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Math Lessons for Locavores

 
                                  
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Location: Suwon, South Korea
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Ludi wrote:
I don't see the Green Revolution as a success.  It led to overshoot in world population,an epidemic of metabolic disorders in the US, destruction of untold ecosystems, and a host of other ills.  Seeing the Green Revolution as a "success" seems to me to be the cognitive dissonance.  Being able to recognize that our decision to engage in the Green Revolution may have been one of the worst decisions ever made in human history does not seem like cognitive dissonance to me, it seems like an ability to appropriately evaluate results.
Awareness of germ theory was at least as much to account for the increase in human longevity (actually life expectancy) as the Green Revolution was.



First, all the results are not yet in.  It is not a good idea to throw a wrench into the advance of science because of certain unwanted, unplanned, unexpected occurrences when so much is at stake and there is so much promise for the future.  We are still in an early stage of agricultural science.  How many people died "unnecessarily" while modern medicines and techniques of surgery were in their infancy who don't die today, to cite merely one example? 

Second, the green revolution was not exclusively to blame for any of the maladies you mention.  And what do you mean by "led to"?  Do you mean "caused"?  Do you mean "responsible for"?  Do you mean "preceded"?  You see "population explosion," while others see "a drop in infant mortality rates" or "saving untold lives."  And this, too, is not an either/or situation.  Many variables were/are at play, including some ancient human, non-modern variables like greed and power.  The scientific method is a tool.  Permaculture design is a tool.  Tools are controlled and manipulated by people.  There is nothing inherently evil about science or any other tool.  There are people who are using the label of "permaculture" to do all kinds of disagreeable things.  It doesn't mean we abandon permaculture.  I say again, let both paths evolve.
 
                                  
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Ludi wrote:
Just want to point out that plant breeding, soil science, and organic methods were known and pretty well developed before the Green Revolution.  There was definitely the opportunity to head in the organic direction, if society had chosen to do so.



Depends on what you mean by "known," "developed," and "opportunity."  Land costs money.  Resources to grow things costs money.  Labor costs money.  Industry requires markets.  (Where was the market for organic produce back then and the studies that reveal  it is more beneficial than conventionally produced goods?)  Producers and investors require a return on their investment.  Where was the logic that screamed out back then that we should have turned toward organic?  It just would not have been realistic.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

And, as the "math lessons" author points out, who's to say that an unbridled organic revolution wouldn't have led to excesses of its own such as gobbling up pristine land for cultivation.  If you believe that every movement carries within it the seeds of its own destruction, then that was certainly a possibility... and still is. 
 
pollinator
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bruc33ef wrote: It is not a good idea to throw a wrench into the advance of science because of certain unwanted, unplanned, unexpected occurrences



Who is advocating throwing a wrench into the advance of science?

 
Tyler Ludens
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Does permaculture endanger industrial agriculture in any way, or limit its activities?  Can you give some examples of the dangers of permaculture to industrial agriculture?

 
                                  
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Ludi wrote:
Does permaculture endanger industrial agriculture in any way, or limit its activities?  Can you give some examples of the dangers of permaculture to industrial agriculture?



Who said permaculture endangered industrial agriculture??
 
Tyler Ludens
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What is throwing a wrench in the advance of science?  Not permaculture, I take it.

 
pollinator
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I for one think sabotage of science is positive. Science has created problems for the future that science has no hope of ever being able to solve. It has doomed us, our only hope lies in the abandonment of modern civilization and science. In order for us to survive we must destroy almost every aspect of modern culture as we know it.

Just face it, people used to be cool, then a few men got big headed and thought they could conquer and understand the entirety of the world. The hubris lives on from generation to generation.

All this so called "intelligence" and "intellectuality" in the end really amounts to nothing great.

The simple fact is that primitive cultures were far superior to modern man and modern man has destroyed almost everything beautiful and great about humans.

It is honestly my greatest wish to one day see the ivory tower of science to crumble and the Roman Empire to be vanquished once and for all.
 
                                  
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Ludi wrote:
What is throwing a wrench in the advance of science?  Not permaculture, I take it.


What exactly do you think the green revolution is??
 
                                    
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Location: Ishpeming, Michigan
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There's always a way to cut the cost of transportation of food grown locally....who says you have to drive anywhere? A bicycle  with a cart on wheels hitched to the back would work just fine thank you very much.
Even if we do drive to the farmers market we still save by not driving to the doc's office once we get sick from eating mass amounts of chemicals that are not good for us over a long period of time.Yes, I know, the government says that this level of that chemical is safe in this food or that is safe for human consumption but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that when these chemicals are in every single thing you put into your mouth the levels rise and the chemicals change the way our bodies function.                                         

grocery store apple...approximately $1.39/lb

wild apple I can pick by walking about 300 yards from my home (it's not on private property) $0

my child's health and well being.....priceless.

I realize not everyone has a wild option to turn to and has to buy from others or grow their own so it would cost something but it's MVHO that we should limit the harmful chemicals we consume/are exposed to in every area that we are able.
My personal permie view says that I can't just take one point into consideration such as transportation cost. I have to look at the whole picture and hopefully make the best choice for my family and for the planet.
 
Tyler Ludens
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bruc33ef wrote:
What exactly do you think the green revolution is??



Are you saying practicing permaculture is throwing a wrench in the progress of science?

"Green Revolution:  n.
A significant increase in agricultural productivity resulting from the introduction of high-yield varieties of grains, the use of pesticides, and improved management techniques.

