Tag Archives: food

Nature as a life support system

Why care about nature?

Ant and Willow Tree renew air. water and soil that you may live.

Ant and Willow tree renew air, water and soil that you may live.

Suppose you are living in a base on the moon.  You appreciate oxygen, water and food directly relate to your survival on the moon.  If toxic fuel polluted oxygen, water and food you would worry about surviving on the moon, including if any of these resources ran out.

The basic building blocks of life on earth are air, water and soil.  Like my moon example the air, water and soil on earth are the life support systems of human survival, pollute or lose these resources, you die.

Even if you are low IQ by doing without water after a few days, or holding your breath a few minutes, you recognise you need air and water to survive.  How long can you last with no food? Soil is the main foundation of food production.  Soil is like a battery, you know that your torch eventually sucks the energy out of your battery, and soil has a similar finite stored potential energy that needs recharging like any battery. No vitality in the soil means no food, you starve, you die.

Water, air and soil are energy systems. Prosperity, defined as health, happiness and abundance, builds upon the foundation of water, air and soil.  At any moment you can call upon a finite amount of water, air and soil, once this is gone in your location you will suffer sickness then die.  You appreciate that this finite resource of water, air and soil needs replacing, which requires unhindered flow of replacement water as rain, air from winds, and soil from animal waste or plant decomposition.  You also appreciate water, air and soil need renewal: thus water evaporates and precipitates; trees recycle oxygen; earthworms, bacteria and fungi breakdown waste into basic nutrients in the soil for plants to reuse.

Here is a water aquifer, no water, no life.  If you drain all the water from the water aquifer, no water, no life.  If you pollute the water aquifer, sick water, no life.  If you stop the flow of water to the water aquifer, via dam, blocking stream or river, obstruction with concrete, no water, no life.  If you destroy trees, plant concrete that causes massive evaporation, you disrupt renewing rains to the water aquifer, no water, no life.

Stupid humanity, blinded by hubris, ignorance and control, determined to suck dry its water aquifers, pollute its water aquifers, disrupt motion of water to its water aquifers and undermine the renewal process of water aquifers.  No water, no food, can humanity drink or eat oil, arsenic or dust to survive?

The lowly ant and the lonely willow tree appear useless to any onlooker, but the ant and willow tree are part of the renewal process of air, water and soil.  Destroy the ant and willow tree: you thirst, starve and suffocate; they are part of the web of life; they renew water, air and soil.  Why should you care about nature, the ant and willow tree? Because you die if you misuse and abuse anything that contributes to the renewal process of air, water and soil.

A global leaky bucket

Global weather extremes will force people to hard choices.

Nature will have the last word in the debate over sustainability.

Nature will have the last word in the debate over sustainability.

I write this in despair, it is snowing again here in Colchester UK.  I admit envy for those of you who live in California or Hong Kong area, I see your photographs where the seasons always seem to be warm and sunny.  The northern Jet Stream refuses to move, Greenland enjoys growing strawberries as the lambs die in the fields of Britain from the winter that refuses to let go.

The extremes of weather are noted in the South of the world as well as the North.  Argentina has had the worst floods in decades last week.  The cause is that the systems such as the Jet Stream are paralysed in one place, thus everyone suffers flood, drought or winter in excess.  Nobody is sure why this paralysis is going on with systems like the Jet Stream, some say it is climate change, the point is that we are experiencing this, and it appears to be more than a temporary issue.

My opinion is that these weather extremes are here to stay for the long duration.  One is then left with a harsh reality of does one seek to control the weather or adapt to the weather? How does one control the weather, a chaotic energy system where even a small change can have great consequences? Perhaps adaptation is the better option, but does one know how huge those adaptations will have to be where drought and flood could be lasting decades?

Lets say food, water and energy are all contained in a bucket.  We take a jug and scoop out from the bucket what we need.  There is a tap that is constantly running filling the bucket with the food, water and energy.  We waste those resources so the bucket leaks.  We disrupt or destroy the renewal systems in the ecosystems so the tap is no longer running as fast as it should.  We are greedy consumers so we take more than we need from the bucket with our jug.  How will the bucket look now? Is this a sustainable future to you?

