Sustainable Ecological EarthRegeneration with Rockdustby Moira Thomson  © SEER                ROCKDUST IS CATCHING THE IMA...
ing down the river is deposited on the Nile delta making it            the first-sown juicy crops. By 2000, the young remin...
© SEER                Record cold temperatures, such as -9°C in Greece     in January ’04 with 1 foot of snow and the lemo...
“dimming”); causing more rain, floods and mud/landslidesthan normal. Any water not falling on the middle latitudesfalls at ...
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Soil Regeneration with Volcanic Rock Dust

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Soil Regeneration with Volcanic Rock Dust

  1. 1. Sustainable Ecological EarthRegeneration with Rockdustby Moira Thomson © SEER ROCKDUST IS CATCHING THE IMAGINATION Cameron & Moira share how they achieved this of gardeners and farmers and its use is spreading and why they are so enthusiastic about spreading the ben- in the UK and beyond. Consumer demand is bring- efits of Rockdust. ing Rockdust’s miracle effects into our gardens and Moira points to her daughter holding a huge farms and into the environmental, farming and freshly cut calabrese head weighing 1.75 kg, saying, “this food debates. kind of food contains all the nutrients, energy and natural forces The SEER Centre Trust was established as a that nature intended our food should bestow to us - all food sold Recognised Scottish Charity in 1997, following 13 years pio- in all markets and shops should be grown with rockdust! neering work by co-founders Cameron & Moira Thomson, Mineral Replacement Therapy (MRT) with Rock- advocating Rockdust as The Solution to achieving Sustain- dust is natural fertility treatment. NPK chemical fertilisers, able Ecological Earth Regeneration. The SEER Centre which cause ecological imbalances and soil erosion, are not. If is a working model for conversion to sustainable organic we humans can manage to cover the Earth’s soils with various “remineralised” agriculture by application of rockdusts and chemicals several times a year to chemically grow our crops, we recycled municipal composts for soil creation, maximum can surely cover Earth’s soils with Rockdust! soil fertility, minimal soil erosion and maximum protection We believe that using Rockdust on a global scale for from climate-change weather extremes. The charity aims to sustainable organic gardening, agriculture, forestry and compost- attract scientific research into the benefits of Rockdust. ing can boost fertility and regenerate natural ecosystems which, Since 1997, on the foothills of the Grampian in turn, can nourish our increasing populations with nutrient-rich mountains in Strathardle, Perthshire, the infertile, acidic, organic foods for current and future generations”. upland grassland site, although exposed to severe weather at 1000 feet, has been transformed into an ecologically diverse SUSTAINABLE SOILS environment by the Thomson’s soil creation with rockdusts Soil is our most important and fragile resource. The fertile and municipal composts. (This growing medium is called soils in volcanic areas like Lanzorotti are productive and “SEER Rocksoil”). Remarkable terraced gardens have high yielding due to the abundance of minerals and trace been created. Deep fertile soils produce convincing heavy elements in volcanic soils. BBC Horizon, “The Blue Nile” mineral-rich crops of tasty organic vegetables, fruit and in 2004, traced the Blue Nile to its origins in the highlands bright flowers. of Ethiopia where the weathering of volcanic rock flow- 20 Star & Furrow Issue 109 Summer 2008
  2. 2. ing down the river is deposited on the Nile delta making it the first-sown juicy crops. By 2000, the young remineralisedfamously highly fertile. The Blue Nile is called so because it trees were beginning to grow profusely, providing shelteris coloured with blue-grey rockdust. and wildlife habitats around the perimeter. It is possible to create such mineral-rich soils inyour very own garden by spreading a dressing of SEER ROCKDUST EXPERIMENTSRockdust. Quarried from ancient 420 million year old Scot- The large spruce trees that towered above the house shadedtish volcanic rock, it is rich in the minerals and trace elements and impoverished the soil and were cut down in 2001. Wethat are deficient or missing from the majority of our soils spread 2 inches of “SEER Rockmix” (the SEER top dress-globally, having been used up by vegetation and eroded by ing) on the surface of the poor soil and grew impressiveweather over the last 10,000 years since the last ice age ended. potatoes. The soil was transformed in one growing season.Soil is the mineral-rich sponge that enables the Earth to sus- We made the fourth terrace, the soil terrace, withtain life and absorb carbon. Without fertility, this sponginess topsoil we’d saved from the car park construction. Plantsdisintegrates and erodes. in this poor acidic soil got smaller, going blue and yellow, so Glaciers crush rocks during the 90,000 year long ice we added a 2 year dose of Rockdust on the southern half ofages. Their