Conclusion and Strategies ~ Resilience

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Photo by Cedric Shannon

Part 1. — Fundamentalism, the lipid cycle, and how nutrition is essentially about communication.

Part 2. — The carbon cycles

Part 3. — The water cycles

PART 4. — CONCLUSIONS AND STRATEGIES ~ RESILIENCE

“Rural America is a colony, and its economy is a colonial economy…The business of America has been largely and without apology the plundering of rural America, from which everything of value — minerals, timber, farm animals, farm crops, and “labor” — has been taken at the lowest possible price.”


Carbon sequestration in soil cannot absolve our addiction to fossil fuels.

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From the website kisstheground.com

Recently, Kiss The Ground put out a documentary out on Netflix. In the spirit of honest discussion, I affirm the effort to bring to light how our system of food production is broken and ecologically disastrous, and yet cannot subscribe to the notion that fixing our agricultural issues will remedy our entire global climate crisis. As much as I want to support efforts like Kiss The Ground and appreciate their emphasis on how essential the care for our soil is, they may end up causing more harm by making claims that are too good to be true. Carbon sequestration within properly managed soil is a very real and powerful thing. In fact, rotational grazing (which happens to be my profession) may very well be the most powerful tool to draw down carbon from the atmosphere. However, regenerative agriculture will not return us back to the garden of Eden, and cannot compensate for all the carbon pumped into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels. And perhaps even more to the point, we have squandered the carbon that was once in our soils by the urbanization of areas with rich soils alongside irresponsible agricultural practices. …


The water cycles

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by Tommy Takacs from Pixabay

Part 1. — Fundamentalism, the lipid cycle, and how nutrition is essentially about communication.

Part 2. — The carbon cycles

PART 3. — THE WATER CYCLES

Part 4. — Conclusions and strategies ~ resilience

Now the sun, moving as it does, sets up processes of change and becoming and decay, and by its agency the finest and sweetest water is every day carried up and is dissolved into vapour and rises to the upper region, where it is condensed again by the cold and so returns to the earth (Aristotle, Meteorologica).

I have spent a great deal of my writing arguing that focusing on ingredients in isolation leads us to faulty conclusions. Not only are the ingredients typically vilified (sometimes glorified), but we misunderstand the root of the problem. For cholesterol, in A. E. Part 1, our fear of this vital lipid ending up as plaque within our arteries led nutritional guidelines to advocate the avoidance of eating anything containing cholesterol. Meanwhile the guidelines promoted the exact foods that broke down the lipoprotein communication pathways, which eventually led to a vast increase of atherosclerosis. A similar tale occurs with carbon, as in A. E. Part 2. Rather than understanding that life depends on the cycling of carbon between the earth, the atmosphere, plants, animals, and soil, we make sweeping claims to mitigate it indiscriminately. Consequently, we waste vast amounts of energy and time vilifying ruminants because their burps contain methane. The irony is that ruminants are possibly the most powerful tool, in conjunction with grazed plants, to draw down carbon and store it in the soil. Meanwhile, the actual damage that is caused by extracting fossil fuels and burning them is obscured and left unchecked. …


The carbon cycles

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Lego Trees, photo by Cedric Shannon

Part 1. — Fundamentalism, the lipid cycle, and how nutrition is essentially about communication.

PART 2. — THE CARBON CYCLES

Part 3. — The water cycles

Part 4. — Conclusions and strategies ~ resilience

“The thing the ecologically illiterate don’t realize about an ecosystem,” Kynes said, “is that it’s a system. A system! A system maintains a certain fluid stability that can be destroyed by a misstep in just one niche. A system has order, a flowing from point to point. If something dams that flow, order collapses. The untrained might miss that collapse until it was too late. That’s why the highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences.” …


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By Matthewafflecat from pixabay.com

PART 1. —FUNDAMENTALISM, THE LIPID CYCLE, AND HOW NUTRITION IS ESSENTIALLY ABOUT COMMUNICATION.

Part 2. — The carbon cycles

Part 3. — The water cycle

Part 4. — Conclusions and strategies ~ resilience

Nor is science capable of dealing effectively with nonlinear and complex matters, those fraught with interdependence (climate, economic life, the human body), in spite of its hyped-up successes in the linear domain (physics and engineering), which give it a prestige that has endangered us. (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed Of Procrustes)

I was brought up as a fundamentalist. I was assured that the world view of my family was unquestionably the Right One — and there were eternal consequences for not believing so. This world view was imparted to me very early on, and the following years of religious training included vast amounts of energy spent on proving how the Bible clearly vindicated our specific brand of theology. ‘Secular’ information from science or otherwise was immediately spun in such a way as to provide more evidence. As a teenager, I wasn’t half bad at the mental gymnastics of reinterpreting any new information to fit what I already knew. I am, however, a naturally curious individual and by the time I went to a Christian college, a great deal of mismatched information was forcing me to become more and more creative in how I could maintain the integrity of the “One True Worldview.” I grew uncomfortable, as the caveats to the OTW became more numerous than the essential tenets themselves. …


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Image by Garik Barseghyan

How the lingering vestiges of Reductionism keep us from real environmental solutions.

