Dennis Frank interviews Kiwi biochar advocates Graham Smith (an Aucklander) and Trevor Richards (who lives in Kuala Lumpur).
Biochar is a carbon-negative soil improvement technology that takes at least 25% of organic carbon out of the cycle and converts it into solid mineral carbon that remains stable in soil for thousands of years.
It increases soil fertility and raises agricultural productivity, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. It slows evaporation by helping soil retain moisture, which reduces nutrient-leaching and the need for irrigation.
Decomposing biomass adds large amounts of methane and carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and so does traditional wood-burning and composting. Burying biochar instead reduces the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Sequestering carbon in the ground is now a sensible way to mitigate global warming, according to prominent scientists such as James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia hypothesis.
Biochar acts like a coral reef for microbes and fungi that are beneficial to soil and plants, enhancing root growth.
Just as coral reefs are the richest ecosystems in the ocean for biodiversity, so biochar in the soil likewise provides a base on which soil biodiversity develops, creating a more resilient ecosystem. Building soil biodiversity restores degraded soils & improves soil structure, reducing the need for pesticides by producing healthier plants.
Charcoal is a high-carbon, fine-grained residue produced by pyrolysis of biomass. If you heat almost any biological material to a certain temperature, and restrict or exclude oxygen, pyrolysis occurs instead of normal combustion.
Pyrolysis is the direct thermal decomposition of biomass in the absence of oxygen to obtain an array of solid (biochar), liquid (bio-oil) and gas (syngas) products. The specific yield depends on the design of the process - it can be optimised to prioritise either energy or biochar yield.
The gas can be used similarly to other fuels, to generate electricity, either by backyard mechanics or by sustainable energy entrepreneurs. The United Nations Global Clean Stove Initiative is providing 100 million clean biomass cook-stoves for the developing world.
Green technologies that convert waste to energy often produce biochar as a byproduct, and most processes that produce it use efficient renewable energy sources. Industry and communities can apply them to sustainably exploit waste biomass resources.
In Auckland Graham hopes to help set up a process using the proposed curbside collection of foodscraps as compost in combination with pyrolised greenwaste. Construction and demolition timber can be diverted from landfills, sawdust from sawmills and the output from chippers & shredders can be used.
Biochar further advances the green cause when used as a filter: not only to purify water but also to absorb nutrient run-off from farms, and to clean and regenerate rivers and lakes.
Current forestry uses tree trunks only, leaving the branches and leaves to rot & re-enter the atmosphere as greenhouse gases - so it makes sense to turn that into biochar instead.
Just consider the difference for reforestation of the Amazon: slash and burn leaves only 3% of the carbon from the organic material in the soil, whereas slash and char can sequester up to 50% of the carbon in a highly stable form! That's from biochar's Wikipedia page.
Dr. Tim Flannery is Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Macquarie University in Sydney, chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council, and head of the Climate Commission in Australia. His 1994 book “The Future Eaters” is an ecological history of Australasia, and his 2005 book about global warming “The Weather Makers” made the New York Times best-seller list.
In his Amazon review of "The Biochar Revolution", he points out that biochar-making techniques are readily accessible to everyone - all of us, in our own gardens and communities, can contribute and make a genuine difference now without having to wait for our governments and institutions.
If enough people do so, the collective effort will generate sustainable benefits for everyone. He reckons that biochar may now be the most important initiative for the future of humanity!
Graham and Trevor are part of a group currently facilitating the formation of the "NZ Biochar Interest Group", which will be affiliated to the International Biochar Initiative.
If you are interested in finding out more, please contact: biocharnz [at] gmail.com
Maire Leadbeater has been at the forefront of political and social activism in New Zealand for much of her life. Such dedication is rare. Daughter of activist and writer Elsie Locke, and sister to retired Green MP Keith Locke, it is not surprising that Maire has been both encouraging of them, and inspirational herself.
As a peace and human rights activist, and a former social worker, Maire was also the media spokesperson for the campaign for nuclear disarmament on the 1980s and early 1990s.
She tells us of the blossoming nuclear free movement of that time, and how the flotilla of boats went out to obstruct nuclear war ships as they came into port, and how a small scale protest became a popular movement.
It is inspiring that New Zealand, the mouse that roared, found the political will to stand up to world powers and say NO to foreign nuclear war ships and to nuclear weapons. We do not appear to have had such courage since.
East Timor, for example is a country that New Zealand let down by turning a blind eye to the atrocities that occurred there, that were perpetrated by the Indonesian government after its invasion of the country in 1975. These atrocities continued until 1999.
Thirty seven years ago five journalists, the Balibo five, were killed while reporting there. Gary Cunningham, a New Zealander, was one of those five and yet our government never requested an investigation of his murder.
