Exposing Environmental Big Lies
This is chapter 13 of my book, A Natural Language, which exposes the environmental narrative as propaganda and puts bottom-up solutions in front of the actual problem.
Institutional coverage of gardening, permaculture, regenerative agriculture, and biofuels is eyebrow raising, to say the least. Independent researchers and other nature lovers who work in these fields get smeared, disparaged, misrepresented by authoritarians, even as the latter re-appropriate and falsify their language with universalist scripture. Institutional research in these fields is littered with fear, uncertainty, and doubt that is misinformed at times and malignant at others. It rivals health and nutrition research in sketchiness. One team, for instance, “found” that regenerative farming does not work by rotationally overgrazing cattle, in what can only be described as a deliberate effort to discredit Allan Savory’s work. This and media hatchet jobs would invite lighthearted mockery were it not for experts in other fields who use such “findings” to dismiss bio-sequestration. These technocrats push the fossil fuel explanation for climate change instead and its associated authoritarian agenda. The most misleading proposition that comes out of their mouth is that agroecology cannot be a solution because there is not enough fertility to solve climate change while feeding and powering the world.
What makes the authoritarians so inclined to believe that there is not enough fertility might relate to the way they have been misguided to revel in hostility, intolerance, and violence. Consider how they enslave plants with mechanized plows and scythes and sterilize soil using salt and poison. They enslave animals in medicalized prison camps, give birth to them in blood and gore with c-sections, and murder them in industrialized death facilities where the animals get ritually harvested for meat, blood, and organs. They justify why unworthy plants should be done without or grown in artificial facilities without ever enjoying the pleasure of soil. They deny soil the caress of cover that would keep it happy until a plant grows in it. The idea of touching a plant without a tool or inserting a finger in soil repulses them as too filthy or too messy. Many don’t seem to fully appreciate having a plant in the mouth or the soil fertility that can come from the fermenters in it. Some even reject the idea of planting a seed in unworthy places that are too wet, too dry, or too full of sludge. To be clear, these don’t exhibit great fertility, but plants will still be happy with enough love. Everything that surrounds fertility seems to reveal how authoritarians fear and hate nature.
Authoritarians do not understand fertility at all, in fact. Soil is not a hydroponics system that you salt and pepper with mineral amendments based on lab tests. Doing that is a recipe to stress plants and attracts pests for reasons we’ll discuss shortly. Plants do not do well in pots that are too dry or full of foul smelling sludge. Stick a finger in there to test soil moisture, and use pots with drainage so water doesn’t accumulate inside and cause diseases. Pots and plants live together in twisted misery when they don’t give each other space. Prefer large enough pots and seedling trays that are designed to prevent roots from spiraling. Soil is not some kind of animal that must be monitored tightly and coerced into prescribed boundaries. Nothing gets that point across better than a market gardener whose soil test claims that their lush operation is infertile. Soil tests don’t capture if biology is making nutrients available to plants, so you’re better off testing the plants directly. Also, keeping sexually mutilated animals locked up, isolated, stressed, malnourished, drugged, monitored, and beaten into submission is not a recipe for health and fertility — and societies that treat animals that way may want to look in the mirror. The scientific process itself is yet more of the same authoritarianism, with observations done in tightly controlled experiments where biology cannot express its colorful complexity. And where to even begin with the type of people who seem to have no quibbles with torturing lab animals, minorities, orphans, or prisoners?
Fertility is actually about love and care. Plants do not live in isolation and they are not homogenous. Biology forms symbiotic relationships in ways that make bacteria and fungi cooperate in all sorts of useful ways. While plants will grow just about anywhere with enough care, you can increase your odds by amending your soil. You can make it more loamy, aerated, drained, or moist by adding silt or clay, disturbances, small pebbles, and water as needed. The consensus is growing among soil specialists that bacteria and fungi in just about any soil are able to harvest all of the nutrients that your plants need. Fungi will provide plants with nutrients in exchange for sugars. Plants also use rhizophagy to garden bacteria and other endophytes that live inside of them for nutrients. They basically gobble them up with their root tips and release back those that can provide them with the nutrients that they want. One of the biggest tragedies of farming, in fact, is that plants cover their seeds with endophytes, but these die when farmers dry their seeds. The seeds become seedlings that start their life without the endophytes that they would normally need to stay healthy. You can restore that biology by spraying seeds with compost tea while planting, or by planting seeds in compost.
