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Author Topic: The "Green Revolution" Fossil Duel Based Lie  (Read 814 times)

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    • Agelbert Truth AND Consequences
Re: The "Green Revolution" Fossil Duel Based Lie
« on: April 17, 2016, 07:03:18 pm »

The fossil fuel industry falsely claims the world owes them for "feeding millions" with fossil fuel powered farm machines, fossil fuel based pesticides and fossil fuel based chemical fertilizers that "increased the yield per acre of crops". It's a lie.

In order to discuss the fallacy of the alleged high yields of the "Green Revolution", we must first look at what an organic crop "yield" REALLY is and compare it to a fossil fuel chemical, pesticide, land plowing and soil degrading crop "yield". The reason the claim of a "green Revolution" was initially supported had a lot to do with the fact that Farmers get paid by the weight of a crop, not by the amount of nutrients. As you will see the "high yields" had more to do with $$$ profit "yield" than food crop "yield".  This whole thing with chemical fertilizers is a more sophisticated equivalent scam of butchers injecting meat cuts with saline solution water to increase "yield" but even worse because the heavier metaphorical "meat cut" in big ag has LESS nutritive value than the non-injected lighter (organic) equivalent while costing much more to grow as well as wreaking havoc on the environment within a few decades.

First, some info from the Land Institute in Kansas:
Some progress on perennial crops (no till and not annual is a huge cost saving from mechanized farming).
Annual cereal, legume and oilseed crops remain staples of the global food supply. Because most annual crops have less extensive, shorter-lived root systems than do perennial species, with a correspondingly lower capacity to manage nutrients and water, annual cropping systems tend to suffer higher levels of soil erosion and generate greater water contamination than do perennial systems. In an effort to reduce soil degradation and water contamination simultaneously -- something that neither no-till nor organic cropping alone can accomplish -- researchers in the United States, Australia and other countries have begun breeding perennial counterparts of annual grain and legume crops. Initial cycles of hybridization, propagation and selection in wheat, wheatgrasses, sorghum, sunflower and Illinois bundleflower have produced perennial progenies with phenotypes intermediate between wild and cultivated species, along with improved grain production. Further breeding cycles will be required to develop agronomically adapted perennial crops with high grain yields.]


Then we have the reason organic farming doesn't use fossil fuel chemicals:

[Why are synthetic fertilizers not permitted in organic agriculture?  The use of synthetic fertilizers is not allowed in organic agriculture because the substitution of natural, renewable resources for plant nutrition with non-renewable petrochemicals is not sustainable, disrupts natural cycles, pollutes the environment through runoff and leaves toxic residues in the soil, just to name a few of the negative implications.

Organic farmers use legumes – peas, beans and other plants – that naturally fix and enrich nitrogen in the soil. The application of synthetically produced phosphorous, another important plant nutrient, is also not allowed in organic agriculture. Because organic farm management creates a healthy soil structure, fungi called mycorrhiza enable plants to utilize phosphorus in the soil.

Organic farmers use on-farm recycling (composting) of biomass to supply nutrients to plants. Farms that use chemically intensive farming methods have largely abandoned traditional and natural methods of nutrient recycling, resulting in the degradation of the soil and increasing the susceptibility of plants to pests and diseases.

The use of synthetic fertilizers has caused a great deal of environmental pollution. One major problem all over the planet that has resulted from the use of synthetic fertilizers is the increased growth of algae in lakes and water reservoirs. A harmful algal bloom (HAB) occurs when certain types of microscopic algae grow quickly in water, forming visible patches that harm the health of the environment, plants, or animals. HABs deplete oxygen in the water and block the sunlight that other organisms need to live, and some HAB-causing algae release toxins that are dangerous to animals and humans.

The production of synthetic fertilizers uses large amounts of energy, which mostly comes from the burning of fossil fuels, thereby increasing dependency on external energy inputs.]

Source: http://www.ifoam.org/sub/faq.html

The following snippets from a long article on U.S. farming and yields and my comments along the way form much of my view that there was never any "Green Revolution":

Snippet 1:
[“The distrust on the part of nonagricultural groups is well justified. With the publication of Rachel Carlson’s book entitled ‘Silent Spring’ we, in agriculture, loudly and in unison stated that pesticides did not contaminate the environment—we now admit that they do. When confronted with the presence of nitrates in groundwater we responded that it was not possible for nitrates from commercial fertilizer to reach groundwater in excess of 10 parts per million under normal productive agricultural systems—we now admit they do. When questioned about the presence of pesticides in food and food quality, we assured the public that if a pesticide was applied in compliance with the label, agricultural products would be

free of pesticides—we now admit they are not.

Certainly, the availability of new instrumentation and ability to detect trace amounts of pesticides in water and food have changed the meaning of absolute zero. Although this may be used as an excuse for our belief that agriculture was not a contributor to environmental degradation, the truth is, we are not conducting the research and/or making the appropriate measurements to insure that this was the case.”

