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How greening the deserts is Primitive!

 
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Hello,

Before I get started,

You need to understand that humans are a part of nature they are often found packed in over populated cities,
Waste materials and most of polution is just miss placed resources, largely getting moved as food from farms and factories to cities and then used by the humans who do not use these resources completely.

instead of returning this materials to close the systems they get dumped into oceans and buried and burned.

even sewage is pumped after being treated into the ocean.

So water and resources are overly placed into cities, taken from farm lands and potentially even worse deserts.


So if these resources and people where to be moved to the deserts,

this would solve alot of issues.

Lets start with how this is so easily achieved.

For the purpose of discussion I will be talking about the Australian desert.

If large cities add cities over 100k where to pump the sewage into the desert, via transformer stations, this would then be a source of water and nutrients, and power.

This could be powered via thorium fuelled helium nuclear reactors, which are significantly smaller.  the nuclear materials resolved via phytoremediation plant plants.

using bio engineering oyster farming would be used to help filter water,

this would be done under cover to prevent evaporation.

Bio-mass would be harvested and used to dentify the deserts by huge skyscaper sized hydroponic towers and aquaponic, these would be fertilised by the nutrients in the sewage.

and powered by before.

the people would be able to have access to satilight based internet thus now internet infrastructure would be needed.

In addition, underground transport systems could be built sub soil using filtered and unfiltered light thus reducing needs for roads and removing forest layers.

next recycling centres could be built to turn waste into tools and building materials,

by using south African based plant research, seed bombs could be planted in an industrialised manner,

After collecting enough materials to armour the soils from the towers, introduction of sheep can be applied used in herd formations, and feed grown foddas, after this dung beetles will be added,

as will the production of orchards.

then move to feed the sheep cover crops with seeds,

after the cover crops manage the soils, its time for nematodes, and fungi to be introduced.

then the dentification,

Obviously the nations capital will have to be moved and dozens of universities built with reformed education streams to reinvent the wheel of tertiary education.

Obviously labour will need to be acquired this would be by providing 99 year leases to the land for people to transform it.

the later stages would be to pioneer bio-engineering,

But a lot of bio-engineering aspects are already possible to be used in getting passive development for this action ie constructions of buildings using biological systems.

within 120 years a huge rainforest would be built over Australia, its nations income improve exponentially. public health increase significantly, bushfires, dust storms, droughts, floods, landslides, improved,

after this people could work on removing wasted aspects of life with positive methods, because by my calculation 80 percent of all human actively is wasted, and change be automated via beneficial passive systems, computer programs and problem removal,

Living building, living communications, living waste management, living lighting, living power plants, living electricity enervation, living resource collectors and miners. achieving passive development, increase blood oxygen levels between 1 and 2 percent for everyone.

20 hour work weeks as normal.

this would pay for itself in 30 years and earn its self in profits 100s of times over whilst leading to perpetual improvement to the nations earnings.

And the skyscraper towers after 40 years would be used to convert waste into biomass products, meaning no more need for deforestation. the forest lives.

and the food gets grown in the rainforest and taken to the cities which return it.

and then 200 years later the super cities of the inland shape the rest of the nation and within another 200 years the cities of now, get demolished and turned likewise into the super cities.

the new age!

the bio age.













 
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This is amazing - I love this plan you have laid out. The only question I have is: what's would be the first step? I think that there is much work to be done to get governments on side of this, and someone could start on their own, but it would take a very long time. I've seen documentaries of people who planted trees in the desert, a few hundred trees a year, all kinds of different species, and over the space of 50 years, the desert was pushed back. If that is what one man can do in 50 years, then I can only imagine what 100 people could do, or even 30 people could do.





 
Alex Moffitt
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Lana Berticevich wrote:This is amazing - I love this plan you have laid out. The only question I have is: what's would be the first step? I think that there is much work to be done to get governments on side of this, and someone could start on their own, but it would take a very long time. I've seen documentaries of people who planted trees in the desert, a few hundred trees a year, all kinds of different species, and over the space of 50 years, the desert was pushed back. If that is what one man can do in 50 years, then I can only imagine what 100 people could do, or even 30 people could do.







