RealClimate logo


Forced variations: Apr 2020

Filed under: — group @ 1 April 2020

Open thread for climate solutions.

669 Responses to “Forced variations: Apr 2020”

  1. 501
    Killian says:

    Re #483 Al Bundy said Killian: The end of Earth? That’s our proximate issue?

    AB: “Our”, Kemosabe? Tis your One True Axiom: Thou shalt not use a resource in a way that won’t allow its regeneration (via volcanic activity, for example) to keep pace with your system’s losses.

    I have never said that. You are not stupid like nigel, so it’s more galling: You choose to speak stupidly to score points. Fiddle, Nero.

    I have defined sustainability that way, but have never, ever said never use anything. In fact, what I have said is focus unsustainable uses to things that are hard not to use them for: Communications, long-distance transport, medical care, R&D.

    How many times have I said this only to have “You hate renewables!” “You said never use anything non-renewable!” etc? Hmmm….

    1. 687 Killian says: However, given the time line, and the abhorrent nature of utility-scale power, it is necessary to simplify first, maintain R&D until sustainability is achieved, then roll out.

    2. 267 Killian says: Re #241 nigelj said Killian @234You intentionally leave out my suggestion for deep simplicity except in communications, medical systems transport and R&D and long-term planning to extract resources from the solar system, then you, et al., call me a Luddite/claim I said we should all live deprived, “peasant” lives. Unethical behavior. Aka, lying.

    3. Etc.

    But you stupid goddamned fools keep repeating he lies.

    If your soda can recycling participation hits 100% and the system only loses 0.1% per loop thru you’ve got to replace all that aluminum every thousand loops. If you can’t replace your aluminum that quickly and without degrading our future ability to harvest aluminum then your soda can operation is not sustainable.

    A simple fact.

    Your Gospel, right?

    And, of course, the fact must be lied about. Propaganda gets us all what? Damned fool.

  2. 502
    Killian says:

    Re #488 Kevin McKinney said Killian, #472–

    I’ve read the entire post, but will limit my response to a central point.

    Killian:

    Scaling up renewables to have 9 billion living like, say, Europe will require multiple Earths. That is *common knowledge”, yet here you don’t deal with it at all.

    What Gibbs doesn’t “deal with” is the reality that we can’t sufficiently control the population over decadal timescales except by Holocaust

    Straw Man, and Straw Man fallacies are for liars. Why lie? Gibbs said not a single word about time frames or methods. He stated a fact: Population is (ultimately) an issue. As any number of idiots have argued on these pages, you can have everyone live like a European for quite a while… if there aren’t nearly as many of us. I call that not only stupid, but Pyrrhic: It’s not much of a solution if you have to cut the population down not nearly nothing.

    I have countered that regenerative living can allow up to 12 billion. Does that not ease the issue of population significantly? There are absolute limits to population and 12B would be pushing it. Nature would be hard pressed to feed all those mouths and remain healthy no matter how well we create our human habitats.

    But, it gives space and time for moving from suriviving in sufficiency to flourishing in abundance.

    So, my solution addresses every single concern you could possibly raise. Every. One. Yet you resist it. You need to do some personal reflection on why the solution causes you to shit the bed. And lie.

    which nearly everyone rejects for good and sufficient reasons. Population can be controlled–is being controlled, with some regional exceptions–but it will take longer than we have, if that is our only strategy for reducing carbon emissions.

    There’s the fallacy again. At no point in the movie does he say anything even close to that. He *only* points out population is a problem. You have layered it with your head worms and twisted it into a lie… like every other “take down.”

    Given you lack the ethics to watch the movie, thus are regurgitating heresay, you shouldn’t be speaking at all on the movie.

    Hence, we need to transform the way we live, and fast.

    Yet you constantly argue against the fastest possible pathway.

    That’s a special kind of logic you got there.

  3. 503

    Mal, #478–

    Excellent and thought-provoking comments, IMO!

    Then we invented agriculture, which Jared Diamond called the worst mistake in the history of the human race. He was right about this much, at least: agriculture radically simplifies the ecosystem of the land under cultivation, killing off or driving away most species in order to divert larger fractions of local energy and nutrient fluxes through human biomass.

    But see regenerative ag practices and even real-world examples; the cornerstone of which is *not* to oversimplify, but to emulate natural ecologies. A great experiential illustrator of this is the documentary “The Biggest Little Farm,” which has a 10-minute preview here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXodrO6Ff-A

    Illustrative spoiler: in the end, one of the big keys to success at Apricot Lane Farm was providing owl habitat–80+ birds worth, IIRC.

    I’m afraid “wisdom”, i.e. calm and rational analysis of facts without fooling ourselves, leaves the existence value of most species unresolved.

    Mmm. Personally, I think there’s more to ‘wisdom’ than that, including both an element of discipline/motivation/self-control enabling one to act on the rational analysis, and an underlying system of values that is well-aligned with our biological and social natures in the first place.

    But leaving that aside, I note that John and Molly Chester didn’t arrive at a true appreciation of the value of the species natural to their area just by calm and rationality, but by practical experimentation. Perhaps that’s not the ‘existence value’ of (say) the coyotes, though, but rather their *practical* value. Still, isn’t the emotional sense of appreciation of the coyotes, and the gophers, and the snakes–anterior perhaps to rational analysis, but enhanced by that practical experience–part of some kind of wisdom, too?

    Sounds like you feel that WRT the salmon–and you recognize, too, how they form part of a greater whole, for which you fear and on behalf of which you mourn.

  4. 504
  5. 505

    BPL: Slavery has been abolished in every country in the world at this point.

    E-P 489: A whole lot of people beg to differ.

    BPL: And he cites Antislavery International, apparently under the impression that I’m unaware of the problem. My most recent contribution to that organization was $150, E-P, what was yours?

