Wes Jackson - The Future of U.S. Agriculture and Land Care

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Dr. Wes Jackson, co-founder of the Land Institute, a non-profit educational research center in Salina, Kansas, gave closing address at major agricultural symposium at Concordia College in Moorhead. Jackson’s speech was titled "Food, Farming and the Future." Jackson is the author of three books: "Man and His Environment", "New Roots for Agriculture", and "Meeting the Expectations of the Land." He also teaches land stewardship and sustainable agriculture.

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I do want to talk about my biases for a little bit because what people have to say that they pass off as being objective is the consequence of some biases and I suppose the most overriding bias that I have is that the world is as Henry David Thoreau said the world is more beautiful than it is useful. The world is more beautiful than it is useful. And another bias I have comes from it's an agreement with a Nigerian Chief who said I conceived that land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead. Few are living and countless numbers are unborn. That's a bias. I have that if that the countless numbers that are unborn have at least as much right as the minority that has already died. And the minority that is living that is there potential minorities. They may be the majority if we continue with such nutty things as nuclear weapons build up and so on. Another bias, is that science? Maybe well, this is not a bias. This is a question that audibly ought to ask science. Maybe an inherently alienating Force at work in the world today. Now maybe I put it this way is science and inherently alienating Force at work in the world today. And if a person is a scientist first and a human being secondarily they can't afford to ask that question. If they're a scientist first and a human being secondarily you can't afford to ask the question whether science is an inherently alienating force on the other hand. If a person is a human first and a scientist secondarily, they can't afford not to I think that is a kind of crucial test because with science what we have. Is is one eyed vision and you know, if you have only one eye you don't have depth perception very well. Another way of putting it. Is that the camera eye of science. is too flat the problem with science is the fact is not the truth. Now, unfortunately, we live with the idea that fact is truth fact is fact and it's partial. All right. Those are some biases and so they taint. Or I should say they add perfume to what I'm about to say about the future of us Agriculture and land care. Well, first of all, we have to ask the question. I think what are we up against what we're up against our overpopulation consumerism Injustice and so on. We're also up against some things from the experts in our society. Not long ago. I was in a meeting when of some 25 Agra people interested in agriculture and a young PhD Keen in math and in computers. From Iowa state did a linear programming model and estimated the value of the soil to be somewhere between one and four dollars per acre for each Year's worth of production. The head of the soil conservation service was there. And the veins on my neck were standing out like garden hose when this young fellow was talking and I said look, you don't treat soil as a resource soil is not a resource anymore than people are resources because land and people are what it's about call Chrome a resource or gold or resource, but you don't call land resource. And the even after that eloquent impassioned speech to this young assistant professor without tenure. The head of the soil conservation service said our numbers agree with your numbers said that to the young fellow. Well, that's one of the things were up against there was a scientist there who's associated with the 26 million dollar biotechnology program, you know, this gene splicing genes stitching gee whiz genetics type stuff that's going to make everybody happy in some funny age of the future. He asked the question. Do you want to save agriculture or do we save a food producing system? And he said I'm here to tell you. I'm interested in Saving a food producing system. in other words Agra culture Which is the mother of culture? Is to be forsaken. In the name of a food producing system. That's something we're up against. Well, what are we up against from the practitioners? We have a capital intensive approach to farming that does such things as as create an overdraft of the Ogallala Aquifer. They're pulling out in excess of replacement about 20 million acre feet a year. And if you want to know what 20 million acre-feet is, go stand at Kansas City when you're down there watching that team play stand at Kansas City where the Missouri is coming by there's about 50 million acre feet a year that goes by Kansas City actually 53 million acre feet a year. So it's two fifths of the annual flow of the Missouri if they were to pull that water out of the Missouri at during irrigation season, the Missouri would be dry below the suction pipe. That's a River of No, Return. And we're mining that water to grow corn at a cost to the farmer. And the only way the farmers have been able to do that is because in the past was because of appreciating land values. Well groundwater pollution do the pesticides and fertilizer some folk or pooh-poohing that as a problem, but I think we can say that and this again is a bias because I'm an evolutionary biologist and an evolutionary biologist ought to be teaching the public what the implications of evolutionary biology are and one of them is that you don't introduce chemicals into the environment that our tissues have had no evolutionary experience with you don't introduce chemicals into the environment that your tissues have