advancing and retreating action releases enough the terrace. The following year brassicas were gown in bothminerals and trace elements from the crushed rocks to grow halves and were noticeably bigger and higher-yielding on theand sustain soils which life uses and depletes during the 10 rockdusted half. A year later, potatoes on the rockdusted half- 12,000 year long interglacial periods between the ice ages. showed an obvious effect yielding twice as many potatoesThe exact length of each interglacial is determined by the and they were twice the size than those on the untreatedamount of rock that was crushed by the glaciers and the half. We’d quadrupled the yield! There were also biggerminerals and trace elements released. There have been 25 of plants and yields on the “soil only” half, directly next tothese Earth fertility cycles in 2.5 million years resulting in 25 the rockdusted half – the worms had been taking rockdustfertile interglacials. The present interglacial is 10,800 years old. to the poor half and doing their own remineralising! This We can simulate the beneficial effects of glaciers proved that rockdust does boost fertility without the addi-when we spread Rockdust to “remineralise” our soils. tion of compost.Earthworms digest rock particles in the soil and decompos- We erected a Greenhouse in 2001. We made a pathing vegetation and deposit “remineralised” organic matter using bricks and cement and deep rubble infill between thein their wormcasts which contain nitrogen, carbon, minerals two borders to ensure worms couldn’t travel from side toand thousands of micro-organisms which ultimately become side to mix the two treatments and skew the results. Com-organic, mineral-rich plant food. The more worms in your post and Rockdust (Rocksoil) fills the east side. Poor soil andsoil, the better the rockdust will be worked into the soil. rockdust fills the west side. We grew equally giant organic Many of today’s medical conditions are attributed tomatoes in both sides! The rockdust achieved equal resultsto mineral and trace element deficiencies in our bodies and on both sides in one growing season.our diets which result from eating food grown in mineral- In 2003 we ploughed some flat land that hasn’tdeficient soil. We would need to eat five apples to get the been ploughed in living memory. We spread 8 inches ofnutrition we would have got from one fifty years ago! We can “Rocksoil” on top of the ploughed bed and planted pota-take mineral supplements to address some of these deficien- toes. Seven weeks of drought followed but we didn’t irrigatecies in the food chain. For those of us who grow our own because we’ve observed that remineralised soil can retainfood, spreading Rockdust puts minerals and trace elements moisture in the particles of stone. We grew the biggest pota-back into our soil, increasing microbial activity which makes toes ever and they stored with perfect shelf-life, lasting untilour soil grow gradually darker and the crops more vigor- the following June.ous, mineral-rich, flavoursome and heavier yielding. We can The first two terraces are now in their 12th grow-really feed the world this way, promoting health and well- ing season and are still producing bumper nutritious organicbeing, reducing disease and costs of disease management. crops, year after year! Everything is healthy, lacking nothing, no pest damage or disease. We really don’t know when theseCREATING THE OASIS IN THE GLEN deep terraces will run out of minerals!Deep fertile soils and dense forests once covered this poorPerthshire grazing land. The soils have been used up by veg- THE EARTH’S FERTILITY CYCLESetation and eroded, leaving the glacial moraine, dumped by Cameron explains that Planet Earth’s natural soil history,the last ice-age, covered by shallow soil with a PH of 4.5 - a soil creation and soil demineralisation patterns during thechallenging site offering the perfect opportunity to demon- present interglacial are part of Earth’s natural fertility cyclesstrate soil remineralisation and soil creation. that cause climate changes and how our species responded In April 1997, with our two shovels and a wheel- to these changes in the past or may respond to the presentbarrow, we built dry stone walls then started making the first climate change chaos.two terraces with 200 tons of recycled resources donated by “Soil erosion and climate change threaten the survivalDundee Council’s Discovery Compost and Tayside Con- of civilisation. The world’s weather becomes extreme andtracts Collace quarry. unpredictable when Earth’s soils become severely demineralised. We filled the terraces with “SEER Rocksoil” a Climate change is pre-glacial tension. We’re convinced thatstrip at a time so we could start planting right away and keep spreading Rockdust on a global scale could enable Earth’s soils toup with the growing season. We finished a few months later absorb sufficient amounts of excess atmospheric carbon to stabilisein July 1997. By this time the five children were tucking into global climate change!” Star & Furrow Issue 109 Summer 2008 21
