Monday, February 3, 2014

Building Ecology

The best practice for pest management on farms, is building the ecological webs.

In a conventional farm, substances are sprayed over the whole field.  Depending on the pesticide, it either will kill all the of the bugs, or select few.  But it's difficult to target specific organisms without disrupting others.  If one organism is targeted -- and let's say it kills the larvae, suddenly the predator that typically feeds on that organism will need to find another food source, their numbers will drastically dwindle. And unlike the 'prey' or the 'pest' species who has evolved to produce many offspring and very quickly as a response to be being attacked by predators, the predator population has evolved to be slow reproducing with few offspring to make sure through it's numbers it doesn't deplete it's food supply.  This makes it very difficult for predator numbers to bounce back, as 'prey' or 'pest' populations can and do -- and often times with greater resistance to the pesticide if the pesticide was sprayed in 'sublethal' doses. The predator doesn't really have that quick of a turn over rate to build tolerance as the 'pest' species does.  Thereby, pesticides further erode top insect 'predators' from the landscape, while further strengthening pest populations.   This severely impairs the resiliency of that agroecosystem (the farm's ecosystem).  Because now that farm is very dependent on chemicals to 'control' outbreaks.

Synthetic fertilizers also create a very 'unnatural' environment for plants.  Since the nutrient is so readily available and typically spread very evenly on the fields, plant roots will stay very close to the surface.  They don't need to 'scavenge' for nutrients in the soil.  This creates an environment of plants which become very dependent on regular waterings as well as nutrition.  This is because plants who live under more 'natural' conditions, where nutrients come through compost and other organic debris, it creates a reserve of nutrients.  Not only does organic debris maintain water more readily, but the micro-organisms in this matter also break down the nutrients in webs and patterns, making it necessary for plants to stretch their roots further out.  Essentially the more 'outstretched' plant or trees roots are, the more resilient they will be to change in weather patterns or in infrequent 'nutrient' inputs-- because the roots have access to a greater proportion of soil.

Organic practices come closer to replicating natural systems in many cases than do conventional farms.
The less we target to exterminate 'pests' the less we accidentally end up targeting beneficial organisms which feed into the larger ecological system in the farm.  The more diverse the farm is, the more resilient it can be to extreme weather situations.  The better it will be in breaking down organic debris into nutrients for plants.  Different micro-organisms specialize in the breakdown of different types of organic matter.

Also many conventional farmers spray fungicides -- which don't typically get a lot of media attention, but this can dramatically affect soil health.

They do this, in order to prevent fungal diseases on the plants, but when these fungicides seep down into the soil, they prevent beneficial fungal relationships between plant roots and fungi.  These mycelium networks attach to tree and plant roots and act as somewhat of an extension of roots to the plants, they will help the plants by finding nutrients and water for the plant, and the plant will benefit the fungi by providing energy from photosynthesis to the fungi.

Everything works together in such beautiful harmony.

The more we can learn nature's processes, the easier it will be to team with her, to create beautiful bountiful systems.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

How to be Successful

It seems that most of us, have this idealized version of ourselves. Sometimes we actively try to work on parts of ourselves that seem like we can shift to make 'better' in some way. And sometimes we succeed! However, sometimes, we hold this image of what success means for us in our minds eye. Every day we are trying to live up to this image, and every day we may find ourselves falling short. We judge ourselves for not being who we absolutely expect ourselves to be. When this happens over and over again, we feel like we are running into a wall. And it's hard to even want to try.

The good news is, it's possible that you are the only one who expects that idealized version of yourself. It's possible that others expect exactly who you are at every moment, because either they know you--or they don't and they really wouldn't know what else to expect. So actually, we can cut ourselves a little bit of slack. Our success doesn't rely on us becoming that idealized vision of ourselves. Our success relies on just being true to ourselves, in each moment. Our success relies on showing up, just being present in our lives. The moment that we stop showing up, that's when we have not succeeded. When we continually think of what 'good' work is or 'accomplishment', it's easy to be hard on ourselves, especially on tasks that we have never done before to expect the 'best'. The truth is, we can't expect perfection, but we can embrace doing the next best thing in every moment, whatever that may be, and 90% of the time, it's just showing up.

Super Bowl Sunday

I don't really know the last time that I attempted to watch the superbowl.  My best guess is that it could have been 4 years ago?  Maybe more?

Back then, I didn't really give 2 thoughts about it.  I never actually watched it, it was just an excuse to get together with friends and eat lots of food.

Today, my family was getting together for the superbowl.  I mean, it's American culture... It's how it goes.

But watching the superbowl, was like the most painful thing I have done in years.  I don't really watch TV as it is, and put me in front of a sports game... Yeah, I don't think so.

All I could think about, is how unhealthy all of the team players looked.  Seriously obese, disgusting and waddling around the field.  I do not have any issues with people with extra weight, but you know that these football players eat to gain weight.  You know that they are gorging themselves to get bigger. And for what reason?  To 'dominate' the other team or the other players.

It's atrocious.

Not to mention how terrible the commercials were.  'Look at my big cool truck', 'Drink an awesome ice cold beer'.  It seriously makes me think, and it makes me sick to think that what, over 4 million people watch the superbowl????

Sorry, it just blows my mind at how mainstream culture is entertained.

Could we be more shallow?

I also learned that sex traffickers capitalize on the large numbers at the superbowl.  Okay so there are several articles on the topic.. and none of them really make any sense.  Many of them claim that it's a myth, yet they go on talking about the increased numbers of men taking advantage of prostitutes and etc etc other types of 'males' expressing their 'dominance'.  Of course they would, what else is football???? It's all about being the 'strongest', being the 'best', being a 'celebrity', being 'rich', owning lots of 'stuff' that you don't need... etc etc.  It's like the epitome of the worse America has to offer.  Here is an example of a terribly confusing article on sex trafficking and the super bowl.

Can our culture.. become a little more... decent?????  Wouldn't it be cool to have a dominant culture that cared about ALL PEOPLE and cared about REAL ISSUES in the world, and cared about having GOOD CLEAN FUN, LOVED NATURE, and cared about treating all living beings with RESPECT? That would be awesome.

That's all folks.

Sometimes a girls gotta rant.