Plants interact with other plants and animals, too. Plants use the fungi networks that interact with their roots to exchange information and nutrients in mutual aid networks. Or at least most plants do. Some plants will steal nutrients from other plants instead. Others play solo and refuse the benevolent help of fungi outright. Yet others will poison soil around them or their fruits and seeds. You can try to address toxic plant behavior by cooperating with them. Try adding more nutrients and biology by tossing biochar or spraying ferments, plant extracts, compost teas, and so forth. Plants don’t compete as hard with other plants when they have everything they need. As a bonus, the added biology can help plants create bridges with species that they don’t normally cooperate with. Anecdotal reports are that brassicas end up collaborating with mycorrhizal fungi, and that plants will enlist other species to resist pests. It takes generations to get rid of poisonous behavior or of poison in food, but that too is possible with good stewardship — that, or our descendants will adapt, like our ancestors did with hot peppers, or find workarounds, like with potatoes.
There is fertility in the way we deliver death and dispose of the dead. You can deliver a compassionate death to an animal by severing the jugular at the neck downward and immediately plunging your blade back up through the mouth to destroy the brain. Or decapitate directly, if the animal is small enough. You can knock out the animal before that to remove a further source of stress. If practical, pass a spike through the spinal cord to destroy it after decapitating. These ikejime-like steps stop the stress hormone production early, and help drain what stress hormone was produced before it impairs the taste and shelf life of the animal. A side-effect of public health measures to protect from spongiform diseases and religious slaughtering rituals is horrifying deaths. As to disposing of the dead, anything that lived recently will compost. Things that lived much longer ago will compost or find ways back into the carbon cycle too. What is short and long term carbon sequestration in soil is fuzzy at best. A team in Japan even recently found bacteria that evolved a way to degrade some kinds of plastic. As to our own dead, perhaps a less narcissistic society in the future will bury its dead in compost and plant a syntropic garden over them in their memory.
Fertility, or more precisely infertility, plays an intriguing role in the way we store food, too. To store food for later use, you want to make it dry, salted, and cool, or fermented — two very infertile mediums indeed. In a dry enough context, you can use evaporative cooling to keep a food storage box cool. Put blankets over a small shed and keep them moist with a drip irrigation line if you need a bespoke walk-in cooler. A/C unit based hacks also work, if you have electricity. Salting ice will make it colder, which is useful to know if you need to keep a camping cooler cold on the move or when fishing. In passing, note that freezing is the scarcity option: it offers no reuse potential because thawing destroys the cells in the food. The endophytes in plants (and their equivalents in animals) then kick in and do their job, which is to process dead or dying cells.
Authoritarians misconceptions about fertility have very unfortunate health ramifications. They spray food with poison to keep bugs at bay, but bugs are not our enemies. Bugs typically help with fertility and health. Some pollinate plants, like bees. Others till, like ants. Others hunt pests, like ladybugs. Others help kill off dying plants to make room for new plants, like potato beetles. Yet others help speed up decomposition, like dung beetles. Authoritarians struggle with bugs because they mismanage fertility. The influx of nutrients when they salt to fertilizer isolates the plants. It signals that they don’t need to garden their endophytes. That shuts down the rhizophagy cycle. It also signals that they don’t need to feed their fungi. By the time the salt is mineralized or washes off, the plants end up unsupported and malnourished. Stressed plants attract bugs whose job is to put dying plants out of their misery. The authoritarians then spray poison to kill the bugs. The toxins kill soil life and plant cells. The endophytes then get to work to help the plant get rid of the dead or dying cells, but these form a quorum and turn hostile themselves. The authoritarians then spray more toxins to fight disease symptoms. That kills more soil life and stresses the plants again. Weeds eventually kick in to fix the soil. That prompts growers to use even more poison. More bugs show up. And so it goes. Industrial food is basically undead food.
The non-authoritarian way to deal with pests is to add biology and nutrients. Biodiverse hedges, alleys, and beds with many shapes, colors, and smells will attract beneficials and predators that will keep pests in check. Plants companioned with one another are stronger for the same reasons. You can also keep your plants healthy by feeding them with mulch, compost, compost teas, and sprays. A healthy plant is too full of sugar for bugs to digest and too strong for molds or other microbes to take hold. Healthy plants smell nice and attract animals like birds and deers, not bugs. If you have issues with bugs, try nets as a quick fix. You can also let in chickens every so often to contain the damage if you don’t mind them tasting your food and making a mess. Be mindful about bacteria like Bt that work by producing insecticides as waste. It is better than spraying poison, but the selective pressure will backfire eventually. Try soapy water, baking soda, crushed garlic, fermented milk, and plant extracts before that. Soap kills insects by changing the tensile properties of water to make it penetrate their breathing pores. Baking soda has abrasive properties that will dry and irritate bugs and fungi. Garlic will add smelly compounds that repel them. Milk contains fermenters that will help plants purge the toxins and dead cells that are attracting the pests to begin with. Extracts will give plants extra nutrients that they can soak up through their roots and their surface.
