Raising Native Animals, Overpopulation Solutions, Dealing with the Global Food Crisis and More

Short articles about the advantages of farming with native animals, the protein content of wheat, issues of overpopulation, recycled roofing materials, the effect of TV violence on children and concern about the global food crisis.

| January/February 1974

  • Wheat Field
    Learn about the changing protein content of kansas feed wheat and more.

  • Wheat Field

Farming With Native Species: The North American bison is not the only animal making a comeback on its native range. The government of South Africa is now telling its farmers that marginal land can produce six times as much income when used to raise wild animals instead of domesticated cattle. "Native eland, kudu and springbok are better suited to this country's environment than imported cattle," states a government report, "and there's no reason why they cannot be farmed." An experiment begun 80 years ago by some Russian explorers who took a small herd of eland back to their country supports that statement. Soviet scientists have announced that eland milk contains twice the protein and more butterfat than cow's milk. It is also richer in several minerals and keeps longer.

Human Burial and Cremation: Human burials and cremations are not environmentally sound. That's the word from Dr. S.L. Henderson-Smith of England. The good doctor writes in World Medicine magazine that "The human body has an important place in the ecology of nature. We do not burn sewage . . . so why burn the dead?"

The Protein Content of Wheat: The protein content of kansas feed wheat dropped by 44.7 percent from 1940 to 1969, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Why? Because modern agribiz adds only nitrogen, phosphorus and potash (but no minor, although vitally essential trace elements) to the soil year after year. It's also quite possible that today's poisonous herbicides and pesticides contaminate the earth and make it less productive. The USDA further reports that 4,000 samples of corn from midwestern states show that old-fashioned open-pollinated varieties contain an average of 82 percent more crude protein, 37 percent more copper, 197 percent more iron and 113 percent more manganese than the "superior" hybrid corns which that very same USDA has been touting so highly for the last two decades. Maybe even the Department of Agriculture is finally getting the message: There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Overpopulation Solutions: Singapore, one of the most crowded cities on earth, is now fighting its overpopulation with a law that sets up a sliding scale for hospital maternity charges. The regulation makes the birth of a fourth child ten times as expensive as the delivery of a couple's first baby. "For the Singapore of the 1970s," says the law, "the third child is a luxury, and the fourth and fifth are anti-social acts."

Recycled Roofing: Take old newspapers, add some cardboard, pulp it all up, stir in an equal amount of asphalt and press the material into corrugated sheets. That's the basic formula used by a French firm to produce Onduline , an easily installed, insulative roofing panel. The product is now being marketed in the U.S. Another technological breakthrough for modern industry? Hardly. Raymond-Gaston Gromier, founder of the concern that markets the largely recycled building components, got the idea in the 1940s, from "primitive" Indians high in the Andes Mountains.

The Effects of Overconsumption: Man is an endangered species, environmentalist Barbara Ward recently told 800 New York members of the National Audubon Society. "No planet can carry indefinitely the freight of population, aspiration, consumption, destruction and exhaustion with which we now threaten the earth. The world could be headed into the 'hungry eighties,' a period more devastating and global than last century's 'hungry forties'."

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