Hesitate!

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Quick decision-making might seem bold, but the agony of indecision is your brain’s way of making a better choice.

Whether lingering too long over the menu at a restaurant, or abrupt U-turns by politicians, flip-flopping does not have a good reputation. By contrast, quick, decisive responses are associated with competency: they command respect. Acting on gut feelings without agonising over alternative courses of action has been given scientific credibility by popular books such as Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink (2005), in which the author tries to convince us of ‘a simple fact: decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately’. But what if the allure of decisiveness were leading us astray? What if flip-flopping were adaptive and useful in certain scenarios, shepherding us away from decisions that the devotees of Blink might end up regretting? Might a little indecision actually be a useful thing?

Read on…………

The Influence of Soils on Human Health

http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-influence-of-soils-on-human-health-127878980

By: Eric C. Brevik, Ph.D. (Department of Natural Sciences, Dickinson State University) & Lynn C. Burgess, Ph.D. (Department of Natural Sciences, Dickinson State University) © 2014 Nature Education

Citation: Brevik, E. C. & Burgess, L. C. (2014) The Influence of Soils on Human Health. Nature Education Knowledge 5(12):1

 

Brevik Banner

Introduction

Soils are important for human health in a number of ways. Approximately 78% of the average per capita calorie consumption worldwide comes from crops grown directly in soil, and another nearly 20% comes from terrestrial food sources that rely indirectly on soil (Brevik 2013a). Soils are also a major source of nutrients, and they act as natural filters to remove contaminants from water. However, soils may contain heavy metals, chemicals, or pathogens that have the potential to negatively impact human health. This article will summarize some of the more important and direct relationships between soils and human health.

Quality Food Production and Food Security

Quality food production and food security have several components, including the production of sufficient amounts of food, adequate nutrient content in the food products, and the exclusion of potentially toxic compounds from the food products (Hubert et al. 2010). Soils play a major role in all of these areas of quality food production and security.

Influence of Soils on Crop Yield and Food Security

Food security is achieved when all people have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2003). Food security is central to human health (Brevik 2009a; Carvalho 2006), and the ability to produce nutritious crops in sufficient amounts depends on soil properties and conditions. In particular, soils that have well-developed structure, sufficient organic matter, and other physical and chemical properties conducive to promoting crop growth lead to strong yields and are thus important for food security (Reicosky et al. 2011; Brevik 2009b). Soil degradation, which includes soil erosion and loss of soil structure and nutrient content, decreases crop production and threatens food security (Brevik 2013b; Pimentel & Burgess 2013; Lal 2009) (Figure 1). Soils that contain substances such as heavy metals, which may be toxic to humans, can pass those substances on to humans through crop uptake, leading to unsafe foods that compromise food security (Hubert et al. 2010; Brevik 2009a).

Soil degradation along the top of the hill has left the soils unable to support strong plant growth. Soil degradation over large areas may threaten food security.

Figure 1: Soil degradation along the top of the hill has left the soils unable to support strong plant growth. Soil degradation over large areas may threaten food security.

Photo by Gene Alexander, USDA NRCS

Read on………

http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-influence-of-soils-on-human-health-127878980

 

Soil: The Foundation of Agriculture

http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/soil-the-foundation-of-agriculture-84224268

Throughout human history, our relationship with the soil has affected our ability to cultivate crops and influenced the success of civilizations. This relationship between humans, the earth, and food sources affirms soil as the foundation of agriculture.

Human society has developed through utilization of our planet’s resources in amazingly unique, creative, and productive ways that have furthered human evolution and sustained global societies. Of these resources, soil and water have provided humans with the ability to produce food, through agriculture, for our sustenance. In exploring the link between soil and agriculture, this article will highlight 1) our transition from hunter-gatherer to agrarian societies; 2) the major soil properties that contribute to fertile soils; 3) the impacts of intensive agriculture on soil degradation; and 4) the basic concepts of sustainable agriculture and soil management. These topics will be discussed to demonstrate the vital role that soils play in our agriculturally-dependent society.