not evolved with those chemicals at least ought to be regarded as guilty until proven innocent. And now we give them the same status that a human has in court. Innocent until proven guilty and so the consequence is if you are a Southeastern, Nebraska Corn farmer. adjusted for age and sex you will have run a risk of twice the incidence of acute leukemias the rest of the population. And you start sorting through a kind of a multivariate analysis picking the primary things that you think may be responsible and it looks as though the pesticides that are used in raising corn are primarily are the primary suspect. Well along with this of course is come soil erosion when Hugh Hammond Bennett the founding chief of the soil conservation service 50 years ago came to office. This country was losing 3, that's 3 billion tons of soil a year now. About 5.4 billion times. In other words, we're running hard and still going backwards. One reason you don't see it is that the big machinery comes through now and wipes out the gullies used to be the kind of had to farm around some of those gullies and The Tell-Tale symptoms were were there. Well, what are we up against from the financial community? The suppliers of inputs the people that provide the Agra chemicals the people that provide the farm machinery the fertilizer the pesticides and so on in my view too many of them regard the farmer. Merely as a quarry to be mind. I think that there is a myth that we got to get rid of in fact a myth is a positive thing. It's a falsehood that we need to get rid of to let you know I know how to act in polite company. I won't call it a lie. It's a falsehood and the falsehood is that farmers receive a subsidy actually Farmers launder the money to the suppliers of inputs that receive the subsidy. Farmer does not receive the subsidy launders the money. Now what happens of course, is that that money once it goes through his hands because Community has been destroyed and another book of required reading that every academic Dean should see that the students have read before they get out is Wendell Berry's the unsettling of America it ought to be read in the English classes or the biology classes are somewhere but in the unsettling of America is the analysis of what is lost in the drying up of rural communities and what the implications of that are for our for the country ultimately. Well, if money goes through the farmers hands to the suppliers of input and can't roll over and over and over within a community. But rather Jets gets electronically bounced around the globe to Tokyo or Geneva or wherever the interest rate might be high. Then it can't stay there and work. And so what the farmer has become is the primary on the ground agent in an extractive economy rather than a cycling economy. And so they keep coming back with the subsidy and then City people say well we're tired of subsidizing these farmers. They ought to talk about there being tired of subsidizing the suppliers of the inputs. Well, what are we up against from the financial Community? Well, we have banks that have made stupid loans right now. We have about two percent of the farmers that are responsible for 30% of the unmanageable debt, which is dragging down lots of rural Banks and hurting the other farmers. And I don't know I would recommend that. Somebody pick up Dante's Divine Comedy and read in The Inferno. I read The Inferno recently again. Go to Circle seven round three in The Inferno. Where the violent against God nature and art are getting it. There they are on a great plane of burning stats and upon which their descends and eternal slow rain of fire. And there are three classes of Sinners there that are being scorched by the fire from above this rain of fire is coming down there the blasphemers there stretch the pine upon the sand the sodomites who are have been violent against nature, they run an endless circles and then there are the users. The users and those are the ones that are charged interests that are charging interest and and Dante has these people as those that are violent against Art. And art is the grandchild of God. And there they are huddled on the The Sands. Well, the symbolism of the Burning Plane is obviously centered in sterility the desert image. Their blasphemy sodomy and use re are all natural and sterile actions. And so consequently, the end bearing desert is the eternity of these Sinners and thus the rain which in nature should be fertile and cool descends as fire. Now. I happen to think Dante had an Insight fact us a very the whole thing's pretty insightful. Most people read The Inferno and don't get around. The paradise Paradise is wonderful too. I recommend that also as a place to go Mark Twain said that was Heaven for climate and he'll for society. Well, we have a we have a problem here in the society and which when money which is the symbol of something real becomes the thing. In other words when Farmers find themselves settle selling their breeding stock in order to put it in the CDs, then the symbol has become more powerful than what the symbol stands for. In other words in a way. It's like killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Well what we are up against from the intellectual Community or the Agra philosophers is that there is no Clear Vision of a sustainable agriculture for agriculture run on sunlight. There is no or little acknowledgement of the good examples of farming that are around now and there's no or little attempt to connect the good examples with one another so everybody gets it whether we're academicians or whether we're Bankers or whether we're Farmers. The point is we're all in it together and the crisis current crisis in agriculture, which is translated in terms of soil loss chemical contamination fossil fuel intensive Ness is all the consequence of a failure of culture. Wait, the