by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
The more we pour the big machines, the fuel, the pesticides, the herbicides, the fertilizer and chemicals into farming, the more we knock out the mechanism that made it all work in the first place. ~ David R. Brower
The big farm machines are expensive to produce, expensive by way of raw materials and to the Planet, and are expensive to buy, run and maintain. They use vast amounts of diesel and pollute the atmosphere no end. And as far as biodiesel is concerned, which was heralded as the great savior it would appear that we have jumped from the frying pan into the fire.
Modern farming with its big machines and its heavy reliance on and input of oil-derived fertilizers and other chemicals simply is not sustainable as it destroys the very soil and air and water that we all, including plants and animals, depend upon.
About two years ago the United Nations have called for an end to industrialized farming and have stated that we could feed all the world from small organic farms and still no one is believing it nor do they want to heed this message. Not only can we do so, we must as the current way cannot continue any longer.
Glysophate is killing our earthworm population (see), insecticides our bees, fracking and other activities are poisoning the water, and everything else is polluting the atmosphere, soil, etc.
The use of machinery, and chemicals, in forestry is not much better and the large “harvesters” that are used nowadays seem to be one of the, if not indeed the, reason that today's forests and woodlands do have a problem with wildlife, including and especially invertebrates and fungi.
When it was working in forestry and woodland management as a youngster – from about the age of seven – there was a clean forest floor policy and still the wildlife in all its forms lived and thrived. The only reason why this has changed today must have something to do with the way we work rather than anything else and I believe that the heavy machines are to blame and, no doubt, the same is also true in farming.
A tractor of around ten tons in weight has a much greater impact – even if it has the large wheels and tires said to distribute the weight – than the small tractors of only a couple tons that we had not all that long ago or the heavy horse and thus the damage to the soil, by way of compacting, etc., is immense. It is no wonder, aside from the use of the chemicals that are killing things, that our farmland soil is having problems. It can't breathe.
And the same for the forests and woodlands. The ground is being compacted and with it soil life is being destroyed. The problem with the habitat piles that are now being scattered all about is – while they help the wildlife – that they harbor forest diseases and also are a fire hazard. And, no, they do not complete decay within a year or so. I have only recently gotten rid off such materials (logs) of even pine and spruce, that have been laying on the woodland floor for more than five years with very little decay.
We are trying to rectify the damage that we continuously do to farm and forest soil and ecosystem by this or that – artificial – remedy instead of changing our practices back to those that were used when the land was fertile, both on farms and in the forest. It is like putting a band aid on a cut only then to make another cut to which we apply yet another band aid.