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Mealworms Eating Styrofoam?

 
Ryan Skinner
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Anyone experiment with this? I am curious what they mean by safe.

http://www.popsci.com/mealworms-can-safely-devour-plastics
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Ryan,

I read what was there, and I am inclined to believe their claim to safety, at first glance. The research is coming out of Stanford University, and they reference the fact that it is the gut microbes of the meal worms that are doing the digesting. They've taken the microbes and tried getting them to digest a related plastic, with some success. Ideas for further research include finding marine microorganisms that can digest the millions of tons of styrofoam floating on the ocean's surfaces.

This does not seem to be any further fetched than the idea that fungi can digest petrochemicals and cigarette filters and other diverse and wholly unnatural substances.

I hope this does not mean that we'll still go full steam ahead on the manufacture of single use items and encourage their continued use. Getting rid of the stuff is only a part of the problem.

Thanks for news to brighten my day.

Thekla
 
Thekla McDaniels
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And about the idea of safe-- I am just guessing about the meal worms and styrofoam, but in the case of mycoremediation, the noxious compounds are broken down into component molecules that the fungi incorporate into their biomass.
 
Cristo Balete
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A question to ask about safety involves what happens to the mealworms who eat a steady diet of styrofoam? I've seen animals eat plenty of stuff that's not good for them. I'd like to know what kind of tests are run on the mealworm poop.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I was talking about this report with someone who said - and I can't remember what he based it on - but his best understanding of the situation was that the styrofoam was just made into smaller pieces of unmodified styrofoam. Now I am wishing for more information on this.

Thekla
 
Ryan Skinner
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I am really wanting to trust that the microbes do more than break it down in to smaller Styrofoam. I can't claim to be all that good at controlling that material from entering my home. With Christmas right around the corner we tend to get loads of it in our Kids' Christmas present packaging. I could probably be way more proactive about informing people about not liking the stuff and wanting less packaging in general but when people give gifts I don't think they want a list of rules. I like the idea of creating a meal-worm farm anyway. Great feed for chickens and ducks and my sons leopard gecko. This would be a side benefit and easy way to get rid of the stuff. I just would want t know more before i feed meal-worms to the chickens I would be consuming eventually. Currently (ashamedly) it goes in the trashcan... off to the dump... and sits there forever.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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yeah, hard to know. One thing I've noticed is a trend in packing peanuts/ aka ghost turds. some are still styrofoam, but more and more are using the weird disintegrating stuff that ?is made of potato starch? that stuff sort of melts in water so it is not hard to identify.

Probably you are talking about the stuff that makes things fit exactly into boxes though, not the peanuts.

I just googled mealworms and styrofoam and found a scholarly write up here:

https://news.stanford.edu/pr/2015/pr-worms-digest-plastics-092915.html

There were some contact people at the bottom, so I sent them an invitation to join our discussion and help clear up our concerns and doubts. I don't know if we'll hear from them, but thought it was worth a try.

Below is what I wrote. We'll just have to see what happens, and if I hear from them personally, I'll try to glean every bit of information I can from them, or find out who to contact.

Thekla


Hi Bill, Craig and Rob,

I heard about mealworms eating and digesting styrofoam, and thought that was exciting. I think we could live without making styrofoam, but in the meantime, what about all the millions of tons of it.

There is a bit of a discussion going on here:
http://www.permies.com/t/50485/composting/Mealworms-Eating-Styrofoam#413115

One person I spoke to in my excitement about the mealworms and styrofoam said someone he knew said it was just styrofoam getting made into smaller pieces of styrofoam.

I've just read the article here
https://news.stanford.edu/pr/2015/pr-worms-digest-plastics-092915.html

and I notice it is written that they converted half the carbon in the plastic into CO2, which seems to mean that they must have digested the plastic molecules rather than just making smaller pieces of styrofoam.

The permies.com website is the largest permaculture site in the world with I don't know how many thousands of members. These are people who would LOVE to get the mealworms started on styrofoam, but worry about the safety of it. If the mealworm eats the plastic, and the chicken eats the mealworm, and I eat the chicken..........?

