Organic Gardening in a Hotter, Drier World

Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence by Christian Parenti (Jun 28, 2011)
(Amazon.com product link shortened) 00/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid11984718&sr=1-1 (Available at a library near you.)
172 TROPIC OF CHAOS
Welcome to the hot scrublands of the Nordeste and the tiny village of Boqueirao in Brazil's Ceara Province.
The Nordeste is semiarid, receiving very little rain. Severe floods punctuate its frequent droughts.
The majority of climate models find that northeast Brazil "is expected to experience more rapid warming than the global average during the 21st century." In more concrete terms, most forecasts predict northeastern Brazil will be a region of very severe water stress by 2050.
Rio's favelas (slums) are largely populated by people from these dry lands. Despite its harsh climate, the Northeast is densely populated.43 As climate change grinds down subsistence farmers, more Nordestinos leave to search for work either in the depressed cities of their nearby coastal areas, like Fortaleza and Recife, or down south in the megacities of Sao Palo and Rio. Thus, the social dimensions of the ecological crisis in the Nordeste (a front-line region for climate change) are expressed in cities as unemployment, makeshift housing, the narcotrade and violence.
This community has twenty-seven families, most of them related to each other. In face of drought and flooding, they have begun to adapt both technologically and politically. First, they switched from mono-cropping cotton and beans, which require burning the fallow fields and using expensive chemical inputs, to a form of mixed-crop agroecological farming, agroforestry, and integrated pest management that uses few or no chemical pesticides or fertilizers. They are also using inventive forms of low-impact water-capturing and rain-harvesting technologies.
Osmar and some of his compatriots take me across the road to show me "the system" and some of their alternative water-harvesting techniques.
RIO'S AGONY 175
One method involves building "underground dams." It goes like this: First the farmers find a dry streambed or natural area of drainage. At the bottom of this feature, below and away from the slope of the hill, they dig a long ditch across the natural path of drainage. The ditch maybe one hundred or three hundred feet long and deep enough to hit solid rockhere, about five to ten feet down. Then, within the ditch, they build a cement and rock wallor damlined with heavy plastic. Then the ditch is filled in, and the wall is buried. This underground dam greatly slows the natural drainage and creates a moist and fertile field "upstream."
The agroforestry crops are a mix of fruit trees, corn, cover crops, and climbing-vine crops. The fields seem abandoned due to the tangled mix of plant species. This lush mesh captures moisture and creates a balance of competing insects, limiting or eliminating the need for chemical pesticides. During the first three to five years, yields decrease, but then they increase as soil health improves. And the produce, as organic, commands higher prices.
For individual plants that need irrigation, they attach punctured empty plastic soda bottles to stakes above the thirsty plant. With this form of low-tech drip irrigation, a farmer can feed an individual plant little bits of water, allowing the precious liquid to drip out slowly and only onto the plant that needs it. The farmers' list of ingenious methods is long and evolving, thanks in part to groups like the Catholic NGO Caritas, which works to spread knowledge of best practices among the communities.
Altogether, these agroforestry or agroecological methods, which revive and enhance old ways, are in use all over the world. The IPCC mentions them in the Fourth Assessment Report: "Agroforestry using agroecologi- cal methods offers strong possibilities for maintaining biological diversity in Latin America, given the overlap between protected areas and agricultural zones."44
"The system," as the farmers call it, preserves and enhances the land's fertility and moisture, and because the fields are never left as bare ground, it helps prevent erosion.
In the village of Bueno, I met Antonio Braga Mota. "The system is a balanced system. I was really surprised that we actually did not need fertilizer and pesticides to do this," said Antonio as we tour his vine- and tree-covered crops. "The traditional method was destructive. Burning depletes the land. Unfortunately, I did a lot of that. "He said even tapirs and rare birds are returning. He could be passionate about the system because he owned his land. He was not rich but had enough land to make the transition from main-stream methods to green farming.
--
- Billy
Both the House and Senate budget plan would have cut Social Security and
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What a poorly written piece you present as evidence of organic best practices. Do you really know about the hydrology or even the geology of the area in this cherry picked book writers sociologist article? Seems to me you know even less about the anthropology of the region. So plastic coke bottles with holes in them are organic best practices? Sure glad the Catholic relief groups helped in the translation of this organic wonderment so as to better help us understand what your trying to say, It sounds so, I don't know...like so much gringo speak, further translated into something resembling your organic rants.
How about telling us about the many droughts in that area, should man keep trying to build in that environment just because " He was not rich but had enough land to make the transition from main-stream methods to green farming". What was his main stream methods prior ? Slash and burn? I feel you need a better understand of the sciences.
You really think green farming and some dam idea is going to keep him from starving in the next drought? Perhaps you really think that the dam idea is somehow unique to your book writer's organo POV on that area and that give them some special advantage? Do you even know some of the many other areas in the world that technique is used? The author neglects to mention that it is the surface dams that allow the many tribes to live in the region today. Bet ya didn't even know that there is a vast river under the Amazon a little further south, just as large at a depth of ~4000 ft? Also not a lot of nutrients going into that poor soil, which is worse than the soils in the Colorado and American River basins. The fate of these folks reads very similar to the Anasazi and the Maya. Do you know how many died in the last big drought there and when was it?
Like your BS rants about C. Mann and his discovery of biochar that never was. You know nothing about the area, the people, or the land, much less the hydrology. Sure seem like your buying into this writer's book marketing scheme in the same way. Cherry picked doom and gloom , being oppressed by the " Man", escaping a world of violence and depression through the enlightenment of the world of Organic Superiority. ( cue the harps! down the lights, main spot center stage on coke bottles dripping water!).
This one is a pathetic leap to organo is best, even for you billy boy. .
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Tribal Aboriginals did a similar form of water storing in arid zones of Australia before the white man arrived here. IIRC, there are photos of such stores at the base of huge rock formation in the big Permaculture 'bible'.
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'Billy[_10_ Wrote: > ;935445']Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of > Violence by

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> 2050.

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> First

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> of

> of

> of

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> Medicare, while cutting taxes on the wealthy.

> jobs. And its not that difficult to get out of it. The first thing you > do is you get rid of corporate welfare. Thats hundreds of billions of > dollars a year. The second is you tax corporations so that they dont > get away with no taxation.

> Corporate Tax Loopholes' (http://tinyurl.com/3thgmu4 )
Yes the many of the measure which you have selected are very good and helps the farmers grow crops and get much yields. You have missed some points too for example
Strip Farming - where many strips of the different crops are grown so that nutrients and soil can be conserved. This way we can also beat the global warming.
Drip Irrigation - Through this way each plant of the crop is watered directly to its root through the drips coming out of the holes of the pipe which are laid down across the field and the plants are grown near the each hole. This way crop can be grown even in the areas where where water is in acute shortage.
Mulching - Here we reduce the rate of the evaporation from the field, the field is covered with the stems of the wheat or rice so that they can act as the barrier between the sun and moist soil so that soil can contain moisture for the long time.
--
robinsonstellar


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Thank you for your post.
--
- Billy
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