Tag Archives: global warming

GWM August 2011

It’s still very dry. The farmers around here are using sprinklers. Yes, I know the weather forecast whinges on about the “awful rain”, not proper summer weather – where do most people think food comes from? What do they think their bodies and food is mostly made of/ do they not realise that we are 70% water? Probably not … no wonder the Earth is in such a mess if we know absolutely nothing about our own makeup!

We need the rain. Climate change has made huge differences to how crops grow, how our garden crops grow, the flowers we can grow, everything. Shropshire – north of me here in Hereford – now has a commercial olive orchard! Yikes! Do you realise what this means for the previously indigenous plants? Most people have been on holiday to France and Greece and Spain nowadays, places where olives are indigenous as they are not here in Britain. What sort of climates do those places have? Hot and dry. That’s why you go there on holiday, to bake your skin into cancer. Now think of all the British plants … apples for instance such as Hereford is famous for. They need rain to be good. Climate change has changed all that. You don’t think we can change it back, do you? We’ve had that, messed it up, it will only get worse. We now have to learn how to live with what we’ve done.

Biodynamics does help. No, it does not cure global warming! However, along with good organic practice, it does help the soil and the plants to adapt to global warming. Some of our native plants – and all the insects and animals that depend on them – will disappear; go extinct because of what we’ve done. Really makes you feel good, that thought, doesn’t it? But more will survive, changed but alive, with the aid of biodynamics. Our garden here at Archenland is a proof of that.

As I said at the beginning, the farmers around here are using sprinklers to keep their crops growing. My watering regime is not as intense as theirs although I grow most of my own vegetables. Vegetables, food crops, need a lot of water; a) it’s the major part of their make-up; b) they need it because we take them out of the ground, grow most of them as annual plants, so they draw up the food and moisture from the soil but do not die and do not put it back in the soil at the end of the season because we eat them!

You know that I use the biodynamic preps. These help to reduce the need for watering. The main one that does this is Prep 500, Horn Manure. By aiding the soil fauna and flora it helps the soil adapt to hold more moisture. I help it further by composting every darn thing I can and adding this back to the soil. As I said, vegetable and crop growing takes food and water from the soil which harvesting the crops does not give back. So one of the major parts of our gardening work here is to make compost; another is to find, collect and compost organic cow, horse, chicken and pig manure. We are pretty fortunate, able to get the stuff. The farmers need it too, for the same reasons we do, so we cannot take too much; fortunately there are several farms and horse-keepers we can ask for the stuff.

Composted weeds and kitchen waste + composted animal manure are a great help to the soil, and the roots of the plants. They provide nutrients (food) and help with water retention; they also help the mycorrhiza to grow and function well. These incredible fungi help the sugar and water exchange of all plants. For instance, in soils with a basic pH plant roots on their own may be incapable of taking up phosphate ions that are demineralized. The mycelium of the mycorrhizal fungus can access these phosphorus sources and make them available to the plants they colonize. Both Prep 500 and the compost preps aid the growth and colonisation of the mycorrhiza in your garden with; they in their turn help plants cope and adapt to the unsuitable conditions we have created with global warming.

You can use the compost preps very easily by using the Mausdorfer preparation; see my previous article on composting with Cool Heaps – the little and often method most gardeners have to use. This is much easier than working with the 6 preparations individually; to do that you need a really big heap of compost that’s ready all at the same time – we gardeners rarely have that! You can use the Mausdorfer in your Bokashi and your wormery too as I say in the article.

Using Prep 500 directly onto your soil, preferably about once every couple of months between September and the end of March for the northern hemisphere – the other way around for the southern hemisphere, i.e. from March to the end of September – will enable your soil and all the soil-life to adapt and work with the new climate conditions.

Using biodynamically prepared compost will do the same.

Doing both will make a difference. Like me, you won’t need to water so much in order to keep the plants growing and producing food for you; and producing beauty; and the nectar and seeds that feed the insects and birds and so maintain the cycles of life.

We’ve been working the land here since June 2000. At first the soil was in poor condition; we worked hard, lots of compost, lots of manure, lots of spraying with Prep 500. The land improved dramatically, our farming and gardening neighbours noticed; some even asked what we were doing and began doing it themselves. It’s got better each year … as the global warming effects have increased. I’m hoping that the watering regime will get even less; it certainly has gone down over the years although this early summer was very bad indeed with no rain for months just at the time the plants need it to put on growth.

If you are just beginning with biodynamics it’s OK to start with Prep 500 right now. I know I said between March and September, and it’s only August, but if you’re beginning you just get on with it. The land will thank you so go for it so don’t get hung up in rules and regulations! You have to adapt your thinking too as well as your gardening techniques, rules and regs are guidelines not set in stone; the sun will still rise tomorrow even if you go against perceived wisdom! Your garden is your best adviser along with your own instincts. We’re not much encouraged to use our instincts nowadays, it doesn’t make money for the experts if we don’t rely on what they say, buy their books and their expensive products! You do know the definition of an expert ??? An “ex” is a has-been, a “spurt” is a drip under pressure … says it all really!

Do go for it, get spraying with the 500, get some Mausdorfer (or cow-pat-pit) and get it onto your land, into your compost heap. Don’t chuck all that good compostable material and remember that newspapers and egg-boxes and such are vital to the heap too – see this composting article for some easy good advice, and keep adding Mausdorfer or cow-pat-pit to it. Get as much of your waste stuff in heaps to go back and feed yourself, rather than ruin the Earth further by going into land-fill.

