Newsletter n. 94


1. TIME TO GET ANGRY!:  Biodynamics                         

2. NEWS FROM THE SIP FORUM:                      

  • SIP Forum:  Farewell ESG?                         

3. NEWS ON THE SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS:   Conference on the Future of Europe 

4. WE ARE NOT ALONE!  World Localization Day 2022

5.   POEM : Oh Soil!          



Voodoo is a real religion that many mistakenly regard as mere sorcery. We have been present at Voodoo rituals in Haiti. We were once invited to attend, as “special” guests, a propitiatory ceremony for the harvest season. In a quiet moment, we asked the celebrant the reason behind the dance – strange to our eyes – that he was performing in front of a small saucepan on the stove. “It’s not a dance”, he replied. “It’s steps, and by counting them I calculate the time needed for the oil to boil”. Nothing could be more rational.

On another occasion, in Thailand, our attention was caught by a humming noise coming from a Pagoda, so we moved closer to one of the open doors so we could hear and understand. Inside, Buddhist monks were chanting and praying. Our ears could only hear “ohmmm” but our whole bodies – especially the skin – were suffused with the vibrations. We had a similar experience in a remote Tuscan monastery when Fransiscan friars were singing Gregorian chant.

In Algeria, during Ramadan, we were talking to Muslim friends about the Muezzin who sang early in the morning and then 5 more times during the day. They pointed out gently that the Muezzin in his minaret high above the mosque was not singing but praying.

Again: have you ever looked at Chinese paintings produced between 1600 – 1900? And if so, could you detect the Empty / Full dimension in which the artist reaches the highest point of expression, where their work is comparable to that of the Creator? It’s hard to understand. The images that relate to Yin / Yang or to Mountain / Water, with their poems in Chinese script, are symbolic and can really be understood only by those of Chinese culture.

Continua a leggere “Biodynamics”
Senza categoria

Farewell ESG?  

This is the final Newsletter of the European Soil Group (GSE), a working group of the Save the Landscape (SIP) Forum. This does not mean we will stop engaging with the soil and its European dimension. If necessary this will be done through the medium of specific articles directly on the SIP Forum website . Meanwhile the current ESG website will remain accessible to anyone who is interested in the analysis of the subject of the soil and its European dimension.

The email address suolo.europa@gmail.com will also remain active and will be used mainly for receiving information on the international actions in which the SIP Forum officially participates.

Our hope is that a group of young people will come together to continue the study and analysis of the subject of the soil/land/landscape in relation to the EU, using their own methods and making their own contributions.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported this Newsletter over the years. Through your regular and continued support you have helped us reach a total of 1200 articles, almost 27500 page views, and around 14650 visitors to the website. The latter represents a store of useful knowledge that can still be accessed by anyone who wishes to find out more about the subjects we have dealt with over the past almost 7 years.  A list of the articles will be compiled over the next few months and sent to everyone on this distribution list in order to facilitate consultation.

A final thank-you to all those who have followed, read, commented, and offered their critiques: your contributions have allowed us to keep this fruitful communication activity alive.

Senza categoria

Can utopia become reality? 

The war in Ukraine has brought not only slaughter and atrocities, but an opportunity for further reflection on the need for the EU to attain energy self-sufficiency. In last month’s Newsletter we wrote about the REPowerEU initiative hurriedly launched by the European Commission. But let’s look at what the Green New Deal for Europe was saying as long ago as September 2019:

“The Green New Deal for Europe will replace all fossil fuel infrastructure, while ensuring that workers whose livelihoods depend on fossil fuel industries can enjoy an even higher standard of living in the future than today. This does not mean immediately banning all fossil fuels. It means reorganising our economy around sustainable technologies and green energy so that fossil fuels become unnecessary. The one exception is fracking, which we propose to ban immediately. Fracking releases a significant amount of methane into the atmosphere and has proven to be highly damaging to the environment.”

“The GNDE will transition Europe toward 100% renewable energy. In order to ensure that this transition does not hurt regions that depend heavily on nuclear to supply both jobs and cheap energy, the GNDE provides powerful incentives to national and regional authorities to initiate green projects that can transition ensure that nuclear jobs are replaced, one by one, by green jobs. The GNDE therefore does not ban nuclear energy in Europe, but rather sets the stage for its obsolescence.”

It has taken a terrible conflict and enormous human suffering to turn ideas that were initially dismissed as “utopian” into “the logical answer”. https://gnde.diem25.org/faq


Another step backwards on the Green Deal

What a scandal!

Speaking to EU agriculture ministers, the European Commissioner for food security Stella Kyriakides informed her audience that “it has not yet been decided” when the proposed directive for a 50% reduction in pesticide use will be presented. This means the Green Deal plan to halve pesticide use by 2030 is being effectively put on ice. Naturally this is justified by talk of the war in Ukraine and geopolitical instability.

There is unanimous agreement that “pesticides are harmful to health and the environment” and that we should strive increasingly to decontaminate the land and water systems. Logic would suggest that we can’t “postpone” the elimination of something that does harm, imperilling the hopes of the younger generations for the future.

So what would a “voice in the wilderness” like our own say about this?

“The war in Ukraine has brought home to us contradictions we have never wanted to see before. The Covid19 pandemic should have taught us that the globalized world consumes more than nature can protect or replenish.  This means that we must come up with new policies that release us from the chains with which unrestrained global liberalization has bound us. Instead, just as for energy – in which we see coal and nuclear power returning to the equation – so for farming, there is a return to chemicals and intensive production. Once again all the (feeble) attempts that should, in theory at least, have allowed us to achieve a green transition are being called into question. In other words, instead of looking ahead we are continuing to look backwards.

Continua a leggere “Another step backwards on the Green Deal”
Senza categoria

From a farmer to other farmers

Rob Faux, a young farmer from Iowa, offers an indirect reply to the words of Commissioner Kyriakides, mentioned in the previous section. We reprint below part of the article in which he, as a farmer, asks his farming colleagues to change their behaviour.

“Practices that support healthier soils

     Research and generations of farming experience tell us that the more persistent we are in using a practice that harms the soil, the more damage we cause. This cumulative effect applies to tillage, it applies to pesticide use, and it applies to monocropping. Unfortunately, this is exactly what corporate agriculture is pushing — and it is the last thing we need if we want to maintain healthy soils for future generations.

     One of the simplest adjustments we can make to address soil issues would be to lengthen crop rotations. In Iowa, where I live, many farmers grow corn in the same field year after year. Others will alternate corn and soybeans. A minority will have three, four and five crop rotations. Simply getting a majority of row crop farmers to add crops to the rotation would be a good first step.

Continua a leggere “From a farmer to other farmers”

Conference on the Future of Europe

The citizens’ Conference on the Future of Europe is attracting almost no attention. Launched in March 2021 jointly by the Parliament, Council and Commission, its aim is to allow citizens to discuss freely the challenges and priorities of Europe. The result of the Conference should enable the three EU institutions to draw up a list of priorities for future policies. 

The conference was structured into four thematic panels, each consisting of 200 randomly selected citizens from all 27 EU Member States and matching gender, urban/rural context, age, socio-economic background and education level. One third of each panel consists of young people aged between 16 and 25. The working documents are available in all EU languages.

The 4 panels are:

Continua a leggere “Conference on the Future of Europe”