How about 10s of thousands with highly experienced Engineers, Doctors, Scientists, botanists, artisans, Mathematicians, chemists, microbiologists, ecologist, veterinarians, farmers ..... all of which lead by great leaders!

the point of this thread was to explain that Greening deserts can be done on an industrialised scale!


Public interest and desire would be the first step!
Showing it is possible explaining the benefits, explaining that the cost is nothing compared to the economic gain!
Then reasoning why not, and with all the reasons why finding out if they are reasonable, and if they are reasonable finding solutions!
 
Lana Berticevich
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YES! We should start emailing as many people as we can about this. If I am going to do this in my own country, I would need to figure out how to acquire email addresses of Doctors, Scientists, Botanists, Artisans, Mathematicians, Chemists, Microbiologists, Ecologists, Veterinarians, Farmers etc.  

I actually have no idea if there is any areas that would be considered deserts in Canada, but there certainly are many places where clear-cutting of trees has ruined the landscape. An there are many industrialized centres in every province, except maybe the northern 3 provinces.

The United States is much more concentrated. Maybe there are some permies in the US who could join in this conversation.

 
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One of the issues with wastewater recycling is educating people and businesses to *not* put anything nasty down the drains, and finding natural ways to collect up/biodegrade nasties that can't be avoided - like rubber washing off roadways in a rainstorm, intentional dumping of toxic industrial waste instead of finding ways to rehabilitate those wastes on-site, and drugs people are given for good reason that are excreted in whole or in part.

This can be done, as I know of an at least 20 year old wetland wastewater treatment plant in Ontario which became a well-known bird sanctuary and tourist destination. When the powers that be realized they just couldn't keep the bird watchers out, they built a special elevated walkway to keep them from climbing the fence.

However, for examples of greening the desert, follow the links below:

https://reasonstobecheerful.world/greening-the-desert-with-wastewater/#

Only afterward are they considering *not* doing this as a mono-culture. Humans are slow learners:

https://www.goodnet.org/articles/making-egyptian-desert-bloom-using-recycled-water

FYI: BC Canada got hammered with floods and landslides due to genuinely above average rainfall events in November. However, I was reading the links about the connection between seriously hot wildfires - which we had last summer - and the inability of the forest floor to absorb water normally and the effect lasting up to 5 years. So a bunch of the serious damage, wasn't just rain - everything's interconnected.
 
Alex Moffitt
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Jay Angler wrote:One of the issues with wastewater recycling is educating people and businesses to *not* put anything nasty down the drains, and finding natural ways to collect up/biodegrade nasties that can't be avoided - like rubber washing off roadways in a rainstorm, intentional dumping of toxic industrial waste instead of finding ways to rehabilitate those wastes on-site, and drugs people are given for good reason that are excreted in whole or in part.



I think that people often get way too much feedback in regards to what not to do and how plastic and chemicals are destructive. So much so that miss communication is occurring!

the waste management collecting systems already exist!

I think a better option is legislation, Such as petitioning state members and governments, to increase regulation of 1 chemical at a time, So think eliminating round up!

I think providing people with innovation is better than judging them.

Such as think of a burgers, If you could invent a burger bun that eliminated the need for the little wooden stick and could be toasted. maybe like inventing a burger burrito a Gurrito, You start a trend and you make a small change towards improvement. Plus the burgers do not spill out!

Localised manufacturing of products from waste would be great!
 
Alex Moffitt
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Lana Berticevich wrote:


YES! We should start emailing as many people as we can about this. If I am going to do this in my own country, I would need to figure out how to acquire email addresses of Doctors, Scientists, Botanists, Artisans, Mathematicians, Chemists, Microbiologists, Ecologists, Veterinarians, Farmers etc.  

I actually have no idea if there is any areas that would be considered deserts in Canada, but there certainly are many places where clear-cutting of trees has ruined the landscape. An there are many industrialized centres in every province, except maybe the northern 3 provinces.

The United States is much more concentrated. Maybe there are some permies in the US who could join in this conversation.



I mean as a society, the government organising and planning the projects!  

I saw this animal crossing online in Colorado, imagine what it would be like to have a full migratory system for an entire species!