whole debt thing is simply a numerical manifestation of the failure of culture. Now it sounds bleak. And maybe what I've had to say justifies pessimism, but I want you to consider this statement from Seven. Tomorrow's the book by Paul Hawken James Ogilvie and Peter Schwartz. I'm quoting him. We need a future we can affirm. A future that is neither. So hopeful as to be unrealistic nor so Grim as to invite despair. Optimism and pessimism are not arguments. They are opposite forms of the same surrender to simplicity. Optimism and pessimism are not arguments. They are opposite forms of the same surrender to simplicity. If you're an optimist or a pessimist about the future, then what that does is relieve you of the burden of complex options with complicated consequences. Both optimists and pessimists carry on without caring about the consequences of their actions. convinced of a single course for the Juggernaut of History whether it's malignant or benign. Both Optimist and pessimist allow themselves irresponsible actions because they believe that individual actions have no significant consequences. So what this does is force us to confront that what will save us our individual actions. The ancient oracles and prophets were often too generic to be useful the modern mathematical profits are too specific for they deal with too few variables nevertheless. They have great value, especially if their predictions are mixed with the musings of those who insist that we need a broader bottom line in deciding what paths we should take to ensure a sustainable food supply for the future. Almost every time you hear somebody say well, let's look at the bottom blind. You can bet that. It's narrow. People that have a broad bottom line in mind usually don't talk about it. They don't say let's look at the bottom line because the line is so wide that everybody can see it that they don't have to be told. All right, before prophecy can be very reliable. It seems to me we need a sense of history and it's going to have to be painted in Broad brush Strokes here tonight. History is important for perspective. And to me this is the history of agricultural. knowledge this was the history. This is the history of agriculture. Going back almost to its beginning and a little bit of the time before. And in that sense now, I want to talk about the problem of Agriculture. What I call the problem of Agriculture what I called it in new routes for agriculture. The problem of Agriculture not problems in agriculture, but agriculture is a problem itself because as I see it essentially all the problems were having in agriculture are the consequence of the problem of agriculture. And I think that agriculture is the number one problem next to the possibility of nuclear war. Now I'm not going to talk about Farm debt bankruptcies the chemical contamination of soil and water with pesticides and fertilizers and all that. All those are problems in agriculture. I want to talk about the ancient problem of agriculture in the last 10 to 18 thousand years when agriculture change the face of the Earth. Now we creatures of the upper Paleolithic with this 1350 cubic centimeter brain. Have been around with the big brain about 200,000 years. There's no reason to suppose that our ancestors living a hundred thousand years ago ten times longer than we've had agriculture. There's no reason to suppose that they were not as intelligent as we are today People Like Us essentially not much change. The we weren't a bunch of gaping shock heads standing around, you know, just with her hair sticking out in all directions. We were we were creatures that may in some respects have been polite ER At least we didn't go around atomic bomb on one another then or even threaten it. If you take 10,000 years that we've had Agriculture and put it over that two hundred thousand year period we're talking about five percent of our total evolutionary history with the big brain. Half of that time we've had history. History is an account of human activity during the most perverted years of our existence if you're interested in abnormal social psychology, you study history. All right. So the point is that for a hundred and ninety thousand years or so we operated in systems with great diversity. And over the course of that time from the time we started agriculture what we have done every Century. If not, every decade is reduce the amount of available ecological capital for future Generations. The only reason we are still around today is that we haven't used it all up yet. That's all nutrients that were being sucked from parent rock material and subsoil to give us soil with the help of the glaciers and well the vegetation. Wherever we have had agriculture with a few exceptions some places in Europe some places in the end. He's we have lost the ecological Capital with the opening up of the American continent. We lost about a third of the soil carbon and in fact until 1962 all the carbon that was put in the atmosphere by the American half of it was from burning fossil fuels and half was from agriculture one can ask the question my Gully weren't there people around in the Mediterranean region where agriculture had its beginning somewhere in the Zagros Mountains of Western Iran and spreading very quickly weren't there people around because after all here was this area of Babylon Where there was once a rich Agriculture and now is shifting sand the port's a hundred eighty miles Inland. The fields are salted. They once planted wheat then salt Park Dog tolerant barley then nothing and the place has been abandoned you remember the scriptures Nebuchadnezzar gave what you might call a mayor's type speech a state of the union. Sorry your honor a mayor's type speech in which he said that I've given you this groovy place. This is a free translation. I'm giving you this groovy