Skip to main content

Freely-Speaking: On Soil

This is just a quick note on my way to work. I just listened to a news podcast from DW. I have to give it to the German press: Today's podcast covered a topic that I think is very forward thinking. It discussed the importance of soil. The main points were very simple:

1.) Fertile soil is an important resource.
2.) It takes a long time to build up fertile soil (upwards of a generation or so).
3.) The demands on soil are increasing because of in large parts increasing populations and decreasing availability of fertile soil (due to different forms of erosion, and unsustainable agricultural practices). Interestingly the news podcast also discussed that a future in which the biobased economy takes root will by necessity also contribute to increased demands on the limited soil that we have. 

Given the above, and the fact that making, managing fertile soil is never in the farmer's short term interest as the farmer usually just thinks about the next few harvesting seasons, the article suggested that having a political framework that puts in place the right economic incentives to foster innovation in long soil management would be prudent. Apparently, the discussion for such a framework is ongoing in Germany. Of course, talk is cheap,  and it's action that ultimately counts,  but I want to emphasize the following:

1.) American politics does not seem concerned about this topic at all at this point. And even if they were,...
2.) ...the American press also does not think that this topic is important enough to discuss anywhere. Instead, we spend our time talking about whether a presidential candidate would attend a hypothetical gay marriage in the family.

Popular posts from this blog

Focus on Algae - Part I: Bioremediation

After spending the last few blog posts on different aspects of dissimilatory bacteria, I want to switch the focus to a different class of organisms I have been interested in for a long time now. These are the algae. Algae comprise a large diversity of "sea weeds" and an even larger variety of single-celled organisms that mostly are capable of doing photosynthesis. They include the ordinary sea-weed, and make up a portion of the green slime found around the edges and the bottom of a pond. More exotic types of algae can live symbiotically - that is together with another organism in a mutually beneficial way. Lichens are an example of symbiotic relationship between algae and fungi. More information about the evolution and lineage of algae can be found in this wiki article.
Image via Wikipedia
Typically, these organisms are either not mentioned at all or only in conjunction with toxic algal blooms. But lately, algae, of course, have been in the news recently because of the promi…

Sustainable Living: One man's trash...

Since Earth Week is starting tomorrow, I wanted share with you some concrete ways of how individuals like you and me can make an impact on a wider scale. I then also wanted to use this example to challenge everyone to think creatively about the larger context.

So you know how the saying goes: "One man's trash is another one's treasure." Today, I want to talk to you about garbage. Plastic garbage specifically. Plastic is quite a wondrous material. Made from oil by man with just a few additives can turn this polymer into so many different sorts of plastics with so many different properties from thin and flimsy plastic bags, to the carpet on which I am standing, to this plastic bottle from which I am drinking.