fullcircle.green Mail - [Test] The Breakdown - March 19th
A selection of notable publications related to sustainability, climate change, organics recycling, and soil nutrition
The Breakdown: March 19th
Students worldwide skip school to demand tough action on climate change
From the South Pacific to the edge of the Arctic Circle, students mobilized by social media and word of mouth skipped class Friday to protest what they believe are their governments' failure to take tough action against global warming. The rallies were one of the biggest international actions yet, involving hundreds of thousands of students in more than 100 countries around the globe.
The coordinated "school strikes" were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who began holding solitary demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament last year. Since then, the weekly protests have snowballed from a handful of cities to hundreds, fueled by dramatic headlines about the impact of climate change during the students' lifetime.
During the partial federal shutdown in December 2018 and January 2019, news reports showed furloughed government workers standing in line for donated meals. These images were reminders that for an estimated 1 out of 8 Americans, food insecurity is a near-term risk.
In California, where I teach, 80 percent of the population lives in cities. Feeding the cities of the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, with a total population of some 7 million, involves importing 2.5 to 3 million tons of food per day over an average distance of 500 to 1,000 miles.
We need to protect the world's soil before it's too late
It’s hard to believe that American society could possibly collapse because of a lack of soil. And it’s true that we in the States are blessed to live in a country so rich in this life-giving source. But in a small world growing smaller all the time, what happens to the soil in other parts of the world—often much more at risk than our soils—will eventually affect us and our economy, and the stability of the world around us.
For example, soil scientists fear that we are wasting and damaging our topsoil—the layer in which most of our food grows—at an entirely unsustainable rate.
How unsustainable? One recent study reported that on average the world has only sixty harvests remaining.
Doom and gloom essays are more likely to offend skeptical readers than to convince them. Cognitive studies suggest there’s a better way. Read more at Undark.
Climate Change and the Economy
‘I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains.’ As Dorothea Mackellar eloquently put it in 1908, the weather has always had a significant impact on the Australian economy. One example that I recall vividly from my primary school days in Adelaide is the Goyder Line. Goyder was the Surveyor-General of the colony of South Australia in the second half of the 19th century. In 1865, he rode across the colony to determine what part of the state was arable. He plotted the Goyder line, or the 10-inch rainfall line. Areas to the south of the line were arable, those to the north were not. In the years just after Goyder drew his line, there was a period of high rainfall. Farmers pushed north of the Goyder line, building farmhouses and planting crops. But then, normal rainfall returned and Goyder's line reasserted itself. The legacy of that is still evident today with the ruined farmhouses. Read the full speech from the Royal Bank of Australia.
The unexpected magic of mushrooms
Normally associated with rot and decay, fungi may be a great overlooked resource that could help humanity deal with some of its greatest problems.
Beneath Jim Anderson’s feet lies a monster. It has been alive since the Persian king Xerxes waged war against the Ancient Greeks and weighs more than three blue whales put together. It has a voracious appetite, eating its way through huge swathes of forest. But this is no long-forgotten beast borne of Greek mythology. It is a mushroom.
Anderson is standing in an unassuming patch of woodland in Crystal Falls, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He is revisiting an organism living under the forest floor that he and his colleagues discovered nearly 30 years ago. This is the home of Armillaria gallica, a type of honey mushroom.
About Full Circle Environmental, LLC:
At Full Circle, we're developing the future of composting. Our microbial inoculant powers an anaerobic fermentation process that's faster than traditional composting with simpler input management and greater nutrient retention in the resulting fertilizer. We see food waste as both a global challenge and massive opportunity and believe now is the time for action.