Raise soil organic matter by one tenth of one percentage point a year, and we peg CO2 levels as of today. Raise them by 1.6% points and we get totally back to normal. Global warming is then finished.
--Allan Yeomans 1994
This boggles my mind. Does anyone have an explanation or more information? Wasn't sure what forum to put this under, so I placed it here.
Compost can be broken down completely by microorganisms to the point where it is humus, and can't be broken down any further, and the humus, water and carbon dioxide that is produced is trapped in the soil.
And if you plant something like a cover crop, and can do it with minimal exposure of the soil to the air and sunlight, the leaves of the plants will ABSORB CO2 during photosynthesis, and exhale oxygen. They use some of the CO2 for growing, but the rest is held in the soil. Apparently, the more compost (broken down into humus) there is in the soil, the longer and better the soil will hold that CO2. Some soils hold carbon better than others, mostly the soft ones like limestone and chalk.
Now, if that soil is turned and exposed to the sun, the microorganism population explodes and as they 'exhale', they breathe out carbon dioxide into the air, and less is held in the soil.
And there are microorganisms that make methane gas out of CO2 under no-oxygen conditions (swamps and stinking garbage and intestinal gas -- no kidding). This methane gas can be trapped and piped to make a carbon-neutral gas substitute for burning and cooking.
I read that cattle farts are a major source of CO2. It kind of makes you wonder how they did the research on that... Did they put a plastic bag on the cow's butt and measure how much it produced, then multiplied that by the number of cows on earth?
Anyway, that's the way I understand that.
Now that I think of it, one of the best demos I ever saw on the total amount of food growing soil we have on earth was for children. The teacher stood in front of the kids with an apple as a representation of the earth. Since the earth is, what, 70%?, water, she cut away 3/4th of the apple and held a quarter chunk in her hand. Then, of that quarter chunk, she cut away 2/3rds of that for all the soil that is permafrost, or largely unable to grow food, is paved over or some such. Then, of the last little chunk, she shaved off the top of the apple just under the skin and kept this last, thin piece as the topsoil, the part of the earth that supports life.
I'm still grappling with how fragile that seems, and how powerful at the same time. Any way, thanks.
The original 'studies' were probably veterinary students demonstrating with a Bic lighter to farmers actually how much gas a cow releases. Some of them did it in wooden barns, I've heard. WHOOSH!
And the cows probably didn't like it, either.
There was an episode filmed at a dairy farm. A quick shot of a propane torch aimed at the cows udder was how they sterilized the teats, just before hooking up the milking machine. It was standard practice & the cows appeared totally unfazed. Couldn't find a clip of this episode on youtube, dang it, & I don't recall if they mentioned anything about cow "gas".
Sue's post about the bic lighters & methane, etc. sure got me thinking about this. Why don't the dairy farms that do this, go BOOM!
Probably not really an explosive hazard, unless you can get the flame inside, and I think sphincters would prevent that situation...
Too much analysis...sorry
So, yeah, estimating total cow methane is another computational wonder and a dirty job!
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Susan Monroe wrote:
Apply the flame from a propane torch to a cow's udder just because the farmers are too lazy to wash them properly is a sad (and vicious) commentary on how our food is produced.
Idiocy becomes the norm.
It makes one wonder about the learning curve, doesn't it?
it doesn't replace teat dips or washing it is only to singe the hair off to make it more sanitary. it is not painful. just as a fast low heat flame might envelop your hand.
I must say that (to me) it didn't look harmful or painful for the cows. They didn't even flinch. All in a days milk! I'm sure that PETA had a cow (pun intended!) and the show got tons of mail. The host is always talking about the hate mail he gets whenever his show involves practically anything to do with animals. I generally find the show informative & am always amazed at what people will do to make a living. Most of which is way beyond what my sinuses/sense of smell could stand!
i saw on t v today that the water in most areas is contaminated with people flushing drugs down the toilets..good grief..so glad i have a deep well away from a city
Someday when you have a goodly bit of money you don't know what to do with, have a complete analysis of your well water done. You will probably be surprised, and not in a good way.
I was reading that rainwater (even acid rain) is twenty times cleaner than the cleanest groundwater source anywhere on earth. That's a sad comment on our care of our planet, isn't it?
Time is the best teacher, but unfortunately, it kills all of its students - Robin Williams. tiny ad:
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