    I was, OBVIOUSLY, talking about whether slavery was still LEGAL or not. As I said, it has been abolished in every country in the world. That criminals still practice it is irrelevant. Dumbass.

  6. 506

    BPL: E-P read The Bell Curve and thinks it’s a great work of science.

    E-P: I have never seen a popular work with so many citations and footnotes.

    BPL: Oh my gosh! It’s got citations and footnotes! So do Ann Coulter’s books, E-P. Are they great works of science?

    E-P: Pick it up yourself, check out a chapter or two… if you can stand having your preconceptions challenged. Or should I say, prejudices.

    BPL: Thanks, I’ve read it. As a stats minor, the obvious mistakes caught my eye at once–like the fact that they cite “relationships” with very low r^2 and never give a p-value or account for bias or even sample size. Freshman mistakes.

  7. 507

    E-P 490: That was a revolt, not a war.

    BPL: 1. You have to be unbelievably stupid if you think a revolution is not a war. Was the American Revolutionary War not a war? That would have come as a surprise to George Washington. In any case, the countries involved in the Haitian Revolution included France, Britain, and Spain.

    E-P: The Haitians never put armies in the field.

    BPL: The Haitians did put a number of armies in the field, many, many times. You are obviously completely unfamiliar with the history of the Haitian Revolution and are just making stuff up. As usual.

  8. 508
    nigelj says:

    KM @488
    “You think it can be done entirely via simplification and the adoption of sustainable, regenerative practices. With some reluctance, and much deliberation, I disagree. It would be great to have such a straightforward solution at hand. But my reluctant conclusion is that there is no realistic possibility of widespread adoption of such in anything like the time necessary.”

    Why do you say reluctantly? Because what Killian does with simplification is take a sensible established idea that we reduce our use of resources, and push this to an absurd extreme that does more harm than good. There is no reason to reluctantly abandon such an idea unless you are being diplomatic. But I agree with the rest.

    If Killian toned down his ideas a little, and his rhetoric and exaggerated scaremongering and rigid approach things would go an awful lot better in all ways. But I can see that just ain’t gonna happen.

  9. 509
    David B. Benson says:

    Barton Paul Levenson in particular, note how well the US nuclear power fleet is performing:
    https://www.powermag.com/nuclear-power-plants-set-performance-records-in-spite-of-pandemic/

  10. 510
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Why is anyone still bothering to respond to racist troll EP? It’s bad enough to have to scroll past the 1/4 of the column inches he wastes without having to scroll through indignant responses to this insignificant, little man.

  11. 511

    Further to my post yesterday, here’s a long (2-hourish) interview with Molly and John Chester about the farm and the film. (Apricot Lane Farm, and “The Biggest Little Farm,” respectively.) It incorporates a fair few clips from the film, and lays out a lot of the factual aspects that didn’t make it in. (John gives quite a bit of quantitative information about things, including carbon he figures they have sequestered.)

    There’s also a lot about the human, lived reality of their experiences. The Chesters are extremely personable–great ambassadors for regenerative agriculture.

    I usually don’t do videos; good old-fashioned reading is generally much more efficient. But BLT (heh!) is not just about ‘facts’; seeing ecological relationships so vividly pictured is potentially transformative. And this interview is a great complement to the film, as well as a great teaser. And it’s fun to watch, or at least it was for me.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRBoXE3pw80

  12. 512
    Killian says:

    Re #503 Kevin McKinney said ys:
    11 May 2020 at 4:11 PM

    Mal, #478–

    But see regenerative ag practices and even real-world examples; the cornerstone of which is *not* to oversimplify, but to emulate natural ecologies.

    1. How would you know? 2. Why are you emphasizing not as if anyone ever said regenerative design was simple or simplistic? 2b. Lying is bad, don’t lie. 3. You mean… like Mollison and Holmgren started teaching 40 years ago?

    I note that John and Molly Chester didn’t arrive at a true appreciation of the value of the species natural to their area just by calm and rationality, but by practical experimentation.

    Yes. Just a permaculture teaches… and has for 40 years. Sepp Holzer… everyone who knows anything about anything approaching regenerative design… all teach the same.

    But, again, what the hell do *you* know other than what you parrot?

    Quit trying to reinvent the wheel and take a permaculture class. You two have nothing to teach on this issue, so stop carpetbagging.

  13. 513
    Mal Adapted says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful responses to my last comment, guys. I’ll ponder my replies, with all the indefinable wisdom I can summon ;^). For now, it’s good to know I’m not just talking to myself all the time.

  14. 514

    Killian, #502–

    KM: What Gibbs doesn’t “deal with” is the reality that we can’t sufficiently control the population over decadal timescales except by Holocaust…

    Killian: Straw Man, and Straw Man fallacies are for liars. Why lie? Gibbs said not a single word about time frames or methods.

    And why make gratuitous accusations when you don’t understand a point someone else makes? This is why I usually don’t bother to read your screeds; they are filled with just such tendentious insults and accusations. They no longer shock or surprise me, but they remain tedious and uninformative.

    It would be more productive to say something like: “Why do you bring time-scales into it? That’s not something Gibbs was actually talking about.”

    Then I could explain, “I never said he did. But in my opinion–and in yours, too, based on past comments–the short timescale we have to address the climate crisis is the essence of the historical predicament we find ourselves in–a predicament that is the essential context for Planet of the Humans. Population control cannot address that crisis in any way that we would find acceptable.”

    (See how that could work?)

    And, I reiterate, Gibbs does not deal with that reality–or so at least I understand, based on the now many thousands of words I’ve read about POTH.

  15. 515
    nigelj says:

    Killian @498

    “Not all humans are as stupid as you are.”

    Most humans are stupid, but still not as stupid as you. I can play your game of silly insults, and do it much better without even breaking a sweat.

