Carbonomics: Saving the Earth by Ending Industrial Agriculture

Living Soil

Produced by Soil Health Institute (2018)

Film Review

Thanks to the new field of Carbonomics, more and more US farmers are learning that the carbon content of soil is even more essential to plant health than nitrogen. Largely due to industrial agriculture, the Earth has lost half of its topsoil in 150 years. Fortunately, however, thanks to the increasing adoption of regenerative agriculture across the US, American topsoil is gradually being restored.

Although the primary motivation for the move to regenerative agriculture is to improve soil health, crop yields and the nutritional quality of food, this is also one of the most cost effective ways to reduce atmospheric CO2 by sequestering carbon.*

Increasing the carbon content of soil also helps it retain water. This, in turn, prevents contamination of waterways through fertilizer runoff.

The main regenerative farming practices Living Soil explores are cover cropping and intercropping. Cover cropping refers to alternating food crops with with cover crops designed to replenish carbon and nitrogen (if nitrogen-fixing legumes are used). Intercropping refers to growing cover crops alongside food crops, which can be helpful in diminishing insect pests as well as replenishing carbon and nitrogen.

According to filmmakers, Maryland has the largest cover crop movement in the US. Several years ago, a massive fish kill in Chesapeake Bay (stemming from fertilizer runoff) led to an unusual collaboration between state farmers and the environmental movement. By jointly lobbying the state legislature, they won state subsidies for farmers willing to plant cover crops. As of 2018, 60% of Maryland farms featured cover crops in winter – in contrast to 15% in 1990.

In the documentary’s most interesting segment, the filmmakers visit three farms practicing no-till (ie plow-free). There is growing evidence that breaking up the soil through plowing or cultivation damages delicate fungal networks plants rely on for essential nutrients.   


*According to Dr Zach Bush, the enhanced fungal and bacterial activity of healthy soils also has a positive impact on human health. See The Shikimate Pathway: How Vaccines, Environmental Toxins and 5G Damage Human Immunity

 

The Shikimate Pathway: How Vaccines, Environmental Toxins and 5G Damage Immunity

Truth: Interview with RFJ Jr and Dr Zach Bush

December 2020

Film Review

This recent interview between Robert F Kennedy Jr and Dr Zach Bush concerns the essential role of the shikimate pathway in immunity. Found only in bacteria and other single cell organisms, the link between shikimate pathway and the immune system is the focus of two decades of intensive research. Scientists (and a growing number of doctors) worry a variety of toxic environmental pollutants are causing chronic illnesses to skyrocket by poisoning the gut bacteria responsible for our immunity.

Glyphosate (Roundup) is the most common and best studied of these environmental toxins, but PFAS (flame retardant chemicals), the mercury and aluminum found in vaccines, ultrasound and EMF radiation (associated with cellphones, WiFi and 5G) are also likely culprits.

Both Kennedy and Bush believe the poisoning of essential gut bacteria is largely responsible for a five-fold increase in chronic illnesses (eg autism, autoimmune disease and diabetes) since the 1940s.
 
According to Bush, these toxic exposures are rapidly increasing male infertility. At present, over 1/3 of Western men are infertile.
 
For me, the most interesting part of the interview concerns new evidence that neither our blood nor brain are sterile, as I was taught in medical school. Bush asserts there are thousands of viral and bacterial species present in both. In fact, specific brain microbes play an important role in safeguarding brain activity.
 
I was also intrigued to learn about the link between the introduction of arsenic and mercury pesticides in the late 19th century the appearance of a paralytic form of polio in the 1890s.* So-called “infantile paralysis” would reach epidemic proportions with the introduction of DDT following World War II. Likewise polio vaccine was relatively ineffective in eradicating polio prior to the banning of DDT in Western countries in 1972.

Bush, a physician specializing in internal medicine, endocrinology and hospice care, has started a biotech company studying soil microorganisms (the original source of most of our antibiotics) and harvesting the therapeutic chemicals they produce for use in nutritional supplements. He’s also heavily involved in regenerative farming projects in schools and prisons. His website is https://zachbushmd.com/


*According to Bush, human beings have lived in harmony with polio virus for thousands of years. It only began causing paralysis after environmental poisons killed the friendly bacteria that normal prevent it from invading the human nervous system.

 

Opting Out of the Corporate System New Zealand-Style

Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future

Directed by Jordan Osmond and Antoinette Wilson (2018)

Film Review

This documentary features activists from around New Zealand who have inspired their communities to begin making the necessary changes for a sustainable future. I know several of them personally and found it really gratifying to see their decades of effort (for many of them) acknowledged.

Among activists featured are Helen Dew and Phil and Sharon Stephens from Living Economies.* All three were instrumental in starting local currencies, time banks and savings pools in their own and other communities.

In the film, Helen speaks about the link between our debt-based economic system and environmental degradation. Sharon, in turn, speaks about the need for all of us to downsize our lifestyles rather than depending on resource depleting solar and wind technology to save us. Mike Joy, freshwater ecologist at the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University, Joy speaks about the urgent need to transform our food system away from monoculture cropping and the heavily reliance on fossil fuels that supports it.

Also featured are

  • Action Ecology founder Shane Ward
  • Te Mahi Kai, a school that uses Time Bank volunteers to teach children to grow and prepare their own foods
  • The Baywater Repair Cafe – where volunteers help community members repair bicycles, appliances, furniture and clothing instead of discarding and replacing them)
  • the Magarara Station (which practices and teaches regenerative farming) and various other organic and permaculture-based farms and Community Support Agrculture (CSA) schemes**
  • Leo Murray founder of Why Waste (which helps families and business with waste reduction projects. Replanting New Zealand (one of NZ’s many native tree replanting projects),

Non-Kiwi economist Charles Eisenstein introduces the film by explaining that collapse of our current economic system is inevitable, as it depends on infinite growth, which is impossible with finite natural resources. Given our economic system’s dependence on continuous growth, it will collapse once the wealthy elite has exhausted all the natural resources that can obtain easily and cheaply. According to Eisenstein, nearly all of us have a deep longing for another system that involves a greater connection to nature and to one another in community. It’s simply a matter of finding ways to act on those feelings.


*Living Economies is a NZ charitable trust, whose purpose is to educate and support Kiwis in finding alternatives to our current corporate-based economic system. See https://livingeconomies.nz/about/our-work

**Community Supported Agriculture is a system in which a farm is supported by local consumers who purchase prepaid shares in the farm’s output which they receive periodically throughout the growing season

The full film can be viewed on the Māori TV website for one more week: Living the Change