As a kid, I was mesmerized by the idea that space was not flat and time was relative. I devoured stories by Ursula K. Le Guin and Orson Scott Card, whose characters had to wrestle with the implications of space travel at speeds that left individuals to age at different rates. I wanted to know how a tesseract worked exactly. Space, I was told, was a blanket-like entity, which large objects such as stars and black holes had wrinkled by this force called gravity.

The physics fascinated me, but the implications of our world being so different than what we experienced at face value, was the heart of my interest. I majored in philosophy in college and have always been particularly interested in epistemology, namely the study of how we know things. I believe that at the heart of knowledge and language itself is metaphor, which both encapsulates the latest discoveries we learn from physics and informs how we proceed to live out our lives and structure our realities. Problems arise, however, when we live according to metaphors which are not accurate representations of the world around us. Too often the unintended consequences can have disastrous effects. Multiply such incongruous thinking by a factor of a billion and the cognitive fault lines between perception and reality can produce consequences that can destroy civilizations, even the entire planet. …


By Cedric Shannon

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Anni Albers — From the East, 1963

There is no account of neural anatomy or neural physiology that would make sense of an unchanging ‘self’, freely exercising its will. (Sam Harris, Making Sense #181 — The Illusory Self)

…one could spend all of eternity probing the electrical patterns of that computer with an oscilloscope and never find that novel. (Robert Pirsig, Lila p.175)

…the cosmos of the materialist…has shrunk…the whole of life is something more grey, narrow, and trivial than many separate aspects of it. The parts seem greater than the whole. (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy p. 24)

Back in January, I listened to Sam Harris interviewing Richard Lang about the “headless perspective” (Podcast #181). Lang was a student of Douglass Harding, who wrote the book On Having No Head. Lang explains that his mentor proposed that, as an individual, he was made of layers depending on where the observer was. So, at six feet he was a human. Much closer up he was simply a bunch of cells. From further away he was a city or even a species. It all depended on the resolution of one’s focus. What Lang and Harris are interested in is the resolution of the first person point of view. What is closer than the perspective of seeing cells on one’s skin? At this point, the trajectory of perspective shifts from inward-facing to outward, and the empirical experience of this point of view is that you are a no-thing at the center of a layered onion. One cannot see one’s own head. A bit of a protruding nose, yes, but not the face we have grown accustomed to projecting as our identity. This naturally overlays Harris’ interest in mindfulness meditation, which “is a very simple procedure that allows one to discover the absence of this fake ‘self’ directly” (10:55). I fully agree that headlessness is a refreshing perspective, where we get our own ego to the side and experience a taste of Singularity, as if we are an unchanging self in which the whole universe finds space to act out its Great Pageant. …


Ignorance of the ecology of soil has led us to some destructive conclusions for environmental activism.

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photo by Cedric Shannon

There is a time to make allies, and there is a time to call out your allies when they make such a serious mistake that they will undo the very goal they strive for. In the conversation over the climate crisis, sustainability, and what should be done to restore our ravaged environment, I am shocked at how little ecology is actually understood or even considered. For the last seventeen years, my family has been in the business of building soil in a perennial permaculture system. We have tapped into the web of trophic cascades. We have tended a micro-ecosystem of diversity involving hundreds upon hundreds of species. We have tapped into multiple feedback loops of nutrient cycling that feed and ameliorate the soil. At times earthworms are so prevalent that in the wet mornings I have to take care, lest I step on the myriads of copulating couples. We have facilitated the sequestration of water. So too, the sequestration of carbon. …


A playful science fiction romp toying with ideas of consciousness and pandemics.

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photo by Nadine Shannon

Jessie opened his eyes, taking a long moment to focus. His brain slowly registered the faces of those within his field of vision, but not his surroundings. Concentrate on the familiar advised some remote part of his brain that remained calm, rational. He took in his companions’ military camouflage, their weapons, grenades, knives, ammo. Familiar, but not pleasant. He wanted to shut his eyes again as memory came pouring back in. Five in his escort. Huge specimens, who didn’t need gear to look intimidating. These were gods; the crowning jewels of genetics and training, no doubt with some illegal cyborg enhancements. …


A story of crossing chasms.

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photo by Alexandr Ivanov

“But Gramma, there’ve been dignitaries from other countries at our performance.”

“I thought you said you were dancing at the college.”

“I did,” sighed Shelly, rolling her eyes with impatience. “A lot of important performances are held at universities.”

Gramma Utha grumbled something incoherent as she slapped the rump of the goat she had just finished milking. The goat was bony but healthy, just like Gramma Utha who had surprising strength in her stringy sinews. Shelly let go of the goat she had been restraining. It was uncanny how those dumb beasts adored Gramma. …

About

Farmer Sledge

Farmer. Philosopher. Writer. (also author of the very amateur podcast Can Your Beans Do That?) www.weathertopfarm.com

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