Agriculture and Human Society

Human use and management of soil and water resources have shaped the development, persistence, decline, and regeneration of human civilizations that are sustained by agriculture (Harlan 1992, Hillel 1992). Soil and water are essential natural resources for our domesticated animal- and plant-based food production systems. Although of fundamental importance today, agriculture is a relatively recent human innovation that spread rapidly across the globe only 10,000 to 12,000 years ago (Diamond 1999, Montgomery 2007, Price & Gebauer 1995, Smith 1995), during the Agricultural Revolution. This short, yet highly significant period of time, represents less than 0.3 % of the more than four million years of human evolution as bipedal hominids and ultimately Homo sapiens. In agriculturally-based societies during the last ten millennia, humans have developed complex, urban civilizations that have cycled through periods of increasing complexity, awe-inspiring intellectual achievement, persistence for millennia, and, in some instances, perplexing decline (Trigger 2003). In many cases, stressed, declining civilizations adapted, or reemerged, into new or similar complex cultures (Schwartz & Nichols 2006). Through such fluctuations, we have remained dependent on a relatively small number of crop and animal species for food, and on integrated soil-water systems that are essential for their production. There is no doubt that our modern human society has developed to the point that we cannot exist without agriculture.

It is clear that agriculture sustains and defines our modern lives, but it is often disruptive of natural ecosystems. This is especially true for plant communities, animal populations, soil systems, and water resources. Understanding, evaluating, and balancing detrimental and beneficial agricultural disturbances of soil and water resources are essential tasks in human efforts to sustain and improve human well-being. Such knowledge influences our emerging ethics of sustainability and responsibility to human populations and ecosystems of the future.

Although agriculture is essential for human food and the stability of complex societies, almost all of our evolution has taken place in small, mobile, kin-based social groups, such as bands and tribes (Diamond 1999, Johanson & Edgar 2006). Before we became sedentary people dependent on agriculture, we were largely dependent on wild plant and animal foods, without managing soil and water resources for food production. Our social evolution has accelerated since the Agricultural Revolution and taken place synergistically with human biological evolution, as we have become dependent on domesticated plants and animals grown purposefully in highly managed, soil-water systems.

Read On:…………    http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/soil-the-foundation-of-agriculture-84224268

Organic Growing with Worms

Organic Growing with Worms

 

Source: http://www.brightsunpublishing.com/index.php

 

PrimePublishersworms

Snapshot

Come with David Murphy while he takes you through the influence worms had on human migration in times long past, how worms can make or break civilizations, how smart farmers like David Davidson who uses worms to double the carrying capacity of his land, or Bert Farquahar who could write out a cheque for $10,000,000 to buy another farm because of the canny way he used worms.

See how David Murphy is able to take what the worms produce – on its own, a super plant booster – and quadruple its plant growth value by very simple means and how to blend it with rock dust to make the complete low impact but effective biological fertiliser for a few dollars only per tonne.

Find out why worms ain’t worms, but then add David Murphy’s extraordinary knowledge and you have the key to super prosperity by a sustainable means.

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The Sections

Worms for Everyone
Worms for Gardeners
Worms for Farmers
Worms for Worm Farmers
Worms for Greenhouse
Worms for Waste Managers

A word from the Author

We live in a crucially important time. We are told to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gas, yet the demand for coal-based energy increases at light speed. We can change light bulbs to LED, install solar panels on our houses – we can strive to do our bit – but at the same time China commissions a new coal-fired power station almost weekly.

Our individual efforts just go out the window. For every wind farm we build there has to be a backup (coal, diesel or gas) generating capacity to step in instantly the wind stops – as it does, often. Nobody mentions the biggest emitter of CO2 – the soil of the earth. From there, more CO2 than every other source combined ! Mark that ! Every other source combined ! Reverse soil emissions and the problem is better than solved ! Professor Alessandro Piccolo (Università Frederico !!, Naples) stated (in personal conversation) that if we raised the organic matter in soil from less than the current 1% world average (it used to be minimum 20%) to 5% to plough depth, 150 billion tonnes of CO2 would be locked into the soil.

It may sound absurd but we can do this with simple, humble, worms ! More in the book 

Serious Praise

Here’s a line from what Peter Cundall wrote “This is an amazing and a very motivating book” and from Dr. Peter Ellyard “David Murphy is passionate about returning the earthworm to its rightful position. His approach is the horticultural equivalent of a doctor who works to heal using homeo-pathic or natural means. This book is part of his “mission”, and I am sure it will find readership amongst the growing number of people who want to work with nature rather than against it”. More in the book …

A word from the Worms………

Worm Farm Waste Systems

March 15 at 11:24am ·

“I must recommend this great book ‘Organic Growing with Worms’ by David Murphy to all our followers. It is full of extremely interesting and valuable info on these amazing little creatures”

http://www.organicgrowingwithworms.com.au/

Alex Blythe

General Manager

Worm Farm Waste Systems

What Others Say

 There have been a lot of books written about worms, but, ORGANIC GROWING WITH WORMS is the best without question!! There is just so much valuable info in it. I use it all the time on the family farm and in the garden at home. I wouldn’t be without it. Its a great and easy read – Peter Cundall was right when he said ‘… this book is amazing and inspiring’. My new bible, thank you !”