If our global weather extremes continue as they are it will be like a storm rocking the bucket spilling its contents, will our bucket future look even less sustainable? Extreme weather destroys harvests, kills animals, sends already distressed ecosystems into the abyss.  What happens when the bucket is so empty that people can no longer enjoy their lifestyle of wasteful excess, or worse that people grow cold, hungry and thirsty? Do they sit there and do nothing but die? Will they fight? Who will fight who? As the bucket contents get ever smaller, who will win in the fighting for what is left?

The growing threat of Monsanto

In my opinion Monsanto is a serious threat to humanity and the environment.

This image is what I associate with Mosanto.

This image is what I associate with Monsanto.

One word that I keep hearing about with growing alarm is Monsanto.  People say that climate change, North Korea or al-Qaeda is a great threat to humanity, but few seem to associate a corporate agricultural giant as a threat.

Currently a small farmer in the USA is fighting Monsanto in the US courts involving patents on seeds, which has alarming consequences over food supply and genetic diversity.

I could rant and rave about Monsanto, but I shall keep this short and sweet. I recommend using search engines to explore what this Monsanto has been up to around the world, it may alarm you as it does me.

The illusion of control

Nature presents alternatives to the human obsession of control.

Swans adapt to change rather than seek to control it.

Swans adapt to rather than control change.

Last night I am in bed floating on an increasingly stormy threatening ocean, afraid I would fall into the dark cold waters to my doom.  It was a dream, the bed my sense of security, the ocean the chaotic universe.  To my relief my dream bed grew larger and the ocean calmer.  We all need security, but the process of control to achieve this sense of security is wrong.

Energy systems

The universe is composed of layers of energy systems.  “Panta Rhei!” announced the philosopher Heraclitus as he observed that the natural state of the universe is to flow, move, change.  The energy in the energy systems naturally favours strife, renewal and creation.  The purpose of all life is to live, grow and create.  The design of all life is movement. Energy moves, be it as a form of money, water, food, heat, knowledge; in fact everything is in a state of becoming, motion and change.  Nothing is still.

The illusion of control

Then comes humanity with their illusions of control.  Humanity entertains the delusion that the universe is deterministic, that at any given moment humanity can know everything there is to know about an energy system; in reality all energy systems feed into each other, have hidden parts, have a state of complexity of anything more than three variables that makes it impossible for even the fastest of human computers to calculate the true state of a system at any one moment. Another human delusion is that energy systems are dead cold mechanical systems thus easy to determine and control; in reality all energy systems are chaotic, living and self organising; energy systems that are destroying, renewing and creating new forms of itself.  In such energy systems the smallest change of a variable causes a large overall outcome in a system.

The danger of abstraction

Control obsessed humanity abstracts complex energy systems down to simple self-confirming illusions of control.  What will reach the ground first, a sack of feathers or a sack of apples each a ton? In an abstraction only using gravity as a variable humanity proudly declares both will arrive at the same time; however they leave out friction and air currents which can have a large unpredictable impact on the outcome. If you are unable to determine outcomes in systems, you are unable to control the system.

The danger of determinism

The process humanity uses to control the energy flow in an energy system is by forcing it to be deterministic.  This process leads to obstructions, stagnation and interference with the strife, renewal and creative aspects of energy flow in a system.  Humanity even talks about controlling the weather to achieve favourable outcomes, not realising that any attempt to interfere with energy flow in the weather will cause the entire energy system to break down.  Often by control humanity slows or even stops the energy flow altogether.  All energy systems are healthy because of the flow of energy through them in a cycle of potential-kinetic-potential-kinetic-repeat. If this cycle of flow of energy is blocked the entire system turns entropic and breaks down.  It also wastes large sums of energy fighting against the flow of energy systems.