  16. 516
    nigelj says:

    Killian @501

    ” (responding to AB) I have never said that. You are not stupid like nigel, so it’s more galling: You choose to speak stupidly to score points. Fiddle, Nero.”

    “I have defined sustainability that way, but have never, ever said never use anything. In fact, what I have said is focus unsustainable uses to things that are hard not to use them for: Communications, long-distance transport, medical care, R&D.”

    “How many times have I said this only to have “You hate renewables!” “You said never use anything non-renewable!” etc? Hmmm….”

    KILLIAN, YOU OWE ME A HUGE APOLOGY. This is what I have said @494:

    “Yes, but I just don’t think Killian gets it. However he does seem to permit ‘some’ use of modern technology, but he’s never specific on just what, or how much, so its completely nebulous and unhelpful. He mentioned a communications backbone….but does this include cellphones, all phones, how many per 1000 people? ….etc….”

    So you can see have not suggested you reject all use of technology, or misundertood your idea. Just that you 1) criticise modern technology so much it creates the impression you reject it all and 2) you lack clarity and specificity on exactly what technology you accept, and how much of it. Which is actually kinda really important.

  17. 517
    nigelj says:

    Killian @497 says “(responding to KM) No. Take a permaculture course. Regenerative Community Incubators? Potentially 1,000,000 “ecovillages” is 20 years. 50 years would be dead easy. Ecosystem Restoration Camps is a similar idea. I was involved at the very beginning, but they couldn’t or wouldn’t get that we need spaces for 2 billion more people *and* restored land left unprotected would likely be exploited again, so… RCI’s not ERC’s. It’s a very simple shift that would accelerate the spread of such places, but, hey, being ahead of the curve, your voice is lost on the wind.”

    These are really just optimistic assertions without any detail to back them up. And even 20 – 50 years to develop such ecovillages is too slow to be much help keep warming under 2 degrees, let alone 1.5 degrees which seems to reinforce KM’s point. Dont get me wrong, I think we ultimately need to go that way, but it could take a fair while longer realistically speaking, and at least 50 years to really start to scale it up.

    For example consider these things. Firstly hundreds of millions of people live in high density housing that will last for many decades yet. People are unlikely to just abandon their investment, and after people start selling up and going to the country for the simple life, buyers will be disappearing fast.

    Of course you can make existing high density housing more eco friendly, but only to a limited point, and people would be travelling considerable distances to communal farms or allotments, and they aren’t going to walk. You will need a lot of powered transport infrastructure.

    Secondly, suburban dwellers could convert their dwellings into some form of ecovillage, and this should be encouraged, but this clearly falls well short of a reasonably full conversion to a regenerative society.

    So no matter how much we might want a fast transition to a simpler society, and a robust transition, and even if people want some form of change, huge practical difficulties lie in the way. So I’m left thinking the basic simplification idea has some underlying merit, but will be slow, so we will need quite a lot of technology and new clean energy as well to keep warming at low levels. Which Is what I’ve always said.

    “Add Regenerative Governance.”

    And again we have this term but no definition, no internet link, and and no clear explanation that I can find using google. Killian is unresponsive to my requests, does anyone else have useful information?

    ——————————-

    Killian @502 says

    “Straw Man, and Straw Man fallacies are for liars. Why lie? Gibbs said not a single word about time frames or methods. He stated a fact: Population is (ultimately) an issue. As any number of idiots have argued on these pages, you can have everyone live like a European for quite a while… if there aren’t nearly as many of us. I call that not only stupid, but Pyrrhic: It’s not much of a solution if you have to cut the population down not nearly nothing….I have countered that regenerative living can allow up to 12 billion. ”

    Really? I’m not so sure. Research studies suggest 2 billion people as the minimum boundary in terms of maintainaing a viable traditional economy (something I myself guessed was an optimal number a couple of years ago). Clearly it hugely reduces environmental pressure in all respects, and especially in terms of mineral resource use. If we then eventually still start running out of minerals who cares? Killian will have his low tech simplified existence similar to hunter gatherer culture, that he admires so much.

    Along the way we can make farming more sustainable, and its a lot easier to reduce deforestation if population growth slows and falls.

  18. 518
    nigelj says:

    Kevin @514

    “And, I reiterate, Gibbs does not deal with that (population) reality–or so at least I understand, based on the now many thousands of words I’ve read about POTH.”

    Quite right. But the ‘documentary’ may be full of mistakes, wishful thinking and old data, but it makes this amazing underlying point that nobody figured out other than Killian and the producers that renewables will use a lot of resources. All should be forgiven because of this. (sarc).

    If anything we should have another look at nuclear power, which uses less volume of materials, but then the writers hate that as well and expect us to rely on timber for all our energy needs. But even with slowing population growth, and moderately more frugal use of energy, there won’t be enough timber, so guess what will happen to the remaining forests.

    I’m just not voluntarily giving up any of my technology, and car, which is about typical of a middle class household, because it’s a pain in the neck to do that, and only delays when our civilisation eventually runs out of some things. I do however try not to be greedy or over consume. It just looks to me like simplification has an element of self punishment, guilt, or atonement in it.

  19. 519

    #512, Killian–

    [asks various semi-rhetorical questions, accompanied by the usual insult, accusation, and bluster]

    Had you read the original comment for comprehension, your questions would have been answered.

    Pretty funny that you can’t play nice even when someone agrees with you on something; apparently you think you own RegenerativeAg(tm).

  20. 520

    #508, nigel–

    Why do I say that I only “reluctantly” conclude that Killian’s ‘solution’ in all probability isn’t?

    Because it would be freakin’ awesome to have one that was completely in hand from a technical point of view, that ‘only’ requires a little cultural persuasion. We’re faced with an existential crisis; a definitive solution would be quite soothing, if only one could believe in it. Instead, I have to advocate for what I think the most promising avenue is, without any assurance whatever that there’s sufficient time, resources, and collective wisdom to implement it before we’re completely screwed.