I saw you were interested in beavers, they are great, if in your area you do not have deserts then, I recommend that you look towards first yourself and your home, then towards helping your community.

"ask people, Is there any thing I can help you with to be more sustainable" and learn! then you can think hey there are all these people who I can help! Once you secure actions like these, and make a small different, a small difference often adds up, and 1 percent a day, transforms!

Think what skills you have and how you can contribute, Words do very little, the world is filled with many people trying to communicate online, Proper actions are way but a relationship has to be made first!

in my experience, Volunteering cutting paper with scissors turned to fixing toys, turned into fixing furniture, turned into landscaping, turned into building storage units, turned into delivering meals for 10s of thousands and building a compost for it. turned it building a charity that Provided cheap food which would have been wasted, which turned into financial education, which turned into a self sufficient charity.  which turned into buying a 1m building renovating it. I did next to non of this alone. But I acted diligently with all I did, and work with the community, branching out with others constantly, each choice branch out had to be done with extreme caution. each person to work with done with caution.



 
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I think the idea is revolutionary and promising, but you (or rather the countries and governments) would have to think really big. We will need massive changes in the way we live but I am not too optimistic I will see these in my lifetime. The whole system is so incredibly slow and inertial that it would take some drastic triggers from outside (more and more effects of climate change etc.).

Jay Angler wrote:
However, for examples of greening the desert, follow the links below:

https://reasonstobecheerful.world/greening-the-desert-with-wastewater/#

Only afterward are they considering *not* doing this as a mono-culture. Humans are slow learners:

https://www.goodnet.org/articles/making-egyptian-desert-bloom-using-recycled-water
.


These links are interesting, thanks Jay, but I get skeptical when I see that a Germany company (ForstFinance) is legally based in Panama. Not sure if you heard of the Panama Papers which revealed a huge financial scandal evolving around tax evasion and very murky transactions. But I have not researched this particular company.

And i am not sure why the OP suggested introducing South African seeds to Australia? Messing up the local ecosystems with introduced species is never a good idea (yes, and deserts are actually ecosystems even if they are hostile to most humans).
 
Jay Angler
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Anita Martin wrote:And i am not sure why the OP suggested introducing South African seeds to Australia? Messing up the local ecosystems with introduced species is never a good idea (yes, and deserts are actually ecosystems even if they are hostile to most humans).

Usually, it's because the Industrial system is only looking at profit, and if you use a non-native plant as a monoculture, you might not have a native pest come along and invite all her friends.
I gave the links as examples of this concept in action. I did not intend to imply that the industries involved were doing this out of the goodness of their hearts - they're doing it to make money and that usually does not involve the sort of permaculture approach that is required for long-term sustainability. The point of the links is that, yes, there are people out there who are making at least a version of this work.

However, if you looked at some of the multi-species coppice plantations in England, chose native plants from your own eco-system that would fulfill the same/similar niches, and used that to finish cleaning up and reusing City wastewater, I expect one good create a sustainable system. Some English coppices are over 400 years old and still productive if my memory is correct.

Many river and lake issues (Lake Erie in North America in particular) come from there being too much nitrogen and phosphorus being discharged into them. Any system - artificial cattail wetlands, coppiced wood-lots, a series of multi-species fruit/nut/berry rows planted on contour - planted alone or in cooperation, would suck up the nitrogen and phosphorus before it made it to the lake. There are even floating raft systems with plants being used in places very effectively to suck up chemicals that would otherwise harm the water ecosystem. But far too often, the people who start systems like this have one thing in mind, be it "lumber" or "flowers" that will earn a high wage, rather than realizing that by working with nature, there are ways to get a similar amount of money while doing more good for the environment.
 
Alex Moffitt
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Hello,

Just to be clear,

I would really appreciate it if, people would stop thinking money = NO!
Because Every action is an investment, in terms of greening deserts, think about the long term returns!
Think about the health returns, Think about the billions of dollars in environmental destruction! think about the cost of more extreme tornados! Think about the cost of fires and floods, think about the cost of over dense populations who can not afford property, think about the infrastructure cost to try and continue to live in cities!

Now think about the economy gains from the greened land,

Now think about how you can make the Greening the desert not just the moral choice but the obvious choice in terms of making money, and in terms of political support!