You can create your own plant extracts. Shred the plants. Mix them with sugar to feed the fermenters. Place that under a heavy rock in a jar. (Give the rock a good rinse first.) Then let the jar sit for a few days in a cool, shaded area. You’ll get shelf safe, plant available nutrients. Nettles, dandelions, and comfrey are good general purpose choices that bioaccumulate everything. You can add a spoon of the stuff in a watering can or inside the tray where you bottom water your seedlings. Use other plants to get precisely what nutrients you want. If you don’t have sugar to make a ferment, you can instead let the plants soak in water for a few days. It’ll stink but the plants will love it. There are all sorts of other natural options to get fertility. For phosphorus and calcium, dissolve eggshells in vinegar. For potassium, burn wood to make potash. For nitrogen, companion plant (or rotate) nitrogen accumulators like beans, vetch, or clover. Or raise chicken, or rabbits, to get extra manure to make compost. Or use aquaponics, to get ammonium. Medicinals and herbs, as well as garlic and onions, are usually solid picks to grow near plants.
Animal health, including our own, works much like plant health. Our skin and teeth are like a plant’s surface. Our digestive system is similar to soil and roots for plants. There are bacteria on our surface and inside us like there are endophytes on and in plants. They are why you can test positive for strep throat or pneumonia even when healthy. We have our version of rhizophagy, too: our appendix is like a library of useful bacteria. As with plants, what harms us are mostly stresses like poor nutrition, a lack of water, a lack of sunshine, electromagnetic fields that affect the voltage-gated channels that regulate cell membrane permeability, and toxins like heavy metals or plastics. Face masks, for instance, will make fibers accumulate in the nose, throat, lungs, and eyes, which can lead to (bird) flu-like symptoms. Bacteria are typically harmless and in fact useful: they help your body process dying or dead cells. As with endophytes in plants, they can turn against you when some stress makes them form a quorum. That causes disease symptoms. Antibiotics help stop the symptoms, but also harm gut fauna and bacteria that help your body move toxins out. They basically force your body to adapt to what is harming it. You end up weaker, which attracts other pests like parasites. And on goes the vicious cycle. As with plants, animal diseases are mostly stress induced. We usually have little to fear from biology, unless it comes out of a bioweapons lab.
You seldom need an authoritarian to stay healthy, either. Honest medical doctors will tell you as much, instead of role playing the fantasy of being a white knight that saves damsels in distress. Get sunshine, stay fit, breathe clean air, drink clean water, and eat a mixed diet of vegetables, nuts, fruits, and animals. Keep the protective coating on your skin and teeth by not sanitizing it out of existence each day. Keep your teeth healthier by eating more collagen (animal skin), less flour (too abrasive), and less toxins (sugar, alcohol, tobacco). Eat antioxidants to help protect your body against cell damage from environmental toxins or electromagnetic fields. Drink water to help drain the pus and other sludge inducing mediums that your body uses to get rid of toxins. Clean the air in your home by using a fan to blow air through activated charcoal. Swallow activated charcoal (or biochar) if you need to neutralize a mild diarrhea or a small amount of ingested poison. You can also use your plant-based medicinal extracts on your skin, or drink them as syrup, or eat the plants directly.
Psychological stresses are not healthy either. Chronic stress can create all sorts of organ damage in your cardiovascular system, lungs, and elsewhere, which can lead to ulcers, chronic inflammation, and cancers. The simplest way to avoid chronic stress is by turning off your television and disconnecting from the electromagnetic control grid. Ignorance is bliss. News is just fear mongering miscellanea anyway, and you’ll hear about what actually matters through word of mouth. Also turn off notifications, have your carrier disable your voicemail, ignore text messages, read emails less often, and so forth. If your job doesn’t depend on you reading email all day long, schedule two or three time slots per day for email (if that) and organize inbox rules around sticking with those. Worry not about missing out: urgent messages that actually matter and depend on you will get to you by phone or in person. Give guidance that empowers those around you if you get too many of those. Another way to get rid of stress is to depend less on money for food, water, energy, and shelter. Growing food is the easiest to ease into — start with balcony pots. You’ll be harvesting rainwater and stick wood not long after. Beyond that, socialize with friends, be extremely skeptical about anything that disempowers you, and learn to block out or manage energy vampires.
