A Rant in F-Major — Part 1

Fionna Johnson — 04 April 2012
Fionna Johnson currently runs Tierra Verde International, an eco-consultancy involved with various projects in Europe. She is a long-term champion of the natural environment and has worked on many organic and permaculture projects.

WELL A FEW DAYS AGO, the headlines of the Independent read "New pesticides linked to bee population collapse" Well what a bloody surprise! Why is it that, the things which anyone with a bit of curiosity, a brain, and an ability to cut through the bull… can work out through common sense, takes several millions of pounds/ dollars (or whatever the latest power currency is) spent by a bunch of socially inept left brained scientific or bureaucratic suits to come to the same obvious conclusion years later?

"Neonics" (a nerve agent pesticide) Is a No brainer when it comes to the knock on effects to our health and our ecology. Explain it simply to a child and they'll get it! Neonics attack the nervous system of the bee and it affects its health? Surely not?

Meanwhile billions are left with the consequences of farming techniques designed to work against nature for profit. And oh please don't mention the "But we need this technology to feed the world! Clap trap!" Because we aren't feeding the world, we are lining the pockets of some very greedy people whilst fuelling humanity with substandard nutritionally dead food. Have you ever considered the real reason why people are obese? Why they are never satisfied? Why they crave more and more food? Well in my opinion. (Which counts for nothing apparently) as I don't hold a doctorate in scientific tunnel vision, is that the obese people of the "western world" are starving to death, dying from malnutrition. We know that non organic food can be 40% less nutritious than organic food. That processing it, cooking it and packaging it, destroys a good deal of the minimal nutrients that are left, not to mention the chemical pollution (plasticides etc) which has to, absolutely has to, penetrate the processed food by nature of the fact that it comes into contact with its packaging.

Then there is the question of "Why are monoculture crops so devoid of nutrition?" Well put simply if you no longer grow food in bioactive living breathing soil, which contains no trace of the myriad diversity of life, insect, worm or soil bacteria, please tell me how exactly you are going to get any proper nutritional uptake by the plant! Simples! As that infuriating advert keeps telling us. When microbial life dies/ breaks down, it releases all manner of nutrients. But oh no not any more. We kill it – churn it up, so it is exposed to the elements, sunlight, frost, predators etc which it is NOT supposed to encounter, and then whatever survives is then sprayed to death, in our crusade against all bugs, including Bees!.. Nothing lives in the soil unless it is made of stern stuff; there is no natural balance, no harmony, no diversity of beneficial, balanced naturally occurring chemicals and their healthy chain reactions, and, no life supporting nutrients. We put bag nitrates and fertilizers onto our plants to make them grow! Not to make them healthy to eat!

Wake up everyone! Food from monoculture is missing billions of tons of natural nutrients; our diets are actually inferior to our prehistoric ancestors' – it's amazing any of us can walk and talk still, let alone breed! But what the hell are we breeding? What will happen to human evolution as our brains and bodies are starved of nutrients, generation after generation?

Years ago whilst at college studying organic horticulture I was told that after 5 generations of feeding cats on our nutrient depleted diet, the cats became sterile. Well there you go. Problem solved. Over population will be a thing of the past if we carry on the way we are going. The human male sperm count is already down by 50% in the western world. I wonder why?

And the farmers? Well, up until fairly recently I lived on a non organic farm, run by a gentleman farmer who ran his farm based on futures! That's how he made his money. He sold his crops that he hadn't even planted yet, two or three years in advance, to buyers in Russia India etc in the hope (gamble) that he could produce them. Now, he is an intelligent man, but his intelligence revolves around making money. He knows that we are heading fast towards a global food shortage and believing that, with his millions tucked away in a bank, he can still buy his bottle of Bollinger and exquisite luxury foods, when the rest of us are fighting in the dust for the last scrap of grain. He laughed as he told me this! Yet he was serious. He, wisely in his eyes, was planning to buy virgin land in Tanzania in which to grow crops to sell to those of us who still had functioning bank accounts in the year 2020.

Mr Y (as I shall call him (Why would you do such a thing?)) and people of his ilk have no conscience. Owning everything is never enough. The consequences of his irrational deadly farming techniques are of no consequence to him. Destroying a drought plagued continent for short term gain, (as we have done and are doing in Southern Americas, virgin rain forests of Indonesia, Borneo etc) are of no concern if it is to deliver to him another fast buck.

And it's not the first time the West has done it. Did you know that the reason that the borders of the Sahara (the Sahel) and beyond have been suffering the effects of drought, famine and death, is largely due to colonialism? Now, apart from cutting down the natural woodland and forests that encouraged rainfall, in order to grow mono crops, us pioneering Europeans, when taking over Africa, decided to make it illegal to grow the native foodstuffs that suited and complemented the climate, simply so that those fine, upstanding pioneers of these continents could have their usual European fare at the dinner table.

Did you know that these laws still exist in vast parts of the African subcontinent!? The drought-resistant foods that would sustain and give good nutrition to Africa and its people have largely been lost due to imperial colonialism.

But here's the thing; the thing I have been studying and banging on about for nigh on 25 years: it's not too late to reverse this negative trend. We can change our future. We can feed the world; we can do something to help negate the raging, seemingly out of control effects of climate change. We can improve our soil, our food production, our diets, our health, our economies and our quality of life, and the solution is simple and the same for all of these problems.

If you are interested and inspired to fix our world, our problems, our future, then please follow this Rant every week, and I will attempt to explain the solutions, and how each and every one of us can work together at little or no expense to create a better, healthier world for everyone not just Mr Y and his megalomaniacal comrades.

So let's do something brilliant now before we start scrabbling around on the floor fighting for that last grain of wheat whilst Mr Y stands serenely by, sipping his Bollinger And laughing all the way to the bank.