Links and Thoughts


Hi, here’s a quick update with a few links and thoughts.  But first, a reminder of our plant sales at the Eco-Sense nursery on SUNDAY from 10am-2pm.  Come on out and walk through the gardens, visit with us, and buy some perennial food plants for your garden.  Fall is the best time for planting.  IF you can’t make it on SUNDAY, not to worry.  Just send us an email to set up your private appointment to see the nursery and buy some plants.  ann@eco-sense.ca

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Photo by Daniel Naylor. Us in the garden with leek flowers planted for the bees. These blossoms are like our non-toxic fireworks.  I’m wearing my wooden jewelry made by Gord.

Tours at Eco-Sense coming to a close

We had made a decision a couple years ago to wind down tours of the Eco-Sense homestead, and only focus on those specific groups with climate and horticulture interests.   We are now moving even further away from tours.  We will still have our workshops here and our gardens will still be open for people to freely walk around during our “nursery” days.  Being open to the public has its benefits and we love the enthusiasm of excited people seeing our home, but with all of our other activities these days, it’s just too busy.  We’ll probably still have the very odd tour, but only for smaller groups of unscented (fragrance fee) people.  We are still shocked how many people use fragrances and are completely unaware of how stinky they are.  Laundry products are the worst for toxic chemicals.

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Hazelnuts drying. Our first nut crop. YUM

Links and some general comments at the bottom:

Ground breaking research about glyphosate and bees and bacteria.

  • This herbicide is also used as a pre-harvest desiccant on many crops to kill the plant and make machine harvest easier. Used on many carbohydrate crops. (potatoes, legumes, and grains…just to name a few).
  • This study explores the gut micro-biome of bees and how they are negatively impacted by glyphosate. This is bad…really bad. Life without pollinators is death.
  • Common sense extrapolation tells us that humans also have similar bacteria in our gut that are also impacted. Life with a compromised micro biome is a recipe for chronic illness.
  • This is why it’s essential to stop the use of the herbicide glyphosate (roundup) and other toxic chemicals. In the meantime, only eat organic food.
  • http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/09/18/1803880115

Is limiting temperature to 2 deg C rise in global average temperatures possible? Yes. Barely.  Data from IPCC notes:

  • This would require 4 things:
    1. Global cooperation and a price on carbon
    2. Carbon capture and storage technologies which we still can’t do at any scale,
    3. Negative emissions.  Also don’t have a plan
    4. Zero use of fossil fuels (use bioenergy, solar, wind, nuclear)
  • Quote from the UN Chief – we have less than two years to avoid runaway climate change:  “Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we are at a defining moment,” he said. “Scientists have been telling us for decades. Over and over again. Far too many leaders have refused to listen. If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change,” Guterres said.
  • The longer we wait for meaningful action, the worse the scenarios. The opportunity presented has almost passed…  We’ve barely begun…we’re still building pipelines for fracks sake…and fracking…
  • This short video in this link explains it very well.
    https://www.cicero.oslo.no/…/news/a-journey-from-5c-to-2c

Three papers have been recently published that lead to the conclusion that human-induced climate change poses a much more urgent and serious threat to life on Earth than many have thought who have been relying primarily on the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This paper first reviews these papers and then examines the ethical questions of the issues discussed in these papers.” https://ethicsandclimate.org/2018/09/21/new-evidence-that-climate-change-poses-a-much-greater-threat-to-humanity-than-recently-understood-because-the-intergovernmental-panel-on-climate-change-has-been-systematically-underestimating-climate/

Comment on this story from Christopher Majka, ecologist, policy analyst, and writer from Nova Scotia:  “It’s hard to overstate the the gravity of what is emerging about the seriousness of our climate predicament. As the paper [Donald A. Brown’s paper in Ethics and Climate Change] notes, even if all “the GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions reductions commitments or Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs) made by governments so far under the Paris Agreement are complied with, the Earth’s temperature is expected to rise to 3.4ºC by 2100 without taking into account “long-term” carbon cycle feedbacks.” If those feedbacks are factored in, the probable temperature increase will be close to 5ºC (above pre-industrial levels).