I don't know if you can refer me anywhere to understand this better, or if one of you or one of your students with a full understanding of the chemistry and metabolic processes would be interested in joining our discussion, to help us through our questions and doubts. It is free to join, and only members can post.

Thanks for reading this far,
I hope to hear from you soon, either personally or through the permies website

Thekla
 
Peter Ellis
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:I was talking about this report with someone who said - and I can't remember what he based it on - but his best understanding of the situation was that the styrofoam was just made into smaller pieces of unmodified styrofoam. Now I am wishing for more information on this.

Thekla


If you read the abstracts of the papers referenced by the OP's article, both of which are linked in the article, you can see that the Styrofoam is actually being chemically broken down by the mealworm's gut bacteria. Not just mechanically made into smaller pieces of Styrofoam, but chemically changed into various other things, from CO2 to unspecified water soluble chemicals.

This is real deconstruction of the Styrofoam and returning of the elements used in its manufacture to forms that are available for other biological processes.

The first paper also reports, very plainly, that the mealworms fed Styrofoam have life expectancy and overall performance on par with mealworms fed on bran.

So, no harm no foul to the meal worms, they get nutritional value from eating the Styrofoam.

mmm... does this mean we can grow our mealworms on the packaging our computers come in?
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hey thanks, Peter. I'm really glad to know it's not bogus. How do you think we can we figure out if the mealworms are safe food for chickens, and the chickens and their eggs safe to eat?

Thekla
 
Thekla McDaniels
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So, look at this. The researchers referred me to a student who is familiar with their work, and this was her reply:

<<Thank you for your interest in our research.

Many of your questions are questions we are currently studying now in the lab. We are currently studying toxicity and potential bioaccumulation effects of mealworms eating plastic.Tthough to clarify, the mealworms eat the plastic and it is degraded into CO2 in their gut by their gut microbiome.

More work will be published with the results of these studies as soon as they are done, at which point, I will be able to offer you more conclusive answers.

Until then - thanks for your interest!>>

So, we'll just wait for more information on this I guess.

Thekla

 
Ryan Skinner
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I thought I was reading it that way. Glad to have others verify. This could be a pretty big deal. A very Non-Perishable food source would make thing a bit easier on the mealworm farming thing. Of course they would be fed a ton of other things as well.

Feel like anyone that is raising animals should look into raising mealworms as way of getting high protien fresh food to them.

this is a pretty good instrutable on building your own Mealworm farm. http://www.instructables.com/id/Mealworm-Farm
Supposed to get up to a pound a week from this small setup. A POUND!
 
allen lumley
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Ryan Skinner : I rise to make a contrarian viewpoint, only slightly tongue-in-cheek .

If we consider all styrofoam as ''Feed Stock " - then we can go on from there to determine where is the best place to use this resource !

Once we have created styrofoam as a product we have a basically shelf stable product* Small amounts of it can be conveniently stored

until a useful amount is collected ! - minus some outgassing of Formaldehyde which I am assuming would not agree with the mealworms

digestion !

So now we have two potential usage streams to dispose of this product !

1) turn it back into a petroleum based hydrocarbon for further use as another long term stable polymer -potentially a partial replacement

For portland cement !

2) Feed it to mealworms whose digestion process turns a fraction of it -a stable product- into a limited amount of food energy- we know that

this will release further CO2 And I am convinced probably Methane . So use of this product as Food is not without a price to pay -

It is likely that the Price of Crude Oil will have to rise remarkably before anyone pays attention to what is generally only regarded as a waste

Product !

I think this is a minor cautionary tale to be careful what you wish for ! For the Crafts Big AL

* also Styrofoam is not UV Stable and needs inside storage regardless of Feed stock stream A.L.
 
Ryan Skinner
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You bring up a good point.

The beauty of the mealworm thing lies in accessibility i think.... As well as scale. I don't think you would be taking care of a large storage container of styro with mealworms. But that styrofoam cup that you found that blew in to your yard or the random square of stuff that came in that thing that you ordered from amazon you can throw that to the mealworms and it probably takes them a month or longer to consume it.

But to your point... Sounds like I would be better throwing this in to the trash for it to be a carbon storage medium in the landfill rather than releasing the carbon through the mealworm digestion. It is a good point. I will have to chew on that for a while. I don't want to do bad while trying to do more good.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Isn't this a familiar predicament? The carbon sequestration function of the dump, versus metabolization processes that convert a form of carbon into CO2 and something else.

