Mother Nature has woven an incredible environment most suitable for us to live - a paradise for some and the best real estate in the known universe - but everyone has their opinion.
Man has achieved miracles of science, Man has developed and succeeded to reach for the stars, and Man has left a trail unintended consequence.
Clean air, water and rich soil has been freely given by Mother Nature for millions of years, a gift to all born on Earth.
Then Fracking comes along and disturbs the man on the land, and wakes the sleeping giant. How foolish to play with things that we so rely, like water... where's the science? But hey, that's Man.
Fracking is just one symptom, like the tip of the iceburg, a flag, an indication of the state of our attitude and understanding about Earth systems, and the allure of money.
Have we failed to see the interrelation of natural forces that drive water and heat?
Have we underestimated the complex relationship between the systems?
We think so, think about it.
By changing the course of a river, we move the thermoregulator.
Over millenium, water has carved a river due to all the natural forces at hand. For Man to change the coarse of a river, Man is actually "unintentionally" altering other forces too. It comes at no surprise that Nature cannot adjust so quickly as a bulldozer, but Nature adheres to its' Nature, and abhors a vacuum.
"As soon as water moves out, heat moves in."
This intersection changes the system,
and the systems are all connected,
until the land cracks under heat.
The Three Gorges Dam is a graphic example of what happens when rivers are moved to follow engineering plans without awareness of how the eco system functions.
The simple rule:
"Move water out - heat moves in."
We practice altering Nature's natural energy flow,
without knowledge of the entire system,
without seeing the interconnections break.
As we continue to re-shape our world without conscious awareness
we must expect Nature to respond with unintended consequence.
Education is the only solution,
and learning about how water and heat are linked
reveals ONE instance of mismanagement.
The sun, water, CO2, soil, oceans, land are all interconnected.
Alter ONE and they all rush to fill the vacuum.
In Star Wars they found out too late,
"They came from behind!"
What don't we get?
This New Water Paradigm challenge follows on from Renewable Soil and intends to bring to the readers a paradigm shift in thinking - "Without water - it gets hot." and then we ask: "How do the other systems interact under Man's imposed new conditions?
The New Water Paradigm, Planet Hotspots and WaterSinks™ and how we can plan to adjust systems with awareness of the planet's natural cycles.
NEW WATER PARADIGM
Interview with land ecologist Professor Wilhelm Ripl
PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT: Wednesday, 29 June , 2005
Water and landscape ecologist Wilhelm Ripl has described Peter Andrews as a prophet crying in the desert. He says his methods make sense and it might be time to take him seriously.
Wilhelm Ripl: I am a limnologist. A limnologist is dealing with freshwater ecology, a freshwater ecologist, you could say. I am a freshwater ecologist and working with freshwater I found out I had to deal much more with catchments, because the water's quality and quantity was, to a large extent, determined by the management of the catchments. And so I became more and more a landscape ecologist, dealing with the water cycle. After 10 years, I started with a big project investigating a catchment of about a thousand square kilometres and how it was related to the chemistry and physics and biology of the water. And I found out that the most interesting thing in this relation is that we have.. we get the measure for sustainability by the water courses, how much they are transporting from the land site to the sea. And we found out that this transport had increased to a very high extent and it was about a hundred times as much as nature used. We found out that the amounts of matter moving to the sea was about 50 to 100 times as much as it was used by nature itself. So, we found out that in about 100 years we are losing material which the nature could deal with in 10,000 years. And this was a very er, was very feary figures, so we tried now to get the authorities on this track, but we never succeeded. They didn't want to hear it, and it was very difficult to publish the results at that time. And you see we went to the European Union and agriculture was given to Brussels, so to say, and the decisions were made in Brussels, and so our authorities were not very interested.
Wilhelm Ripl: However, now, the last years, things changed a little in Germany because the country decided to produce also in the future the energy for Germany, and for energy production they needed the biomass, and they couldn't produce the biomass without agriculture and er, they started also to think to recycle all leftovers from society, not to throw it into the seas and er, damaging the coastal waters. So to recycle it may be back, but this is a process which has just started. And so, at a later time, I was dealing with integrating now all functions of nature what we need on a daily basis, to integrate them in an aerial management, so that the farmers, we could see to turn into energy managers, water managers, food and renewable material managers, and we found out that our nature conservancy was highly inefficient because they were protecting structures and not the functions of nature and our society relies on the function of nature rather than on structures and biodiversity, managed biodiversity. So for this reason I think we have to have in our country a very big change.
Wilhelm Ripl: I was invited two and a half years ago to this country, and I got to know Peter Andrews and David Mitchell, whom I had already met before in Czechia, and so even David Mitchell thought that it would be a good thing that we could meet, because I was doing more theoretical work and Peter was doing practical work, and to see how this could fit together and how we could complement each other.