    Yeah, it would be fabulous if I thought that we could easily transition billions to a ‘simplified’ life and live on the RE capacity we already have built.

  21. 521
    Killian says:

    514: It could work like that, except you knew what you were doing because you aren’t stupid. You made an assumption and got called on it. And, OUR time frames are not necessarily his. Yours sure as hell aren’t mine; you *still* get the risk assessment and response wrong.

    Again, please don’t speak on this topic. You have not watched the movie. It’s dishonest. And that’s why you got the response you got: You’re starting from unethical behavior in commenting out of ignorance, self-inflicted. Why would I give you the benefit of the doubt in that context?

    Sad thing is, you think you’re in the right even though you set up the problem with your dishonesty.

  22. 522
    Killian says:

    Re #484 Engineer-Poet said And what, pray tell, is the sustainability? Zero. The EROEI? 3? 1? If only all of you wanted to spend any time talking about solving the problem. Because time.

    For once I’m going to respond to you in utter seriousness.

    We have MUCH bigger problems to deal with than your notion of “sustainability”. We have an immediate climate crisis…. last indefinitely, they’ll last long enough for us to solve the immediate climate problem and set our societies on the right course… IF we use them wisely.

    You’re at least a decade behind the conversation.

  23. 523
    Killian says:

    Quick note on Bif Little Farm: I’m watching the interview before watching the movie so I will be more informed re their intentions, etc.

    Alan York, RIP, was a biodynamic method expert. Unfortunately, biodynamic farming is not a design process. This is what I saw as they panned across the fields/orhcards of the farm. The good was planting on contour. The bad was monocultures. The Food Forest concept is so much more powerful than orcharding.

    So, as you watch that film and interview, please do not set your mind at simplistic, blind adoration. Be ready to question what you see, and appreciate that design is always a journey.

    You should never consider a design completed; they are living things. Were I to buy that farm, based on my limited viewing so far, I can tell you I’d turn those monocultures into silvopastures or Food Forests – assuming the analysis of the site remains unchanged after watching the little I have so far.

    PLEASE try to understand how much *more* is possible.

    And, please understand that “regenerative” has become a catch-all that means pretty much anything beyond USDA (not)organic, and it is often used to #greenwash. (I do not think this film greenwashes, but I already *do* know they could have gone significanty further.)

  24. 524
    Killian says:

    Simple, not easy.

    How many times have I said this?

    But some (all?) of you are hearing “simplcity” and thinking “simplistic.” In fact, you need to be keeping in mind what Tainter says about the nature of complexity. It’s not (only or primarily) about how many pieces there are….

  25. 525
    Killian says:

    No!

    Bio-dynamic and regenerative are *not* the same!

    Yes: A regenerative “farmer” grows soil, soil grows food.

    Yes: It takes time to build soil where there is none. That is why going to regenerative processes ASAP is vital: Most soils are currently depleted. If we wait till the food crisis arrives – in whatever form – there will be deaths.

    Yes: Insects fight insects, not insecticides, which kill everything.

    NO: “Monsanto is a product of our own making.” This is false. Monsanto created itself with forethought and a comlete lack of concern for anything but profit. Monsanto is the result of technocopian thinking, the Gov/Inc oligarchy and adverstising, which got it all started.

    :-/ Compost tea: This is vague. You don’t apply compost teas generically. They are either microbial, fungal, or balanced. Microbial are best foliar for reasons stated in the interview. Fungal go into the soil because fungi are the masters of the soil universe. Balanced can go either way. I’m guessing their compost tea knowledge could be upgraded.

    YES! Animals. Life on this planet did not develop without everything eating, and, believe me, everything eats, everything farms.

  26. 526
    Killian says:

    NO! Pick from each system. No, no, no, no, no. Biodynamics isn’t a system of design, it’s a really specific technique for growing things. that’s why they have orchards: No planning component. Holistic Management? Steals from permaculture, is designed for businesses, seeks profit and designes to wants.

    Etc.

    Permaculture is the only “modern” system that is based in the principles by which the natural world governs itself. It serves as an umbrella under which all else comes.

    Soil/water: Absolutely. And, frankly, 3% added carbon in 9 years is slow. But they had a huge space, only two people, and started from sand, essentially. If they’d started from permaculture planning, they’d have been able to bump that up a bit, I’m certain: They wouldn’t have needed York to exlain soil-building to them, e.g.

    ****These people started with a LOT of money. This is not how the world will change.*****

    In a certain sense, it’s hard to watch this film. They talk about realizing they don’t need experts. How many times have I said stop waiting for Superman? Had they taken a permaculture course, that would never have been an issue. They would have never had to deal with any potential conflict with York: The people are part of the site, part of the needs assessment, part of the resource assessment, etc. You design to the site… and that includes the people. And you don’t impose design, you let it emerge.

    This is the HUGE difference between permaculture and everything else: It is a nature-based, nature-driven, nature-dependent and nature-mimicking design process.

    They speak of there being no one way to farm or solve problems, but they miss the mark here. One gets the impression, and most would automatically assume, that all processes are equal and can contribute. The first is false equivalence, the second is true. But one must have a decision-making process that reflects the needs of the planet first and foremost, and only permaculture does that within the “modern” world.

    How many time has one of you here made the absurd, irrational comment that, essentiallym if it’s not politically or economically acceptable, it’s not a solution? How many times have I pointed out that is irrational? The answer is not to fit nature into your constructs, but to fit your constructs to align with nature.

    Maybe this film will solve some of that mental illness.

  27. 527

    And another take-down of one of Moore’s points, this time with every number documented:

    https://climatecrocks.com/2020/05/12/the-truth-about-electric-car-emissions/?fbclid=IwAR3s_NCOoCN2Dr6A6n5YnLcVOadkp3dOmxRjX2pu6g4H2G8Hccb7bt4Ibdw

    Moore’s film lies. There’s no way around it, no matter how much Killian rants.

