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Remineralising soils for a future?

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  • Adam Ormes Court
    Has anyone here experimented with rock dust? What quantities did you apply, how? Observed effects? ********** John Hamaker - He puzzled over the paradoxes of
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 15, 2012
      Has anyone here experimented with rock dust?

      What quantities did you apply, how?

      Observed effects?


      John Hamaker - He puzzled over the paradoxes of the Greenhouse Effect
      Alberto H.F. Machado

      Today, scientists report that our topsoils contain less than sixteen of
      the sixty plus minerals needed to create vibrant plant—and hence animal
      and human—life. This demineralization is partially caused by over a
      century of petrochemical agriculture, but also by another less well known
      factor: the earth has reached the end of the current demineralization

      Over thirty years ago, John Hamaker (1914-1994), engineer, farmer,
      ecologist and true polymath, did what is undoubtedly some of the most
      significant original thinking of the century. As a farmer then in his
      50's, John was critically aware of chaotic weather, temperature extremes;
      greater incidence of storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, and
      exponentially rising curve of atmospheric CO2 in recent years.

      He puzzled over the paradoxes of the Greenhouse Effect and the clear
      scientific evidence Earth has gone through at least thirty 100,000-year
      cycles of glaciation. Major ice ages have occurred with great regularity,
      each cycle encompassing 90,000 years of glaciation followed by 10,000—plus
      or minus 2000—years of warm, interglacial periods. And climatologists
      confirm, we are presently 10,800 years into the current interglacial

      But, if we're due for an ice age, why were we experiencing distinct
      warming in some parts of the world? By the 70's scientists had grouped in
      two camps: warming theorists, who gave us a hundreds years to prepare for
      global warming with its impending rise of Earth's oceans on one side, and
      the cooling theorists, who focus more on the three-million-year record of
      recurring ice ages and the increasing mass of the polar ice caps. Not
      wanting to curtail global deforestation and the burning of fossils fuels,
      the U.S. government threw its support behind the warming theorists, so
      that by the late 1970's, those whose research tended to support the
      Cooling received no funding.

      Drawing from advanced research in many disciplines botany, nutrition, soil
      microbiology, glacial geology, forestry, paleoclimatology, and more, John
      focused his highly-gifted and disciplined mind to understand the
      principles of nature operating on Earth, and specifically to grasp the
      mechanism behind glaciation. "Why," he asked himself, "if carbon dioxide
      is to trees as oxygen is to us, aren't our trees in superb health?"
      Research showed that toward the end of the previous two interglacial
      periods, deciduous trees had become as diseased as our elms, chestnuts and
      maples are today.

      Studies also showed that during ice ages, the tropics were hotter and
      dryer than usual—the very direction our climate is now moving in. And,
      amazingly, just before the onset of the previous ice ages, atmospheric CO2
      levels rose exponentially, again paralleling today's global trend.

      Everybody talks about the weather,
      but nobody does anything about it.
      —Folk saying

      What could have caused such a rise in atmospheric CO2 100,000 years ago?
      We weren't burning fossil fuels back then.

      John reasoned that if the trees' health was somehow compromised, they'd be
      less able to perform their function of removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
      He looked at which trees were first affected by blights or disease near
      the end of previous interglacial periods. Like today, they were always
      those with the greatest leaf area. Chestnut trees have been measured at
      sixty acres of leaf area per tree; elms at about forty! Of course, trees
      with the large leaf area require more minerally abundant soils to sustain
      their massive feeding.

      The puzzle pieces were fitting together perfectly. Topsoils become
      demineralized over the course of a 10,000 year warm interglacial period.
      Stressed and weakened from demineralized soils, trees are no longer able
      to remove excess CO2 from the air, causing a build-up of what we call
      "greenhouse gases."

      Hamaker saw what no one else seemed to have seen: that the greenhouse
      effect is not equal over the globe, but occurs differentially—primarily in
      the tropics, where the sun's rays are most intense. In the past few
      decades we are already seeing the tropics heating up and drying out, as in
      the extreme drought and famine in Africa.

      As greenhouse gases heat up, they cause tropical ocean water to evaporate,
      forming moisture-laden clouds. Then, because of the temperature and
      pressure differential between northern temperate and equatorial regions,
      warm tropical air rises more quickly, leaving a vacuum that sucks down
      cold, heavy, northern polar air, creating high winds, hurricanes and
      tornadoes in the process. (Statistics show a 900% increase in tornadoes,
      for instance, between 1920 and 1986.)

      In the mid-latitudes, these tropical clouds precipitate out as rainfall,
      resulting in increased flooding. In the higher latitudes and polar
      regions, their moisture falls as ice and snow, adding mass and weight to
      the polar ice caps. By the way, that cloud mass can now be seen from
      satellites covering Canada and Russia during the month of August, often
      preventing those countries from maturing their grain crops.

      Hamaker was not alone in suggesting that some source of increased energy
      would be required to transport poleward the huge amounts of moisture that
      make up glaciers. Many climatologists now agree. But until John grasped of
      the complementary/antagonistic nature of the forces that characterize
      glaciation, no one could figure out where such an enormous amount of
      energy would come from. Understanding the cosmic Law of Polarity—that at
      the extremes, opposites create each other—John comprehended that the
      greenhouse effect of the tropics is the ice age of the northern regions.

      Increased weight on polar icecaps causes shifts and slips in Earth's
      tectonic plates, triggering major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that
      spew CO2 and sulfuric acid into the atmosphere. Volcanic eruptions spark
      forest fires, which destroy more trees and release more CO2 into the air.
      Rather quickly, the heating/cooling cycle gathers irreversible momentum.