When a man told me he was burning his trash BECAUSE trees need CO2, my opinion was that there was currently no shortage of CO2.

We hear how bad methane is and it's true.

When I consider the methane produced by my 4 dairy goats against the soil improvement that's a result of their rotational grazing, it seems to me they are offsetting their methane production by at least one order of magnitude. I think they are worth their methane production in ways that grazers in concentrated feeding operations are not, because of their benefit to the soil, and all the services and functions healthy soil perform.

When ever we try to figure out what's the best use of something like styrofoam, I think we need to think holistically, and weigh the potential benefit (food production or what ever) and with the environmental impact of its replacement (and the processes that produced the replacement, and to dispose of the waste when done), as well as consider the worth of getting that weird styrofoam converted into trees, vegetables, cotton and linen, krill, plankton, (and soil carbon) by cycling it into our atmosphere as CO2, where it is available as the raw material for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is our planet's intimate relationship with the sun, and it is through photosynthesis that all life is supported on earth.

Well, sorry, that's a complicated sentence, and I don't have time to reword it. But I hope you see what I mean. A decision about what is "best" is never as simple as I wish, and always requires that I make a value judgement, and it is so hard to know all that's involved in any one thing, like should I feed the styrofoam cup to the worms, or send it to the dump.

Thekla
 
Peter Ellis
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A purely speculative concern about methane production should be absolutely no barrier to considering use of meal worms to break down Styrofoam in homescale growing.

Why? Because meal worms in the 'wild' are already doing it. Nope, no documentation, but the logic is obvious. Meal worms exist in nature, Styrofoam is out there where they live, they can eat Styrofoam and live - they are out there eating Styrofoam.

So, imo, the issue is not methane that may possibly be produced because IF it is produced it is happening without us.

The concern with raising them on Styrofoam is whether or not there is a toxic accumulation up the food chain.

That issue stops me from recommending wholesale adoption.

As far as animals producing methane,nature seems to have managed fine with tremendous herds of ruminants across North America and Africa.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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yup, Peter,
I agree
 
Tyler Ludens
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Peter Ellis wrote:
As far as animals producing methane,nature seems to have managed fine with tremendous herds of ruminants across North America and Africa.


Thing is, those animals were existing within the "normal" carbon cycle and not involved with the cycling of sequestered carbon as the mealworms would be when eating styrofoam. In my opinion we need to be figuring ways of sequestering these fossil fuel based materials, and of course trying to encourage our society to stop unsequestering them!
 
Thekla McDaniels
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It's a puzzle all right!

I just think we are so far beyond "normal" and so many definitions of "normal" that it isn't as helpful a consideration to me as it once was.

The way I prioritized things related to weird carbon substances derived from fossil fuels, I'd like to see them made back into something that can integrate into the current biocycling.

I think the biggest thing we have going for us is to get the soil carbon going again, as in developing soil food web and living soils. The numbers I have seen for the potential for soil to take in carbon in ways that enhance our soil's productivity and enhance biodiversity, and moderate the flood drought cycle, and recharge aquifers, and create and store surface water are my greatest source of hope. If we can get the soil food web in place and stop the plowing that contributes to so many of our modern predicaments, the question of methane from mealworms eating styrofoam will be moot.

I'd like to see us use microbes and mycelia to disassemble all the weird creations from fossil fuels, and get it all cycled back into clean healthy pristine habitat for us all.

And I could not agree with you more, Tyler, that to cease the unsequestering of fossil fuels is an excellent idea. Lets start that today!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:It's a puzzle all right!
I think the biggest thing we have going for us is to get the soil carbon going again


100% agree. I think things could be turned around very quickly, even within a few decades, if this were everyone's priority. And the great thing is, everyone with access to a yard or a park or any other patch of dirt can participate, even city people!

 
allen lumley
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- Because we celebrate the Fact that Permies.com is a Wold-wide organization I am fairly sure if my understanding of the current reduced use of plastics

in the European Union is incorrect it will get fact-checked !