My next big point automatically think when someone says a technical problem that it has a solution, Likely to be technically solvable!

My point of this post is to shake up the ideas and stigma around a number of concepts,

 
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I have a few concerns about this, but the main one is this: just because something isn't obviously useful to humansf, doesn't mean that it isn't important, or that we should simply change it to fit our human idea of what we want or like.

A good example is the everglades in florida, over 2 million acres of what humans considered unusable land (coastal marshes and wetlands), so that much was filled in with excess dirt from elsewhere so people could build on it. Only it turned out that these marshlands served the purpose of protecting the inland areas from the rising sea levels, high winds and storm surges that come with the hurricanes that are common there. By making the land more usable for humans, we instead made other land more dangerous for humans.

Natural deserts (as opposed to man-made areas suffering from desertification) have purposes too and I think it is a bad idea to treat deserts as though...well, as though they are an empty lot in a city that we just need to improve and build on.

They are not. Many plants and animals only exist in deserts and would go extinct without them, for example. Basins in deserts also act as significant storehouses for carbon.  There are likely other uses deserts have in the world, but I don't know them... wouldn't be surprised if they haven't been studied all that much. Because we humans are pretty good at NOT studying things we don't see an immediate use for (which is why we didn't take care of the everglades, as we didn't know what they did until they were damaged and weren't doing the job any longer).

But also, in re: to deserts and resources TO green them up...it's just not sustainable.

Yes, many cities dump a LOT of usable resources...which is not sustainable for THEM. If a city is not recycling its water, is not making itself a closed, self-sustaining system...it will run out of resources, you know?  They will not be a sustainable source of water and resources for greening a desert because they aren't a sustainable source, period. And they never will be.

About 1/3 of the entire earth is considered arid land (hyper-arid, arid, or semi-arid). That is 1/3 of the world that does not get enough rainfall to NOT be arid.

The world is a closed system...we are not going to be getting more water here. So the only thing we can do is shuffle the existing water around, which means that we would have to eliminate the high water areas to enable eliminating the low water areas. Or at least, we'd have to if we don't want the cities to turn into man made deserts because they used up all their resources and gave them to natural deserts to turn them green. If we wanted to keep EVERYWHERE somewhat green and usable, we'd have to start taking water from high water areas, like rainforests, and distribute that around, too.

Because again, we cannot change the fact that planet earth does not have enough water to make everywhere green. And eliminating deserts is, IMO, as concerning an idea as eliminating the rainforests would be.

All that said - I DO think that using the waste and water and other items from cities IS a good idea. I think making things sustainable is a good idea. i think trying to fix man made desertification is a good idea. I think helping areas that are dryer than normal due to man-made climate change is a good idea.

I just think we should change the question from 'how can we change things to be better for humans' to 'how can we change things to be better for the world that humans also have to live in.'
 
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Alex Moffitt said, "the Greening the desert not just the moral choice but the obvious choice in terms of making money, and in terms of political support!



I see this exact thing happening in Texas.  It makes me sad.

People with big money drill lots of wells to keep their ponds full of water.  Especially when our type of rocky soil does not support ponds.

When these big money folks are gone so will the water in our aquifers be gone.
 
Jay Angler
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shauna carr wrote:Because again, we cannot change the fact that planet earth does not have enough water to make everywhere green. And eliminating deserts is, IMO, as concerning an idea as eliminating the rainforests would be.

All that said - I DO think that using the waste and water and other items from cities IS a good idea. I think making things sustainable is a good idea. i think trying to fix man made desertification is a good idea. I think helping areas that are dryer than normal due to man-made climate change is a good idea.

I just think we should change the question from 'how can we change things to be better for humans' to 'how can we change things to be better for the world that humans also have to live in.'

I think your last sentence is the more important Shauna. Humans have been changing the ecosystem from pretty much the time of our existence.
We possibly (but hard to prove absolutely) killed off mammoths in North America and Siberia - with impacts on those regions.

We destroyed the land in the Fertile Crescent by overusing and over irrigating it. So does that mean that greening that entire area qualifies as "OK" even though it's now been desert for over 2000 years?

