Rain

E.C.Apling E.C.Apling at SPAMbtinternet.com
Wed Nov 22 08:37:32 MST 2000



>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-marxism at lists.panix.com
>[mailto:owner-marxism at lists.panix.com]On Behalf Of Louis Proyect
>Sent: 21 November 2000 23:18
>To: marxism at lists.panix.com
>Subject: RE: Rain
>
>
>Paddy:
>>What nonsense is this?
>>"organic" farming means dscarding all the advances of the almost two
>>centuries since Lawes and Gilbert began making "superphosphate" and
>>institutes the Rothamstead Research station.
>
>Louis Proyect:
>Look, if you are going to have any credibility you have to at least give
>lip-service to the downside of all these "benefits" of industrial farming.

Who's pretending there are NO problems with conventional agriculture?
Certainly not me - but you are "throwing out the baby with the bath-water."
Unless I write an epistle of 10 pages or more I cannot list all problems as
well as the benefits.....

>Louis
>When I read your posts, I have the eerie feeling of being transported back
>to 1954 before Rachel Carson wrote "Silent Spring".
Paddy:
Rachel Carson's book was certainly the start of the environmental movement -
but she should not be taken as the Bible....   Much too much of what she
said is taken as gospel - one has only to read the full literature on DDT -
where benefits are not taken in consideration , but only the problems; with
the result that malaria, almost eradicated with the use of DDT once again
became a major world problem - and many of the problems listed by Rachel
turn out to be mainly due to other factors; the world is more compliocated
than simply black and white.....

>Louis:
>Technological breakthroughs in agriculture accelerate production but at
>huge and possibly fatal costs to the environment. The Worldwatch Institute
>identifies fertilizer and cheap transportation as the main culprits.
>

Paddy:
Ok lets go back to the horse and buggy - and reduce the human population to
comply with the 17th-century food supply.  Who offers to sacrifice their own
life to help?

Louis:
>Cheap transportation makes it possible to separate the ranch and the feed
>supply from each other across huge distances, even overseas. This means
>that while it can be profitable to locate a cattle ranch, poultry or hog
>farm near large metropolitan markets, the organic waste the animals produce
>is not easily recyclable. Most of these animals are not raised on the open
>range, but in huge buildings where excreta flows from the pens into drains
>that lead to rivers or underground water supplies.
>

Paddy:
Organic waste from animals is valuable fertilizer - identical in action,
though not so readily controllable as "chemical fertilizers"; of course, it
is criminal that inctead of being used to improve agricultural productivity
animal waste (and the same applies to human waste !!!) is so handled that
instead it causes environmental problems - but while humans continue to live
in large cities vast accumulations of waste which it is uneconomic to
transport to use as fertilizer will continue to cause problems....

Louis:
>In Europe, for example, the livestock industry purchases feed from Brazil,
>Thailand or the USA. But the industry has outgrown the capacity of nearby
>lands to absorb the manure. The Netherlands was home to a 40 million ton
>mountain of cowshit earlier in the decade. Coupled with heavy fertilizer
>use, the end result has been a serious pollution problem.
>
>The same problem exists in the US, especially in North Carolina. Farmers in
>the Corn Belt produce grain for chickens and hogs in the eastern seaboard
>state, but the waste product is not recycled. It is dumped in the state's
>rivers and lakes. The EPA estimates that 25% of all water pollution in the
>USA comes from such sources. In North Carolina, over 6 major spills from
>farms into public waters were reported in 1995. In one case, 95,000 cubic
>meters of waste was involved, enough to fill more than 60 Olympic sized
>swimming pools.

Paddy:
Comments as above...

>Louis:
>To keep up with the demand for livestock feed, single-crop farmers in the
>Midwest turn to intensive, industrial farming that makes heavy use of
>inorganic fertilizers. These substances leak into rivers, lakes and bays
>with disastrous results to fish and other wildlife. The report states that
>"So extensive is the agricultural pollution of the Mississippi River--the
>main drainage conduit for the US Corn Belt--that a 'dead zone' the size of
>New Jersey forms each year in the Gulf of Mexico, the river's terminus."
>The increased vegetation that the fertilizer produces has killed vast
>stocks of shrimp and other valuable fish.
>

Paddy:
I am well aware that the US is way behind UK in addressing these sorts of
problems;
I thought it not untypical that when my son was in Canada his first project
was to install a plant to clean up the effluent from the mine he worked for
in Manitouwage, N.Ont.  Britain has 150 years experience in dealing with
this sort of problem and our rivers and water courses are now cleaner than
they have been since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution - if not
before....   There are means available to deal with these sorts of
problems - but not by rejecting modern techniques....

Louis:
>If you are serious about your beliefs, Paddy, you will have to stop
>pretending that these problems do not exist.

Paddy:
Since my whole professional life has been involved with dealing with these
sorts of problems it is ironic that I am now accused of pretending they
don't exist !!  But don't try to pretend that "organic" farming does not
have identical problems..... (with, I maintain, fewer of the benefits).

Paddy
NFHS Member #5594
Mailto:E.C.Apling at btinternet.com
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