Great increase in production of food grains (especially wheat and rice) that resulted in large part from the introduction into developing countries of new, high-yielding varieties, beginning in the mid-20th century. Its early dramatic successes were in Mexico and the Indian subcontinent. The new varieties require large amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce their high yields, raising concerns about cost and potentially harmful environmental effects. Poor farmers, unable to afford the fertilizers and pesticides, have often reaped even lower yields with these grains than with the older strains, which were better adapted to local conditions and had some resistance to pests and diseases. See also Norman Borlaug."

http://www.answers.com/topic/green-revolution
 
Tyler Ludens
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Emile Spore wrote:
I for one think sabotage of science is positive. Science has created problems for the future that science has no hope of ever being able to solve.



I totally disagree.  Science itself has not caused problems, some technologies  have.  Science, which is the methodical observation of the world, is not itself harmful.  All of us here on this board who practice permaculture are practicing science to a greater or lesser degree, because we are making experiments and observing results.  Nothing in the discipline of science itself is dooming us.  Science is positive if used with other ways of observation such as intuitive, empathic, aesthetic, etc, in my opinion. 


"sci·ence

–noun
1.
a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
2.
systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
3.
any of the branches of natural or physical science.
4.
systematized knowledge in general.
5.
knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
6.
a particular branch of knowledge.
7.
skill, esp. reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency."

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/science
 
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soil wrote:
gardening doesn't require as much storage either as buying commercially farmed food. you simply go outside and pick it, take it inside, cook it and eat it. No fridge or freezer involved. as well as no trucks, trains or planes.



I'm always somewhat jokingly telling my friends that the ground is the best place to store your food.  For lots of crops you can start picking them from when they're young until they're mature so there's a really long storage time and all the while the plant is still growing and is as fresh as possible.  Even if not a serious source of year-round food, I consider it a huge luxury to be able to go out to the garden, harvest some, and pass by others to save for another day
 
pollinator
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Nathan Johns wrote:
I'm always somewhat jokingly telling my friends that the ground is the best place to store your food.



You might be more right than you know. If you can't afford a root cellar, you can still build a clamp.

This is a spirited discussion, and I'm hesitant to join the more-spirited parts of it for fear that people will forget to be nice in their discussions. I'd just like to offer this essay that manages to be guardedly optimistic, but refreshingly critical, in its treatment of both progress and primitivism:

Beyond civilized and primitive

The essay sides with Emile Spore to some extent:

As a guiding ideology, as a utopian vision, primitivism can destroy Marxism or libertarianism because it digs deeper and overthrows their foundations. It defeats the old religions on evidence. And best of all, it presents a utopia that is not in the realm of imagination or metaphysics, but has actually happened.



but this part of the essay also rings true to me:

But this strength is also a weakness, because reality cuts both ways. As soon as you say, "We should live like these actual people," every competing ideologue will jump up with examples of those people living dreadfully: "Here's a tribe with murderous warfare, and one with ritual abuse, and one with chronic disease from malnutrition, and one where people are just mean and unhappy, and here are a bunch of species extinctions right when primitive humans appeared.



I recommend the whole essay, though. It's concise, and speaks to the heart of the debate here. I hope both sides can see his take on the issue without being too offended.
 
gardener
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travis laduke wrote:
For us living in the city, it's either buy some b12 pills, nutritional yeast, and bottle conditioned beer or buy industrial meats.



It is common for meat eaters to have b12 deficiencies. This is due to the fact that about 2/3's of b12 is lost  in cooking. If you eat enough variety of raw fruits and vegetables you should have sufficient amounts of it. Carrots, broccoli, parsley, banana, peach, comfrey, alfalfa (the sprouts too) all contain the vitamin if they grew in healthy soil, as bacteria and mold in soils also produce b12.

As with cattle and other human meat sources, a healthy human intestinal tract produces b12, as does bacteria in the human mouth. So we don't need to eat another animals intestines to gain this vitamin. We have our own.



More to point of the OP-ED and the notion of the efficiency of mass transportation- As someone who used to hop freight trains I must say...I've seen a disgusting amount of empty train cars travel thousands of miles. Did that math get entered into the equation?

Also, I know someone who's a trucking dispatcher, I've worked as a delivery truck driver, and I've hitchiked with truckers..If what I've learned from this is any indicator, there is a lot more waste going on in the ttransport industry than is commonly known.

One factor that I doubt gets considered is the idling engines of trcuks and trains while they are in waiting. It's common for truckers to idle the whole time they are parked waiting for delivery, and I've sat in box cars while trains idled for very lengthy periods as inspectors check the WHOLE TRAIN.





 
 
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(note from the ref)

Let's make sure to use lots of "I think" and "in my opinion": thus allowing other people to have a different opinion. 

Also, be very careful with the word "you" - it's usually the hotspot that leads to a post getting deleted.

And be careful of bashing groups that people on permies might be a part of.

(/note)
 
Tyler Ludens
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Here's an article pertinent to this discussion:  http://www.salon.com/life/sustainable_food/index.html?story=/food/feature/2010/08/26/empires_of_food
 
steward
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Ludi wrote:
Here's an article pertinent to this discussion:  http://www.salon.com/life/sustainable_food/index.html?story=/food/feature/2010/08/26/empires_of_food



scroll a couple articles down that page and there's another interesting article: The dark side of the farmers' market boom.  deals more with one social impact of farmers markets instead of energy, but I think it's pertinent to the discussion as well.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you.

 
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I wonder how hard it is, how much energon it takes to grow b12 supplement
 
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