  28. 528

    nigel 516: KILLIAN, YOU OWE ME A HUGE APOLOGY.

    BPL: Good luck with that. People with NPD never apologize.

  29. 529

    #521 et seq, Killian–

    514: It could work like that, except you knew what you were doing because you aren’t stupid. You made an assumption and got called on it.

    No, my comment wasn’t based on an assumption, but an assertion. I’m saying that Gibbs doesn’t deal with the timeframe/climate issue adequately with respect to our current situation.

    And, OUR time frames are not necessarily his.

    If he fails to recognize the urgency of the day, that’s a still more damning critique of the film than anything else.

    Yours sure as hell aren’t mine; you *still* get the risk assessment and response wrong.

    I think, based upon other comments you’ve made, that you think that I don’t understand the urgency, either. But I think it’s the other way around. Back at #497, you wrote:

    Potentially 1,000,000 “ecovillages” is 20 years. 50 years would be dead easy.

    Which is wonderful, and I fervently hope it happens; I’m not putting forth what I think is a wonderful communicative tool about regenerative ag and about ecological literacy for the joy of the recreational typing involved. (Far too much of the latter already, I know.) But that’s 2040 and 2070, respectively, and if we haven’t already decarbonized a *lot* by then, we’re screwed. I think we need 2 tracks: ‘flattening the curve’ on carbon and other urgent planet wreckers, and transformation to bring our culture into better alignment with natural systems and limits. I don’t think either one is sufficient alone.

    Were I to buy that farm, based on my limited viewing so far, I can tell you I’d turn those monocultures into silvopastures or Food Forests – assuming the analysis of the site remains unchanged after watching the little I have so far.

    No, Apricot Lane doesn’t do monocultures. Those trees are emphatically not all the same species, and there is also a diverse understory. But maybe you’ve watched enough additional footage by now to know that.

    Note to all: To be clear, when I say “the film” I’m referring here to the actual documentary “The Biggest Little Farm,” not to the Rich Roll podcast interview with Apricot Lane farmers John & Molly Chester, to which I linked, and which Killian took the trouble to watch–thank you for that! BLF itself is still in streaming release, so anyone wanting to watch it will have to shell out a few bucks. The various platforms where you can do so are on the distributor’s website, here:

    https://www.biggestlittlefarmmovie.com/

    It’s very well worth it, IMO, as John Chester is a bit of a unicorn in that he is a farmer whose previous career was as a filmmaker (primarily a cinematographer, which is which BLF is so beautifully shot). Thus, he brings first-hand expertise both to the subject matter and the medium. It isn’t that Apricot Lane Farms is the first, the biggest, nor the best regenerative farm anywhere. It’s that this is by far the best-told true story on that topic–at least on film; books are a whole ‘nother story, of course.

    Bottom line: the movie is *very* highly recommended, even for those with zero interest in doing something like this themselves. Just the onscreen manifestation of ecological reality is fundamental, and I think would be revelatory to many. It’s one thing to *hear* ecological concepts, or *read* about them; it’s quite another to see them in action (and with people’s dearest dreams on the line, albeit deliberately kept in the background.)

  30. 530

    Ridiculously Lengthy Reply to Killian, part deux:

    :-/ Compost tea: This is vague. You don’t apply compost teas generically. They are either microbial, fungal, or balanced. Microbial are best foliar for reasons stated in the interview. Fungal go into the soil because fungi are the masters of the soil universe. Balanced can go either way. I’m guessing their compost tea knowledge could be upgraded.

    They aren’t doing a tutorial in this interview. John Chester also stated a detailed knowledge of the micro-organisms in that tea, and Molly Chester talked about the trouble it takes to get the mix consistently correct. I’m guessing they know perfectly well what they’re doing, and they (or the editor of the podcast) chose not to go any deeper into the weeds in this particular forum. Of course, everyone’s knowledge can be upgraded in some respect, and I’m sure that goes for the Chesters, too.

    ****These people started with a LOT of money. This is not how the world will change.*****

    That’s subjective, I suppose, but not how I see it: they were living in a tiny apartment and only made the project happen by dint of finding a third-party investor enthusiastic about the vision. Presumably they both made money at “professional” sorts of levels, but that’s not what most people mean by “a LOT.”

    How many times have I said stop waiting for Superman? Had they taken a permaculture course, that would never have been an issue.

    And if they’d had a lot of money, they wouldn’t have needed an investor. They went looking, they found York, and he proved essential. They started where they were; as you say, “The people are part of the site, part of the needs assessment, part of the resource assessment, etc.” (And by the way, just to clarify, a big part of their success was apparently a genius for team-building: toward the end of the Roll interview, there’s a discussion about what’s basically an apprentice program, and about full-time staff. So it’s not been just the Chesters doing their thing the whole time.)

    If your point is simply that you think they’d have had an easier time given an initial permaculture course, you may well be right, and they might well agree. But it’s a counterfactual at this point. Hopefully anyone contemplating some project such as this will take note of your recommendation.

    How many time has one of you here made the absurd, irrational comment that, essentially, if it’s not politically or economically acceptable, it’s not a solution? How many times have I pointed out that is irrational? The answer is not to fit nature into your constructs, but to fit your constructs to align with nature.

    Short answer: Lots, and lots, respectively. However, I still don’t accept your framing or your descriptor. I do take your point; ultimately, constructs must indeed be aligned with nature, or they will fail much sooner than need be. Agreed.

    But that doesn’t mean that politically or economically untenable strategies suddenly or magically become “solutions,” especially in tight timeframes. Once again, we must start where we are. Clearly, “where we are” is not in very good alignment with nature. But journeys, large numbers of steps, and all that. I don’t mean to sound Zen; the urgency is extreme. That’s my whole point with proximate goals of decarbonization.