place. I've given you these Hanging Gardens of giving you streets made of the break of the burnt bituminous The Cedars of Lebanon of adorned with gold and it was just on and on but there was some nasty profits actually Hebrews that were, you know, the Hebrews that set down by the Rivers of Babylon and wept Some Hebrews that we're sort of second-class Citizen said this place is going to become a desolation. I Wilderness a place. No man dwelleth. And that's exactly what it became. Well then over into Syria now where the steps of buildings are some 18 to 30 feet in the air the Temple of Diana under 30 feet of mud. You take a trip right on around the Mediterranean Plato lamented the demise of the mountains of Attica that were once prosperous, but now only fit for bees Spain spent her soils and her for us to support Empire and then came the defeat of the Spanish Armada. I guess more by storm than by then by the the British but it then cost England her forests to rule the waves for 300 years. And then it was our turn with the first tobacco planted at Jamestown as an export crop. I mean, we've got quite a record as an export crop. Tobacco the first crop at Jamestown from that point on. We have now we have the distinction of being responsible for the most rapid aging continent in the history of the Earth. Now that is the story of Empire Westward with Empire. Well, we had people around people around that we're talking about this problem. And you know, if you think this is a long time ago 4000 years ago is the Mesopotamian experience experience there in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers Bristlecone Pines alive in the White Mountains of the West were alive then Were alive then and there were people around talking about this being something that shouldn't be done. And so the voices were their job talked about the waters wear away the stones and take away the hope of man numerous people articulate impatient knowledgeable. Whether they were white or the Indians the Indian to come see Patrick Henry Washington, Jefferson, George Perkins Marsh who Hammond Bennett Aldo Leopold John Muir ding Darling Paul Sears the whole bunch and I call it the failure of history and prophecy they had conferences and they got together and talked about the need to be concerned and they broke up into little workshops and they networked and they did all sorts of things. But it's still the ecological Capital runs to the Sea. So we have to count that the failure of history and prophecy and then you can look at I've even seen soil loss on Mennonite and Amish farms Beyond replacement levels. You can say that the Mennonites and the Amish are are good stewards of the land. And in fact, they say there's no higher calling than to be that of a farmer and then to be a farmer and yet you wonder after having seen their Farms if it is beyond our ethical stretch to do till agriculture in a way. That is sustainable. Now you may find some individuals that can do it and for quite a while but eventually somebody is going to show up on that piece of land if it's sloping that will do it in a non sustainable way and the recharge rate will not be equal to what was lost in that generation. And finally the worst failure of all is the failure of success bad thing about success. You don't learn much from it. I mean about about the worst thing that can happen to a kid is to be popular in high school. No, you better off fighting acne and being too ugly to get a date. There's certain things that come from that kind of suffering and just look while wonderful. I am now I could tell you if you in American agriculture, the failure of success is rooted in the kinds of things. I Have on the table. I've put over here the carne plan. Here's a plant that if you go down the road, you'll notice that all these ears come out at about the same level that's breeding folks that's breeding. Its homogeneity it accommodates. Our idea as to how to harvest corn what we are using with our emphasis on production is the assembly line model of industrialized mass production. The consequence is that 30% of the American corn crop comes from for inbred lines. That's the same as two individuals crossing that's genetic vulnerability. That's genetic truncation of a major crop. And by the way this corn plant which is representative of what is grown over 70 million acres in this country 70 million Acres. This corn plant has been the killer of the continent. In the sense that where it is grown on sloping ground. It's exposed in the part of the year in which we get the rains and the highest erosion. You see Farmers going up and down hill even on the Contour. We're having soil lost Beyond replacement levels. I think we can say that the corn plant as a product of tech not modern agricultural technology has destroyed more options for future Generations than the automobile. now it's not nice to say things about say bad things about living things but in this corn plant We now have Wellhead genes ensembles of genes. That would not be there if it were not for the fossil fuel. Well heads. We have Chicago Board of Trade genes in this corn plant. I mean ensembles of genes. That would not be there where they're not a Chicago Board of Trade we have computer genes are coming into this corn crop here is the number one carbohydrate producer for our country. And it is a crop. One of the reasons more acres are being planted is because Europe is getting more money and they want to eat more meat. And so now we Europeans. On this side of the continent on this side of the water and on the other side. Are pouring our water out of the Ogallala pouring our soil out of Wisconsin and Minnesota into the most massive welfare program in the history of the world the cattle and pig welfare program. It's a massive program 88% of all vegetable protein in this country goes into