have had to get a pass … I don’t even know if the Indian agent would have granted it.” 

Visiting a sacred site, he says, was likely not considered by the government to be a valid reason to leave the reserve.

But even though they had never seen it, they still knew about it. Stories about Áísínai’pi had been passed down from generation to generation.

Eventually, those stories were told to Heavy Head.

Grandfathers ‘told us all there was to know about Writing-on-Stone’

Heavy Head was born on the Blood Reserve, at Dead Man’s Corner, where the Great Plains stretch to the horizon, and where the Rocky Mountains can just be seen jutting out into the sky, a fringe on a vast landscape.…—Sharon J. Riley, “Meet a Blackfoot elder who worked for 20 years to showcase Writing-on-Stone to the world,” The Narwhal, 7/16/19

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Sydney residents are told to be prepared
to evacuate ahead of Tuesday

Sydney residents are told to be prepared to evacuate ahead of Tuesday

DAY OF RECKONING: Great wall of fire bears down on Sydney as chilling graphic shows how the worst conditions in Australian history could destroy 100,000 homes TODAY – and authorities say they can’t save everyone

  • Residents told to evacuate as an ‘unprecedented level of bushfire danger’ threatens Sydney and NSW
  • Firefighters warned there aren’t enough fire trucks for every home and ‘if you call for help, you may not get it’
  • About 100,000 homes in the Sydney area are said to be at risk, with 31,500 of those being in the North Shore
  • More than 400 schools closed, including 300 public schools and 100 Catholic and independent schools    
  • Defence Force chief Angus Campbell issued order to base commanders to use defence resources against fire
  • Three have died and thousands have been displaced by bushfires across New South Wales and Queensland 
  • The suburbs most directly at risk of fire are near the bushland areas around the outskirts of the city 

Sydney residents living near bushland should be prepared to evacuate today as the city faces an ‘unprecedented level of bushfire danger,’ officials have warned.   

Greater Sydney is suffering ‘catastrophic’ fire conditions with 37C temperatures, 90kmh winds and low levels of humidity during what may be ‘the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen’.

About 100,000 homes in the Sydney area are said to be at risk, including 31,500 in the city’s North Shore. 

New South Wales is officially in a state of emergency with the Army ready to deploy helicopters to evacuate residents whose lives are endangered.…—Charlie Moore, Karen Ruiz, “Sydney residents are told to be prepared to evacuate as authorities say they can’t save everyone,” Daily Mail, 11/11/19

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Thousands march in Bucharest in defense of Romania’s forests

Thousands march in Bucharest in defense of Romania’s forests

Over 2,000 people gathered in downtown Bucharest on the evening of November 3 to march in defense of the country’s forests and denounce violence against forest rangers, Agerpres reported.

The march, organized by NGOs Declic, Agent Green and Greenpeace, started in University Square and went through Mihail Kogălniceanu Square to reach the Water and Forests Ministry. 

Those taking part in the march carried placards with messages such as “All for forests”, “Stop the lumber mafia”or “Forests save the environment”.

“Romania’s forests are running out of time! The recent data in the National Forestry Inventory show that illegal logging takes place at an unprecedented pace. After it, we are left with exposed mountain peaks, landslides, disastrous flooding, desert areas, mafia-style killings of forest rangers, divided communities that are left exposed to extreme climate events. We are requesting the immediate modernization of the Automated System for Lumber Tracking (SUMAL), of the citizen app The Forest Inspector, and the rigorous protection of the primary and secular protests of Romania,” the organizers of the march wrote on the Facebook page dedicated to the event.

Further reading Case of a forest ranger killed in Maramures county last week brought to the surface a string of possible connections between law enforcers and the so-called “lumber mafia”.
Romania illegal logging: Authorities censor scientific report that shows volume of wood cut each year

The environment NGOs are also requesting measures such as the satellite monitoring of forests, an electronic registry for wood deposits, compulsory GPS tracking for lumber-carrying means of transportation, and video surveillance cameras in key points of the road network and at deposits.

Similar protests took place on the evening of November 3 in other cities in Romania, among them Cluj-Napoca, Braşov, Bistriţa, and Iaşi.—”Thousands march in Bucharest in defense of Romania’s forests,” Romania Insider, 11/4/19

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CALL OF THE REED WARBLER
by Charles Massy

CALL OF THE REED WARBLER by Charles Massy | Kirkus Reviews

Inspired by Charles Massy’s best-selling book “Call of the Reed Warbler”, filmmaker Amy Browne set out across the dry farming country of South East NSW [New South Wales, Australia] to meet Massy and the other trailblazing farmers bringing new life to their land. Regenerative agriculture is one of the most promising wide-scale environmental solutions.

This short documentary is a comprehensive journey through a variety of landscapes and regenerative farming techniques. ‘From the Ground Up’ is a story of genuine change and inspiration – tracing the steps of individuals who transformed their practices following the life-changing realisation – that farmers have a unique opportunity to heal the planet.

An Australian sheepherder and range specialist looks at his home’s biotic communities and how to improve their health with a more thoughtful kind of agriculture.

Arachnophobes take note: There’s a reason you want to see a lot of spiders in the tall grass, for, as Massy (Breaking the Sheep’s Back, 2011, etc.) instructs, it means that good things are happening. “To sustain millions of spiders,” he writes, “there must be a corresponding diversity in the food chain, and healthy landscape function above and below ground.” Such a healthy landscape, argues the author in considerable detail, cannot come about through what he calls the “more-on” approach to agriculture, piling chemicals atop increasingly unproductive soil, but instead is the result of a “regenerative” agriculture that necessarily happens at a small scale.

