What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

No huge surprise, synthetic nitrogen is bad for the soil

Recent research at the university of Illinois indicates that fertilizers derived from fossil fuel lead to the breakdown of organic matter and soil carbon thus blocking the soil's ability to sequester CO2, hold moisture, and support a healthy level of soil biodiversity. This leads to compaction, increased erosion, and increased need for irrigation. This of course leads to the erosion of the long term viability of the soil.

But this is nothing new, in 1947 in a seminal text for modern agriculture the British agronomist Sir Albert Howard warned that the application of synthetic fertilizers would do "untold harm" to the soil. As the Dutch used to say "Fertilizer is good for the father and bad for the sons."

Contrast this with the methods of organic agriculture which are built around preserving and enhancing the soil both for today and tomorrow. You can explore the latest research on organic methods over a Rodale Institute.

To read more about the UI research go to the article by Tom Philpott over at Grist.com

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