  31. 531

    Meanwhile, in the real world, battery storage is starting really to eat the lunch of gas peakers, with 4-hour durations most economically addressed, most places, by LI tech.

    https://www.energy-storage.news/news/bloombergnef-lcoe-of-battery-storage-has-fallen-faster-than-solar-or-wind-i?fbclid=IwAR0VVjwwBVABTyA-T9LGv0EUvhYz1PKsO8OrfBN8gP_nYY7bSacIX7OHiAA

    Another virtuous circle, with cost driving up deployment, deployment driving innovation, and both of the latter driving down cost. It looks as though other technologies will be better for longer term–redox flow, or the still-rather-mysterious battery Form Energy is debuting, or both, perhaps–but there’s more than one eater nibbling at this elephant.

  32. 532

    Actually, as I continue to mull over recent comments, it occurs to me that BLF is basically a story about what the adage that “constructs must be aligned with nature” looks like on a particular farm in Ventura county, California. In the film, John Chester deliberately put the focus more on the concepts and natural relationships as they were lived than on the people who lived them. But it’s still probably fair to say that his and Molly’s quest together was a quest to discover what ‘aligned with nature’ really meant in their chosen place and context, and in concrete practice.

  33. 533
    Mal Adapted says:

    [I’m submitting this a 2nd time, because it didn’t show up on the page as being in moderation. If it appears twice, ignore it either or both times!]

    We are speaking of “wisdom”. Kevin McKinney:

    I’m afraid “wisdom”, i.e. calm and rational analysis of facts without fooling ourselves, leaves the existence value of most species unresolved.

    Mmm. Personally, I think there’s more to ‘wisdom’ than that, including both an element of discipline/motivation/self-control enabling one to act on the rational analysis, and an underlying system of values that is well-aligned with our biological and social natures in the first place.Personally, I think there’s more to ‘wisdom’ than that, including both an element of discipline/motivation/self-control enabling one to act on the rational analysis, and an underlying system of values that is well-aligned with our biological and social natures in the first place.

    I defined wisdom as “rational analysis of facts without fooling ourselves”: science, IOW. Apprehending the universe as it is, and not as we wish it, requires discipline/motivation/self-control on our part, not to allow our cognitive motivators to fool us. Yet everyone has cognitive motivators, amounting to “an underlying system of values”. Unfortunately, the actual values we hold are facts that are notoriously difficult to verify intersubjectively, even with a well-defined shared vocabulary. We do not arrive at them by ratiocination. They are largely transmitted to us as children, and not easily modified in adulthood.

    Take “existence value“. “Intrinsic” values are distinguished from “instrumental”, i.e. utilitarian, ones. AFAICT, the intrinsic value of a unique biological taxon must be assigned by individual human minds, not a magical cosmic evaluator. Under the mediocrity principle, no such immanent over-mind is assumed or shown to exist (natural selection is in some sense a universal evaluator, but it’s verifiable, not magical, and its outcome always mediocre in the cosmic scope). Thus, no taxon, not even our own, is especially beloved of spacetime. For better or worse, that leaves the intrinsic value of a species for each of us to resolve privately.

    So, how many humans privately value, say, 106 already extinct salmon runs at least as much as I do? I’m pretty sure some do, but if I wish to motivate a governing plurality of US voters to take quantitative collective action on behalf of remaining runs, the question I need to answer first is: where in my cognitive process do I arrive at the existence value of a salmon run? How do I assign a quantity of grief to its loss? More about that later, maybe, if anybody cares. While I have a few hypotheses, I’m far from confident in any of them 8^}!

    Christians, OTOH, including a large majority of my fellow Americans, “know” the source of their values. The Gospel of Matthew tells them not a single sparrow falls without God’s notice. Yet here Christian perspectives diverge, and the Devil, as they say, is in the details: see all the different translations of Matthew! Broadly speaking, the Dominionist position is that God gave humans, whom He created in His own image, the earth and all the other species to exploit as we see fit. That’s in contrast to Stewardship theology, wherein God created every kind down to the bugs and slugs, each special in His mind; He therefore enjoins us, his even more special “children”, to care for his creation as our heritage. The Biblical injunction to stewardship is the intellectual foundation of Christian Conservationism. Pope Francis, FWIW, has placed 1.2 billion Catholics under it:

    116. Modernity has been marked by an excessive anthropocentrism which today, under another guise, continues to stand in the way of shared understanding and of any effort to strengthen social bonds. The time has come to pay renewed attention to reality and the limits it imposes; this in turn is the condition for a more sound and fruitful development of individuals and society. An inadequate presentation of Christian anthropology gave rise to a wrong understanding of the relationship between human beings and the world. Often, what was handed on was a Promethean vision of mastery over the world, which gave the impression that the protection of nature was something that only the faint-hearted cared about. Instead, our “dominion” over the universe should be understood more properly in the sense of responsible stewardship.

    Great stuff, comparatively; even wise. As an atheist, I can work with Christian Conservationists. We at least agree that all other species are intrinsically valuable, although they believe Homo sapiens is cosmically special. I do tend to downplay the mediocrity business with them, since they’re likely to consider it blasphemy. And the Evangelicals among them, though they may profess as much grief at a lost salmon run as I do, want me to “worship the Creator, not the creation”: whereas AFAIK, the creation created itself subsequent to the Big Bang; and while it often punishes ignorance or disrespect severely, it doesn’t insist on worship. A deistic compromise God, Who bespoke the primordial singularity and retired, probably doesn’t mark the fall of every slug and sparrow, but how would we know if It did? Candidly, if I was omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, I wouldn’t stand by with my thumb up my divine posterior while the sixth great extinction disassembles my creation. I’d be thundering in everyone’s head, at a minimum; or maybe writing on a lot of walls with a disembodied hand, in full public view. Or how about a big ol’ flaming sword (worked once, might again)? Something undeniable! Nope, I’m afraid there’s an unbridgeable gulf of understanding between even Christian Conservationists and me. To date, the Dominionists have the political upper hand anyway. While I still can’t verify the existence value of a wild salmon run 8^(. Maybe I’m overthinking it!