Generally individual fruits and vegetables are never wrapped inelastic nor due they sit on 'foam trays ! In Germany I believe any excess packaging

passed on to the consumer can be returned to the seller who must take it back! This includes the boxes /packing material for electronics and big bulk

items like furniture / major appliances !

There is a whole industry growing custom shaped Mycellium package materials, And some electronics are waterproof packed in paper products that reduce

plastics known static discharge problems - Less and less plastics all round. This should be a major priority, no plastics, no sequestration problems !

All plastics should be recyclable and then recycled! Today many plastics are capable of being heat treated back to a liquid state similar to crude oil

with very few contaminates, And plastics always go where the people ARE , If we can recycle plastics into petrochemicals that can be used locally,

We are saving Billions of gallons of Fossil fuels trucking in virgin petrochemical products !


That being said, If you can convince me that the costs of Locally feeding plastics to The Grubs of Moths and Darkling Beetles is safe, mostly

nonpolluting and economically viable when compared to locally recycling the plastics - again those saved hidden shipping costs. Then and only

then will you get my vote for anything but Sequestration, which basically means that you have a potential resource sitting waiting for the day that

any local use trumps hauling in other Virgin petrochemicals/plastics !

For the Good of the Crafts ! Big AL
 
Thekla McDaniels
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allen lumley wrote:- Because we celebrate the Fact that Permies.com is a Wold-wide organization I am fairly sure if my understanding of the current reduced use of plastics

in the European Union is incorrect it will get fact-checked !
any local use trumps hauling in other Virgin petrochemicals/plastics !

For the Good of the Crafts ! Big AL


That is the crux of it isn't it?, the virgin petrochemicals. Even when earthquakes in Oklahoma are directly attributed to fracking by local reputable professionals, people see no problem with it! Gotta have those petrochemicals at any cost! Oil's big business in OK.
 
Peter Ellis
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
Peter Ellis wrote:
As far as animals producing methane,nature seems to have managed fine with tremendous herds of ruminants across North America and Africa.


Thing is, those animals were existing within the "normal" carbon cycle and not involved with the cycling of sequestered carbon as the mealworms would be when eating styrofoam. In my opinion we need to be figuring ways of sequestering these fossil fuel based materials, and of course trying to encourage our society to stop unsequestering them!


On one hand, the genie is out of the bottle. In terms of "sequestering" petrochemicals, I am much more supportive of encouraging their rapid return into the natural cycles of the earth, rather than trying to hold a bunch of toxic gick someplace in some kind of isolation. We know that biological remediation works, and we have lots of experience that trying to hold things out of the environment does not work well at all. Containers leak, water penetrates everywhere and leaches toxins out into groundwater, or carries them on into the ocean.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Peter Ellis wrote: I am much more supportive of encouraging their rapid return into the natural cycles of the earth, rather than trying to hold a bunch of toxic gick someplace in some kind of isolation.


That can be a form of sequestration, getting the carbon back in the carbon cycle and then back in the soil where it belongs!

I look forward to a future in which toxic gick is mined from where it lurks (landfills) and remediated to become a beneficial part of the life cycle. The only thing that can't be treated this way, as far as I know, are radioactives and heavy metals. Everything else can be recycled by living things (mostly those fabulous fungi!)
 
Ben Adams
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I guess my one addition to this excellent discussion would be a concern for the long-term health of the mealworms. I have no idea what their dietary requirements are for optimal health; but I have to assume they are rather broader than the component molecules of styrofoam! From this angle, I see no issue with including styrofoam as a portion of their diet, but I do have some cautions about scaling up to "industrial strength stryrofoam mealworm remediation" projects: I'm fairly confident that without a balanced diet and a diverse environment, the mealworms would eventually run out of micronutrients, trace minerals, and the fiber and other nutrients that (I can only assume) they and/or their gut microbes require in order to stay healthy and continue their work of breaking down the styrofoam.

I believe you'd need a longitudinal study to see how high a percentage of their diet can consist of styrofoam before nutrient deficiency (and/or toxicity) starts to do damage to the generational genome or to the worms' immune systems (whatever those look like), or before the whole decomposition cycle just loses critical mass of micro-elements and begins to wind down. Also I wonder about the "downstream": what critters underneath the mealworms normally consume/decompose their frass, and can they still do it [equally as well] when the worms are on this new diet?