Control leads to sick energy systems

Practically all human processes are focussed on command and control, which leads to the flow of money, energy, food, water, information being paralysed or slowed.  All energy systems that relies on this sort of energy flow starts to break down according to the laws of thermodynamics.  Look at the effects of the vast control systems on the human information and money systems due to 9-11 and the credit crunch.  Look at the children where fear of child abuse, road traffic accidents, of health and safety has the outcome of childhood obesity, allergies, mental health issues and eye sight problems.  How liberty, creativity and wisdom has been devastated in children and the human society thanks to the obsession of control.  Where energy is flowing in an energy system it is healthy, when it is controlled to the point the energy is no longer naturally flowing, sickness is the result.

Nature has the answer

What is the answer? Look to nature.  Nothing in nature is controlling energy flow, instead it uses defence and attack strategies to capture energy.  All plants and animals establish territories that contain enough energy resources to satisfy their needs, they never try to mess with the energy flow, they tap into it.  The purpose of all life is to live, grow and create; all which requires energy.  All strategies in life are focussed on energy; all life aggressively and creatively captures energy, uses the energy efficiently and conserves energy.  Energy impacts life processes and purposes, ultimately determining who survives and prospers.

All plants and animals won’t control energy flow, they adapt to changes in the energy system.  When the lake in Castle Park Colchester froze over recently all the ducks headed off to the river; when snow hit Castle Park, all the squirrels vanished to their nests; even the children adapted to changing weather conditions in Castle Park by indulging in snowman building and sledging.

Fighting against energy systems costs energy

To fight against an energy system costs energy.  A plant and animal follows the rule of least resistance where they follow a strategy that costs the least amount of energy.  All life will rapidly adapt with new strategies to changing situations in an energy system, for instance some birds will turn cannibal if food runs out.  Genetically all life will mutate their DNA rapidly to environmental changes, with viruses being the fastest adapters (thus a warning if bat species are exterminated, as the viruses from bats will jump to humans to survive, for example like Ebola and SARS.)

Summary

In summary nothing in nature seeks to control energy flow, but rather adapts and uses strategies to capture, use and conserve energy in an efficient manner.  All life follows the principle of least resistance following the strategy that uses the least amount of energy to achieve an outcome.  The purpose of all life is to live, grow and to create; all which requires energy.  All life carves out spaces with enough energy resources to sustain them, which they will defend aggressively and creatively.

The stupidity of humanity and its choice

Only humanity could be stupid enough to waste energy attempting to control energy flow in energy systems, thus undermining the whole energy system that humanity depends on to survive. I dream that humanity will wake up and learn from nature, for like in my dream the outcome will be that humanity risks falling out of bed into the abyss of no return.

The prize goes to the bold and inventive

Be bold and inventive to succeed in life.

This bold and inventive Colchester swan is likely to survive this winter.

This bold and inventive Colchester swan is likely to survive this winter.

Winter struck with a vengeance in Britain with my town of Colchester buried in snow and freezing temperatures.  It is at this time I think of the wildlife, so I took time out to take food out to the swans in Colchester.

I have a process where any money I find on the ground goes to buying brown wholemeal bread that the supermarkets discount down as far as 10% of the original value at the end of the day.  The bread goes into the fridge waiting for a spare opportunity for me to visit the swans of Colchester Castle Park to feed them.  During this hard winter moment I knew the swans would be challenged in finding food, so I visited them yesterday (Sunday) and today. I also took my camera to take my first photographs of 2013.

Nature is a great teacher, the birds of Castle Park taught me an important lesson about being bold and inventive.  In life those that are unoriginal thinkers and passive tend to be forgotten, enjoying few lucky breaks; used and abused they get the scraps of life.  The champions portion of the feast always goes to the bold and inventive.

Amongst wildlife in the deep of winter the passive and unoriginal die, falling to starvation, cold or the predator.  It can be a shock to witness wildlife be so brutal when it comes to food, territory or mate, but the prize goes to the bold and inventive in those struggles.