livestock. And I saw Center for Rural Affairs published a little thing the person that won the award for 300 and some bushels per acre set the record. What did it cost him to set to produce that 300 and some bushels it cost him about a hundred dollars an acre. So it is a kind of net drain. Well, you gets you gets an award for it. Of course. Here's the soybean. I thought we ought to get some plants in on this food Symposium these plants stick out like emeralds in a conference. Don't they? It's wonderful what you got with a plant. All right, so in thinking about the failure of success It seems to me that we can say that the ploughshare has destroyed more options for the future than the sword. Now thinking about the four failures is agriculture in the nature of a dramatic tragedy Alfred North Whitehead. The philosopher said that the essence of dramatic tragedy lies not in unhappiness. Unhappiness, but in the inevitable working of things it is however, he says through people that it's experienced as unhappiness. Well is agriculture in the nature of a dramatic tragedy is it locked into the cosmos? After all, you got to have food to feed people primary source is agriculture on this populated planet and yet it undercuts the very basis of its existence. Well, I think it's not inevitable, but I think it's going to take a paradigm shift. That is fun. That is more radical or at least as radical as the Agricultural Revolution itself and actually an Agricultural Revolution that was not possible until the last 50 years was certain discoveries in the area of the science of plant ecology plant population bit biology and so forth. Our modern problem is is that we are faced with complex options with complicated Solutions. So in an attempt to distill the complexity down to something manageable, I believe we can characterize two sets of mindedness at work. So let's imagine a pie. You got a small piece cut in the pie? But not removed from the plate. That small piece of the ply represents human cleverness the large piece Nature's wisdom. Imagine another pie cut like the other one, but with the labels reversed in other words instead of Nature's wisdom being the big part Nature's wisdom is the little part and human cleverness is the big part. now those who are devotees of the importance of human cleverness with little regard for nature have one agenda for human activity in the future while those with a stronger affection for relying primarily on Nature's wisdom have another The human cleverness folk are of a very different Stripe from the Nature's wisdom people and as I see it, the cultural battle to come has little to do with the traditional differences between Democrat and Republican liberal and conservative if we're lucky it will be a conflict between the human cleverness folk whose loyalties and affections are very different from the Nature's wisdom Advocates. Now, of course, we have to exercise human cleverness and take advantage of Nature's wisdom, but the problems will come as the culture works out the proper ratio as countless hopes dreams and bona fide needs both float against one another and bombard one another during the Shakedown. What our cultural values are rooted in will be Paramount. So it seems to me then that the future of Agriculture is now being threatened by the human cleverness Camp people in high places are having visions, you know, you got to watch people with vision if they don't have sight. So in a scenario of an Illinois Farm of the future offered by dr. John our Campbell dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Illinois, he's I'm going to read what he had to say. It is a clear June morning in Illinois, the computer awakens the farmer with music after a few minutes information gathered and processed by computer during the night appears on the bedroom monitor sensors in nose rings and ear tags and implanted devices in farm animals have been scanned to ascertain their physiological State conditions are normal except for a pregnant guilt who's breathing. Rate is increasing as she prepares to Pharaoh her first 20 lit Pig litter. Confined sows and cows coming into estrus have been identified automatically by sensors measuring electrical conductivity of vaginal secretions. The computer is already scheduled each for each receipt of Frozen embryos 34 sows for for cattle embryos containing high growth low fat jeans, a few will be miniature fertile males program for precocious puberty. We've had enough problems with precocious puberty. The automatic feed Grinders and mixers have functioned satisfactory during the night. Oh-ho. Anybody's been on a farm knows that's a laugh all animals have been fed and watered quantities of feed recorded as distributed amounts consumed by each animal estimated and registered remaining levels of grain protein sources and feed additives and bins and tanks measured and replenishment orders automatically placed with local suppliers via the computer network. The monitor shows that each of the pituitary accentuated beef animals has visited its feet gate at least once during the night and that the huge dose. I'll beasts have received their necessary supply of roughage D-League defied cellulose digested wood pulp straw and corn Stover environmental conditions and all farm buildings and Facilities including The Farmhouse where What are monitored continuously by computer during the night and automatically checked against detailed specifications of acceptable standards corrective actions to eliminate dark and heat cool dry humidify ventilate and move animal waste to digesters were initiated by computer as necessary and the functions of all mechanical devices were checked regularly. The farmer spends a few more minutes watching and listening to the systematic report of farm conditions, the synthesized voice proceeds monogamously through the lengthy