Deforestation, Smoking Fines, Organic Farming and More

Learn about how deforestation is increasing in the U.S., how smoking fines help promote clean air and how organic farming really pays off in the long-run.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
November/December 1974
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The rate of decline of North American forests is alarming.

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DESPITE GLOWING CONSUMER ADS ABOUT "PERPETUAL HARVESTS", top officials of some of the nation's largest timber companies now admit that we are, indeed, cutting North America's trees faster than they can grow. Charles W. Bingham — Vice President of Weyerhauser Co. — recently addressed a meeting of the North American Containerized Forest Seedling Symposium and said, "Unless we reestablish priorities so that financial support may be given to the basic public forestry function, Canada and the United States will run out of forest resources within 50 years. The $30 billion that the U.S. has spent on space programs would finance nearly 1,000 years of the Forest Service's regeneration program." (MOTHER EARTH NEWS thanks to Dean B. Wheeler for this report.)

SMOKE AT THE VILLA VEGETARIANA HEALTH RESORT in Cuernavaca, Mexico and you'll pay an additional $10 a week for the privilege. "Clean air is becoming a rare commodity these days," says owner David Stry, "and we're making an all-out effort to preserve what little is left."

SOCIAL SECURITY IS IN TROUBLE. The Department of Health, Education and Welfare estimates that this year, for the first time, over half the nation's taxpayers will pay more in Social Security taxes than in federal income taxes. And, despite even stiffer increases in the "old age insurance" bite during coming years, some members of Congress (which is currently investigating the matter) now flatly predict that the Social Security System will completely collapse within a decade. Why? Because the average 1975 retiree will draw 10 times much in benefits as he or she ever paid into the system in taxes . . . and that, obviously, can't go on forever.

"ORGANIC FARMING will soon be the only way food can be grown economically at all," says Colin Fisher, Director of the Pye Research Centre in Suffolk, England. Colin bases his prediction on data developed by over 50 ongoing research projects conducted at the 300-acre facility. Careful records of all expenditure and yields for matched crops of grain, vegetables and livestock show that "organic" methods of farming produce harvests almost as large as chemical agribiz, but cost far less. Result: Net profits are higher with the natural farming approach. Added bonus: The holistic approach preserves and improves the land while chemical methods exhaust and deplete it. "I've got no axe to grind," says Fisher. "Nothing tells me that there is anything intrinsically wrong with chemical fertilizers. I can only give you the results of our experiments. "

DO MARAUDING DEER RUIN YOUR ORCHARD AND GARDEN? Try sprinkling lion dung around the area you want to protect. Lion Country Safari, Inc., 8800 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Hills, California 92650, charges $5.00 FOB for a 50-pound sack of the droppings and claims that "the stuff smells so bad the deer probably faint after one whiff". LCS has a fat sheaf of letters from satisfied customers . . . all testifying that its "lion dandies" really work.

THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK: Forget short-term gyrations and focus on the big picture. The 450-year-long boom enjoyed by Western civilization is drawing to a close. Australia, South Africa, the Americas and other lands "discovered" since 1500 have now been largely mapped and tapped. The windfalls are all gone. Economists think only in terms of an expanding Gross National Product are no longer relevant. Cowboy economics is a thing of the past. Spaceship economics is the wave of the future. Limit your numbers, grow your own, recycle, be as self-sufficient as you can . . . that's the key to quality of life in the years ahead.

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