This is a very strong indictment by one of us in professional agriculture!

Today, we might well add more concerns to that list. For one, we are learning that many surface water bodies have levels of phosphorus high enough to promote excessive growth of blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) leading to eutrophication. Often these raised levels of phosphorus are associated with the presence of concentrated livestock operations. What is more, we do not know whether optimal levels of soil phosphorus and nitrogen applications for crop production pose serious hazards to water bodies, and if they do, when, under what conditions, and to which ones.

Another situation concerns the growing hypoxic volume in the Gulf of Mexico near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Finally, recent evidence suggests that transgenic corn producing some Bacillus thuringensis proteins is harmful to certain non-target insects. We must ask ourselves whether and how far we can trust present methods of testing to assure the public that we will not have to change previous conclusions.]


[.. some problems are slow in manifesting themselves, and most rewards to public servants went to new ideas, not for warnings. Besides, agriculture became obsessed with the need to be as efficient as possible in crop and animal production to maintain a competitive edge and succeeded admirably in total food and fiber production. Much of the competitive edge depended upon increasing yields with externally supplied inputs.

But we have ignored the real cost of our applied technology at the farm level because we have not had to pay for the consequences, and society at large has not fully determined nor assessed this cost, nor has been willing to pay more for alternatives.

After all, the upland farmer does not directly pay for the cost of dredging the Mississippi River or reimburse the loss of Gulf of Mexico fisheries, nor does the farmer in north central Iowa have to worry about nitrate removal from river water used for drinking in Des Moines. Neither do users of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics in animal production compensate for losses in the effectiveness of similar products in human or veterinary medicine. In bearing these added costs in other ways, parts of society are paying the “hidden” costs of inexpensive food.

Why, then, had we come to this kind of a situation?

The Report on Alternative Agriculture, commissioned in 1985 by the Board on Agriculture and published in 1989 by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Science, summarized the work of a committee on the role of alternative agricultural methods in modern production agriculture. The late William Brown, president of Pioneer Hi-bred International, Inc., was chair of the Board, and Paul Johnson, a farmer and member of the Iowa General Assembly, was also a Board member.

The dominant conclusion was that laws and policies governing agriculture, especially commodity policies, are among the major obstacles to “alternative” agriculture. These commodity policies came to dominate agricultural producer behavior at the farm level in ways that acted against achieving the goal of sustainability.]

As you can see, big ag was doing the old "externalize the costs" trick so dear to the hearts of our predatory capitalists everywhere. When the total cost of "high yield" mechanized, tilled soil, chemical fertilizer and pesticide on the farm land and the planet (don't forget human health care costs from lower crop nutritive value and harmful chemicals) are compared with organic, friendly insect introduction for pest control, no till, labor intensive, no chemical fertilizer or pesticide application and much lower irrigation requirements from perennial type crops (deep root systems absent in annual crops), both the yield and the efficiency numbers for the Green Revolution are shown to be a fossil fuel lie.

Of course the author of the above article is much more charitable since he is part of big ag but he contradicts himself when he talks of high U.S. yields and efficiency and then schizophrencally admits to all those "other" costs that somebody has to pay and cannot seem to subtract those "other" costs from his "high yield" and "efficiency" claims. WTF!? "Inexpensive" crops!? ??? I don't think so! 

Big ag has been involved in a 100 year bubble destroying the soil to force it to produce high numbers of crops decreasing in nutritive value. If "yield" means anything at all, it means how many people you can feed PROPERLY (not with depleted nutrition) for a given price and maintain a balance with nature. If you cheat and force the crop at the soil's expense, that's a bogus high yield. :evil4:

And the U.S. Government was/is actually pushing this insanity: :(

Snippet 3:
[The amount of subsidy a farmer received under previous recent farm bills was calculated, in part, on the base acreage and on the base yield of land in program crops. The farmer, therefore, has been encouraged to strive for maximum yields and to keep the highest acreage of land in program crops. There is evidence that this has led to over-application of fertilizers and other chemicals, and the cultivation of fragile land to grow more program crops.]

After discussing how alternate farming methods are not mandatory but should be introduced because the are environmentally friendly, the author, near the end of the article, says this much that makes total sense while paradoxically not showing any sense of outrage that U.S. big ag is in no hurry to go full organic.  ???  >:(

Snippet 4:
[Neil Hamilton, who was quoted earlier, wrote: “The relation of sustainable agriculture to the multitude of environmental, social, and economic issues associated with modern farming practices makes the debate over the issue one of the most significant in the history of U. S. farm policy.” Earlier I expressed the conviction that a sustainable agriculture is critical to the survival of humankind in its present lifestyles.]