We really can help the Earth cope with the damage we’ve done 🙂

Global Warming

Half the battle lies in the language. ‘Warm’ is not a scary concept. ‘Warm’ is a word we use to describe positive emotions. ‘Warming’ means heartwarming, snugly and pleasing. It is not a description to inspire concern, much less fear. Global warming. It’s like wrapping the world in a nice woolly jumper.

Climate change is at least a broader description, and may be more accurate, because we don’t really know what effects we’re going to have on the planet. ‘Change’ isn’t a scary word either. Ok, most people find change a bit unsettling, but we also know that ‘a change is as good as a rest’ and that change is part of life. Nothing to be afraid of there.

How different would the debate be if we couched it in more dramatic terms? We should be talking about global disaster, total climatic uncertainty, radical change to weather systems, and the potential for terrible impact on human life, the destruction of habits and cultures, and the small window we have in which to avoid this.

Governments and business squeal about the costs and squirm over the inconvenience. It’s painfully short term. And really, if we push our species to the edge, people are not going to be devoting their wealth to turning the wheels of business, are they? The cost of getting this wrong, or doing too little, too late, doesn’t seem to be crossing enough minds just yet. The cost in terms of human lives lost or blighted isn’t on the agenda to anything like the degree it should be. The ice caps are melting, fact. The sea will rise due to this, and water expands when it’s warm, and this means the sea takes up more space – the water levels go up. How much land can we afford to lose? What value do we place on the great god that is economic growth, when we compare it to the devastation we are going to face if we get this wrong?

Let’s turn this around for a moment and imagine that the minority of climate sceptics out there are entirely right, and that the world is able to soak up what we do, and that as a species we aren’t committing collective suicide right now by this particular method. We are still destroying species and habitats. We are still filling the air, water and soil with pollution, and that isn’t doing us any good at all. We still have finite resources and one day the oil is going to run out. No amount of saying climate change doesn’t exist makes these other issues go away. There are not plenty more fish in the sea. We are not in a position to ship everyone off to some other planet and start over. If we start figuring out how to live within our means, how to be sustainable, then surely, medium to long term, business, governments, individuals benefits. If we’re really clever, we might get to keep this affluent, indulgent way of life. We might even be able to do more.

So, whether or not a person, or government, or business thinks climate change is a real threat, there are plenty of other things that definitely are, and that are going to need dealing with. Doesn’t it make more sense to fix things before they become more dangerous to us? Or are we going to need to push ourselves as a species, right to the edge of what is viable, before we shake off our collective apathy and take our own futures seriously. And in the meantime, let’s stop messing about with this unthreatening not-a-real-problem language. Climate disaster. Lethal pollution. Unsustainable growth. Economic madness. Mass suicide. Let’s call it what it is, and do something about it while we still can.

A Quickie … but a bit of a downer !!!

Because  it’s my day and I didn’t have much material for it other than the Ogham I’m having a go at an off-the-cuff one now …

How many people out there enjoy “weather”? I love it, almost whatever it is. Our’s is quite odd at the moment in Britain, probably due to ash clouds as well as global warming and that brings me to what set me off tonight. I watched the programme on the Icelandic volcanoes the other night and very good it was too. The way they can change weather for us, just like that, and the amount of change too, is staggering. As I said, I love weather … but this was scary!

The big volcano, Katala, is very likely to go off in the next few months and make the lst one look like a damp squib. global warming is making the Jet Stream far more contrary than it used to be so it’s quite likely the volcanic cloud will sweep Europe quickly and, from there, make its way around the whole globe. This could mean a darkness on the face of the Earth similar to what happened with the Yellow Plague in the 500s when starvation and famine ran round the northern hemisphere.

What can we do about it? Well, stopping a volcano is not even a starter for 10! You think BP has problems? Just imagine trying to plug a volcano – I get ROFLMAO at the mere thought. So … ???

We can plan for it. It IS going to happen, it’s not an “if” but a “when”. and it’s not just air travel, that will b e the least of our worries, it’ll be food, water, livestock dying, asthma, emphysema, any lung sufferers having a really bad time and probably dying. And that’s just for starters. With no air travel that will cut off food imports as well – assuming anyone has any to spare. Etc, etc, etc.

So what’s my point? It really is high time we stopped having World Cup, Big Brother, general gossip, party politics, and if we have a barbecue summer, as our first priorities. The state of the climate really IS far more important even than the Afghan war of terrorism.

People are quite ridiculous in the way they look at weather. If it rains that’s a “bad” thing … but where do the silly sausages think their food comes from? Do they think it grows in plastic packs in the supermarket? Doesn’t anyone teach about how plants work? That plants – indeed most life on Earth – is about 70% water ??? where does this water come from? Out the tap ???

We have to stop being ignorant. we have to stop worrying about getting a degree in film technique or media studies and start doing “real” things like understanding what keeps us alive and how fragile that system is. And that we humans can’t “fix” nay of it, certainly not by throwing money at it.

Ho hum! Rant over. But I am concerned, the more I hear/see people who are completely ignorant of how life works – real life like food and air and water – but are brilliant at “business plans”.

and on that note … do you know … I met a student nurse at our doc’s practice who didn’t even know where the pancreas was or what it does when she was asked to examine me … a diabetes patient. If that’s not scary, what is ? Arrrrrggghhh !!!

Elen Sentier
… behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …
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Celtic shaman – Elen Sentier Ogham: Duir – Oak