“The report points out that “even if warming reaches 3°C, most of Bangladesh and Florida would drown, while major coastal cities – Shanghai, Lagos, Mumbai – would be swamped likely creating larger flows of climate refugees. Most regions of the world would see a significant drop in food production and increasing number of extreme weather events, whether heat waves, floods or storms.”

“One of the three papers by the Breakthrough Institute concludes that a, “Warming of 4°C or more could reduce the global human population by 80% or 90%, and the World Bank reports, “there is no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C temperature rise would be possible.” Quoting Professor Kevin Anderson, the report claims a 4°C future “is incompatible with an organized global community and is likely to be beyond adaptation by the majority of people.”

“Many of us may have feared and/or suspected such things, but this series of scientific papers are increasingly indicating that these are not simply worst-case scenarios, but rather probable outcomes of our current policies.

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Ann with an invasive but beautiful European Wall Lizard

So technically, based on the science it is possible, but structurally it’s highly, HIGHLY unlikely.  The technical science shows us how it’s possible and there are solutions out there. The structures of our cultures, of our slow behaviour change, the structures of our financial systems, corporate/capital systems, the structural determinism of our fossil fuel infrastructure, the structures of our political systems, and those in our educational systems are all basically ensuring the enshrinement of the status quo.  Basically there are embedded feedback loops to maintain the structure of how human civilization operates.  We know what we need to do, but we are just not doing it.  Well, maybe, just maybe we will shift the structure of our political system in BC with our vote next month on Proportional Representation.

If we shed our filters of optimism and pessimism and we allow realism to infiltrate our thinking, it’s not looking so good.  We see that the worst case GHGe scenarios as projected by the IPCC are playing out.

Combine all this with the current reality of what is happening now at 1.1 deg rise in global average temp. Horrifying. Now think of where we are heading with the IPCC projections of rise of 3.5-5 deg by 2100? OMG! This is bad. Civilization cannot sustain this. These papers linked above paint that picture pretty clearly…and the IPCC projections DON’T consider many feedbacks.

Time to view some of this data with our own filters of realism.

Our window for meaningful action is almost past…

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One of Gord’s compost bins for composting human manure.  Excellent way to build soil and sequester carbon.

Given all of this and how dire the situation is, it is utterly mind blowing how most of us are carrying on with business as usual.  Seriously!  The facts are clear that on this global and local pathway of ever more consumption and higher greenhouse gas emissions, we are literally destabilizing our planet leading to conditions NOT COMPATIBLE with human civilization and the ultimate culling of the human population…and perhaps ultimately extinction of mammals and complex life.  Our lives and certainly the lives of our children are at stake.

Here’s a few photos taken today of our dying Douglas Fir Trees on our 7.5 acres.  We have lost about 20 MORE tree this year alone.  We are in an area extremely vulnerable to fire…these dead trees just make it worse.  Climate change is hitting home.  The good news is that the Garry oaks are thriving.  Ann is busy throwing acorns around.  This winter we will lay down many of the dead firs in order to feed the soil and reduce the fire risk.  We will leave some firs standing for the woodpeckers and cavity nesting birds.

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So what to do?  Many people believe it’s game over and many still are trying to do what is humanly possible to create the required change to maintain a livable planet.

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This years squash harvest from the roof of the steel container.

Our approach continues to be the same strategy regardless of whether we believe the climate systems have tipped into irreversible climate disruption or there is hope to save the biosphere, civilization, or mammals (humans).

We are focusing on building personal and community resilience.  Learning skills, planting trees, building soil, protecting nature, building local relationships, and working on food and water systems.  We are also focusing on risk mitigation for our land, our Highlands community, and our region.  This is where we feel empowered.  This work goes a long ways to help us create a meaningful and joyous life.

This culture is dying…one way or another.  In the words of Stephen Jenkinson:  The sound of awakening is a sob.

Ann and Gord

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