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Err, yes George

Those who use animal manure argue that the way they farm is how nature works: animals excrete on the ground, plants suck it up, and the cycle sustains itself. But there are few natural systems that look anything like agricultural ones. The vast herds of wild herbivores Europeans encountered when they first arrived in Africa and the Americas are likely to have been an artefact of the suppression of predators by the people who already lived there. Palaeontological evidence suggests that, before humans began competing with them and killing them, large carnivores existed in far greater concentrations than they do in any ecosystem today. Rarely, if ever, would dung have been deposited at agricultural rates.

I’m not saying that the use of artificial fertilisers is OK – I’m saying that both sources, in environmental terms, are highly problematic. Our aim should be to minimise the use of all forms of fertilisation, while maintaining high yields. That’s the fundamental challenge some growers are seeking to address. It’s not easy, and a great deal of further work is required before we get there.

Arguing against both artificial and natural fertilisers?

47 thoughts on “Err, yes George”

  1. Of course George, and while you’re at it you could invent a perpetual motion machine.

    Fucking imbecile.

  2. Can we dispatch George to Sri Lanka to explain all this to the locals?

    I’d contribute a few quids for his air fare

  3. Tomo. I’d contribute to sending the idiot Monbiot to Sri Lanka to see the results of an organic only agricultural system. However I’d contribute on the proviso that the air fare was one way only.

  4. Tomo/ Fahrenheit 211

    Is he suggesting that humanity needs to return to a Hunter gatherer form of existence? That seems to be the implication of his suggestions? I knew he was crazy but that’s almost David Koresh/ Jim Jones level.

  5. ’Palaeontological evidence suggests….’

    All ‘evidence’ is extrapolation since we can only base it on what’s been found to date. We don’t have a complete record, and will never know if we do.

  6. VP. Like so many other Green types, Moonbat does seem to be implying that a return to hunter gathering society would be his ideal a time when life had a resemblance to John Bercow ie nasty brutish and short. Moonbat is just like the other Greens,when you scratch them they bleed lunacy.

  7. Our aim should be to minimise the use of all forms of fertilisation, while maintaining high yields.

    The “high yields” part is just a smokescreen for the ultimate goal, which for the UK is a population in the low 100,000s.

  8. And for my next project, raise strong healthy children by not feeding them. It’s wot wun the First World War innit.

  9. I have no direct evidence for this, but I suspect that our pre-human ancestors were in competition with other predators for the dividend from herds of herbivores within about 10 minutes of their descending from the trees and walking out onto the savannah. That and avoiding becoming lunch for said predators.

  10. Hey George,
    I believe carnivores take the occasional dump, too.
    “Herbivore has a poo” v “herbivore AS a poo”… not sure what difference it makes to the plants.

  11. Regeneration of overgrazed/exhausted soil does not take place by fencing it off and waiting for it to recover but by packing in the herbivores into a small space and moving them frequently ie mimicking what would happen if predators were around. This breaks up crusts on the soil with hooves so urine can penetrate and poo enriches bacterial content of the soil. The animals do the work and then you can eat them.

  12. Were the prairies there because of the bison ? Had the ancient Red Indians killed everthing big enough to take down such a beast?

    It’d be a pretty big and confident sabre toothed tiger that could thin out a herd on its own. Even if he had mates helping yer average bison would provide dinner for weeks.


  13. You vill own nothing. And you vill be happy.

    And you vill eat nothing. Until zere are only 500 million of you.

    And zen you vill still own nothing. And be happy.

  14. Palaeontological evidence suggests that,

    In the time of chimpanzees George was a monkey
    Butane in his veins and he’s out to cut the junkie
    With the plastic eyeballs, spray-paint the vegetables
    Dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose

    On a vegan planet, Britain could feed 200 million people’

    I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  15. “Our aim should be to minimise the use of all forms of fertilisation, while maintaining high yields. ”

    And with my next trick I’m going to levitate from London to New York……..I suppose it had to happen. Once you let people fall prey to mass psychosis on one issue (the lady penis for example) then it soon spreads to everything else. Who needs reality when you can just create your own version thats just as ‘valid’, apparently?