    Robert Watt, Farmer (Ret’d) Hampton.

 Greetings David and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family ! This is my second copy of your wonderful book. I loaned my original to a friend who has taken off with it, lol. As it is my bible on all things worms I decided, just in case it never returns, to treat myself to a spare. Thank you for the effort and work to get such a marvelous book out to the public. Kindest regards

   Ruby Harris

“From my very early days in Vermiculture, David Murphy’s book has been my “bible”. Not only for the scope of information, but also the readability. I have read many books and articles on worms since, but it is still head and shoulders above the others. The sub-title says it all…A handbook for a better environment.

    David Davidson. President Australian Wormgrowers Association. Vermiculture Inc.

“Over many year’s David’Murphy’s book has been a best seller in our store. It is a great resource and we believe it should be on every grower’s bookshelf. We are thrilled with his revised edition ! It is proving even more invaluable for home gardeners and large scale farmers alike”.

    Farming Secrets (Hugo & Helen Disler)

  I have been in regular contact with David Murphy since 2006. Our inexperienced group approached him then to help us learn more about vermiculture, as we had been immensely impressed with his book Earthworms in Australia. He has since written a much more extensive book, Organic Growing with Worms, which is widely used by many of our 2000 members.

    Ken Reid, Founder and National Coordinator of the Earthworm Interest Group of Southern Africa

 “Thanks David ! This is my second copy of your fabulous book.  I lent my first copy to a “friend” and he never returned it.  Eventually I had to get another one.  I need that book within easy reach!  Thanks for writing it.”

  Kindest regards, Christene Sanders

 

Google’s latest self-learning AI is like an “alien civilisation inventing its own mathematics” – ScienceAlert

PETER DOCKRILL

19 OCT 2017

An AI that vanquished humanity at perhaps the most complex traditional game on Earth was inconceivably smart. But not smart enough to survive its own replacement by an even more awesome, alien intelligence.

Google’s DeepMind researchers have just announced the next evolution of their seemingly indomitable artificial intelligence – AlphaGo Zero – which has dispensed with what may have been the most inefficient resource in its ongoing quest for knowledge: humans

http://www.sciencealert.com/new-self-learning-ai-is-like-an-alien-civilisation-inventing-its-own-mathematics

Why the World Is (Still) Better Than You Think—New Evidence For Abundance

Your mindset matters — now more than ever.

We are in the midst of a drug epidemic.

The drug? Negative news. The drug pushers? The media.

As I wrote in Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, we pay 10x more attention to negative news than positive news.

We are being barraged with negative news on every device. This constant onslaught distorts your perspective on the future and inhibits your ability to make a positive impact.

https://singularityhub.com/2017/10/12/why-the-world-is-still-better-than-you-think-new-evidence-for-abundance/#.WebzYZLu80I.facebook

$1 Billion In Credit Now Available for Sustainable Farming

SDGs, Rabobank, sustainable development goals, agriculture, food security, Leon Kaye, agriculture, farming, Netherlands
Rabobank is launching a $1 billion program to transform agriculture

Rabobank, the Netherlands banking giant and one of the world’s lenders to the global food and agriculture sector, today announced a $1 billion credit program that seeks to launch more land restoration and forest protection projects worldwide. The overarching goal, insists Rabobank, is to scale up more sustainable food and farming practices over the next three years.

The Netherlands-based bank currently claims it has over $109 billionoutstanding in loans across the global food supply chain. “We also aim to strengthen food chains by optimization and financing, by taking part in initiatives for sustainable food security, by stimulating public debate and by contributing to the innovation financing that is necessary,” Rabobank states on its web site.

http://www.triplepundit.com/2017/10/rabobank-kicks-off-1-billion-credit-program-sustainable-farming/

USDA invests in research on next generation of agricultural technology | EurekAlert! Science News

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 17, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 17 grants for research on the next generation of agricultural technologies and systems to meet the growing demand for food, fuel, and fiber. The grants are funded through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Technology is front and center in agricultural production,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA is investing in research on precision and smart technologies to maximize production efficiencies, including water and fertilizer use, and to produce nutritious food, new biofuels, and bioproducts.”