It sounds like the scientists doing the studies currently may be including some of these questions already. I guess I'm with most everyone else in expressing cautious optimism.
 
Susan Hessel
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Peter Ellis wrote: As far as animals producing methane,nature seems to have managed fine with tremendous herds of ruminants across North America and Africa.


I am reluctant to drag this thread off topic, but I just can't leave the above statement unaddressed. Below is a link to a Ted Talk by Allen Savory which quite contradicts this sentiment and I think it is very important information for permies to consider when designing regenerative systems.

https://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change?language=en

Apologies if someone else already responded to this, I am only part way through the thread. I hope to finish soon as I find the potential of meal worm farming exciting (does that make me seem a little crazy? maybe only outside this forum?).

If the meal worms processing the styrofoam, or any food, give off methane is there a way we can design our farm to capture it (a biodigestor that churns itself)? What about the CO2, is there some bio-scrubber, filter-thingy we could create to capture and sequester that? Of course some plant based thing we grow and feed and/or bury, but somehow more intensified? Just some preliminary thoughts and questions.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Perhaps some kind of biofilter? Many scholarly articles come up with the search terms "methane oxidizing biofilter"

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19244413

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956053X03000977

etc..
 
Victor Johanson
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Mr. Teslonian did a trial of feeding mealworms with stryofoam and has posted a video on You Tube...and in case you've never seen his videos, check them out--this guy is awesome and experiments with all kinds of mad science, from running his truck on woodgas to making a steam powered rifle:

http://www.youtube.com/user/MrTeslonian/videos
 
Jay Angler
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Wow, this thread brings up so many Pros vs Cons, Wins vs Lose, Costs vs Benefits it might take an Xcell spread sheet and a few PhD's to sort out. That being said, I'll add a few more:

1. Styrofoam is bulky so it fills up toxic landfills so people destroy more ecosystems to build new landfills - so if you can't recycle your styrofoam locally and know that it's not just a gimmick but is *really* being recycled into a new product, I'd guess that having meal worms recycle it into chicken feed is the better option, especially if you then recycle the chicken shit into trees that sequester carbon and build soil with it, as soil also sequesters carbon.

2. Pressuring local companies to use less styrofoam packaging is good, but takes a lot of human work and energy to get enough people doing so that changes are made in both people's mind-set and legislation. The OIL INDUSTRY is large and powerful in both the US and Canada, and they have shown total willingness to undermine environment pressure in favor of short term profits. As individuals, the best we can do at times is to avoid over-packaged products.

3. Meal worms may produce methane regardless of what they eat, and so do humans. So is the solution that we reduce the number of humans? Particularly North American humans since they seem to consume more than their share of planetary resources? Unfortunately, that process tends to be painful. We do *not* have good economic or population models that cope with stable or declining production and consumption. Looking at the history books suggests it happened rarely and dramatically (think Black Plague) with a lot of instability. Personally, I'd be more concerned with industrial sources of methane, than meal worm production in the short term.

4. If the goal is to stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere particularly if it is from a previously sequestered source of carbon, we need to coppice trees and then not let them decompose. I read once that someone recommended turning trees into lumber and then building houses with it so that the carbon in the trees was "sequestered"? They paid zero attention to the fact that those "houses" would then be heated, most likely with some form of sequestered carbon (coal, oil, propane) and be filled up with all sorts of things made by using sequestered carbon. If we build soil through Hugel beds, should we worry about how much of that carbon eventually turns into humus and is sequestered before we go ahead and do so? Trying to analyse every cost/benefit down to the very bottom of the food chain may take longer than we've got.

5. The dose makes the poison: Starting small, "backyard" meal worm production that is fed a mixture of styrofoam and other feedstocks and is used to feed local chickens a portion of their diet, is a very different thing than letting big business get involved.

Just my thoughts on the subject - I will follow that link to meal worm farming. I've got a friend that wants to do Black Soldier farming, but is not sure he can meet their reproductive needs well enough to make it work. Are meal worms easier?


