Next book is "Thinking in Systems", by Donella H. Meadows, because eventually I'll have to back up all my mutterings about "self-reinforcing behaviors".
Next book is "Winning the Green New Deal: Why We Must, How We Can", edited by Varshini Prakash and Guido Girgenti of the Sunrise Movement. A collection of essays by environmentalists and policy folks.
My next read is Paradise Lost by John Milton.
I finished "The Power" by Naomi Alderman today.
I didn't enjoy the read, but it was thought provoking. The central thesis of the book seemed to be, "our society is based on power, and if women were stronger than men we would see the same oppressive dynamics we see now, reversed."
That's a grim thought.
Next (current) read: if Beale Street Could Talk, by James Baldwin
Next read: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Next read: "Just Enough Research" by Erika Hall
Thus far, it's classic 1950s fare. A square-jawed team of white man scientists are flung into the far future along with their town. The local government is weak, the women are frail and must be protected.
For all that the premise is interesting - reminds me of "The Night Land" and "The City and the Stars" - post post post apocalypse cities surviving on doomed worlds.
Next read is "The Buried Giant," by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Post-Aurthurian legend where nobody can form long term memories.
I enjoyed "Catherine the Great" by Robert K. Massie
Next read is Andrew Krivak's "The Bear". A father- daughter post-apocalypse tale.
I read Kiss the Ground (and other #ClimateCrisis literature) and I get so angry. As a species we're sinking into climate destruction and still, the world's largest #agriculture countries (looking at you, #US) can't take dramatic action. Only 53% of the country thinks #ClimateChange is major problem; only 49% think humans have something to do with it. This is the struggle of our time and, collectively, we're asleep.
I like this author's method of starting each chapter of his nonfiction book in the first-person present tense.
"[David] explains that the per acre yield or corn has skyrocketed since his grandfather's day. His granddad was lucky to get around thirty or forty bushels per acre. In contrast, today in the noisy combine 'we' harvested around 150 bushels per acre - and some of thr farmers he knows are pulling in up to 180."
"When asked about the inputs and the investment needed to squeeze that kind of productivity from the ligand, David they've all gone up too. Farm chemistry can get complicated but the basic roles of application, he says, are simple. The more dry weight of corn (or soy beans) you want, the more pounds of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium you add. But along more inputs only works up to a point which is called your 'maximum yield' (MY)." #agriculture #farming
"And gauging exactly where that point is so you don't spend unnecessary money on inputs? Well, says David, that's somewhere between a 'scientific guess' and a 'lot of prayin.'"
"He explains that the band numbers for application break down as follows. To grow an acre of corn today you apply around 140 pounds of ammonium nitrate (nitrogen), around sixty of phosphate (phosphorus), and around eighty pounds of potash (potassium). Added to that are about two to three points power acre of herbicides (like glyphosate, the primary chemical Roundup), insecticides, and/or fungicides."
"America loses about two farms every hour, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year."
"The first barrier to unlimited acres of the same crop was pests, the second weeds, and the third fungus. Without balanced soils, which have inside them all the microbial life needed to support plants, nature will cull a crop. In naturue, diversity is the norm, not the exception, so an ecosystem in a systate of unbalance (too much of the same plant) will, through bugs, weeds, plant disease, et cetera, attempt to restore itself to balance (diversity)."
This book is fantastic. I know the barest outlines of U.S. agricultural history, and "Kiss the Ground" tells it with humor, drama, and loads and loads of concrete facts. I'm really getting a lot out of it, and it's not a slog to get through.
Oh my god. Look at this 1947 ad in Life magazine for the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing company.
"The data suggests [pesticides] are in up to 98 percent of food. Sometimes it's in small doses, someimes large. The USDA, the agency responsible for testing our food, does not test for the majority of the worst offenders of these poisons (including 2,4-D, glyphosate, or atrazine) in the foods on which they are mostly sprayed (corn, soy, and wheat)."
"Washington, DC's 'revolving door' between big agricultural businesses, the regulatory agencies, and the Senate and House committees that are supposed to oversee them leaves little in the way of citizen protection from these chemicals. With nobody to shield them, Americans are the guinea pigs in the largest chemical experiment humankid has ever taken."
"Not surprisingly, up to 67 percent of the premiums for crop insurance are paid to private comapanies directly from the federal government. If that all sounds like mumbo jumbo, the bottom line is that private enterprise is soaking up most of the tax money that is supposed to be paid to farmers, who, due to an overbearing and outdated government finance scheme, grow the very crops that make Americans sick."
"The system of crop insurance works like this: RA releases its policy listing crop insurance prices. Based on the list of insured crops a farmer decides what they will grow. A farmer then certifies his or her production by making sure it conforms to the government mode. After harvest there's an acreage report. If, as is often the case, the crop produces less than the expected per acre quanity set by the governent, the farmer files a loss report."
"The insurance is calculated and the premium is paid by the federal government (mostly to a private company). The farmer receives his or her "loss payment" and starts again."
"... a Farmer must adhere to the federal insurance program's strict guidelines concerning the type of crop to be planted (i.e. patented seed), the methods used (i.e., chemicals sprayed), as well as where and when the crops are grown. Not surprisingly, farmers generally grow the crops with the highest per acre insurance rates ... Because it provies a guaranteed price for crops, the federal crop insurance program tells the majority of ... farmers what to grow and what not to grow."
"While it maintains one sort of food security, in its current incarnation the government crop insurance penalizes farmers who do the right thing when it comes to soil. Based in Washington, DC, where the average Senate seat costs around $10 million and where there are over one thousand lobbyists for every member of Congress, the FCIC is in lockstep with the major companies that profit and benefit from industrialized corn and soy and the chemicals and machines they require."
"In 2009, the the midsize #farms - those grossing between $100,000 and $250,00 - averaged a net income of approximately $19,270, incuding government payments. Even those operations designated by the #USDA as "large industrial farms" (making a gross income of between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2009) netted only $52,000 on average, including $17,000 in government payments."
"A 2015 University of Illinois Department of Agriculutal and Consumer Economics (ACE) budget projection puts the net farmer income in 2016 for corn at negative $66 and soybeans at negative $97, respectively. Meaning, frowing corn will result in a loss of $66 per acre and soy will lose you $97 per acre. The ... recommendation? Cut costs by $100 per acre. Then at least you could make $3 an acre... In other words, the *only way* to make any money on these crops is with government [subsidies]..."
Terrifying. We must step away from monoculture in general.
Treating plants with formulas of exacting and calculated salt-based fertilisers is crazy.
We merely need to take care of the soil, and let the plants take care of themselves.
This largely requires a move back to forestry and diverse polycultures.
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