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Re: SG-W:/ SG-W: The Law of Entropy (Phosphates)



This argument is so important that it should be aired even if tedious. There
is no way of putting potassium and phosphorus back into the soil except
through ashes, mines, or manure. Sewage to fertilizer is the only method
which the human race may be able to use for a 1000 years. Even making
nitrogen fertilzer requires large amounts of natural gas. Legumes will help
but will require more cropland and fuel.
        If wood and biomass crop residues were converted to energy and the
ash used for fertilizer, then much of the potassium and phosphorus would be
recycled. It makes sense to fertilize forests, biomass energy farms,  and
orchards with sewage even if it is not used for other crops. However it
should be completely safe to use on tall field crops such as corn.
Eventually every scrap of human waste will be put right back into gardens by
the shortest possible means. My wife was German and lived through the war.
Her grandmother followed the horses around to get their "apples" and made my
wife go potty in the garden. This young generation has simply not seen hard
times.

                                      Kermit Schlansker
-----Original Message-----
From: Kristen A. Gibbs <kgibbs@umich.edu>
To: smartgrowth <smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net>
Date: Friday, January 04, 2002 10:05 AM
Subject: SG-W:/ SG-W: The Law of Entropy (Phosphates)


>Yes, too much fertilizer is being used on lawns and in commercial
>agriculture, and nitrogen can be replaced by growing legume crops.
>
>However, it was my understanding that potassium and phosphorus can also be
>replaced by natural, organic farming techniques, although I am admittedly
>unsure of the specifics. Your assertion that organic farming is fed by
>non-organic manure is false; all inputs in an organic farm, if it is
>certified as such, must also be organic.
>
>Using human sewage as fertilizer is a technique that has been used in
>other countries, but it does pose health risks in that it can transmit
>disease. China, for instance, has had a problem with this for years. It
>may be possible to treat it in a way that avoids these risks on a large,
>municiple-level scale, although that has not happened yet as far as I
>know. On an individual level, Sim van der Ryn has tackled the construction
>of compost privies in private homes, as detailed in his book 'Toilet
>Papers', here in the United States. Having not read the book, I don't know
>the details as to how he deals with the health hazards.
>
>
>regards,
>-kg
>
>
>
>
>
>On Fri, 4 Jan 2002, Kermit Schlansker wrote:
>
>> We agree that too much fertilizer is being used. Nitrogen can be replaced
by
>> growing legume crops. However even that requires more plowing energy.
>> Organic farming is a hoax in that it either wears out the soil or is fed
by
>> manure which is generated from chemically fertilized crops. There is no
>> mechanism for replacing potassium or phosphorus other than mines. Human
>> manure is the only thing we will have a surplus of in the future. It has
>> been used on crops by other countries for centuries. The problems in
using
>> it for fertilizer are either exaggerated or surmountable. Most problems
can
>> be met by decentralizing sewage plants. Planned communities would be one
way
>> to solve this problem. Sewage to fertilizer  is a technical problem that
the
>> human race must solve to prevent starvation in the next 200 years.
>>
>>                            Kermit Schlansker
>
>
>
>
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