Bits and Pieces: Global Population, Methane Gas, and Ecology-Conscious People

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PHOTO: FOTOLIA/ALX
Short reports on homestead news.

SELLING BIRTHRIGHT FOR A MESS OF MONEY? RJB
Sales Export Inc. of Sequim, Washington has contracted with
the Persian Gulf sheikdoms of Dubai and Bahrain to provide
them with at least 50,000 metric tons of liquefied cow
manure each month for the next three years. American
farmers in 40 states are involved in the operation, and
will get 5 cents a gallon for their manure. But how much more
would that manure be worth if it were merely put back into
the U.S. soil from which it comes’?

GLOBAL POPULATION MAY BE EXPLODING FASTER
than previously realized, according to a study sponsored by
the Environmental Fund. Figures, how world population
growing at a rate of 90 million per year … not 75 million, as
was previously thought. In the United States, the Census
Bureau has declared that 5.3 million people were not
counted in 1970. And the population of China — formerly said
to be 800 million — was shown to be at least 917 million
people, if not more.

NUTRITIONAL YEAST FROM PETROLEUM? Standard
Oil Company has announced it will open a plant this year to
produce 10 million pounds of yeast (50% protein) annually
to be used as a food source.

THE MOST DEADLY SUBSTANCES KNOWN TO MAN — 
plutonium 239 — is the primary fuel for Liquid Metal Fast
Breeder Reactors … and The Natural Resources Defense Council,
Inc., points out that less than an ounce of the material
could conceivably kill everyone in the United States. If
the government’s stepped-up LMFBR development program
proceeds as planned. the next 25 years may see us
transporting several hundred thousand pounds of the isotope
by rail, truck, or plane annually.


THE ENVIRONMENT QUALITY PARTY
ain’t a weekend
celebration, folks … it’s a new political organization
dedicated to low energy use. Ecological sanity, economic
stability, personal realization, and the survival of man.
EQP was founded in the belief that conventional politics
offers no hope for survival, change, or even recognition of
impending disaster.

METHANE IS JUST A LOT OF HORSE MANURE 
and Donald Brockman of Neenah. Wisconsin is making good use
of both. Brockman — who owns and operates a stable of more than
100 horses (which produce about 100 cubic feet of manure
daily) — is installing a huge methane digester plant on
his Land. The gas will heat his home, a barn, four large
stables, an office, and an indoor riding arena … and will
also power electrical generators. That’ll mean an annual
savings of $5,000 in utility bills! Brockman also plans to
mix the carbon produced by hiss digester with lime and sell
it as fertilizer, and will raise 250,000 trout fingerlings
on the plant’s residue slurry.

FREE STERILIZATION AS AN EMPLOYEE BENEFIT
is being offered by Charles MacArthur, owner of Endacom
Graphics in Connecticut. MacArthur, who had his own
vasectomy performed over 12 years ago, feels that.
Sterilization should be an integral part of corporate
health benefit programs. Another unusual employee reward at
the small graphics company: Any worker who travels to work
by bicycle or other environmentally sound vehicle receives
a half-hour of overtime pay!

ANYBODY GONNA SWALLOW THIS HOLE THING? At
a recent symposium sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey,
Dr. John D. Ridge, head of the Department of Mineral
Economics at Pennsylvania State University, introduced a
proposal that he said “could conceivably uncover an
estimated $750 billion in recoverable raw materials” and
“duplicate in the next 25 years all the growth and demand
for mineral and energy resources of the previous 200
years”. His proposal? Sink a network of 7,500
three-mile-deep exploratory drill holes across the nation
… one every twenty miles. ‘Nuff said.

GETTING LAND INTO THE HANDS OF MORE ECOLOGY-CONSCIOUS PEOPLE was just one of the many vital
topics discussed — and acted upon — at the Northwest Conference
for Alternative Agriculture in Ellensburg. Washington.
Workshops at the seminar led to the formation of an
information exchange network, a seed bank system, a
food-trading plan, and a rural apprenticeship program. The
conference may prove to be a “blueprint” for other regions
where the need for coordination and cooperation among
ecologically aware people is recognized. (Could that be
your area?)

YOGURT CUTS CHOLESTEROL, according to a
report in the National Enquirer. Tests run at Vanderbilt
University are said to indicate that there is a substance
its yogurt which reduces cholesterol … despite the fact that
the food itself contains a high level of the infamous
substance.

REP. JAMES A. BURKE (D-MASS.) HAS AUTHORED A
BILL
which would direct the federal government to
distribute free seeds and plants for use in home gardens
The House Agriculture Committee approved the bill — over the
objections of Chairman Rep. W.R. Page (D-Tex.) and the
Agriculture Department — 15 to 9. It’s estimated that the
proposed $6 million worth of seeds, if distributed as
planned, would produce between $380 and $400 million worth
of vegetables each year. Says Burke, “It’s the cheapest
form of helping people help themselves that I know
of.”

THE FIRST ANNUAL JUICY TOMATO MEMORIAL
AWARD
was presented recently to Mrs. Jean Farmer
of Bloomington, Indiana. The award is bestowed by the
Center for Science in the Public Interest to an individual
or organization making a unique contribution toward
improving the quality of the American diet. Mrs. Farmer (a
housewife and mother of four) was honored for her
successful and almost single-handed efforts to effect a strict ban
on “junk” foods in Indiana’s Monroe County school
cafeterias.

A REPORT ENTITLED “ACID RAIN: A SERIOUS
ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM”
which recently appeared in
Science magazine noted that the annual acidity value of
precipitation in the north eastern United States now
averages about pH 4 … and that some individual storms have
been recorded at pH 2.1 (something akin to vinegar). G.E.
Likens and F.H. Bormann, co-authors of the article, point
to increased use of fossil fuels and — ironically enough — the
installation of particle-removal devices in industrial
smokestacks as the probable cause.

THE FLIGHT OF THE “KILLER” BEES CONTINUES
and — for the most part — remains unchecked. Costa
Rican officials are understandably alarmed as the steady
northern migration of the now-famous “killer” or “assassin”
bees brings the deadly insects within a year’s traveling
distance of that country. The unusually aggressive
cross-breed of African and South American honey bees — all
apparently descendants of a swarm which escaped a Sao
Paulo. Brazil research lab in 1957 — attack their victims “en
masse” and are now responsible for the deaths of thousands
of animals and over 300 humans.