Maire is author of ‘Negligent Neighbour’- a book on the plight of East Timor following the Indonesian annexation in 1975, which was published in 2007.
Continuing to be active in the Auckland East Timor Independence Committee until 2000 Maire now represents The Indonesia Human Rights Committee as spokesperson. Their web site is www.indonesiahumanrights.org.nz
Another of our neighbours that the New Zealand Government has failed is West Papua.
West Papua is striving for self determination and is under the Indonesian Government’s rule. Maire has written many articles on West Papua and the New Zealand government’s foreign policy.
It is disappointing to find that in 2009 New Zealand’s Super fund invested around $8m in the Freeport McMoran mining company there, which has the world’s biggest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world. The profits do not trickle down to the West Papuan people however. Instead the indigenous people are displaced and the environment is being seriously polluted.
New Zealand has been a political leader, influencing the world on the subject of nuclear war, and yet sadly it has descended into following the big boys and ignoring the plight and struggles of our poorer neighbours.
Maire’s current favourite song is performed here by West Papuan George Telek Freedom
Maire Leadbeater, shows that working for change can make a difference, as she joins others in raising awareness of human rights abuses and injustices, and is vigilant in following them through to their conclusion, as in the Nuclear free movement and East Timor.
*** Listen and be inspired by her dedication. ***
A New Zealander now domiciled in Qld Australia and founder of Nutri-Tech Solutions is an internationally acclaimed author and educator with a most compelling solution!
There's a grass roots revolution taking place as we read and its emergent principles are so profound that it is ushering in sweeping, positive changes to land use, farming and gardening practices to our beleaguered planet, Mother Earth.
This most refreshing and insightful interview covers minerals, soil bacteria, fungi to plant health, that extends to vegetation, animal and ultimately to human health. Not quite organic, it however, leads us back into the organic world.
His inspirational vision for agriculture and human health has been documented in over 300 published articles and he is currently completing three new books, covering this vast subject. A much sought after, entertaining and informative speaker, Graeme has inspired audiences all over the world.
Global warming emissions and acidification of the oceans can be mitigated by conscious use of soil bacteria, soil carbon and humous and if we use appropriate knowhow found in biological agriculture … astounding possibilities not mentioned in mainstream media will give the youth (and all people of our planet) a much needed boost in morale and optimism.
In South Africa, the uptake of biological agriculture is expanding at near exponential rates as farmers witness the viability and in particular the yields from healthy soil of vital healthy produce. Lead byWoolworths 360 supermarkets nationwide, they only source fresh food from certified Biological farmers and producers.
Listen to the profound biological agricultural changes happening with Dole the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit on the astounding shifts within this corporation that are happening at this very moment.
And in Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, having saturated the land with chemical and toxic agriculture, and the resulting highest percentage of cancers per head of population anywhere, are just now, changing course into biological agriculture.
Having personally witnessed two of Graeme's presentations, you will come away inspired to far better health practices, plus a greater respect for nature and the depth of knowledge this man has regarding physical health and well being.
Covering the cause of the top diseases such as heart, cancer, diabetics, alzheimers and chronic fatigue, to cod liver oil's superb results, as well as coconut oil, the use (or non use) of cooking oils to mineral up-take, dumping your microwave oven, to no tilling of your home garden to the incredible results of rotation of cows grazing on pasture is the big story of the future … the list goes on.
The holy grail is soil health, based on bacteria, fungi, earthworms in concert with nature and reciprocity is the essence of this biological approach to producing healthy food.
Farming over the last 60 years plus, has been based on the mistaken analysis in the 19th century of plant growth and that NPK, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium were basically perceived as all that plants needed to utilize to grow, when in fact there are 74 mineral compounds that are all part in parcel of whole growth, however Western man has been full-on into unbalancing the soil to where we today have unhealthy soil structure, depleted in the other 71 minerals, less soil bacteria and fungi, resulting in unhealthy plants, animals and now humans, all due to factory farming, extractive agriculture and an increasingly toxic chemical ideology.
Fortunately, this is finally changing.
An inspiring interview regarding our collective future.
Previous GreenplanetFM Interview: Microcosm in the Macrocosm
Graeme presented a full day Biological Farming seminar entitled 'Banking on Biology" in Pukekohe on Tuesday 30th October 2012.
A Human Wellness seminar in Ponsonby, Auckland on the evening of Monday 5th November 2012.
For further information, contact Guy Macindoe who is a representative for Nutri-Tech here in NZ - Guy's Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call or text him on (021) 931 832
Graeme also spoke at the Healthy Living Show - Viaduct Events Centre Westhaven Auckland on Friday 2nd November and was a member of a panel discussion on Sunday 4th.
