Climate Solutions – World Urban Farms

A dis-used office in The Hague has been revamped as a sprawling rooftop greenhouse, with a fish farm operating on the floor below. Are we entering a new age of urban agriculture?

Mark Durno, the 31-year-old Scot in charge of the operation, believes commercial urban farms serve a need: people want high-quality food from a transparent, local source. “In the next five or even 15 years, this will be a niche of the niche,” admits Durno. “But it links into the circular economy: we have empty rooftops and empty industrial buildings. In The Hague, 15% of buildings are empty. Let’s fill them with produce.”

Modern technology has helped make urban farming a viable prospect. At UrbanFarmers, the shimmery tilapia swim in 28 tanks. Baby fish, farmed in nearby Eindhoven, come in on one side, fed by an automated system; across the room are tanks for the bigger fish.

In another vat of water, bacteria convert waste ammonia from fish excrement into nitrates to fertilize the plants on the roof above. Meanwhile, the plants – which are grown without soil – purify the fish water. This closed system, known as aquaponics, has been used for centuries.

“With industrialization, that connection between agriculture and the city was taken away,” says Jan Willem van der Schans, a researcher in urban food systems at the Landbouw Economisch Instituut (LEI). (link goes to English version)

“Food can be grown anywhere and sent anywhere else. UrbanFarmers is an example of cities reconnecting with food. Consumers feel alienated from global food chains, want food from a transparent source, and they see that quality can be better if it grows close to home.”

Van der Schans wonders, however, if urban farms can find commercial success. “UrbanFarmers has to come up with products that you can’t buy in supermarkets, something special that has a higher nutritional value, otherwise I think they will have a hard time,” he says. “They really have to pick those vegetables that have a special quality if you harvest them immediately, like soft tomatoes like coeur de boeuf that should fall apart if you carry them 10 meters (approx 30′).”

In New York, the growers on the rooftops came up with many varieties of clean food. The number of food-producing farms and gardens in New York City has grown from approximately 700 to 900 over the last two years.

Read: Greenhouse in the sky: inside Europe’s biggest urban farm | Cities | The Guardian

Read: New York City Five Borough Urban Farm Agriculture Development. Website has photos, videos, graphs and numerous other ongoing urban projects.

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

5 Things Most People Don’t Understand About the National Debt | MONEY

The debt debate got a big lift last week when financial commentator James Grant argued last week that every man, woman, and child effectively owes $42,998.12 thanks to Washington’s free-spending ways.

#1) The federal government’s books are not like a family’s finances

In his article, Grant says: “To understand our financial fix, put yourself in the position of the government. Say you earn the typical American family income, and you spend and borrow as the government does. So assuming, you would earn $54,000 a year, spend $64,000 a year and charge $10,000 to your already slightly overburdened credit card. I say slightly overburdened–your outstanding balance is about $223,000.”

Grant goes on to add that a big difference between you and Uncle Sam is that the federal government has a central bank to manipulate the economy, the currency, and interest rates to make life easier for Washington policymakers.

But that’s exactly the point. The federal government has a lot more financial flexibility than an American family to manage its mountain of debt.

Financial adviser William Bernstein, author of The Four Pillars of Investing, adds that a family’s finances are much more dependent on the strength of the economy than the federal government’s is. Workers, for instance, may have trouble accessing credit if they’re out of work, their homes are losing value, and the economy is lousy. The federal government, by contrast, can issue new debt and refinance old bonds at better terms when the economy is slowing and interest rates are falling.

Read the full story at the Source: 5 Things Most People Don’t Understand About the National Debt | MONEY

Blame Game: Look in the Mirror

It is apparent you absolutely needed the newest mobile device. You needed the newest TV, computer, DVD, printer, camera all made with petroleum by-products. You had to have an endless list of new merchandise made with and wrapped in chemical by-products. This is the fatal mistake in every industrialized country.

Pipelines were built by placing millions of kilometers of them entering every house and building. Our cities removed the forests nature uses to clean the air, and replaced them asphalt, another oil by-product. Concrete, rather than trees, became the norm for parks with paved pedestrian pathways.

Forests were removed to get the last drop of sunshine trapped in the ground using hydraulic fracking. 1000s of chemicals are used to soak up drops of natural gas polluting the ground water aquifers. When the industrialized counties wanted more they invaded other countries to rob them of every non-renewable resource.

Landfill waste dumps filled up with recyclable products no longer needed. Pulp and paper industries cut down the last tree and closed the plant leaving behind their toxic chemicals. Our lakes and rivers are used as toilets for industrial and domestic waste. We took every mineral from the Earth and poisoned countless hectares with arsenic and other chemicals.

