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Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil.To feed the world, to clean the air and water, we need to change what we do with our soils.This podcast looks at the many variants of regenerative food growing. How? Why? When?We must be the ChangeUnderground!


67 #worldorganicnews 2017 06 05


Analysing wastewater reveals population health - The Science Show - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Sydney’s Toxic Green Olympics

Antidepressants in Stream Waters! Are They in the Fish Too?


This year’s new global solar capacity on pace to potentially pass 2016 record due to lower costs — Financial Post


This is the World Organic News for the week ending 5th of June 2017.

Jon Moore reporting!

This week we begin with a post linking to the ABC’s Science Show from 3rd of June 2017. The segment is entitled: Analysing wastewater reveals population health. Not surprisingly, given the unfettered nature of chemical production from 1945 until the momentum of Silent Spring led to the establishment of environmental protection legislation across the nations outside of the Iron Curtain in the 1970s, many of these chemicals persist. Not just in the environment, that is waterways, soils and so on but also in newborns. Yes we are, in fact, part of the environment so that’s not as surprising as we might at first think. To quote from the segment summary:


Some chemicals, produced for the manufacture of goods and services don’t readily break down in the environment. Some can persist for years, decades or longer. The pesticide DDT was banned in 1972 in the US, but can still be detected in the environment and in people.

End Quote.

These chemicals are very persistent. Back in day, when the land was being prepared for 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, the site selected had issues. Yet Sydney 2000 was considered a very green games. A quote from “Sydney’s Toxic Green Games” suggests it started well behind scratch:


The area has been home to a number of unpleasant industries since early in the century. Part of the site once housed the State Abattoirs (1907 to 1988) and the State Brickworks (1911 to 1988) which included a quarry for clay and shale to make bricks. The Navy's armaments depot is currently on the site but is likely to be relocated. In the mid-1980s when it became evident that the brickworks and the abattoirs were nearing the end of their operating lives, the area was designated for redevelopment. It is surrounded by chemical industries, a fuel terminal, a large petroleum products storage area, an oil refinery and a prison. Unoccupied parts of the site have also been subject to years of waste dumping.

End Quote.

The point I’m trying to make is we are all walking around to some lesser or greater extent on contaminated lands. There are clearly areas of concentration yet the segment from the Science Show points out DDT in newborns! Even if we manage to avoid a three degree rise in global temperatures, and in my darker moments, that seems unlikely, we still have this lingering contamination throughout the biosphere.

And it’s not just industrial chemicals, antidepressants have been found in fish downstream from sewage works. I quote:


The antidepressants were found in fish collected over 8 kilometers (approximately 5 miles) downstream of the location of the wastewater discharge. The scientists detected several commonly used antidepressants in water, streambed sediment, and the brain tissue of white suckers, a native fish species. Fish collected upstream from the wastewater discharge did not have antidepressants present in their brain tissues.

End Quote

So we are in varying degrees wading through a cocktail of carcinogenic and mind altering and who knows what other types of chemicals. Does these things bioaccumulate? In other words do they become more concentrated as we move up the food chain. Does a little antidepressant in fish ground up and fed to pigs which are then eaten by humans become a significant dose in our species. Given the horrors of factory farming, a little prozac might ease the suffering of pigs but do we want to be bathed in the stuff ourselves?

I would like to have the ability to give consent before consuming antidepressants but I and you may have no choice.

What are we to do?

Let’s take a deep breath and review where we stand.

Climate change appears to be accelerating, we are bathed in chemicals from the 1950s, antidepressants could be endemic in the biosphere, the politics of our times point to towards the greater possibility of nuclear war, industrial agriculture is creating antibiotic resistant pathogens and we have huge numbers of refugees on the move across the globe. What is it that connects all these?

After many days of unpleasant intense and years of background consideration of these problems, the one thing which seems to connect all these issues is oil. The chemicals were created through the use of petrochemicals, climate change is clearly connected to fossil fuels, industrial agriculture is critically dependant upon oil and the refugee movements can be traced back to political decisions related to control of oil supplies. The threat of nuclear war does not seem to be directly attributable to oil but is just the icing on the cake.

So, is there any hope?

I believe so. Despite the US pulling out of the Paris agreement, despite the Australian government’s obsession with the Adani coal mine in the Galilee basin and all the vested interests in the fossil fuel world, price signals will, eventually trump rent seeking. Pun intended.

A piece from Financial Post entitled: This year’s new global solar capacity on pace to potentially pass 2016 record due to lower costs is one of many posts I’ve added to the blog in the past three years.

A quote from the Financial Post piece:


New global solar capacity will continue to grow this year, after lower costs drove it to record levels in 2016, and could surpass 80 gigawatts (GW), Europe’s solar industry forecast on Tuesday.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) module prices have fallen 80 per cent since 2009 as capacity has risen and technologies improved.

And a record 76.6 GW of new solar capacity was installed and connected to the grid last year, 50 per cent up on 2015, solar power association SolarPower Europe said in a report.

End Quote

Soooooo, the price of solar PV continues to fall, the price of oil to produce is heading the other way, especially when we reach or reached peak oil. Add in wind, geothermal, wave and who knows what else and the end of the age of oil should be nigh. The researchers are doing what needs to be done, the public, when they can are being driven by price signals. Australia now has the highest level of rooftop solar PV in the world, makes sense on a sun drenched continent. Mega battery factories are coming on line so we can store the energy when the sun shines for when it doesn’t!

What appears to be the one stumbling block is the huge amount of money thrown around by lobbyists for fossil fuels in the democratic system. Hammer your local representatives, annoy your governments, hassle your local councils, make waves, yell, kick and scream. The age of oil has got to end for the health, safety and future of a viable biosphere. A biosphere that can support life, that is not laced with carcinogenic man made chemicals, that is not drenched in antidepressants and that sustains all life within a climate range we have enjoyed for the holocene. It will take time for the CO2 concentrations to drop, it will take time to develop and research bacteria capable of converting the background chemical contamination to a more benign form but it can be done. That it can be done by removing money from politics hit me as so simple yet that does not mean, necessarily, that it will be easy but it can be done. Indeed it must me done.

And on that happy note we will end this week’s episode.

If you’ve liked what you heard, please tell everyone you know any way you can! I’d also really appreciate a review on iTunes. This may or may not help others to find us but it gives this podcaster an enormous thrill! Thanks in advance!

Any suggestions, feedback or criticisms of the podcast or blog are most welcome. email me at

Thank you for listening and I'll be back in a week.



Analysing wastewater reveals population health - The Science Show - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Sydney’s Toxic Green Olympics

Antidepressants in Stream Waters! Are They in the Fish Too?

This year’s new global solar capacity on pace to potentially pass 2016 record due to lower costs — Financial Post

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