Wilhelm Ripl: We have one thing in common. He used to read the landscape, and I had to do the same. And when I became landscape ecologist I found out that it's impossible to put all these results from different sectors together, to integrate it to a system thinking. And Peter did system thinking. He tried to put these things in nature together and tried to identify the processes in nature and the distribution of the processes, which is very uncommon in science, because we have a reductionist science and this science is doing very well in sectors but they are not able to integrate these things and to put it to a model which people could understand and which people could find out how nature is working. And what we did is we found out that nature, to see nature, it's most important to see it as a process and not as a collection of objects. And for this reason I think there was a very profound reference frame which we had in common, Peter and I. And so for this reason, Peter was looking more at the landscape shape and at the water and the salt distribution, and I was looking more at vegetation and its role in landscape ecology. So we found out that our ideas fit together to a very high extent because we proposed at that time that by changing the vegetation cover and getting more trees and repairing the cooling system of our planet, this was the most important thing to do, even before their production in agriculture.
Wilhelm Ripl: If we are wrecking these properties of the landscape, to have a proper water cycle and to have water distributed in such a way that there could be vegetation in any place, this would be the prerequisite for sustainable agriculture, and we have to take back all things we have used to the place where we've got it and not discarding it to the sea. And all this what I was naming now, was also the ideas of Peter Andrews. And so in this case, I think it was for me, very lucky occasion to get to Peter's place. And I was staying there for practically the first time a week, just listening to him, how he is managing this landscape. And er, so we are learning from each other and that has nothing to do with scientist or farmer, I think it's people who are wondering, who are trying to read the landscape and they could discuss how these processes are working and how we could repair them.
Wilhelm Ripl: Peter Andrews is doing a quite ordinary, simple thing, which usually the vegetation is accomplishing itself. So if we get the vegetation in the landscape, and we in Europe, we really got it after glaciation, so we could find out how this landscape developed and how the vegetation cover developed, and it showed that the vegetation cover was turning the whole landscape into a much more sustainable landscape by converting seeping in water and groundwater flows which are going to the rivers and to the seas, into evapotranspiration and thereby cooling the landscape and getting the water cycles more short circuited. And for getting this, we have to distribute the water much more even in the landscape, and this is what Peter is doing because this is the prerequisite that we could get even vegetation and diverse vegetation, maintaining this cooling process. And the cooling process is the prerequisite for sustainable agriculture.
Wilhelm Ripl: You see, I have been quite controversial in our countries, because finding out that nature is acting in a hierarchic, adaptive way, and our laws and our science, it is a sectoral way, er, sectoral thing where everybody makes his own paradigm and this is not working. So I tried to tell our nature conservancy people that in the first you have to have water in place and then you can think about ecology. It doesn't make any sense if you're talking about fish species in the whole thing, not having water. The water is disappearing. But this is very difficult, even in our country, to make these people clear.
Wilhelm Ripl: Our nature conservancy people are trained to protect objects, to protect species and not the function of nature, but for functionality of nature, for cooling this planet to the right temperature, and for damping this temperature so that we have the right temperature span which is required for all organisms, we need this water. And that's what Peter found out and that's what I found out, that we have a hierarchy. We have the energy, and by dissipating this energy, we are doing this with water, to evaporate water to get this water back and to do all other things water can do. So it is very important that these water cycles are functioning and then we can think how we are dealing with our organisms. But er, the laws are protecting those people and making this.. putting those people in work who are protecting just something, and it's very important to eliminate in nature all the time.
Wilhelm Ripl: It's very important in the process of nature that nature can eliminate randomness, and we are introducing this randomness by putting energy in the landscape by our big tractors, by our er, nutrients, artificial nutrients, by herbicides and pesticides. And so this doesn't fit together with the process nature, and for this reason, we get contradictory results.
Wilhelm Ripl: I have seen this proof by having er.. he implemented wetlands there where it was quite dry, and I already seen this this time when I came here, I thought it is amazing in a landscape where you couldn't see any green spot anymore, you could see the green plants. And he explained how he managed those green plants, and this time it had multiplied, his idea, and we saw several spots and there we saw quite the progress in his work and er, the progress in keeping water back in the landscape and not discarding it as quick as possible to the sea. And we saw that we need this natural cooling and the water distillation in the trees and not accumulating salt by irrigation work. So I think that we have practically no alternative to this what's Peter doing. If you call it natural sequence farming, or whatever you call it, you have to retain the water in the landscape and you have to make this evaporation, the condensation process, the cooling process, you have to implement it again, due to vegetation in the landscape. And you have to control this water cycle so that water comes back in place. And this only comes back in place if you have a good cooled landscape. If it's overheated, and if you get increasing hotspots, you are exporting your water, that's just what you do in Australia, that you are losing water to the sea and never get it back again. It's very important that you now use a.. vegetation cover as a cooling cover and er, getting, by the high heat capacity of the vegetation, back the clouds over Australia and get a little more rainfall. This is a very tedious work, however. but you see, if you act as nature, that everybody makes growing cool spots, you will have success.