  16. “Our aim should be to minimise the use of all forms of fertilisation, while maintaining high yields.”

    GM, then. But what do we do with all the cow poo?

  17. I think Monbiot may be wrong anyway.

    The Eurasian grasslands aren’t due to people. Nor the Serengetei or Pampas. They occur whenever you have very long dry spells in an area, preventing forestation. Very cold winters makes it even more likely grass will predominate.

    It’s another “we destroy everything” just so story of the Greens.

  18. Jim – “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away”, said Philip Kindred Dick.

    Of course, Phil K also believed God spoke to him via a beam of pink light and wrote an 8,000 page exegesis based on this theophany, so irregardless of the veracity of his encounter with the Almighty, it’s also true that drugs are bad.

    Howsoeverst, it’s also also true that, since collectively deciding this God business was silly mummery, the West has been circling the Toilet Bowl of Insanity, with ever wackier and more malignant frauds, phantasms and fantasies being wrought apon an increasingly educated and therefore gullible public.

    Spanish penitents were a bit weird, but at least their dagofied Catholistic autoflagellation wasn’t accompanied with the delusion that Lennox Lewis’ manager is, and always has been, a wamen, or that we can base an advanced technological society on tofu. Bertrand Russell was wrong and Paul of Tarsus was right. By their fruits shall ye know them, and it doesn’t get much fruitier or nuttier than Current Year.

    Flow my tears, the transman said.

  19. So Moonbat thinks that our ancestors predated on dangerous carnivores instead of easy to catch herbivores? I can see why his surname gets twisted into an insult.

  20. Chester

    Yes, isn’t the current theory that Egypt circa 2000BC was not desert but savannah? There was a catastrophe ( perhaps Santorini blowing up ?) That caused a change in the weather and the loss of a major river and thus the drying out of the grasslands of North Africa. ( From a half remembered German documentary ).

  21. Ottokring: climate change, but before Santorini about 3100 ya. The present climate is a lot cooler than Holocene optimum about 8000 years ago. If it’s warm enough, there’s enough moisture in the atmosphere to reach the Sahara asa tailend to the monsoon.

  22. How long before the greenies have us back distributing ‘night soil’ on the fields? maybe that’s what we need all the immigration for?

  23. The vast herds of herbivores in Americas appeared after the native peoples had been virtually wiped out by diseases brought by the Europeans. Assisted by the native peoples having driven most of the apex predators into extinction. Before, the land was extensively under agriculture.
    That’s the paleology. Monbiot indeed talks shit

  24. Before humans arrived in Americas, there were vast herds of herbivores & large numbers of predators. Implicit in Darwin. The fit will survive. The recources get exploited to the maximum.

  25. What moonbat doesn’t understand is that we don’t really need to grow grain and other carbohydrates like that anyway.

    We’d do much better if we just ate animals.

    The conceit that the vegan diet is in any sense a) healthy and b) “good for the planet” is true only to the extent that with a bit of luck over time it will lead to the non-reproduction or possibly death of it’s practicants, thus improving the human gene pool.

    God the man is an insufferable cunt.

  26. Ljh

    Thanks, just looked it up, the period after the Ice Age ended 7000-3000BC ish. The change dried up the rivers and lakes that had formed and forced the population back to the Nile delta ( where branches of the river kept on shifting position).

    Obviously caused by the Pharaoh’s army in their diesel powered chariots.
    And before proper filters too ! Think of the emssions !

  27. Herbivores are four legged lawn mowers. Once they’ve reduced the land to grass it will stay grass. They are surely responsible for the extinction of many plant species.

  28. Heh, philip. Don’t diss grass.. Between species and variants it’s one of the most successful forms of life on this planet.
    And the bane of any biology student in a botany exam. It’s one of the better examples of how evolution works, and how …fuzzy… species barriers actually can be when nearly all possible options are actually used.

    And grass is already there before any herbivore even starts arriving. It’s a pioneer clade that gets somewhere first, and will leave last.
    In fact, large grasslands are a sign of poor soil/climate that’s generally unsuited for anything more fancy, and no amount of herbivore poo can change that.
    If conditions are even slightly better, there will be forest or shrub, because they figured the trick to be mostly inedible to herbivores.

