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    Graeme Sait on the Importance of Humus (TED Talk)

    Humus - the Essential Ingredient: Graeme Sait at TEDxNoosa

    Commentary:

    Throughout time, people have always had a significant relationship with the land. Healthy soils and the creation of a truly sustainable environment can do wonders for our quality of life.

    Historically, ocean acidification has been recognized as a result of fertilizer run-off, soil erosion, and direct pollution/effluent discharge from negligent industries. Also, NPK fertilizers used liberally on soils are one of the biggest sterilizing forces of soil bacteria. Herbicides negatively affect the microbiome, and aggressive crop rotation overexposes soil ecology to the atmosphere and light, once again, sterilizing the soil.

    As a society, we have become heavily dependent on petrochemical and rock-based fertilizers (fly ash from dirty coal, rock phosphates, etc.) to keep up with the global demand of crop-production to stove off hunger and starvation. With a successful transition to organic foods, we could do away with our dependence on fertilizing farming practices. With truly nutrient rich food, dietary needs could potentially halve, preventing global starvation. However, due to the viability of soils and the economics of business, this would be a difficult transition for large agricultural food suppliers to make.

    The best path forward for organic farming is to return to small plot farming and local produce. Dense populations would need to renegotiate supply of newly available small plot organic goods to sustain the viability of life in city. It is still essential for large farmers to make transition and diversify, however. Perhaps this is something governments can help them achieve. In the interim, small plot farmers would have to carry nations of the world, without starvation and loss of human life.

    It is also possible to reduce methane emissions from cattle farming. Organically, mutiflora fed animals (whether in a pastoral or nomadic setting) don't generate as much methane due to stabilized and diverse bacteria in their digestive system. Aggressive farming practices don't allow for extended rotation cycles, which allow for proper restoration of soils in-between use, and lead to higher proliferation of multiflora grasslands - as was the traditional farming practice before fertilizers.

    Lastly, when looking to make change in the world, one must establish a hierarchy of immediate actions which favour individual responsibility foremost. The first step, is to create a system of sustenance in the personal realm (gardening, composting, etc.). Then, you can start to influence those around you through action and dialogue. Finally, you can become political about the matter.

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