      Eventually—and based on Greenland ice core studies and pollen counts in
      northern France that reveal the succession of trees through the last
      glacial cycle within less than 100 years from the decline in forest
      health—the growing weight of the polar sheets triggers the onset of
      glaciation. To the scientists examining this transition to glacial
      conditions, the current worldwide decline of forests already signals the
      beginning of that relatively short cyclical shift in vegetation.

      As the glaciers inch their way over thousands of square miles of Earth's
      crust, they slowly grind the mountains and rocks in their path into a
      powder-fine mineral dust which is carried by 200 mph winds and deposited
      over the surface of the Earth in some places as deep as 80 feet! Moving at
      only a few feet per year, glaciers take some 90,000 years to remineralize
      the Earth's soils. Like a giant bulldozer pulverizing rocks, glaciers
      create new parent material for soil formation—deep black humus, rich in
      colloidal minerals, reminiscent of our midwest prairie before the demise
      of the buffalo.

      Vegetation responds lushly to the presence of life-giving minerals in the
      glacial rock dust, thus initiating another 10,000 year period of warmth
      and fertility. Fossil evidence indicates that early interglacial
      vegetation is unbelievably healthy, with oak trees, for example, having
      their first branches at 75 feet.

      The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence...
      It affords protection to all beings,
      offering shade even to the axeman destroying it.
      —Gautama Buddha

      In the year 900, 90% of Earth's land was still covered with forests. By
      1900, only 20% still had forest. That the forests—and especially the
      rainforests—are the lungs of the earth has become blatantly clear to us.
      Clearcutting as we continue to do, we suffocate the Earth and ourselves.
      But an even more significant threat to the forests than mindless logging
      and clearcutting is soil demineralization.

      As early as 1929, forest ecologists recognized that—as in disease among
      humans—insects, parasites and blights target already weakened, diseased
      (read "demineralized") trees. The Harvard Forest Bulletin (1947) reported
      trees growing on calcium-depleted soils were susceptible to gypsy moth
      attack; those growing on calcium-rich soils were highly resistant.

      The degree to which we all—micro-organisms, plants, animals, humans—suffer
      from soil demineralization is gradually, but forcefully, hitting home. As
      we learn how empty our Green Revolution harvest is, how direct and
      immediate our demineralized diets affect not only our bodies but also our
      ability to think and act on our intent, how ignorantly and mindlessly
      we're polluting environments from rainforests to oceans, waterways to
      atmosphere, we see how fast our window of opportunity to do something
      about the weather is closing.

      In 1982, Hamaker published a profound synthesis of insight and principle
      in his classic book, The Survival of Civilization. John's far-ranging
      perspective on the interconnectedness of planetary ecology, the health of
      individuals, and the rise and fall of civilizations, coupled with his
      feisty compassion for humans, makes Survival a true-life, high-suspense,
      ecological thriller. Only, in this story, the end will be written by us,
      the readers.

      Being the resourceful humanist that he was, Hamaker found a possible
      solution that could slant the story toward survival rather than
      destruction—toward Eden rather than another ice age. Today Survival is
      regarded by a growing movement worldwide as a blueprint for restoring
      ecological balance.

      Briefly, that blueprint calls for a moratorium on the burning of fossil
      fuels (which, John estimates, have hastened the onset of the next ice by
      about 500 years), a ban on the clearcutting of forests, global planting of
      fast-growing hardwood trees and—most important and innovative—worldwide
      remineralization of forests, farms, orchards, and gardens with gravel and
      rock dust, just the way the glaciers do it.

      Adding finely ground rock dust to soils makes organic agriculture viable
      by adding up to a hundred elements and trace minerals needed by all life,
      and especially by soil micro-organisms whose protoplasm is the basis of
      all living things.

      Nearly forty years ago, a large land-owner in Europe discovered by
      accident the regenerative power of rock dust when developers blasted rock
      near his property, showering fine dust onto his already diseased trees.
      Horrified, he raced to the site accusing the workmen of giving the final
      blow to his forest. But what could they do? The deed was done.

      The next morning, he saw to his great amazement that those trees which has
      been most heavily covered with the rock dust had more vibrant green
      leaves—were in fact healthier.

      Such was the beginning of a large and continuing remineralization effort
      in the Black Forest and elsewhere in Europe. In Germany, remineralization
      has become highly sophisticated, with labs analyzing a given garden soil
      sample, then supplying a mixture of the appropriate metamorphic rock dust
      types to bring that soil back into vital balance. Yes, remineralization is
      reversing the Waldsterben ("forest death") plaguing the Black Forest, and
      could do the same here in North America with our maples dying of acid rain
      and acid soils.

      Remineralization does indeed create super trees out of dying ones, dynamic
      garden soils teaming with micro-organisms and earthworms, and fruit and
      nuts trees so healthy they don't attract disease or insects. Two years
      after working rockdust into our garden, we noticed crowns on our carrots
      grew twice the diameter they had previous years, their orange was a
      saturated full orange, and their sweetness reminiscent of my childhood
      carrots fifty years ago. The deep nourishment felt after eating one of
      those carrots was subtly, but undeniably present.
      To do the work of the glaciers feels like holy earth-honoring work, and we
      want always to do it but, sadly, too many millions of acres of forests are
      already gone, razed or charred, and more stand in line on the loggers

      If Hamaker is right—and it certainly appears he is—the opportunity to save
      the planet from the next ice age by planting trees has slipped us by.
      Daryl Kohlman, Founder and President of Cell-Tech, producer of Super
      BlueGreen Algae, sees the United States as the only country with the power
      and the influence to lead the world into a massive environmental and
      economic cleanup. With the help of the rock dust and algae fertilizers we
      can succeed in doing the work of the glaciers remineralizing our gardens,
      farmlands and forests.
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