checklist as precise as pertinent data are flashed on the screen. The computer has been scanning by Telemetry a number of miniature portable weather station placed in farm fields, and it goes on and on and on The farmer finally yawns and gets up and go somewhere. I don't know where there's nothing left to do. But the children Mary 7 and John 19, they are in the Home Learning Center. The computer is helping Mary increase your typing speed and earlier by means of a simple exciting game. It introduced her to the concepts of set theory John completed many courses for the BS degree in agriculture without leaving home. Now. I can't see any advantage and not having your kid go away when he gets that age chloroform would be cheaper maybe but anyway, he obtained the courses all on random access Optical discs through the computer networking paid for them on monthly communication bills. And they're the best taught courses from 13 universities in the network. At intervals determined by John's progress. He will spend periods of two days to two months at a college campus for oral exams lab experience counseling seminars and simulator training. Do you think that there will ever be one single Jefferson that will come out of that life? There will not be a Jefferson nor will it be a Madison nor? Will there be a Lincoln? Well, anyway, they've got all sorts of ideas. They're going to take hormones out of elephants and put them into beef and have beefs as big as elephants that every time they take a step. They will break a leg. I mean anybody that's knows about that scale up problem. But the thing that that's bothersome about all of this, is that the human cleverness Is what's getting the Boost now in Agricultural Science, and there's not much talk about soil erosion and there's not much talk about chemical contamination, and there's not much talk about. The farm as a hearth where rural values which have been the backbone of this country. That is all that has held it together so far. There's not much talk about maintaining that cultural information that will be necessary when the oil is gone. What are we going to do with Ewing oil is gone how many we ought to stop think? You know, that's a problem. The nuclear option is too expensive and they're radioactive waste that we don't know what to do with just as a matter of prudence. We ought to look at those natural systems that nature has provided and say Nature has been at it longer. We may learn faster than nature. But nature has been at it longer every breath. We take every second of every minute of every hour of every day is a result of nature. So nature must have something we come out of it. All right. Well, what do we have to offer and I'll quickly finish here. I've realized I've or shot myself. Well at the land Institute, what we're working on is using the Prairie as an analogy to develop herbaceous as opposed to Woody perennial as opposed to annual seed producing mixtures. Where we put them together in mixes sunflowers grains and legumes sunflowers that produce herbicides. The legumes that produce the nitrogen they all produce a product that is harvestable. In other words take the total ecology perennials because the roots will hold the soil essentially all of our high yielding crops are annuals are treated as such so that is our particular Twist on what you might call the Paradigm that involves nature. There are some traditional things that are being done by the Amish and the Hutterites that are better than what we find in industrialized agriculture. Those kinds of things need to be highlighting. Now, I'm not going to say that there is no place for bio engineering or any of the g-wiz genetics, but that it ought to follow and not lead. In other words it ought to be the sliver of the pie rather than most of it. And what my concern is that we dump billions of dollars into this research for an exercise in human cleverness. It is not being mindful of the message that came through when all you always said make me an altar of unhewn stone, which is that the creation is first and foremost to be mindful of the kind of Agriculture. We're talking about it the land and researching. Well, let me back up. There's what I'm going to call a law and ecologically law and that is that values dictate genotype our values dictate the heredity of the crops that we produce. There are genes in there for our values. Those plants reflect the cultural on in Ensemble. They reflect the cultural average for us. Now if we say that we want to take advantage of the natural integrities inherent within biological systems take advantage of the natural integrities inherent in within biological systems where you have roots that will hold the soil and plants will come up next year where you have a water management system that is done by by Nature where you have chemical diversity that that sees to it that you don't have the whole thing mowed down by insects pathogens and so on where you have nitrogen fixation going on right in your system so that you don't use 22% of the interruptible supply of natural gas as the feedstock for nitrogen fertilizer as we're doing now. Now you're beginning to take advantage of what was here before the Agricultural Revolution. Applying some of our cleverness Charles Lindbergh said the future of the human will depend on on a marriage between the cleverness of Science and the wisdom of nature. Now, that's a different kind of Paradigm. And what comes from that is a certain humility. What is now at work today? That's going to lead to even more starvation for people in the third world. Is is a Reliance on cleverness which is capital intensive. Look hungry. People don't have money. The people that are giving us the cleverness the monsanto's that are going to give us weeds that will explode in the field. We always got to have some explosion. I mean weeds can't