Energy vampires are those toxic “friends” who are anything but. They are cold blooded animals who are able to drain all life out of warm hearted animals. Friends accept who you are the way you are, and empower you to the best of their ability. They lay out what you can do and offer to help to the best of their availability and capability, with the understanding that what you actually do depends on you, not them. Energy vampires will instead judge, expect, label, order, and otherwise disempower those around them. They lay out what you are, why you are different in good or bad, how you should be, what you must do, why you must do it now, and so forth, usually without constructive ways across the fence that they’re erecting around you or out of the hole that they’re digging you into. We all know a few. Close family and friends who you wouldn’t turn to with your problems often fit that description. They are the ghouls who expect you to comply with their orders and the servile zombies who expect you to comply like them. A zombie horde can be its own ghoul, like with language, but also like governments, corporations, charities, and other transactional institutions that treat handout recipients like prostitutes. Energy vampires can be monsters, but most are just people tortured by generations of unhealed traumas that have been passed on from parent to child.
You can help energy vampires heal the traumas that haunt them. Traumas can usually be traced to a lack of love and care in childhood. Trauma is what happens when a mind internalizes stress without the internal maturity or the external stability of an appeasing adult. The resulting guilt trip makes the mind create distance and erect barriers as a defense mechanism. A child that gets love only when they meet adult expectations, for instance, will internalize servility: they are worthy of love only when compliant. A baby that is left to cry alone in a crib will similarly internalize helplessness: they are worthy of love only at another’s leisure. That can lead to overconfident selfishness or desperate neediness to boot, depending on the education. Modern parenting tends to produce insecure and entitled narcissists. Modern schooling even more so. It only gets worse later in life: prestigious gratifications like sheepskin and money typically depend on internalizing blind deference to authority. You can heal your traumas by trusting a friend who is willing to help you, and you can offer them to help heal theirs. Shallow ghouls who judge while commiserating at your side are not friends. What a friend does is love, care about, and empower you as they talk with you without judging you or others. They help you surface and shed past sources of disempowerment that did not depend on you. They also help you build the self-confidence needed to avoid new such traumas.
Authority underpins this sense of empowerment or disempowerment. Authority is like a boundary that lets power flow in a single direction on a balance sheet. It empowers the creditors who ask and command, and disempowers the debtors who answer and obey. This imbalance arises because of promises that commit only those who believe them. Mental prisons like law or economics, for instance, apply to debtors but not creditors. To wit, we keep government deficits in check, even as those who pocket the interest on public debt plunder the coffers without paying taxes. We entrust central bankers with our economies, even as they debase our currencies in an orgy of corruption, and let over-levered financiers and naked short sellers collapse the economy each decade or so. The storytellers behind these cults understand that they sit at the top of a house of cards that is built on a bedrock of fear and hate. They also understand that the only threat to them comes from those who do not depend on them. That is why they push hard to destroy local autonomy and mutual aid networks rooted in trust, solidarity, and reciprocity. It is also why they press so hard to control food, water, energy, territory, and money using cultural norms, laws, or force.
You can question everything and trust your own judgment to thwart most law abiding efforts to disempower you. This works for the same reason that power flows in only one direction: authority is always rooted in unquestioned assumptions. Statutes, for instance, always contain loopholes, procedural issues, or gotchas that make them null and void. There are few exceptions. It is why laws apply for you but not them. Anyone can use their loopholes, so incinerate statutes with questions as you comply with the process. What questions do is turn those who ask into judges, and those who answer into powerless defendants. Legal procedures obligate statute enforcers to provide you with timely answers, so ask away without fear or mercy. Ask for the evidence that the order is legal. The same applies for science or other nonsensical justifications. Go read the source. Ask about dubious claims and sketchy data collection. Also, laws are meaningless without local enforcement. Enforcers aren’t “forced” to follow petty orders when they don’t depend on a tyrant for their pay, so fund them or feed them and defund the tyrant. You can also pressure them into non-compliance by telling the truth around them. If all else fails, politics is a game of fear and distributed gatherings cannot be policed effectively. You can use jury annulment (find not guilty to nullify laws that you find useless) to help shred our terminally corrupt legal system to pieces.
Summary | Next: Natural Patterns.