Later, many attribute the shortage of trees on Newfoundland to be caused by the Vikings - once the trees were gone, the wind got free reign and made recolonization of the trees too difficult for the cooling weather pattern - maybe - if the historians are correct.

Yes, I 100% agree that pumping out aquifers is a really bad idea. However, I've seen stable ecosystems develop from permaculture water management where there is excellent evidence that rather than permaculture "capturing and keeping" water that otherwise would have fed other areas, that in some places, following water capture, there was *more* water leaving the area to go downstream, rather than less. One example is Brad Lancaster's work that shows that instead of water running off quickly, it now slows, seeps in, and gradually works down to keep the streams filled with water longer, the way they were before humans mucked up the local ecosystem.

I agree that humans need to be cautious with making changes due to the law of unintended consequences. I also totally agree that if humans keep using "economics" as their only metric when judging the viability of a plan, we are going to keep making bad decisions until Mother Nature decides this species is more harm than good and eliminates us along with who knows how much collateral damage. But I've been learning a lot about ancient history and pre-history and geological history over the last few decades, and the best I can say is, "it's really hard to know what is going to survive with Global Climate Change regardless of how much we want it to survive, so we're better to try at least a few, permaculture-based experiments and see if they're working than let the balance continue to slide into Climate Chaos."
 
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So, how do you feel about piping in ocean water and flooding the desert to grow salt-loving plants like Salicornia?
 
Jay Angler
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Scott Obar wrote:So, how do you feel about piping in ocean water and flooding the desert to grow salt-loving plants like Salicornia?

I really don't know enough about either the desert you're thinking of, or the plant you're suggesting, however, on principle, anything grown as a mono-culture is likely to eventually get into trouble.
Wikipedia says this: "is native to salt marshes and alkaline soils"

and this: "Pickleweed is specially adapted to use saltwater as its main source of water. When the saltwater is taken up, the salt is removed and stored in specialized vacuoles in the terminal segments. As the vacuoles become full of brine, they turn red and drop off the plant, removing the salt. Although pickleweed can withstand short periods of flooding, it will die under prolonged immersion, as when the estuary mouth closes and the salt marsh floods."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salicornia_pacifica

So if its native habitat is being destroyed, and you're in a position to support a mimic of its native environment, the same way I would plant a Pear tree as a part of a guild that supports natural balance even if using primarily domesticated plants, it is quite possible that it would be a force for good.

For example, I read about land in Hawai'i being turned into parkland. When the Indigenous people were allowed to re-introduce traditional forms of taro farming, water birds that had been in decline, made a resurgence. The shallow taro ponds supported a greater number and variety of water birds than could exist without them, and the birds supported the needs of the taro plants.

My understanding is that a "saltmarsh" floods and drains with the tides, so the salt doesn't build up over time. Wiki's description of the plant, suggests to me that if it were a closed system, the salt might build up unless the red vacuoles were somehow harvested ( and maybe dehydrated into a form of salt?)

Apparently a version of the plant lives in my area, so I will have to go looking for it!
 
Alex Moffitt
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Hello,

I have been developing a number of designs to improve this set up!

I have new designs!

I have several designs in terms of utilisation of refraction so that plants can grow heavily shaded and in more regulated temperatures.
The benefit of several of these designs is that they work as water storage suppliers to underground aquifers building up the water tables. while developing biomass and propagating animals and insects.

additionally I have be working on several designs to have a 1 acre home being entirely off the grid suppling enough food. water, electricity, and taking care of its own waste for a family of 4.  primarily most people do not factor ad Astra and below ground.

For most parts, in my designs it has become obvious that most people just have not considered life to an elemental level or considered an entire life time in terms of work and energy and applied a social value to every action in terms of its long term benefit for hundreds of years after wards.

In doing so I have been able to realise that most people just do not understand the components of the the 17 nutrient cycles for plants. Nor how each component of the soil web works or how the transformations of energy work in terms of the food webs. or the roles they play.
Neither have they considered the value of genetic diversity even in inactive genes.
Nor do they understand the most important aspects of Light.

When I consider all these factors and more, It makes it hard for me to understand how people do not know these things and do not understand what is worth any value.