just die. They explode with lasers. It's yeah, I didn't read all of this those folk want to give a give a technology. To this country with the idea that it has implications in the third world. Anytime you have a technology that has been built and a fossil fuel intensive culture. It's not trustable. What you do is export principles. Of agricultural ecology that are applicable in Chad the Soviet Union and here. And I think we'll be able to say after the fossil fuel epic is over that most of the discoveries of science will hold. but most of the technological array will go most of the technology will not stand up most of the science. That is the Discovery. Will there is more to be discovered than invented. And the future of the human is going to be dependent more upon Discovery than on invention. If you have invention over running Discovery, then you have a technological base with poor underpinnings. See what's wrong with the idea. of breeding eyeless Hogs You know having Hogs blind so that they won't be nervous in close confinement. What's wrong with that is that you begin to put yourself on the ends of streets that are one way cul-de-sacs. You don't build in the contingency plans and it's not accessible to everybody and besides that it's not fair to a hog. It's not fair to a hug. now I imagine some Oracle modern-day Oracle could say let me see if I can find it. I wrote it here. I imagine a modern-day Oracle saying if you apply employee bio engineering in order to unite cows and Hogs and one organism, you know, there's talk of that now, I don't know what that creature is going to do. You will if you employ bio engineering in order to unite cows and Hogs and one organism, you will create monsters. I can imagine such bio manipulation happening with impunity for decades only to discover 50 years down the line that several monsters were created. But the monsters turned out to be the thousands of humans who saw nothing wrong with it. Anytime you jiggle with this stuff in the creation of these things. It won't be the genetic monster that Jeremy rifkin's talking about it will be us. That sees nothing wrong with eyeless hugs and featherless chickens. And then where will the people be that gave it to us? Vanish into the woodwork my friends to me. The time is now to start saying no saying almost anytime anything new is offered. As a breakthrough. Just say no first oppose it oppose it put your foot on it. And like it's a snake that will bite you and then let that foot up slowly and if it looks like it's going to wiggle around put it down again right now if ask anything that happens to come onto the scene we're open to it and that's part of the frontier Spirit, you know, it says there's an open open-endedness of everything. Well, it seems to me that. That the view from the mountain. That we're going to have during the fossil fuel Epic. Is going to is going to show us. And a an array of technology that will not be useful in the future. Even though a lot of the science will be but there's going to be one more thing that I just want to leave you with that that I think we will have thought about from The Mountaintop and I'll end it by telling the story. And it's kind of a warning to all of us to show you how these things can come on and not know what's happening until it's too late. I read a story about us which I think and is in a Lani a couple years ago about a young Jewish who had been brought into a camp and the only way out of us, which was up the chimney. As she had been brought into the camp and she was to be led over and her clothes taken off and her her jewelry taken and so on and she was sort of ushered around by a young Nazi SS guard with a gun. He looked at her in a lascivious way and she noted his attention and managed to kick him and somehow get the rifle. And before anything anybody could come to his rescue. She pumps several rounds right into his middle. And as he lay there on the ground inside the walls of auswitch where he had ushered numerous prisoners to the showers. He said my God my god. What have I done to deserve this? Now the psychological problem of not making a connection between what we have done and then what gets happen to us as a consequence of us doing it if that connection is so incomplete. in a in an SS guard in off switch What about the connections? For us where we have a hungry world. That does not have access to food and where we think we can make it possible by a capital intensive agriculture that has been built on a young continent with eroding soils and a high amount of fossil fuel. And if we don't ever get it turned and then it comes back to turn on us comes back to turn on us. through hordes coming across the border of Mexico Finding their way in from Central America or who knows? How will we one day lie on the ground after we've dumped all this money into this and say my God my god. What have we done to deserve this? Now it seems to me that that's how it breaks. What we need to do is to then put all this together and ask what does this mean in this era of agricultural technology when we are not getting our own house in order and have really nothing to offer the poor and hungry. Those who say we must feed the world are making the wrong statement a better statement is the world must be fed. And the better way to feed the world is through the employment of some principals. Of agricultural ecology that can be passed around see Darwin's theory of evolution Evolution through natural selection. It holds in the Arctic and it holds in the tropics the unifying concept for a sustainable agriculture will hold everywhere the same and that is transportable. What is not transportable will be the g-wiz technology during this little blip. And so with that I'll end and I guess give people a chance for a rebuttal.


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