Mountain ranges took nature billions of years to form. They are no challenge to our machinery. We removed the forests, mountains and rivers to dig out coal used for our increased electrical usage. Crushed rock, the remains of the mountains, is dumped into the giant holes leaving small mounds in their place. Once ice-cold rivers, head waters to quench your thirst, were reduced to tiny creeks of lukewarm water. Horses by the hundreds, stand knee deep in shit, as it drains into the same creeks. The owners call themselves trail riders although the natural trails disappeared decades ago. You can happily pay them 12 dollars a night, to smell the stench, while camping next to an RV fully equipped with every noise maker possible.

With 7 billion people on the planet it is an absolute right to own several gas guzzling automobiles. Approximately 20% of the population own over 1 billion wide ranging autos. The green people want to have electric cars with the electricity produced by coal, gas or oil. That kind of thinking is done while sitting on the toilet flushing sewage into the oceans. (It’s a flourishing business as long as you hit the donate button when you arrive at their websites.)

In every industrialized country we point the blame at the governments we elected or the corporations. (most countries have elections even though big media rarely mention it) Governments know promises can be made and never kept. Corporations make products you believe you must have to keep face with friends and neighbors. Besides it’s better to plug your ears, turn your hat backwards, pull up a hoodie than listen to anyone. Good paying jobs have dropped, in the so-called democratic nations, in proportion to the damage done to nature.

The Secret

Of all the renewable resources for energy Solar Power is the only true source. All the others such as wind and water use massive amounts of non-renewable resources for construction and maintenance. Consider yourself lucky if you know where the Sun goes when it sets or clouds cover the sky.

We count on slave labor to ship us products to fill the hunger for material goods. Industrialized countries no longer have the ability to create a simple light bulb or pen. The best we can do is pour coffee, purchased from another country for pennies, with a 1000% mark up from the purchase cost. Hemp does not need to be imported. It is a renewable resource and can be used to replace plastic while creating employment.

The much-loved Joni Mitchell born in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada was right:

“They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot”

I know because I have watched and written about it since the 1970s. My impact is so low it barely registers. Those of us who told you never did so for fortune and fame. Perhaps we should have set up a foundation, to rob you of your money while proclaiming we are scientists, without ever attending a University for a PhD.

Are you a Tourist or a Visitor?

As you toss away a generation of people, who are educated world travelers here are a few words, from one of our musical influences The Moody Blues.

“Ask the mirror on the wall
Who’s the biggest fool of all,
Bet you feel small,
It happens to us all.

See the world
Ask what’s it for,
Understanding, nothing more,
Don’t you feel small,
It happens to us all.

Time is now to spread your voice,
Time’s to come they’ll be no choice,
Bet you feel small,
It happens to us all.

Look at progress,
Then count the cost,
We’ll spoil the seas
With the rivers we’ve lost…”

Moody Blues lyrics 1971

Would someone come up with a solution to the nuclear waste scattered around the planet? Whoever decided to mess with nature by splitting the Atom has the responsibility for cleaning up your creation. You are not allowed to bury it, dump it into the water or blast it into outer space.

 

 

 

The Canada Pension Promise

I would hope by now you are happy with the Liberal plan, in Budget 2016, to eliminate poverty with an increase to the Canada Pension Plan. (CPP)

In a nutshell the CPP is made up of several plans all in one or nothing at all:

  • Canada Pension Plan for those who contributed
  • Old Age Security
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement
  • Provincial Benefit Plans

Your Investments reduce all of the above as punishment for thinking ahead. You get to pay taxes on the interest and pay taxes a second time when your withdraw money. On top of those insults your CPP+ benefits decrease. Company Pension Plans can reduce or eliminate all of the above.

If you worked for the government at any level, you need not worry, since those wealthy pensions are funded by the taxpayer.

The word poverty is used 13 times in the 271 page edition of Budget 2016. Three times when mentioning seniors in Canada. The same people who worked and find themselves facing a convoluted pension plan after 60 plus years.

Anyone who worked had best prepare yourself for the usual $7.00 per month pension increase in July. Examples of a large increase, used in Budget 2016, will only apply to people who never worked.

Yet another meaningless promise to the millions of seniors in poverty from the Liberal government under Justin Trudeau

Canada signed onto the Millennium Poverty Goals at the United Nations. Sadly reports in Canada base the poverty line on the Low Income Cutoff or LIM. Statistics Canada has made it very clear LIM is not a measure of poverty in Canada. The second false premise about poverty is the use of Line 150 on the Income Tax Return. Total income on Line 150 includes  non-taxable supplements.

Poverty and low-income should be using Total Taxable Income on Line 260.

We needn’t concern politicians with low-income and poverty despite their promises made to Canadians and the United Nations. Their only concern is ensuring a wealthy pension for themselves with funds on an island in the Caribbean.