I am wondering why if people just utilised understanding about some of these basic aspects, they do not understand that everything is solvable and no problems should exist. Money is worthless.

The only real issue that exists is ignorance!









 
Alex Moffitt
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Anne Miller wrote:

Alex Moffitt said, "the Greening the desert not just the moral choice but the obvious choice in terms of making money, and in terms of political support!



I see this exact thing happening in Texas.  It makes me sad.

People with big money drill lots of wells to keep their ponds full of water.  Especially when our type of rocky soil does not support ponds.

When these big money folks are gone so will the water in our aquifers be gone.



Let me explain better what I meant, It is so much more profitable in terms of a nations economy and long term to have proper management of land and have soil with abundant life.

Yes it can be very easy to make money quickly in environmentally destructive means!

harvesting energy from the sun through photosynthesis and building up the energy in a nations environment has significant value adds in passive means.
It also reduces numerous issues.

This conversation is going to move on towards how management of everything is done with lack of full understanding of how everything interacts thus with limited thinking, planning is limited and numerous problems occur. and these problems are just juggled around and grow worse.

 
shauna carr
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[quote=Alex Moffitt]
I am wondering why if people just utilised understanding about some of these basic aspects, they do not understand that everything is solvable and no problems should exist. Money is worthless.

The only real issue that exists is ignorance!

[/quote]

I definitely agree that ignorance is an issue, and that a lot of folks don't bother to look at new information to really learn about it, or what it can do. I do agree that problems are solvable. although sometimes the solutions may not be what we like. And I 100% agree that good solutions for global problems may often involved generations of effort. That 'plant a tree that your grandchild will enjoy the shade from' kind of attitude.

But I also think that we, currently, HAVE a lot of ignorance. We know a lot about the natural world, but we also DON'T know a lot about the natural world and how it works. And while I am all for trying to make changes now, even if we don't know everything, making changes for long term futures without acknowledging our ignorance and without funding the thousands of studies we need when we have a LOT of ignorance, is what screws us over, you know?

We need to know a lot more about how the world works to make many long term plans truly successful, so I think we should be researching like mad, along with making plans.

I mean, just a small incident to make my point. I live in an area that is part of the migration path for Monarch butterflies. The milkweed they eat have been killed off a lot by urban environments, so the scientific groups that support these butterflies got together with local botanical groups and found some good milkweeds that were easy to grow, could survive well here, and could help the revitalize this section of the migration corridor.

And instead, it screwed them over worse. Because it turns out that the local milkweed that the butterflies use - which are harder to grow and more expensive to get seeds for - have adapted to this particular environment to die off earlier in the year that other milkweeds do. And THIS is what prompts the monarch butterflies to start migrating further south at just the right time. Now, though, we have a TON of milkweeds that don't die off, and the butterflies stay too long, and then more of them are dying when they finally try to continue their migration.

This is just a tiny thing, but... animals and insects migrate, and they require certain conditions when they do, and we don't KNOW all the conditions. We don't always know what attracts them or repels them (which matters when we might have migrating pollinators, and potentially even migrating predators of these pollinators, and we want to have 1 acre farms that lay along a migration path for them).  This would be an issue, but it's just a teeny, tiny issue among the whole host of issues that we need to take into consideration to make something as breathtakingly grand as trying to set up a system where no one is hungry and we can have sustainable cities and farms.

We need to know how all our ecosystems work together. We need to know more about how plants are connected and communicate with each other. We need to know how plants and animals and an environment interact, for every environment, to a DEEP level, if we want to be changing things on a grand scale (what pests exist, what keeps them under control, how do the animals and insects alter the current environment and what does it DO for the environment that we may need, how is the bacteria/worms/fungus in a particular soil impacted by different light or plant growth than it usually gets, how does this impact the soil, and on and on).

Otherwise we end up with another monarch butterfly issue, or dung beetle-toad disaster in Australia, or the 'suppress all forest fires' crap that has so damaged a lot of US forests and meadows now.

Truly, I want to see human being do better, but...we have a long way to go before we KNOW enough to know HOW to do better on a large scale. We're working towards it, I truly believe that. I think we just need to remember that our knowledge about how the world works IS still a work in progress, and not a completed one.
 
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