I stood on the river bank on Sunday feeding two swans.  It was a feeding frenzy as a hundred ducks descended upon the feast.  Swans are slow, ducks small but fast.  The swans used their size and power to drag ducks by the scruff of their neck from the food.  The swan brutality to the ducks was shocking but the swans were able to get at some of the food on offer as a result.  By their vast numbers and speed the ducks gained half the bread on offer to the swans.  One inventive duck came up to my leg, tugging at my trousers; in this inventive bold way drawing my attention to its existence so that I fed it. This tugging and pecking at my leg continued the whole time I was feeding the animals, putting me in anxiety that my leg would take a bruising if I did not feed the duck, so it won plenty of food to save my leg.

I returned to a different part of the river to feed other swans today.  I cleared the ground of snow on the river bank so swans or ducks could see the grass upon which they could feed.  I had more bread for the swans, and this time had a problem of fifty or more seagulls.  The seagulls are fast and aggressive, so when I threw bread to the swan the unfortunate bird was mobbed by a dozen or more seagulls that stole its food.  Ducks and seagulls use numbers as well as speed to compete for food against swans, who are slow at reacting.  I changed tactics throwing a snowball into the river which all the seagulls chased, giving opportunity for me to get food to the swans.  The swans were aggressive with each other, biting at each other’s necks for the food.

In times of plenty many swans are nervous about taking food from the hand, but these were hungry bold swans, and I was able to get them to take food directly from my hand, so eliminating the problem of the seagulls.  In cold weather it hurts when a swan bites your fingers as it goes for the bread, but I eventually got the hang of it.

I came away with a clear lesson yesterday and today from the wildlife, the prize goes to the bold and inventive.

Waste nothing

Nature and our ancestors wasted nothing, we should do the same.

Waste nothing.

Waste nothing.

Walking near the wild wood of Highwoods in Colchester a hawk flew out in front of me carrying a bird it had caught.  The hawk was a reminder of the raw quality of nature that is life and death; the death of a bird to give life to the hawk.

The hawk will waste little as it feeds its little body with the body of the deceased bird; what will be left will be the bones, which will be recycled by nature to become part of other plants and animals.  The hawk lives a sustainable life, taking only what it needs from its environment, wasting little.

Outrageous it is to read the claims that the rich nations waste 50% of the available food as people grow hungry in the poorer nations.  The UK student fashion of pouring four pints of milk over their head as part of a craze in 2012 is one example of human disregard of sustainability in the global food system, which will have but one eventual outcome, mass starvation.

The responsibility is upon every individual to waste nothing, especially food.

Positive thinking opens doors

Reality is what we make it.

Finding money on the ground is more about our state of mind than luck.

Finding money on the ground is more about our state of mind than luck.

Since New Years Day I have found £2.59 on the ground as I walk around the streets of my home town of Colchester.  Apparently Colchester people are getting careless and dropping their money.  Without any effort of looking I observe a lost coin upon the ground as I walk along inviting me to adopt it as its new owner.

Opportunities like these lost coins happen to us all the time, we may say we were lucky, but it is because of our state of mind.  I am highly observant, it is habit of mine to zone in on a lost coin on the ground, a sort of fun challenge that I seem to play on a subconscious level.

Lucky opportunities are all around us waiting to be seized, the question is do we see them? If we feel lucky, we believe success will come, then it is likely we will see the opportunities and thus benefit from what they will bring to us.  Those of a negative disposition to life will blind themselves, their minds will filter out the positive opportunities in favour of the self-fulfilling negative reality they create.

Those with a positive outlook have a positive body language, which is conveyed to those around them, who reciprocate with positive responses.  I gain a lot of business from recommendation, which is assisted because of a positive attitude to those who recommend me.

thegreenline

Sustainability Action 8 : supporting local independent shops

As consumers we have the power of choice to support sustainable businesses.  Today I marked a simple beginning to support local independent businesses in Colchester by buying from them rather than large corporate chains.  I today purchased a couple of bananas from a small local fruit and vegetable shop instead of going to a large retail corporate food store.