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Big Global Problems? - Fiddle-Dee-Dee!

I promise that upcoming newsletters will focus on the practical uses of biological methods for growing crops, gardens, and ornamentals; but let's do just one more on big-picture issues.

We the people, collectively,don't worry muchaboutworld problemsbecause it isdifficult to relate them to our individual day-to-day lives.Topics such as global warming, energy supplies for the future, trade imbalances, atmospheric ozone layers, bird flu pandemics, anda host of other such great issues generally take a back seatto more immediate problemslikepayingfamily bills. That's just the way we are.

However, I think that an article in today's morning paper is worthsome attention, even if it deals with off-in-the-distanceissues.The article describes warnings by anenvironmental researcher with good credentials, Mr. Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute.

Here's a few sentences from the article:
"Per-capita income in China will equal that of the United States by 2031 if the Chinese economy continues to grow at its current pace.With a projected population of around 1.4 billion at that time, a China as prosperous as the United States would:

• Burn 99 million barrels of oil a day, 18 percent more than is now produced globally.
• Consume two-thirds of the world's current grain harvest.
• Use twice as much paper as the world currently produces.
• Drive 1.1 billion cars, more than the world's 2005 fleet of 800 million - forcing it to pave roads, highways and parking lots equal to the area it now plants in rice.

"There go the forests", said Brown. "China is helping us to see that the days of the old economy are numbered", he said."It is hard to find words to express the gravity of our situation and the momentous nature of the decisions we are about to make. One way or another, the decisions will be made by our generation." (My added underlining)

Brown is the author of a new book, "Plan B 2.0", updating a report "Plan B" which he issued two years ago. He calls the present global economic trend "Plan A" and argues that it is not sustainable.

As noted in earlier newsletters, myspecific concern is withour burning out thefuture health and productivity of crop soils by relying too much today on petro-chemical fertilizers. I think countries thatadopt measuresto protect their croplands will be hugely rewarded some day.

ButI suppose we should alsoconsider that projectionsof population and existing technologyin 1900 would have warned that New York Citywould bearmpit-deep in horse manure by1950.

There are certainly ways in whichthecitizens of the world can slow down population growth, restore forests &fisheries, protect croplands and water supplies, develop sources of energy other than oil, halt global warming and fix other such problems...butrealistically, will we? The idea that "our generation" has their hand on this steering wheel is not a comforting one. Let's face it,down-the-road-somedayworries arenot ourstrong suit.

But, hey,maybe we'll change -enough gloomy-outlook stuff for a while. I'll get back to making suggestionson how to usebio-methods in yourfields and gardens next newsletter - promise!

Good growing, my friends,

Don Chapman
President, BioOrganics, Inc.

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