The Importance of Biological Soil Health to Quickly and Inexpensively Solve our Global Warming Crisis:
By Kathryn Mathewson, Ecologist. Designer and Sustainable Planner
Time: Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 7:30 pm
Place: Unity Church , 3391 Middlefield Rd. , Palo Alto , CA
Talk Sponsored by the Silicon Valley for Obama Environmental/ Energy Group
“What I enjoy is not the fruit alone. I also enjoy the soil itself and its power.” (Marcus Cicero, Roman philosopher, statesman, and political theorist (106 - 43 BC)
A perspective of life on earth: In one handful of healthy soil there are more micro-organisms than people in the world! Some of the things these organisms will do are:
1. Improve the health of plants and food by making nutrients naturally available to plants;
2. Aerate the soil and balance the pH.
3. Reduce plant water needs by 50 to 75 percent.
4. Sequester carbon dioxide and thus solve our Global Warming problem.
5. Reduce and eliminate weeds.
6. Remove chemicals and pollution.
Questions and issues we will address with suggestions for action:
1. California is the number one agricultural state in the U.S. Agri businesses and developers dominate our state’s land use practices and agricultural research. Agri-businesses use chemicals and fossil fuel which kill the soil biology thus creating carbon dioxide and Global Warming rather than sequestering carbon. The food from this system is less healthy and is transported by trucks thus using even more fossil fuel.
2. Agriculture uses eighty percent of California ’s water. Cities use only 20 percent of the state’s available water. Mandatory water rationing occurs in California cities but agriculture, the largest user of water, has no restrictions and no conservation requirements. The Central Valley water users have no water meters and flooding is agriculture’s favored irrigation technique. Because traditional agriculture uses chemicals, their plants use 50 to 75 percent more water.
3. The cheapest and quickest way to sequester carbon and eliminate Global Warming is to return our soils to healthy soil biology, a very simple and inexpensive process. Yet, the state of California and the federal government’s Global Warming policies only address the technology solutions. President Obama’s one public comment about soil was in his Acceptance Speech when he said: “…we must harvest our soil and wind.” Our political leadership is ignoring the foundation of our health and of life, our soil.
4. What are our current urban open space land policies and what can we learn from the soil sequestration and water saving ideas in agriculture research?
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