Brian Holmes on Fri, 17 Sep 2021 06:56:05 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Covid and the crisis of neo-liberalism - (...always) look on the bright (regenerative) side...?

This text on regenerative agriculture is beautiful! and powerful!

Whoah, the rising tide of the biologically inclined has even swept nettime, the times are changing in so many ways.

On Mon, Sep 6, 2021 at 4:42 AM martin <> wrote:


Interesting conversation...

On 05/09/2021 18:31, John Hopkins wrote:

I am very sorry to hear about your ailments and wish you all the best.

-- though I admittedly can sometimes also be caught in a moment of
weakness and despair where I forget myself and utter statements with a
dim, negative view of humanity

 -- this, to my mind:

> Humans have always had an oversized impact on local energy flows around
> them (i.e., Pleistocene megafauna destruction)

.... is a dangerous fallacy of thought.

It expresses a sad, self-defeating view (see footnote 1 and 2; and with
regards to the speculative hypothesis of megafauna extinction see
footnote 3).

Importantly there are historical examples as well as contemporary
movements, praxis and data testifying to quite the opposite: Complex
human societies have had / can have a positive impact on the
environment, enrich their habitat and increase biodiversity (see
footnote 4).

Whether in the form of Amazonian Dark Earths, regenerative agriculture,
permaculture or other expressions of the human imagination from 'the
other side of the anthropocene', human beings have the capacity to leave
the world in 'a nicer state' tomorrow than it was yesterday. Not through
quick technofixes nor dirty hacks, but through building cultural
alliances with all the other beings in the complex web of life that
sustains us - from soil ecologies and their microbes, insects and other
beasts, through plants, trees and rivers to other mammals and everything
in between.

Indeed, transformative agroecology (see footnote 5) combined with
regenerative agriculture possibly constitute the only reasonable,
significant set of carbon sequestration (carbon negative) techniques
available (see footnote 6) and has the useful side-effect of feeding
humanity, regenerating immune systems and, all in all, delivering a
healthy planet.

It has been done, it can be done. It will be done if we all work towards
it. War is over if you want it, extractive/dominator culture can end.

It is, imho, worse than a waste of time to go on about all the examples
of destructive human behaviour, rather than focusing on the hope- and
joy-providing opposite.

Shifting the discourse to the endless possibilities of
more-than-sustainable social organisation will feed grassroots power
structures and undermine totalitarian attitudes.

The future is ours, because this land is ours in common.



Footnote 1: Sad because it sounds like depression projected, and sad
because it feeds the power and agency of those who are into population
control and the concomitant necessity of global rule from above; and of
course it also helps push the corporate, hi-tech progress myth-based
geoengineering fantasies that perpetuate the causes of the effects they
purport to solve (/as Kolbert notes in 'Under a White Sky' on that
issue, this is “..a book about people trying to solve problems created
by people trying to solve problems”-

Extractor/dominator culture probably needs this "bad humans" assumption
to remain in place as a baseline of reality to justify their elitist
model of society.


Footnote 2: On the population number "argument": the total fertility
rate has peaked and the next challenge is likely how to manage
increasingly smaller and older populations suffering from auto-immune
conditions and cancer, resulting from poor diet, lack of movement, and
the ubiquity of toxic air and drinking water. Please don't feed the
Malthusian trolls.

Footnote 3: Invoking the speculative megafauna human-driven extinction
hypothesis rests on just that: speculation, and it also has potential
overtones of human self-aggrandisement and belittling of the large
beasts; see for instance Brook and Bowman (2002) and Hocknull et al. (2020):

Brook and Bowman (2002): "...Understanding of the Pleistocene megafaunal
extinctions has been advanced recently by the application of simulation
models and new developments in geochronological dating. Together these
have been used to posit a rapid demise of megafauna due to over-hunting
by invading humans. However, we demonstrate that the results of these
extinction models are highly sensitive to implicit assumptions
concerning the degree of prey naivety to human hunters. In addition, we
show that in Greater Australia, where the extinctions occurred well
before the end of the last Ice Age (unlike the North American
situation), estimates of the duration of coexistence between humans and
megafauna remain imprecise. Contrary to recent claims, the existing data
do not prove the “blitzkrieg” model of overkill..." - from:

Hocknull et al. (2020): "...Explanations for the Upper Pleistocene
extinction of megafauna from Sahul (Australia and New Guinea) remain
unresolved. Extinction hypotheses have advanced climate or human-driven
scenarios, in spite of over three quarters of Sahul lacking reliable
biogeographic or chronologic data. Here we present new megafauna from
north-eastern Australia that suffered extinction sometime after 40,100
(±1700) years ago. Megafauna fossils preserved alongside leaves, seeds,
pollen and insects, indicate a sclerophyllous forest with heathy
understorey that was home to aquatic and terrestrial carnivorous
reptiles and megaherbivores, including the world’s largest kangaroo.
Megafauna species diversity is greater compared to southern sites of
similar age, which is contrary to expectations if extinctions followed
proposed migration routes for people across Sahul. Our results do not
support rapid or synchronous human-mediated continental-wide extinction,
or the proposed timing of peak extinction events. Instead, megafauna
extinctions coincide with regionally staggered spatio-temporal
deterioration in hydroclimate coupled with sustained environmental
change..." - from:


Footnote 4: Maezumi et al.: 'The legacy of 4,500 years of polyculture
agroforestry in the eastern Amazon' / . See also the work of
Michael Heckenberger, for instance, introduced lightly here:

These lines of argument are slowly taking hold, see also:

Buscardo, E., Forkuor, G., Rubino, A. et al.: 'Land and people'. Commun
Earth Environ 2, 178 (2021).
- who write:

"...Amazonian Dark Earths (terra preta) and European Dark Earths
(plaggen soils) are fairly well known, but many less well-known types of
anthropogenic soils are now being documented in the tropics and
subtropics3,4. Conversely, ancient mining and smelting activities
produced concentrations of heavy metals toxic to plant and animal life,
in some cases even more severe than modern soil contamination5,6.
Ancient human societies have had a wide range of impacts on the
environment that can persist through to the present day...

..Looking forward, more work is needed to share and standardize
geochemical and other proxy data that may be fundamental for answering
questions of where, when and how people in the past influenced their
environment. Understanding the global distribution of anthropogenic
soils and paleo-pollution will not only help place the rate of soil
degradation seen in the Anthropocene within a deeper historical context,
but perhaps, optimistically, reveal the fundamental role that human
societies have played in building healthier soils throughout much of the
Holocene. By sharing data and developing global research agendas, the
paleoenvironmental community at large has the exciting opportunity to
reveal the widespread legacy of premodern human–environmental
interactions and increase the general awareness of the long-lasting
ecological legacy of ancient societies.


Footnote 5: Entry in ‘Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology’ on


---- Footnote 6: Easy intro to the work of David Montgmery:

Dr. John Martin Pedersen
Honorary Research Fellow
Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR)
Coventry University

#law #commoning #agroecology #nutrition #microbiology #prehistory #magic

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