    As for Monbiot…He’s one of the peeps that are a useful negative control to see whether other people actually have a clue about how the planet actually works, or are just spouting opinionated fashionable bollocks.
    Like Spud, Fat-Bloke-In-A-Dress, Polly, and IHazBabbyNaoPhearMe.

  29. Jack the dog

    Veganism may be bad for the planet or even for some people, but I’ve been vegan since 1984 with no apparent ill effects. During that time I held down a tough job, excelled at my chosen sport, and fathered three healthy and (so far) successful children.

    Ironically, the ailments which are bothering me now at 65 are not associated with veganism. Gout (my older red-meat loving hard drinking brother also has it) and old sports injuries.

  30. @Sam

    I feel your pain – with apologies for being repetitious, most gout is caused by a mutation that impedes the elimination of uric acid from the body. You can control it through diet, by avoiding foods high in urates, but you’ll probably still have unhealthily high levels in the blood. I prefer to take allopurinol.

  31. Chris:

    Thanks. I’ve consulted Dr. Google as well as my GP. To the extent that food plays a role, as a vegan I’m advised to give up chick peas/hummus (no great loss) spinach (ditto) black beans (wtf are they?) and Marmite (without which my mornings will all be sad and grey…)

  32. Momboit serves a useful function. He is quite clear about the type of world he thinks we all ought to be forced to live in, as opposed to those who would accomplish it by subterfuge while telling everyone how much they will help them.

    Ottokring: I’ve read that the survivors of Hernando de Soto’s expedition of 1539, through what is now the southern US, described an awful of villages but didn’t mention buffalo. When La Salle ventured down the Mississippi 140 years later he saw a lot of buffalo but not so many villages. One theory is that the Indians kept the buffalo herds down, often by stampeding them off cliffs, but de Soto’s expedition spread enough European diseases that the Indians died en mass, enabling the buffalo herds grow to the millions described by later pioneers.

  33. I recently saw the Northman at the cinema. Pretty good movie if you don’t mind some dream sequences and hallucinations. One thing it did is illustrate just how awful pre-industrial life was. I vote to keep the artificial fertiliser, thanks.

  34. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ I prefer to take allopurinol.”

    I was put on it about 8 years ago when my gout got quite bad. As I’m trying to resist all efforts to put me on lifetime medication so I decided I needed to do something about my life style. I lost some weight, bmi down from 29 to 25 and drink lots of water (I try to make sure my urine is running clear all day). No other changes to diet, including alcohol intake.

    After I notified my GP I was ready to stop taking taking it he did before and after uric acid measurements and while it’s still a bit high I’m not getting any recurrence, although TBF I take a Naproxen tablet if I feel any early signs, maybe 1 or 2 times a year.

    I don’t think there’s a magic bullet and I’m not saying that will work for everyone, or even anyone.

  35. @TD
    The telling point is that bison (buffalo) bones don’t turn up much in middens before the Europeans came. If they weren’t eating them they weren’t hunting them. And since the same people killed off much larger herbivores to extinction than bison several thousand years back (& horses & camels), the logical conclusion’s there weren’t the bison to hunt. They filled a vacent evolutionary niche. Which particular animal vacated that? Clue’s a 3 letter word starts with M.

  36. It seems to be utterly lost upon the Moonbat, or indeed, upon the Sri Lankan crack Green Suicide Squad, that animal manure/natural fertiliser does not ADD nitogen to the soil, it merely replaces some of the nitrogen that was there to begin with, which has been cycled from the soil through vegetable matter, eaten (recursively!), digested, then into manure.

    Some of the nitrogen compounds will of course flows into rivers and the sea and be lost from the system (until the next thunderstorm).
    Hence natural fertiliser can NEVER support large populations, as the food cycle is nitrogen bound, with a high loss rate.

    Only solutions are to grow specific crops that fix nitrogen through some helpful symbiotic bugs in their roots (beans, etc) – but this takes the cropland out of use for a season, and the beans have predictable global warming gas emissions when eaten.
    See ‘Blazing Saddles’ 🙂

    The ONLY way to support 99% of the world population is to artificially fix nitrogen with external power, and add it in plant-friendly form.
    It matters not whether you are meat-eater or veggie, it’s all the same, just by a proxy or two.

