[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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



This topic is a little removed from land use issues but I can't resist
putting in a couple of points.

The word "organic" is being used in two ways here.  In chemistry,
organic compounds are those containing carbon atoms.  These are mostly
produced by living organisms (usually as a result of photosynthesis).

Organic farming is probably named after an older use of the word,
meaning arising from the basic fabric of the earth, or some such. 
Organic farmers do legally and by code use inorganic (in the chemical
sense) compounds in their practices, including elemental sulfur,
greensand (a rock source of potassium), lime, rock phosphate (mined, not
derived from chemical industrial processes), and copper oxides.

As for the use of human sewage, composted sludge is a well-known
fertilizer (Milorganite) but is usually restricted to non-food uses
because wastewater contains heavy metals and other contaminants.  Land
application of raw sludge is one way this byproduct of wastewater
treatment plants is used (for example, by the MultiLakes sewer
authority), but is subject to testing and regulation because the soil
can release nitrates back into water supplies.

Also, the use of untreated human waste on food crops in third-world
countries has been the source of many truly horrific parasitic diseases.

"Kristen A. Gibbs" wrote:
> 
> 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
> 
> ===============================================================
> smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
> sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in Washtenaw
> County.
> 
> Postings to:  smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net      For info, send
> email to majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info
> smartgrowth-washtenaw"
> ===============================================================



===============================================================
smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in Washtenaw
County.

Postings to:  smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net      For info, send
email to majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info
smartgrowth-washtenaw"
===============================================================