Birth of agriculture is the defining event of human history—a turning point that led to civilization.
Before the time of agriculture we were not so very different to all other animals.
Farming created the need (and ability) to develop our many cultures, more importantly the need for more brainpower to learn about and care for the managed environments feeding us.
Today, some 10,000 years after began to care for the pastures of Earth we must turn our attention to caring for the ocean pastures of this Blue Planet. Ten thousand years of hunting the dwindling wilds of the ocean is enough, we need to bring civilization and create an ocean agricultural revolution.
It is the origin of farming 10,000 years ago and the economic system that farming demands that led to the development of writing and mathematics and with these miracles of intellect humankind started on the path leading to modern societies. The first great turning point came in our learing that as we cared for pastures those pastures would care and provide for us.
Today the time has come for another great turning point, we must bring civilization to the oceans and care for the blue pastures that are the largest and most vital part of this Blue Planet’s ecology. It has become clear that our careless treatment of those ocean pastures is leading to global ecosystem collapse, at least so far as we and other higher forms of life are concerned. By restoring and sustaining ocean pastures billions of additional fish will be caught, enough to help end world hunger.
The ocean pastures contain the vast majority of all life on Earth and the green plants that are the grass of those ocean pastures make most of our oxygen through photosynthetic conversion of CO2 into new and sustained ocean life. One of the most horrifying reports in science of recent is that net ocean oxygen production is in danger of stopping by the end of this century. As well there is an endless stream of reports, almost daily, of mass dyings of ocean life. The ocean cataclysm is almost entirely because of humanities CO2 emissions from our 100+ years of reckless burning of fossil fuels.
Modern Man vs Neanderthals
If we compare ourselves today with the Neanderthals who went before us in their 250 000 years of existence they remained as hunter-gatherers in spite of being about the same physiologically as modern man, same brain size for example. We however went our small isolated Neolithic clans and tribes to a global society and even beyond.
Today ours is a science based society that insatiably studies and understands not just our neighborhood but the entire cosmos. The poor Neanderthals became extinct doing the very same they had been doing throughout the entirety of their existence—hunting, gathering, sitting in caves, and almost certainly grumpy from being always cold and hungry.
There is a great thought-provoking article in the proceedings of The British Royal Society posing the idea that it has been only through agriculture that mankind’s modern mind evolved and became refined. Here’s a link to that story ….
It is about time we bring civilization to the oceans
Regardless of how we humans became not only self-aware but environmentally aware one thing is clear we have been wantonly ignoring the largest and most vital part of our Blue Planet home for far too long. The madness must stop.
Adding to the tragedy of our careless exploitation of our oceans comes the old twist that being the outspoken anti-modern-human Malthusian ‘neanderthals’ amongst us. Most recently we are hearing this from famed BBC broadcaster with a melodious voice and pretty face Sir David Attenborough.
Attenborough was knighted for his munching and crunching television mockumentaries of Nature which made him both rich and famous. Nothing has ever escaped the jaws of Attenborough. We do love the stunning photography and music but the mind numbing monologues 🙁
The old codger proclaims, “Humans are a plague on the Earth that need to be controlled.”
Well indeed Sir David is speaking some part of the truth in that it is we humans who are causing all manner of ecological chaos but he would be better calling for humans to get into control and start caring for the ocean pastures the largest and most vital part of the Blue Planets ecology, you know the blue part.
Our Blue Planet
Somehow along the way of maturing into modern humankind we became enamoured with the notion that since we live on land we should be first and foremost (and it seems only) concerned about the lands of this Earth. Indeed in almost every mention of what is happening on this Blue Planet we speak in terms of the earthly impacts, effects, and consequences.
Global warming (aka climate change) is the most glaring terracentric example since it is our burning of fossil fuels and land use change (aka burning and clearing of forests) that is producing the dramatic atmospheric effects raining down horrible change upon the Earth. While such impacts as heat spells, droughts, and sea level rise are terrible for we terrestrial beings the scientific truth of the matter is that our impacts are vastly more dire in our world’s oceans.
It is into the oceans that the vast majority of our fossil CO2 will go. That 72% blue part of this planet is simply chemically where CO2 must go as it is soluble in water. It takes several centuries for CO2 once in the air to reach the oceans in sufficient amount to create an equilibrium. So today the problem in our oceans is all about YESTERDAY’S CO2. Surely the additional CO2 we will be emitting in days, decades, and centuries to come is also going to be a problem for the oceans. But YESTERDAY’S CO2 is already more than enough to utterly change life as we know it on this blue planet.
The first and most potent means by which CO2 afflicts the oceans is that it feeds plant life on land. Today around the world there is a dramatic global greening that has and is taking place. As the land of this planet become greener that amounts to an increase in ground cover. What ‘ground cover’ does is it prevents dust from blowing in the wind. It is dust in the wind that is the most potent factor that controls ocean plant life and our high and rising CO2 is decimating ocean plant life by creating a 50 year drought of vital dust.
More grass growing means less dust blowing… and that is terrible news for our oceans.
In the ocean CO2 is naturally and powerfully managed very effectively by ocean plant life. The green plants, phytoplankton, of our ocean pastures consume and use CO2 to make more of themselves. It’s no different than the way trees take up CO2, the difference being that there is vastly more ocean plant life than there is terrestrial plant life. In fact the CO2 that has been eliminating dust in the wind has been resulting in a 1% per year loss of ocean plant life, the phytoplankton. To put that number into a terrestrial context that’s the equivalent to cutting down an entire Amazon Rainforest every five years. So count up the number of Amazon forests gone in 50 years, 10 entire rainforests have disappeared.
As the ocean plants grow they must protect themselves from the harsh sunlight that beats down upon them. They are even more sensitive to the sun’s UV radiation than you or I so they have invented sunscreen. Their natural sunscreen which protects them from sunburns and more importantly keeps their ocean, and thus our planet, in the most perfect Goldilocks Zone, are the clouds. The plankton make the vast majority of the abundant clouds that shade this blue planet from the harsh effects of the sun and keep us from being not too hot, not too cold, but ahhhhh just right.
You have likely heard about the Amazon being called the lungs of the earth as they make oxygen, well as a result of 10 Amazon’s worth of ocean plant life being eradicated by our CO2 there is a growing oxygen crisis on Earth. Just recently scientific papers reported that by the end of this century the oceans, the real lungs of our Earth, will no longer be making oxygen!
Here is the good news!
The ocean pastures and their phytoplankton are the most powerful force of Nature on this blue planet. As we restore our ocean pastures with proven safe, sustainable regenerative technologies and methodologies we can return 10 Amazon Rainforests of photosynthetic plant life to work. Their job is to consume and repurpose our gargantuan inventory of yesterday’s CO2 into new ocean life. The result will be that the lions share of humanity’s noxious CO2 will become new life.
The new ocean life we help grow will first and foremost feed all of ocean life and we will see that result swim into our nets and onto our plates in the form of billions of additional fish. Enough to help end world hunger with plentiful healthy nutritious low-cost sea food.
It Just Works!
Here is what modern ocean pasture management looks like on the very first large-scale demonstration project which I performed in 2012 in the Gulf of Alaska. The very next year the expectation in Alaska was that the catch of Pink Salmon would be some 50 million fish, a great catch. Instead when the silver beauties swam home from my restored ocean pasture where they had been nourished and sustained 226 million were caught, the largest catch in all of history!
Join me. to bring back the dust and the fish.