Wilhelm Ripl:Peter Andrews has looked at the whole landscape. He's looked at the organisms, he has looked at the water running and the water distribution, and he has looked at the basic processes in landscape. You see, our landscape, it's not just having your little mountains, all our landscape, even in Australia where you have a lack of water, the landscape was formed by the water. All weathering products, all this has the water in interaction with the solid stuff, which happened here just a little before it happened in Europe. However, it is a hydromorphic landscape, and this hydromorphic landscape you have to study as a whole, in a holistic way. And this Peter Andrews did.
Wilhelm Ripl: I think he has much better answers than science had hitherto. The other thing is, I put the question back, could we afford not to take him seriously if all other scientific approaches to landscape failed. And if we see that lots of billions of dollars are spent on environment and the environment, the efficiency is decreasing, we still are increasing, in a large extent, losses. We are losing the matter which is a prerequisite for vegetation in Europe, you are losing your water cycle. What else could you do? So I think it would be a very good thing to listen to him, even he's alone, so it's not a statistical thing, the more scientists will tell you something they are right because they are more, science doesn't work in this place. But if you can see that all this what science suggests, suggests, is failing... If you are talking about sustainable irrigation and you cannot do it because you are salting down the landscape, you have to change. And so I think he is a crying prophet in the desert already, and I think it's maybe a very good thing to take him serious, to follow him in a scientific way, but not with people trying to cheat him and to defeat him. This I think is very important.
Wilhelm Ripl: All these guys, in Austria some people who did this and who did very interesting things but science couldn't explain them and so they declared those people always crazy. However we find out now that homoeopathy is used everywhere. We are finding out that there is lots of things which science can't explain. So, I think it would be a terrible thing to declare all these people crazy which are saying something different than the mainstream is doing.
Wilhelm Ripl: I think it is a first approach, and I think the things will be situated er, somewhat different in various places. But the ideas, the basic ideas, to keep water back, to get vegetation back, the vegetation is now doing the distillation job that's the only way you can control your salt in the soil. So the functions which Peter is implying, I think they could be general applicable.
Wilhelm Ripl: I am sure that this idea will grow. But the speed how they'll grow, it would probably need that er, you are subsidising in a lot in your country, we are doing this in Europe. If the city people in Australia, which are overwhelming amount in Australia, if they would pay for keeping the function of the landscape up and to keeping the environment up, which is needed as long as transports are so cheap that the whole world is mined and the capital is destructed instead of the interest used. So as long you have to have a transfer of payment to make it interesting for the farmers to convert this landscape to a more endurable and sustainable landscape. And if this could be accomplished, I think you could have a rather quick success to greening, greening Australia again.
Wilhelm Ripl: I learnt from Peter Andrews one thing, you see, that there are already people here who are pushing this man. We, in our country, we have very few people who are understanding this, and we are much more oriented in export of industrial goods and the sustainable development in Europe is in a terrible shape. You see you could just by turning a tap or a valve, you can shut off Berlin. If you shut off the valve for energy, Berlin is like a devasted city, you couldn't live any more in this city. And this is probably the same here. So for this reason, to gain sustainability you have to put back the er.. the subsistency products, energy, water, all this in the hands of resource managers surrounding the cities and keeping up the life of the cities. You cannot be dependent on mining somewhere else in other countries where you are not er, in control.
Wilhelm Ripl: He is a simple farmer and he still is a simple farmer, but the simple farmer means that he is doing something which scientists almost forgotten to do, to look at things, how they combine, how they fit together, to look at the interfaces between the sectors, and to try to do something. And for me he is a very good example, because what he is thinking, he is doing, is not just talking and writing papers and reports and such things, he is repairing, in his simple way, this landscape. And I think what we need now is not the genius, it is simple people who find out how things go together.
Reprinted from http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2005/s1402981.htm
Facts about CO2
Of the 186 billion tons of CO2 that enter earth's atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth's oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.
At 368 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth's atmosphere-- less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, earth's current atmosphere is CO2- impoverished.
CO2 is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Plants absorb CO2 and emit oxygen as a waste product. Humans and animals breathe oxygen and emit CO2 as a waste product. Carbon dioxide is a nutrient, not a pollutant, and all life-- plants and animals alike-- benefit from more of it. All life on earth is carbon-based and CO2 is an essential ingredient. When plant-growers want to stimulate plant growth, they introduce more carbon dioxide.
CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there but is continually recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth's oceans-- the great retirement home for most terrestrial carbon dioxide.
If we are in a global warming crisis today, even the most aggressive and costly proposals for limiting industrial carbon dioxide emissions would have a negligible effect on global climate!