AFRI is America’s flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. AFRI’s Agriculture Systems and Technology grants support the design and engineering of agricultural production systems and research on the burgeoning field of biomass, biofuels, feedstock, bioenergy, and bio-based products. These projects are expected to spur innovation in rural America and contribute to rural prosperity.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/niof-uii101717.php

The Antipodean limits of a manifesto: OMA and the Australian countryside | Landscape Australia

Designers are partial to adopting new terminologies as a means for establishing theoretical positions and concepts. Rem Koolhaas has been particularly influential in the lexicon of design language, for instance offering concepts such as “scape” – an encompassing definition of architecture, landscape and infrastructure. More recently, Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)’s allied research and design studio AMO, have explored a new research focus described as “countryside.” On a Tuesday night in October, more than 700 people came to the Melbourne School of Design to hear more about this new direction (and countless more listened via a live stream). I was interested to hear Koolhaas’s definition of this term – which has a distinctly old world agrarian sensibility. Trained as a landscape architect, I often encounter the ambiguity of “landscape” related language. He did not, however, offer a definition of countryside, instead describing it through a default position deemed as everything outside of what is considered urban – the remaining 98 percent of the globe. Further investigation into his writing offers this definition:

The countryside is now the frontline of transformation. A world formerly dictated by the seasons and the organisation of agriculture is now a toxic mix of genetic experiment, science, industrial nostalgia, seasonal immigration, territorial buying sprees, massive subsidies, incidental inhabitation, tax incentives, investment, political turmoil, in other words more volatile than the most accelerated city. The countryside is an amalgamation of tendencies that are outside our overview and outside our awareness. Our current obsession with only the city is highly irresponsible because you cannot understand the city without understanding the

https://landscapeaustralia.com/articles/the-antipodean-limits-of-a-manifesto-oma-and-the-australian-countryside/

National Energy Guarantee leaves farmers, builders, trucking industry still waiting for their emissions reduction task – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Updated

A farmer on a quad bike musters a flock of sheep.PHOTO: Farmers are waiting to find what more they have to do to cut greenhouse emissions. (ABC: Andrew Phillips)

RELATED STORY: What is the National Energy Guarantee and what does it mean for consumers?

RELATED STORY: Coalition signs off on new energy plan to replace Clean Energy Target

MAP: Australia

Farmers, builders and the trucking industry might be forced to do extra work to cut greenhouse gas emissions because of the way the National Energy Guarantee is designed.

Key points:

  • To hit its Paris climate agreement targets, Australia has to reduce emissions by 26 per cent overall by 2030
  • The NEG requires the electricity sector to reduce their emissions by that much, but some say they could make bigger reductions
  • They argue this leaves the farming, construction and trucking industries, who are less equipped to cut down on emissions, an impossible task

Under the plan announced on Tuesday, the electricity sector — which generates a third of the nation’s emissions — has to cut their emissions by 26 per cent by 2030.

But Anna Skarbek, who heads ClimateWorks Australia at Monash University, has argued that electricity producers could make much bigger reductions.

Ms Skarbek said if the electricity sector was not asked to cut more, then other parts of the economy like agriculture, which cannot reduce emissions as easily, would be forced to do more.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/energy-plan-leaves-building-trucking,-agriculture-in-doubt/9061666

Establishing the nexus between migration and agricultural investment | Agribusiness – Business

Establishing the nexus between migration and agricultural investment

October 18, 2017

Source: Konrad Kodjo DJAISI/thebftonline.com/Ghana

Establishing the nexus between migration and agricultural investment

Food and agriculture remain central to people’s well-being and is linked to the reasons why many people migrate, especially from rural areas.

This is because more than 75 percent of the world’s poor and food-insecure live in rural areas, mostly depending on agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods.

The global goal to achieve zero hunger by 2030 cannot be reached without addressing the connections between food security, rural development and migration. The drivers and impacts of migration are intimately linked to FAO’s global goals of fighting hunger and achieving food security, reducing poverty and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources.

This year’s World Food Day, which is celebrated on October 16 annually, is a chance for the FAO to show its commitment to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 – to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. It is also a day to celebrate the progress FAO has already made toward reaching zero hunger.

“Migration, if managed in a humane and orderly way, can contribute to the economic growth in destinations and countries of origin,” declared Bukar Tijani – FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, as the global community commemorated World Food Day on the theme ‘Change the Future of Migration- Invest in Food Security and Rural Development’.

http://thebftonline.com/business/agribusiness/26963/establishing-the-nexus-between-migration-and-agricultural-investment.html