Category Archives: Soil

Using manure for fertilizer in the future – it won’t be easy

Preface. At John Jeavons Biointensive workshop back in 2003, I learned that phosphorous is limited and mostly being lost to oceans and other waterways after exiting sewage treatment plants.  He said it can be dangerous to use human manure without … Continue reading

Posted in Life Before Oil, Soil, Waste, Water | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Book review of Dirt: the erosion of civilization

Preface. On average civilizations collapsed after 800 to 2,000 years because they’d destroyed their topsoil. Today, industrial agriculture is doing this far faster – in most of the United States half of the original topsoil is gone from the richest … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Peak Food, Soil | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Book: John Perlin’s “A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization”

Preface.  This contains excerpts from John Perlin’s “A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization”. It’s one of my favorite books about natural resources, exploring the role wood has played in the rise and fall of civilizations since they … Continue reading

Posted in Collapse of Civilizations, Collapsed, Deforestation, Life Before Oil, Limits To Growth, Peak Resources, Soil, Wood | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

U.S. farmers destroy future food production for centuries with modern farming methods

[ Below are excerpts from a devastating critique of current farming practices by the National research council. Here are some of the main points. “Most food is produced by farmers who rely on agriculture for their livelihood. …surveys repeatedly show … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Air, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Groundwater, Limits To Growth, Peak Food, Pesticides, Soil, Water | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Peak soil: Industrial agriculture destroys ecosystems and civilizations. Biofuels make it worse.

Alice Friedemann. 2017. Peak Soil.  Last update Oct 23, 2017, first 2007 [ Formerly titled: Why Biofuels are Not Sustainable and a Threat to America’s National Security.  Shorter versions appear in the following books: Jacqueline Langwith, ed. 2008.  “Opposing Viewpoints: Renewable … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Biofuels, Biomass, Energy, Peak Biofuels, Soil, Soil | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Book review of “1493 Uncovering the new world Columbus Created”

[ This book will be included in the “must read” category of my giant booklist when I get around to updating it. This book isn’t just about the past, the implications reverberate into the postcarbon future.  Will slavery return without … Continue reading

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Nitrogen fertilizer poses significant threats to humans and the environment

NRC. 2015. A Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System. National Research Council, National Academies Press. 19 pages.   Nitrogen (N) is essential for agricultural productivity, but in its more reactive forms, it can pose significant threats to humans … Continue reading

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Mineral: Soil from Ugo Bardi’s “Extracted”

Preface. Ugo Bardi’s book on minerals covers a wide-ranging territory, including soil, which is a mineral.  In this section of the book he shows how humans have damaged the soil so much we have greatly overshot carrying capacity by lowering … Continue reading

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Because we’ve stuffed staggering numbers of cows on factory farms we live in a cow toilet

[ Book review of “Cowed: The hidden impactof 93 million cows” by Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer] Hayes, Denis and Gail. 2015. Cowed: The Hidden Impact of 93 … Continue reading

Posted in Antibiotics, Biodiversity Loss, CO2 and Methane, Pollution, Soil | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Chemical industrial farming is unsustainable. Why poison ourselves when pesticides don’t save more of our crops than in the past?

Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides destroy soil, ecosystems, and a third of the crop is still lost to pests, just as in the many millennia of farming before chemicals. Preface. This is a book review of Dyer’s “Chasing the Red Queen”, … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Biodiversity Loss, Chemicals, Overshoot, Pesticides, Soil | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Chemical industrial farming is unsustainable. Why poison ourselves when pesticides don’t save more of our crops than in the past?