The larger scale is what modern agronomists insist is needed in order to feed a growing world population, but at a cost that may be too great. As Massy observes, a livestock grower will always seek to save the herd before saving the range, no matter how shortsighted that strategy may be in the end. The author’s prose can be arid and technical at times, as when he writes, “at a global level, non-regeneratively grazed livestock emissions are a huge source of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.” At others, he sounds like a modern butterflies-are-free avatar of Charles Reich: “an Emergent mind combines elements of the previous Organic and Mechanical minds, but its true difference is an openness to the ongoing processes of emergence and self-organization.”

The circularity aside, Massy’s book is a useful small-is-beautiful argument for appropriate-level farming that people can do without massive machines or petrochemical inputs. Though less elegant than Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson, he certainly falls into their camp, and their readers will want to know Massy’s work as well.

A solid case for taking better care of the ground on which we stand.—Book Review, “CALL OF THE REED WARBLER: A New Agriculture, a New Earth,” Kirkus Reviews, 7/15/18

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More than 1,000 Googlers demand the search giant
cut its ties with climate-change deniers

More than 1,000 Googlers signed a letter demanding the search giant cuts ties with climate-change deniers

While Google likes to tout its green initiatives, it has also been found donating to climate-denying think tanks and getting into big oil.

More than 1,000 Google employees have published an open letter to the company’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, demanding that the company take action on climate change.

The Googlers are not alone in publicly putting pressure on upper management to take action on climate change. Amazon employees staged a walkout in September, as did Microsoft employees.

The signatories issued Google with four demands on Monday:

  • Zero emissions by 2030.
  • Zero contracts to enable or accelerate the extraction of fossil fuels.
  • Zero funding for climate-denying or -delaying think tanks, lobbyists, and politicians.
  • Zero collaboration with entities enabling the incarceration, surveillance, displacement, or oppression of refugees or frontline communities.

Google is outwardly vocal about its green initiatives, and in September it announced its “biggest renewable energy purchase ever.” That same month, CEO Sundar Pichai also told the Financial Times that a 2030 zero-emissions goal “doesn’t seem unreasonable,” though he didn’t publicly commit to it.…—Isobel Asher Hamilton, “Google employees demand company cut ties with climate change deniers,” Business Insider, 11/5/19

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Regenerative agriculture: how it works on the ground

Regenerative agriculture: how it works on the ground

“The soil is the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of us all” — Wendell Berry

History’s brightest minds are not always our modern day heroes, and as decades pass, the consequences of ingenious discoveries unfold. This is especially true in the history of agriculture.

Take Fritz Haber for example: a German chemist awarded the Nobel prize for his invention of a process that converts atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, used to make the fertilisers that now feed half the world. Haber’s invention transformed farming, enabled a six-fold increase in human and livestock population. The downside of course is the contribution this has made to our hot and crowded planet.

What about Norman Borlaug, another Nobel peace prize winner? Borlaug introduced high yield, resilient crops to India, Pakistan, Mexico and many other previously famine-prone regions of the world. Due to his work, countless lives were saved and millions of smallholder farmers no longer had to struggle to survive. On the other hand, the consequences of the ‘industrialised’, chemical-intense and monoculture approach that Borlaug advocated have unfolded over the years. It is now clear that the Green Revolution has large unfactored costs to health, ecosystems, climate, and society.

The interventions of Haber and Borlaug are just two of hundreds that make up the architecture of our modern, industrialised food production system. The list might also include deep sea trawlers, aerial crop sprayers, centre pivot irrigation systems, concentrated animal feed, and numerous other ‘efficiency machines’. Together, these inventions have allowed for intensification and yield increases on a vast scale, leading to improvements in food security and affordability that can appear miraculous.

However, as time has passed it has become clear that this uber-abundance, evidenced by supermarket shelves that are permanently full and all-you-can-eat restaurant deals, could actually be a mirage. Behind the veil of a prosperous, abundant food system lies a deeper malaise. The list of uncosted negative impacts includes vast areas of abandoned arable land, billions of tons of lost topsoil, dangerous atmospheric pollution, choking waterways, a looming antibiotic crisis, tens of thousands of deaths from pesticide exposure and a quarter of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions.

Taken together, our economy as a whole pays the price. The wasteful and degrading way we produce food leads to costs that are projected to reach about $6 trillion by 2050.

How did we get here? Most industrial agriculture relies on add-ons that focus on improving the efficiency of one specific part of the system: yield, size, durability, growth rate, trawling area, harvesting speed and so on. Whereas this approach may be a viable way to optimise something mechanical and predictable, like an engine, the same approach does not apply to a complex, natural system like a farm. The system of a farm sits within and relies on interactions with the larger natural system. For example, the crops need insects to pollinate, surface and groundwater to irrigate, microbes to cycle nutrients, and soil to provide a strong and fertile growth medium.…—Nick Jeffries, “Regenerative agriculture: how it works on the ground,” Medium, 3/4/19

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Errata

Last week, in Edition Vol. 5 No. 44, we announced a showing of a video featuring Ken Ward’s decision to shut a valve on a pipeline carrying tar sands dilbit.

William Huston, pipeline researcher and videographer, has written to protest Ken Ward’s action, and to inform readers and activists of the dangers of taking such an action in ignorance of the system dynamics and vulnerabilities affected by the individual act they intend. You can find his documentation of these dangers at his blog entry for October 11, 2016, “Pipeline Safety Trust’s (and my own) statement about today’s Tar Sands Pipelines Direct Action,” BillHustonBlog.—Dwain Wilder, Editor, re THE RELUCTANT RADICAL

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And That’s A Wrap! Thanks to everyone who sent in news, action announcements and comments this week. Send kudos, rotten tomatoes and your story ideas, your group’s action events, and news of interest to intrepid climate change and environmental justice warriors! Send to editor@thebanner.news.