Source: http://www.wallacechair.iastate.edu/PDF/2001pesek_lecture.pdf

Now look at this gem. It's more proof that the "Green Revolution" was bogus:

[The problem of hidden hunger grew out of the 1960s "green revolution." That boom in agriculture relied on new varieties of high-yield crops and chemical fertilizers to staunch world hunger by upping caloric intake in the developing world. Unfortunately, those high-yield crops are typically low in micronutrients, and eating them has resulted in an epidemic of hidden hunger.

At least a third of the world is already lacking in some chemical element, according to the U.N., and the problem is due in part to a steady diet of micronutrient-deficient green-revolution plants.

Iron deficiency alone, which can cause cognitive impairment in children and increase the rate of stillbirths, affects some 4.5 billion people. :o Lack of iodine, another micronutrient, can result in brain damage and is a serious problem in 130 countries. According to the World Bank, hidden hunger is one of the most important causes of slowed economic development in the Third World.]

Source: http://eartheasy.com/article_food_bad_ugly.htm

In other words, those "high yields" were NOTHING OF THE KIND!  :o

Sure they had numbers and size but at the expense of NUTRITION?  ??? >:(

This sounds more like increasing the size of the cracker jack box, while decreasing the amount of cracker jacks in it.   

 It's more Madison Avenue monocrop  eye catching packaging than food production for the hungry masses.

More bad news:

Snippet 1:
[Of the 13 major nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, six have declined substantially, according to a study by Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas at Austin.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Davis claims the average vegetable found in today’s supermarket is anywhere from 5% to 40% lower in minerals than those harvested just 50 years ago. His research finds that recently grown crops have shown decreases of up to 38% in protein, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, phosphorus, iron, zinc and riboflavin when compared with produce from past decades.]

Snippet 2:
[“Farmers get paid by the weight of a crop, not by amount of nutrients,” Davis said. He called this the “dilution effect”: As fruits and vegetables grown in the United States become larger and more plentiful, they provide fewer vitamins and minerals.][


The "Green Revolution" was quite "$$$ green" for big ag, chemical corporations and fossil fuel pigs but it actually INCREASED world hunger by decreasing nutrition of crops.

Sure, they are bigger but, due to chemical fertilzers, lack the nutrition of organic crops. The "high yield" and "efficient" high U.S. mechanized farming to feed the world was a huge lie which we are all paying for with ongoing subsidies for environment destroying farming (big ag seems also to have left out subsidies from their "yield" calculations) and increased health care costs from poor nutrition.

The REAL numbers tell the story of less yield with chemicals and fossil fuels than organic.

Finally, there's this article on a GREENER REVOLUTION:

[Biologically intensive agriculture is a prolific and sustainable method for growing
food which has its roots in the history of humankind: it was practiced 5000
years ago in Ethiopia, 4000 years ago in China, Japan and Korea, 2000 years ago
in Greece, and 1000 years ago in the Mayan culture.

In 2009 it was the method featured in the primary case study in the UNEP-UNCTAD report Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, with positive results.

Using Biointensive agriculture in its modern, scientifically proven form, at intermediate-
level yields, with a reasonable buildup of soil quality and farmer skill, on approximately 4000 square feet (317.6 square meters) per person it is possible to raise:

• A complete vegan diet, plus

• All the carbonaceous and nitrogenous compost materials necessary to
maintain fertile soil, and

• A modest income.
Per pound of food produced, as compared with conventional mechanized agriculture,
the Biointensive method has the capacity to use:

• 66% less water,

• 50-100% less purchased nutrients*,

• 94-99% less energy in all forms, while producing

• Substantially increased yields, and

• A 100% increase in soil fertility!
The Biointensive method is organic, sustainable, low-input, high-yield agriculture,
and is already being implemented by small farmers in 141 countries
around the world. It truly has the potential to combat hunger and establish
food security, and to be the “greener revolution” this planet needs.16]
Source: http://www.growbiointensive.org/PDF/BiointensiveAgricultureAGreenerRevolution_English.pdf

There's more. China used humanure effectively for well over a thousand years feeding a huge population without mechanized anything and organic farming WITHOUT ever depleting their soil. This is mentioned in this  article I have posted some snippets to here only briefly.

The permies have a free book on the web that goes into a lot of detail about how the Chinese did this. In addition, the permies added up all the fossil fuels required to make, transport and distribute fertilizers and pesticides and the fuel for the machines that spray them and the horrendous costs to the environment as opposed to humanure.

It's absolutely mind boggling what chumps we have been taken for by the fossil fuel and chemical corporations.

The Green Revolution was nothing of the sort. Another fossil fuel lie in a long line of perverse and environmentally costly lies we swallowed from their propaganda mouthpieces.

The BIG OIL did the Crime; They need to DO THE TIME and PAY THE FINE! 

Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.


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