Low Tech Podcast, No. 35 — Examining How We Live

Low Tech Podcast, No. 35 – 16 Mar 2018
A discussion of how we live today and tomorrow.

Music from Podington Bear, “The Confrontation,” off the album Passages (CC-BY-NC).

This Is Why You Don’t See People-Size Salmon Anymore – NPR
The Great Norwegian Porridge Debate, Or Tradition Vs. ‘Science’ – NPR
The great agricultural resettlement or the next chapter of the fall – Feasta
Sustainable cities need more than parks, cafes and a riverwalk – The Conversation
See more news stories here.

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3 thoughts on “Low Tech Podcast, No. 35 — Examining How We Live

  1. Hi Scott,

    Loved most of the content of this podcast. However, I think quoting Patrick Noble without qualifying his statements is a bit irresponsible. The author’s note at the bottom of his article on feasta ( http://www.feasta.org/2018/03/09/the-great-agricultural-resettlement-or-the-next-chapter-of-the-fall) states that he has no evidence to back up his claims that hypotheses of the potential for net negative carbon emissions in agriculture are false.

    The idea of the soil biological system reaching an optimum makes clear sense, with a corresponding decline and stabilization in the rate of soil building expected. But why are we ignoring the potential for long-term, gradual buildup of organic matter? Obviously, even if reaching negative emissions from agriculture is possible, it would be difficult to achieve at a global scale and we ought to pursue a diversity of means to reducing our climate impact. We should not, however, discard the promise of any particular approach without evidence.

    I’m actually not able to find research on the “limits” of soil buildup, if they do exist. I would be mighty appreciative if you covered the topic in more depth!

    Thanks, Eric

    On Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 12:06 PM, Low Technology Institute wrote:

    > lowtechinstitute posted: “https://archive.org/download/LowTechPodcast035/ > LowTechPodcast-035.mp3 Low Tech Podcast, No. 35 – 16 Mar 2018 A > discussion of how we live today and tomorrow. Music from Podington Bear, > “The Confrontation,” off the album Passages (CC-BY-NC). This Is Why ” >

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    1. Hi Eric and thanks for the comment,
      You’re right. This got me to thinking about peat. Peat is essentially a carbon sink (as long as it is not burned) and a plant ecosystem, so I suppose it must be possible in some circumstances to create a system that absorbs more carbon that it puts out on a continual basis and avoids the problem of equilibrium described by Noble. Interesting idea. I think his comments do hold merit for conventional attempts at agricultural carbon sequestration, though, because if a long-term build up of carbon (like in a peat bog) was expected, that would be emphasized. So, is it possible to overcome the equilibrium problem? I think so. Is it likely in the current state of the field? I think, unfortunately, that it is not.
      Hmm, I wonder if anyone is making artificial peat bogs… Looks like some peat moss growers have had some success regrowing harvested bogs: https://www.pthorticulture.com/en/training-center/peat-bog-restoration-part-33-sphagnum-peat-restoration/
      Now could you work this into perhaps growing rice or some other agricultural product and leave the peat instead of harvesting it? That’d be interesting, since rice paddies are a source of methane and other greenhouse gasses, but the peaty environment might be too acidic. Just a thought. Thanks again, Eric!

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