 
Tyler Ludens
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Jay Angler wrote: If we build soil through Hugel beds, should we worry about how much of that carbon eventually turns into humus and is sequestered before we go ahead and do so?


http://www.permies.com/t/50725/hugelkultur/Hugelkulturs-Carbon-Sequestration
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Susan Hessel wrote:
Peter Ellis wrote: As far as animals producing methane,nature seems to have managed fine with tremendous herds of ruminants across North America and Africa.


I am reluctant to drag this thread off topic, but I just can't leave the above statement unaddressed. Below is a link to a Ted Talk by Allen Savory which quite contradicts this sentiment and I think it is very important information for permies to consider when designing regenerative systems.

https://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change?language=en



I did not recall Savory's TED talk addressing methane production in ecosystems with large herds of ruminants as harmful.

I read the transcript here:

https://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change/transcript?language=en

and could not find a pertinent reference to methane.

Am I misunderstanding your point Susan? Can you take a look at the transcript, post the time you think is applicable?

Belated "welcome to permies", glad to see you participating.

many thanks,

Thekla
 
Susan Hessel
Posts: 9
Location: Madison, WI
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I did not recall Savory's TED talk addressing methane production in ecosystems with large herds of ruminants as harmful.

I read the transcript here:

https://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change/transcript?language=en

and could not find a pertinent reference to methane.

Am I misunderstanding your point Susan? Can you take a look at the transcript, post the time you think is applicable?

Belated "welcome to permies", glad to see you participating.

many thanks,

Thekla


Thanks Thekla. I was reading the quote wrong. Although, I read it many times, I was reading it as "with*out* large herds of ruminants as harmful". The current status. And I was taking it out of the context of methane production, too. So, really responding to "nature seems to have managed fine with*out* tremendous herds of ruminants across North America and Africa.". Which I have to admit now is not what Peter said at all. I guess all that recent exposure to Derrick Jensen has given me a hair-trigger response temperament to the idea, even if misperceived, nature is doing ok with out all the animals that used to exist. I promise to endeavor to chill out... and maybe reread a 5th time statements I can't believe I am hearing coming from permies : )
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Posts: 1534
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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No worries, Susan. We have diverse opinions here. What's really important is civilized discussion and exploration. That gives us a chance to influence and support each other. It makes our various understandings and opinions dynamic processes, rather than fixed beliefs. In this way we all continue to develop and grow, as does the body of knowledge.

You see, if you had not made your post, I would not have had the opportunity to re-examine MY take on Savory's presentations. I often find him difficult to understand, perhaps due to his age, or mine, or the combination!

What is wonderful is how easily you checked things through, and posted your new take on things.

Again, belated welcome to Permies. Don't be shy about participation, you seem to have good understanding of the only rule "be nice".

Thekla
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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I was wondering. Of course, we do have large herds of ruminants today, they are the subject of no small debate in some circles over their methane production.

Granted that today's CAFO cattle herds are not anything like large migratory herds of bison.

I have listened to enough of Savory to know that my comment was not contrary to his conclusions.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Peter Ellis wrote:

Granted that today's CAFO cattle herds are not anything like large migratory herds of bison.


And I think this is where a lot of people get confused about herbivores and methane.

The CAFO creatures are dependent on annual agriculture, an integral part of it. One of the arguments against eating meat is because the grain the animals eat could feed more people than the meat does, never mind that many of the people who eat large amounts of grain end up with the same maladies as the cattle that are very ill when slaughtered. All this and the CAFO cattle are making no contribution to a healthy environment, and are crating huge amounts of pollution, and their plight is very distressing to the animal rights folks and the generally tender hearted, as well.

And then the CAFO animals are equated with herbivores on the landscape, and the simple conclusions are reached that cattle are bad, methane is bad and eating meat is bad. And it is more difficult than ever to get the animals back on the land providing their services. sigh.

 
Guerric Kendall
Posts: 102
Location: zone 6a, NY
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chicken duck forest garden
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That picture is very surprising to me, because I have raised mealworms in styrofoam boxes before... Not as an experiment, but just because that's the container I had at the time. And they showed absolutely no inclination to eat the foam, even after several months.

So I have to wonder what sort of styrofoam they were using? It certainly doesn't look like the standard stuff that comes off in little balls when scratched.
 
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