    BTW: as you know, our specific epithet comes from a Latin root meaning wise. Is there more to wisdom than thinking like a human being? You be the judge ;^)!

  34. 534
    nigelj says:

    Killian @514

    “Yours (KMs) sure as hell aren’t mine; you *still* get the risk assessment and response wrong.”

    And yet Killians “risk assessment” according to his previous postings is that climate change and / or mineral scarcity will, or could drive the human race completely extinct. This looks like a massively exaggerated, implausible, and without peer reviewed citations, so it makes me very cautious about accepting his dubious rapid and sweeping simplification ideas.

    Of course climate change is modeled to cause increased mortality especially in the tropics and this looks very compelling, but I cant get from there to anything approaching complete or wide ranging human extinction. Look at a cold country like Russia and how would it? Likewise humans existed for millenia with simple wood, stone and iron based cultures. We have more iron on the planet than we will ever be able to consume in thousands of years.

    But we should waste less, much less, because it helps our civilisation in all sorts of ways, and is REALISTICALLY ACHIEVABLE at scale and in a reasonably short time frame. Sweden already does this.

  35. 535
    nigelj says:

    Killian says @ 526

    “But one must have a decision-making process that reflects the needs of the planet first and foremost, and only permaculture does that within the “modern” world.”

    No the decision making process should put immediate human survival, health, and food on the table first, (for example the response to covid 19) and should simply seek to minimise harm to the ‘planet’. And yes we should use the precautionary approach if potential risks are large. But the planet is ever changing anyway, so theres only so much we can do.

    “How many time has one of you here made the absurd, irrational comment that, essentiallym if it’s not politically or economically acceptable, it’s not a solution?”

    If its not politically and economically acceptable, it indeed isn’t much of a solution. (Using a wide definition of economically as efficient production of goods and services).

  36. 536
  37. 537

    nigelj writes @493:

    The fact that technology can’t be sustained forever, does not ipso faco make it a bad thing or something we should abandon.

    Who says it can’t be effectively forever?  Photosynthesis is “a technology”.  It’s sustainable as long as there’s sunlight (which of course won’t be forever, as even stars die).

    The stuff that I’ve seen is mind-blowing.  Can we ever run out of carbon?  Our climate problem is TOO MUCH CARBON.  Yet I’m seeing things like graphene transistors, graphene membranes for water desalination, 0.1% carbon nanotubes to reduce cement volumes by 30%, CNT wires better than copper and many times stronger, and the list goes on and on.  Perovskites just made ammonia synthesis something you can do at 10 bar pressure and oven temperatures.  It won’t be too long before we’re doing it at room temperature and pressure, because the secrets of nitrifying bacteria will not hold forever.  We are on the verge of having methods to do everything we do today, with dirt-common materials that we CANNOT run out of.  Is that not the definition of “sustainability”?

    If agriculture was a mistake, photosynthesis was a mistake.  I refuse to believe that.  But nigelj errs @495:

    Published research by Jacobson shows the earth has enough resources for renewables sufficient for a good standard of living everywhere, certainly close to Europes standards.

    Jacobson’s chair is endowed by the fossil-funded Precourt Institute.  Nothing he says should be trusted.  It may not be false, but it should not be trusted.  And citing an untrustworthy source is a mistake of the first order.

  38. 538

    Killian blathers @502:

    I have countered that regenerative living can allow up to 12 billion.

    Can it now?  Tell us, what fixes the nitrogen to make the protein for 12 billion in the absence of fossil fuels?  That’s just ONE of the pointed questions you have to answer to be taken seriously, and it’s beyond doubt that you have nothing beyond hand-waving and baseless accusations.

    I have an answer for that.  Nuclear-thermal water-splitting provides the hydrogen to fix the nitrogen.  You got dookie.

  39. 539
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @ 533, good comment. Perhaps wisdom is also about having a wide knowledge about how the world works, so that you can analyse problems properly, and this is why young people lack wisdom. Its also about avoiding confirmation bias, and always demanding hard evidence.

    The salmon fishery question. It just doesnt have intrinsic value. This is much too much a nebulous concept. It only has value relative to something else that uses the resource. But value can be a very wide term and we have to carefully consider that something might have value we have not yet identified.

  40. 540
    Richard Creager says:

    Killian @525 just fyi, fungi are microbes. i’m guessing your basic microbiological knowledge could be upgraded.

  41. 541
    zebra says:

    #533 Mal Adapted,

    natural selection is in some sense a universal evaluator, but it’s verifiable, not magical, and its outcome always mediocre in the cosmic scope). Thus, no taxon, not even our own, is especially beloved of spacetime. For better or worse, that leaves the intrinsic value of a species for each of us to resolve privately.

    Nah. Humans are not “mediocre”, unless you have knowledge of other entities that could write what you just wrote. Or, however unfortunate the application, that could light the fire of the stars.

    We are entities that have the potential… far from achieved in the aggregate, but certainly demonstrated by individuals… to transcend being very clever monkeys. Natural selection produced that.

    So, “sustainability”, despite the absurd amount of column-inches wasted here on it, remains rhetorical handwaving. What is it that we want to “sustain”, when it comes to humans?

  42. 542
    Richard Creager says:

    Engineer-Poet @491, presumably in response to my 451. ““Badthinker! BAAAAADTHINKER!!!” Pearl-clutching is so funny.” That would be the ‘Poet’ part of your name, would it?

  43. 543
    David B. Benson says:

    A reminder that
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/
    provides moderately well curated links to sources on a variety of topics related to this thread.