    Of course, starving 99% of the poulation IS the goal of the Great Reset lot.
    But they always imagine the old, rich and powerful will be the survivors.
    Idiots. The survivors will be the young, brutal and armed. The police, for example.
    Looking at my freak 2030 edition of Wikipedia, George Soros was the first against the wall when the revolution came, beating even the Marketting dept of…(etc)

  37. Theophrastus (2066)


    “The vast herds of herbivores in Americas appeared after the native peoples had been virtually wiped out by diseases brought by the Europeans.”

    Not true. There were 30m-60m bison in North America in 1500 – well before European diseases got a grip.

  38. @Tim the Coder

    I think you’re correct, except that I don’t think the police would survive if it all went properly tits up. There would be a period in which they beat and even killed l a lot of people and built up many enemies. And they live in ordinary houses on ordinary streets.

    In my village we have three or four blokes with firearms licences, and a dozen or more with shotgun licences, plus deer and rabbit and plenty of pigeons etc. Spring water, and plenty of land to grow veg.

    We all know each other and we might be reasonably ok unless it went full Lord of the Flies.

    In cities I’m a lot less sure. The powers that be are playing with fire they can’t even comprehend I fear.

  39. OK, Theo. Then explain why bison bones don’t turn up in the middens. Bones of many other animals do, but not many bison. Who did a bison census in 1500, 8 years after Columbus sighted his first Caribbean island?
    Bison are remarkably fecund. A cow can produce an annual calf from 3 years up to 19. A bit of maths will tell you herds that size could result from quite a small original population in a century.

  40. @BiS I would like to draw your attention to the 10+m Deep bison bone deposit built up over 6000 years at the base of the cliff at Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump here in Alberta. I would suggest that probably counts as a midden to most people.

  41. 10+m Deep bison bone deposit built up over 6000 years at the base of the cliff

    Dumb bastards, what was this some sort of Buffalo Beachy Head full of bovine Lord Lucans ?

  42. Bison are quite hard to catch with stone age technology without a horse. They won’t die to an arrow, and you can’t catch them.

    In fact, large grasslands are a sign of poor soil/climate that’s generally unsuited for anything more fancy, and no amount of herbivore poo can change that.

    Every now and then some idiot thinks we are “wasting” grassland with low density ranching, and decides to farm it. The result in the US was the dustbowl, but the Soviets fared no better on the steppes.

    If it were not for protectionist tariffs in the US and EU then most of the world’s beef would be supplied from land completely unable to be farmed (Australian outback, Argentinian pampas, NZ high country etc).

  43. “Bison are quite hard to catch with stone age technology without a horse.”

    Sorry, nope. Takes work, coordination, and a fair amount of brass balls but between flint-tipped spears and arrows, a bison is relatively easy prey.
    Don’t diss flint. It makes for some very effective weaponry. And don’t forget that from finds the average draw weight of stone age bows was some 60 pounds. With the proper arrows you won’t usually be able to kill a bison/wisent outright, but you can easily cripple it with a couple of pals from some 30-40 meters, well before the herd starts to see you as a threat, and then finish the beast off with the stabby stuff once his pals have ran off.

    There’s solid reasons the bison’s european cousin, the wisent, had already mostly gone the way of the dodo well before the iron age..

    BiS: “Then explain why bison bones don’t turn up in the middens.”

    Stone Age = Bone Age.
    Bison/Wisent have large bones. Very good for making tools and other stuff, including armor. Same for horse, pig, deer, moose/elk, aurochs, bear. And bones are a lot easier to get than decent flint….
    Find your nearest local ancient times re-enactor, or modern survivalist, and ask. Bring beer, it’ll take a while and throats get thirsty… 😛

    In fact, before the Bronze Age you will hardly find any large animal bones in middens ( and then in pieces, most likely after rendering marrow..), but you do find them as grave gifts.
    They only show up in middens after whatever they were used for has been replaced by something else, usually metal.

    So no… You’re not likely to find any bones from bison in pre-european american middens. They would have used them for any amount of other useful things before even thinking about tossing them on the refuse heap..

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