Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Becoming food independent with a short book and a small farm plot (4 x 4).

Here's and interesting little video -- sales pitch really --  related to growing your own food. Of course you need to buy the book to really get started.

I really don't like the high-level hyperbole, but the underlying concepts are probably okay. Crisis Education, however, implies how dooms-day and shrill it sounds.

I like the idea of concentrated farming, urban farming, and in-side (making your house greener) grow. Kinda makes you wander if they aren't promoting a "grow house" concept for those locales where the green crop might be just a little illegal!:-)

Labels: GMO, farming, urban farm, Monsanto

Monday, February 24, 2014

Phosphate World: New golf resort is out of the ordinary for Florida

New golf resort is out of the ordinary for Florida:

This is a great case of making lemon-aid from your excess lemons. This is a very interesting way to reclaim the past mine areas and fully benefit from the hills and water hazards.

The open mining for phosphate in Florida has been an open eye sore to the tortured land in mid Florida. Huge dykes have been built up to block the view of the open pit mines. The water quality in the man-made lakes has generally been pretty poor.

Florida is one of the largest Phosphate producers of the world. And the need for food to serve a hungry 7B+ population requires fertilizer, and lots of it.

Phosphate (from mines) is a depletable resource, i.e., non-renewable. For decades the story was circulated that there were only about 25 years left of phosphate mining in Florida. See the Phosphate Primer for Florida. The actual number may be more like 300 years. But unrestrained development (sub-suburbs) are probably far more of a restriction than any environmental concerns.

Peak Phosphorus production in the work may actually arrive by 2030, maybe sooner. It seems like about 160M metric tons might be about the limit. However, phosphorus from phosphate mines, does not disappear from existence, like the burning of oil, gas and coal. It goes into the farm land, into the plants, and run-off goes everywhere (streams, rivers, oceans). The run-off causes its own set of ecological problems (disasters).

In 2013, the Army Corp of Engineers came up with a rather rosy study related to 4 new mines proposed. An article discussing the study in the Bradenton Herald is here. On of the quotes on an economic value were: "And there would be 6,340 more jobs because of the mines, and $29.1 billion in value added to the area's economy."

Read more here:"
The general summary of the study was that the economic benefits far exceed the ecological impacts, which were many. The funding for the report actually came from the phosphate miners. A HeraldTribune article discusses the critics view, including this:

"Although the Army Corps put its name on the report, it was developed by CH2M Hill, under a third-party contract funded by Mosaic and CF Industries — the same mining companies seeking permits from the Corps."

Here's what the Sierra Club has to say about Phosphate Mining in Florida... Summary of lots of sources of info.

Check out the role of Patents in the Phosphate world over at

So, here's food for though, as we contemplate food for a hungry world...

Kinda makes you wonder, will we have a new theme park springing up in Florida: Phosphate World?

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pain in the Ash: Spill spews tons of coal ash into NC Dan River -

Spill spews tons of coal ash into North Carolina's Dan River -

Oh what a pain it is! ... A Pain in the Ash, so to speak.

One of the dirty little secrets of Coal is the ash!. The massive 2008 spill in TVA should have been a bit of a wakeup call. But this phone has been ringing for centuries. There's impurities in coal, including sulfur and heavy metals like lead and arsenic. See the EPA letter on the TVA spill. And coal power releases 100 times as much radiation into the environment as a nuclear power plant. High concentrations of uranium and thorium are released into the environment around a plant from the fly ash. See APA on this ash issue.

The other secrets are that about 10,000 people die in mines per year, most of them coal, and often in China. There's the impact to air and water that many estimates impact the health of hundreds of millions of people.

The bull in the China closet, of course, is -- well -- China. They burn more than half of the world's coal right now. PRC is still opening still are opening 1 to 2 coal power plants per week, unless that has changed. And they are much less worried about how much pollution escapes into the air and water. The summer Olympics were distinctive for the air pollution, and athletes trying to compete in smog.

This smog and pollution is "shared" with neighboring countries, and the world at large. Even the Americas on occasion get a beautiful sunset, complements of the Peoples Republic.

As well, coal is a huge greenhouse gas producer of CO2, something that is invisibly shared with the whole of the planet... and no one knows what the true costs and full consequences are. But we do know that CO2 as a greenhouse gas lasts about 100 years, so whatever the impacts are, they will be very, very, very long lasting.

Many economist suggest a tax on something that has distinctive, negative externalities. Maybe coal would be a candidate!? Taxes on cigarettes are an example. A gradual tax domestically seems logical. Maybe the rest of the world should tax all the coal that gets exported to China, as well. How about an import tax on those products that are primarily produced by dirty Chinese electricity?

The dirty little secrets of coal are getting out. It's been 2 centuries that coal has ruled the power infrastructure. It is time to seriously address this "open" secret.

If you are a stockholder or a customer of Duke, it is time to give the Duke a nudge, and elbow, or even a brisk kick in the 'ash!...

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