[Marxism] Are belching cows really driving climate change?

John Edmundson johnedmundson4 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 1 17:02:55 MDT 2019

Thanks David,
I've just checked and both those Montgomery books are in libraries near me.

I was pretty sure that in a practical sense, it isn't an "either/or"
situation, that both are good things. I just found the rival claims a bit
contradictory. Thanks for replying promptly. I'll look at these books and
see if my brain can cope with the science!

In New Zealand we have some of the most intensive dairy farming in the
world. Agriculture (NZ agriculture is highly capital intensive and
industrial, but largely free of feedlot style farming, although with
massive supplementary feeding due to the intensity of the stock numbers) is
accounted to be New Zealand's single biggest greenhouse gas emitter as well
as, due to methane emissions. In Canterbury, dry land farming has been
converted to dairy to the massive detriment of river quality through
irrigation. The government has just given the agricultural sector another 5
years to come up with its own plan before it is brought into the emissions
trading scheme, which is, if course a virtually worthless attempt to let
the market solve the climate change issue. So this is really topical and
there are some interesting experiments with more sustainable and
regenerative models being undertaken in New Zealand

On Sat, Nov 2, 2019 at 10:44 AM DW via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>

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> John,
> I have been active student (courses and all that) of soil fertility for
> almost 3 years now. I've learned about 20% of what I think I may need to
> know. It is a highly complex issue. I've written on some of this as well
> and posted links here. Others are "getting into science of soil fertility"
> as well. Knowing how our food is produced, a we can *change* the way it is
> produced, is part and parcel of both climate activism and the science of
> geology, agronomy and soil.
> I think the question is poised wrong. It is not "grasslands vs forests" at
> all. Everyone I know loves to have new forests planted. Even the far right
> is into forest conservation if it' doesn't mean we can't ever cut down a
> tree. Forests do indeed sequester lots of carbon. I won't even attempt to
> give a flip answer on the question of the indigenous genocide against
> native peoples as cause for "Little Ice Age" of the mid to late 18th
> Century. I haven't a clue.
> No, the issue of "grasslands" (pastures, steppes, sahels, prairies and so
> on) is not really an issue. The only real issue fpr the "land question" is
> over  climate change with regards to standard commercial farming practices
> vs regenerative agricultural practices. Few would dispute the value of
> forests. It does come down to the soil. That is a good place to start in
> studying this. One can read authors like David Montgomey's (the geologist
> and soil scientist, not the labor historian) two books on the subject:
> "Dirt" and more recently "“Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to
> Life". Both are good reads and one learns a helluvalot on soil, the climate
> and agriculture.
> I poised the question this way, commercial vs regenerative agriculture
> because that is largely how we can, *dynamically*, change the soil
> fertility, reverse the nitrogen glut into the water and oceans, and
> sequester enough carbon to also effect positively the climate. Trees do it
> even better but we need to grow food too, dirive some sort of economic
> intercourse between farmers, urban workers and the land ("healing the
> metabolic rift between our species and nature") Just planting forests
> (which actually require lots of maintenance actually, and water...see our
> forest fires out here where I live) won't hack it, IMO though, again, it is
> very wrong to counterpoise the two systems: forests and regenerative
> agriculture. They easily work in harmony with each other.
> It also doesn't require us to give up eating meat, I might add, which is
> why political vegans are quite upset about regen agriculture since it
> relies heavily on integrating animal husbandry with such farming practices
> where practical. (zing!)
> David Walters
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