  44. 544

    #533 & #539–

    Yes, good comments. I want to roll Mal’s ideas around in my head a bit before saying too much more–except that my UU funnybone was a bit tickled by the ‘flaming sword’ bit. Parenthetically, those who enjoy artistic reflections on the ‘miracles’ issue may enjoy Peter Mayer’s thoughtful song on the topic:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua0PE1zulD4

    I think I disagree with nigel a bit, though. There are certainly non-nebulous arguments that have already been made for an intrinsic value for specific species, notably the theistic one Mal touched on: each species is a unique creation, and beloved by God. That may not be universally accepted, but surely it is clear enough.

    I’d be so bold as to extend it anthropogenically: each species is a unique facet of the universe, and capable of giving delight and wonder to many humans–potentially an indefinably large number, given that species (even, perhaps, ours) can persist for millions of years, so that even a small proportion of human ‘amateurs’ of snail darters, corn snakes, or some hypothetical dandelion species endemic to one tiny tropical atoll could multiply out over millennia. This is admittedly a relative value, but it’s not treating the species in question as a mere ‘resource.’

    There’s also the point to be borne in mind that species are not really properly considered if considered in isolation: they are only viable as parts of functioning ecosystems. I think there are more consequences that flow from that than I care to consider in this moment, but surely the first such consequence is this: every species is of value to every other species participating in that ecosystem!

    Which raises the point that species presumably have some sort of value to themselves. We humans tend to center all value in ourselves, or, slightly more broadly, in attributes we evince and value, notably sapience (however defined). But Mal’s mediocrity principle would suggest that that is, as he says, not necessarily true of “spacetime.” Or other species sharing the Universe with us–or, maybe, any God that there may be.

    Maybe photosynthesis is more valuable, in a cosmic sense, than a clever, busy brain–however much participants here may be inclined to ‘vote’ for the latter.

  45. 545
    sidd says:

    Tesla+CATL progress on batteries:

    ” CATL’s lithium iron phosphate batteries, which use no cobalt”

    “a simpler and less expensive way of packaging battery cells, called cell-to-pack, that eliminates the middle step of bundling cells”

    “an improved long-life nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) battery whose cathode is 50% nickel and only 20% cobalt. ”

    “The cost of CATL’s cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate battery packs has fallen below $80 per kilowatt-hour, with the cost of the battery cells dropping below $60/kWh, the sources said. CATL’s low-cobalt NMC battery packs are close to $100/kWh. ”

    “Iron phosphate batteries, which are safer than NMC, could find a second life in stationary grid storage systems”

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-autos-tesla-batteries-exclusive/exclusive-teslas-secret-batteries-aim-to-rework-the-math-for-electric-cars-and-the-grid-idUKKBN22Q1WC

    sidd

  46. 546
    nigelj says:

    Engineer Poet @537, you argue correctly there’s no ‘hard’ dividing line between photosynthesis and modern technology, but I think for the purposes of human problem solving there ‘is’ a need for two separate definitions, because we need a convention when discussing and comparing things.

    Yes it seems that whenever we think we will run short of something we find alternatives. Not disputing your basic observations and optimism. Mostly share it myself.

    But optimism can so easily spill over into reckless abandon. Things like phosphates will simply run out and are hard to replace. We cant be sure substitutes can be found for every scarce mineral and technological application.

    So how to deal with the dilemma? And what problem are we trying to solve? The simple living people see mineral shortages having severe end of the world consequences, mass starvation and extinction at some level, and advocate that people like us ration all mineral resources quite strictly and severely, “just in case”. So we abandon things like air travel and car ownership and half our home appliances, and just have a minimal technology backbone for things that only high tech technology can do. (there are of course hideous problems agreeing on the dividing line).

    I think the more credible worst case end game of severe shortages of critical materials that cant be replaced wont happen overnight obviously so people will adapt. It could lead to shortages of some goods, driving whole communities to a simpler lifestyle like a third world subsistence farmer and maybe increased mortality. I don’t think it will because of the substitution process you mention, but we can’t rule it out.

    Is it worth my while severely rationing my own consumption to stop or more likely just delay the point where future generations might run out of some critical things, and so be stuck with subsistence farming? I cant see a good enough reason to do that. I come down more on the side of caution and things that are easy enough to do, like just wasting less, and stockpile old materials in ways that are easy to find if necessary. And let any simplification process evolve slowly and naturally.

    Of course there are good climate related reasons to reduce aspects of our consumption, but that is a separate issue.

    There is the related question of how technology degrades the biosphere, but there are obvious mitigation strategies and some places already use.We could also adopt more sustainable farming methods as the simple living people have outlined. And it looks like we could live within the ability of the biosphere to regenerate, if we apply a bit of discipline.

  47. 547
    Mal Adapted says:

    I messed up the link to Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ encyclical.

  48. 548
  49. 549
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @541 says “So, “sustainability”, despite the absurd amount of column-inches wasted here on it, remains rhetorical handwaving. What is it that we want to “sustain”, when it comes to humans?”

    Yes you are onto something here. The way I see it, the sustainable use of resources is surely a subset of wider forms of sustainability of human values and aspirations, otherwise we end up just existing, not really living.

    Of course there is still a resource sustainability question. The over use of the planets natural biosphere is causing extinctions that at the very least reduces our future options. It’s good strategic thinking to sustainably use those resources, especially as I would argue it can be done without causing intractable problems.

    The problem is when we start trying to conserve resources of the biosphere or minerals “for the sake of the planet” and this leads to a valuing of the planet as being more important than humans and our activities. I’m strongly in favour of environmentalism, but that form of geen philosophy is when I exit the room.

  50. 550

    E-P 537: Jacobson’s chair is endowed by the fossil-funded Precourt Institute. Nothing he says should be trusted.

    BPL: Everyone, look up the definition of “ad hominem argument.” E-P has given us a classic example.