Horse Sense and Conscious Connection with the Energy of Horses.
A short 150 years ago horses were both a means of transport and beasts of burden in all countries on earth though, the era of the machine age was starting to build up to what it is now.
Horses have been the mainstay of support for much of humanity since possibly 4000 BC, and have been mans companion right up until today.
Steadfast and patient these great beasts have other qualities that we in many ways have lost touch with, especially as we leave the rural sector for urban dwelling and city life.
However, there is much to learn from this potent animal as their raw energy helps ground us both in the moment and the recognition that nature still retains many secrets. within the animal kingdom.
Rosemary is a facilitator of many equine programs where horses interface with at risk children and adults as well as a therapeutic medium to help draw people out as well as express care and companionship.
The Zen of Horses -
Humans - Can be perceived as left brained dominant verbal - use of language, logical, reasoning, analytical, has identification, ego, feel separate, and have more a sense of me than we.
Horses - On the other hand can be sensed more as right brained, relational, have present moment awareness, non verbal, intuitive, they have the power to remind us silently of the union with all life around us.
The herd as a single thriving entity - its communal, interconnected and demonstrates unification in action. The mare leads from the front, and the stallion covers the rear, protecting and moving the herd forward. A grand interplay of patriarchal and matriarchal energies.
Every member has a harmonizing purpose through which both the member and the herd thrive. Horses are our greatest teachers for practicing conscious community (herdlife) and being and creating in the now moment.
There is a NZ-HALO™ - New Zealand’s Horse Assisted Learning Organisation covering many areas of interaction with and for people.
There will be a showcase and Charitable Trust set up meeting - 18 October 1pm -5pm. This includes working with at risk, special needs and young offenders.
NLP courses with horses programme 25 - 28 October & 9 - 12 November A unique quality training for personal and organisational leadership and change.
Plus other special events CLINIC - 27 & 28 December
and a Dune Lakes Lodge Easter Festival 29 March - 1 April
This week on Green Planet FM we focus on politically correct thinking, and the harm it is doing to the green movement. Dennis Frank interviews one of the pioneers of conservation in Aotearoa.
Dr Robert Mann was a founding committee member of the New Zealand Foundation for Peace Studies, and co-author of the NZ Govt submission to the World Court for the lawsuit against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. He's now retired from his career as university lecturer in biochemistry and environmental studies.
Dr Mann has been a scientific advisor to cabinet ministers in our government, serving for 8 years on the Environmental Council Working Party on Energy, and 11 years on the Toxic Substances Board. As an active conservationist he was a branch chair for Forest & Bird, and was for 12 years a director of the Environmental Defense Society.
He discusses his contributions to the environmental movement with a focus on the political interface with the power structure at the time, and profiles three ideologies that have used the culture of political correctness to leverage sectarian benefits from our common wealth to the disadvantage of everyone else.
We idealists supported the rainbow coalition of the '70s to rectify historical oppression of minorities according to the principle of natural justice. Those who came into power in the '80s & '90s as a result have been covertly attempting to defeat democracy by eliminating free speech. Dr Mann informs us of some of his experiences with these people.
The political left and political right pretend to oppose each other but both destroy nature in order to obtain wealth. That's not the only area of traditional collusion between the left and right. They both also use state power to impose conformity of belief and behaviour upon the populace and quell dissent. They appoint people who think like them to positions of authority, so we get political correctness infecting our institutions.
These people do their best to ensure that alternative views and opinions are suppressed. So wherever you find censorship, you know it emanates from traditional collusion between the left and the right. It's vital that we not allow public service media to be controlled by people acting against the public interest.
Boys are taught to be heroes via fairy tales, myths, legends and history, from an early age. For us teenagers of the '60s the warrior archetype was wrong, so we tried to be peaceful warriors and set out to save the world from war-makers, polluters, exploiters and other evil-doers as heroes are meant to do.
If someone spends their life campaigning for these good green causes, we should reward them for such public service as elders who can pass on their wisdom to the young. Excluding them from public debate is not only morally wrong, it deprives future generations of role models essential to their survival.
Political correctness is a culture poisoning our society. Since it now emanates primarily from liberal socialists, Dennis Frank advises members and supporters of the Green Party to abandon their deviation to the left.
The green movement is neither right nor left, but in front. It's political arm will be more effective if it remains attached to it's body, and starts to demonstrate evident connection to it's brain.
If the Party becomes consistent with the green movement sceptics and swinging voters will be impressed by such emergence of authenticity.
A selection of Dr Mann's writings: http://www.kuratrading.com/HTMLArticles/writings.htm
(particularly the 1989 & 1991 articles on PC)
The top sites on gene-tampering: http://www.psrast.org
(incl. a Mann article)