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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

20 Questions, More or Less

We will go over these questions in our first meeting.  The answers are not the point.  The answers to 21 to 25 will suss out where you are today.  A telling exercise will be to look at those answers upon completing the course.

  1. How far does the average food item in a grocery store travel to get there? 1500 miles
  2. What is the number one reason food prices are going up over time? Price of oil
  3. Grain that is used to make 25 gallons of ethanol will feed one human being for how long? One whole year
  4. Other than farming, where does most of the nitrogen fertilizer that is polluting our water come from? Cities, i.e. lawns, parks, and sports fields
  5. While continuing to drive to work, what is the single most ecological way you can commute to your work (assuming your car is in good running condition)? Drive the speed limit
  6. Which consumes more water, a vegetable garden or a lawn? Lawn
  7. Which food in the grocery store uses the most pesticides? Strawberries
  8. Which is better for the environment, corn or grass fed beef? Grass fed.
  9. Do longer working hours and less vacation have an impact on the environment? (Deep Economy, p. 115)
  10. Are larger farms more productive and necessary to prevent starvation? ** Nation of Farmers: NO
  11. What is the amount of the tax Ireland places on plastic shopping bags? $ .22.
  12. What is the biggest resistance to giving up plastic bags? Dog poo pick up bags
  13. What is the least sustainable crop grown in present day Los Angeles? Why? Lawn
  14. What is the annual topsoil loss in the US? 5 billion tons
    13.a. How may years to make an inch of soil? 500 years
  15. Why is habitat a sustainability issue? Habitat provides eco-system services...
  16. Name two issues with invasive plants... a.) they create monocultures that destroy habitat and b.) create fire conducive conditions
  17. Which tail-pipe emission most affects our regional ecosystem? Nitrogen
  18. What is the tail-pipe emission that most negatively affects plants of all regions? Ozone
  19. How does conventional annual cropping contribute to global warming? a.) fossil fuels; b.) carbon loss from plowing; c.) nitrogen off-gassing to N2O; d.)
  20. What is wrong with synthetic N fertilizers? Volatize into the atmosphere or pollute ground water
  21. Can you sequester carbon in your own garden? How? See note A below...
  22. Name two plants you would choose to grow in a sustainable garden. Defend your choice.
  23. How do you define ‘sustainable?’
  24. Why should one be concerned with sustainability?
  25. What do you want as your personal legacy in this regard?

NOTES On Each Question:
  1. ( track individual items
  2. .
  3. .
  4. .
  5. .
  6. . Lawn Is The Largest Crop In America – more than 63,000 square miles almost the size of TX
    If the entire turf surface was well watered following commonly recommended schedules there would. . . be an enormous pressure on the U.S. water resources, especially when considering that drinking water is usually sprinkled,” the researchers found. “At the time of this writing, in most regions outdoor water use already reaches 50-75 percent of the total residential use.”
  7. EWG: More than 98 percent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines, and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
    • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
    • A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
    • Single samples of strawberries showed 17 different pesticides.
    10. .
    11. Rechecked as of 21 June 2016
    13. DWP gave out rebates to ditch your lawn.
    14. this quote also from Pimental et al in 1994: 'During the past 40 years nearly one-third of the world's cropland (1.5 billion hectares) has been abandoned because of soil erosion and degradation...'”
    15. An ecosystem service is any positive benefit that wildlife or ecosystems provides to people.  The benefits can be direct or indirect – small or large. 
    16. .

Note A: Soil has the ability to store carbon, preventing it from entering the air as the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and contributing to climate change. No-till farming and gardening—growing crops with little or no tilling or plowing—may be particularly well suited to sequestering carbon, especially when combined with organic practices.

Soil organic carbon (SOC)—carbon that derives from organic materials and is stored or sequestered in soil—accounts for approximately 58 percent of the total organic mass found in soil. It is the largest global pool of terrestrial carbon. But historic levels of soil organic carbon far exceeded modern-day levels. Globally, most agricultural lands have already relinquished approximately 50 to 70 percent of their initial SOC stores. This loss of SOC contributes significantly to the levels of climate-altering carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; approximately 792 billion tons of carbon emissions from 1750 to 1999 can be attributed to the loss of SOC. The depletion continues today, fueled by land-use changes and the regular plowing and tilling of agricultural fields.


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