  3. 3. © SEER Record cold temperatures, such as -9°C in Greece in January ’04 with 1 foot of snow and the lemon crop frosted, are becoming the norm. Record hot temperatures and forest fires, torrential rainstorms, floods, giant hail, mud/land-slides and soil erosion, are becoming the norm. Increased frequency and size of hurricanes and earthquakes, extreme climatic catastrophes are becoming the norm, glob- ally, due to climate change. Can we continue paying the cost of cleaning up, rebuilding and “prevention” over and over again? Can we actually solve any of the problems? There is one do-able solution to the whole problem that lies beneath our feet in the soil. To shape the future we need to understand the past. These climatic catastrophes indicate that we are living dur- ing the final stages of the present interglacial. Twenty five glaciations, in 2.5 million years, each lasting about 90,000 years and 25 interglacials, each lasting about 10,000 years, are more than coincidence.” The Present Interglacial has four main phases. These phases are approximate due to varying localised conditions around the globe. Protocratic Telocratic Mesocratic Oligocratic 170 yrs 2,800 years 3,000 years 5,000 years 10,800 years (Dr. Johannes Iversen, State Geologist, and Svend Th. Andersen, Geological Survey of Denmark, 1960’s) HUMAN RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGES At the end of the Mesocratic phase there was a slight global cooling. Our species response was to stop being nomadic; do- During the Protocratic phase the Earth turned green. mesticate our animals; build villages and towns and introduce Pioneer trees grew in the crushed rock and dropped leaves politicians and taxation. which biodegraded to form soil. At the end of the Oligocratic phase 170 years ago, our species response was to apply lime to the acidic land; mine During the Mesocratic phase Global for ores; cut down forests to make charcoal for iron smelt- average soil depth was 7.5 feet. ing, emit more carbon into the atmosphere. This response, Trees during this “post -glacial climatic optimum” phase 170 years ago, was the Industrial Revolution. The Telocratic were up to 8 times bigger in bulk than any trees left on Earth phase lasts 170 years! Our species response, at the end of the today. Deserts of sand and rock in the Tropics were minimal, Telocratic phase is the Technological Revolution! as were the ice sheets. Atmospheric carbon was 270ppm (to- day it is 378ppm). The carbon that was once in the deep soil WARMING OR COOLING? and giant trees has returned to the atmosphere, along with Oceanographers are telling us “global warming” is melting our fossil fuel emissions. Today soil depth is 4.5 – 7.5 inches. the edges of the ice caps and we may be in a stage of transi- tion into global cooling because the melting freshwater ice The main feature of the Oligocratric phase is cools the warm ocean currents, such as the Gulf stream, that soil demineralisation and soil acidification. keep our British climate warm. As the minerals in our soils were depleted, the soil chemistry When the sun’s rays strike the Earth, there is more and the type of tree cover changed. The Caledonian forest heat impact in lower latitudes, the Tropics, than in higher appeared 6,000 years ago in Scotland. Before that, during latitudes. Also, the sun shines on lower latitudes all year long, the Mesocratic phase, a mainly deciduous thick impenetra- but not on higher latitudes. Since the Industrial Revolution ble forest covered Scotland. People lived on the coasts. our species has been, and still is, “turning up the volume” of the greenhouse effect - the Earth’s warming mechanism The main feature of the final Telocratic phase, - mainly in the lower latitudes. Because the lower latitudes which lasts 170 ± 45 years, is soil erosion, are hotter than normal, more water than normal evaporates when torrential rainstorms wash whatever minerals are left and is transported to the higher latitudes. It passes over in the soil into the rivers and seas, ending in an approximate the temperate zone middle latitudes in both hemispheres, 20 year transition into glaciation. producing more cloud than normal (contributing to global22 Star & Furrow Issue 109 Summer 2008
  4. 4. “dimming”); causing more rain, floods and mud/landslidesthan normal. Any water not falling on the middle latitudesfalls at the higher latitudes as snow. This evaporation and transportation of moisturecauses a weight-loss at the lower latitudes and a weight-gainat the higher latitudes. This difference of pressure on theEarth’s crust results in increased tectonic activity causingmore earthquakes and volcanoes. CLIMATE CHANGE S U N ’ S R AY S Large surface areaEQUATOR Small surface area SUN Large surface areaALBEDO EFFECT CAN HUMAN INTERVENTIONHigh reflectivity of the planet turning lighter in colour - The STABILISE CLIMATE CHANGE?Earth’s cooling mechanism. As we turn up the volume of the Rockdust contains certain minerals which can combine withgreenhouse effect in the lower latitudes, the Earth automati- atmospheric carbon to form carbonates in the soil and lockcally turns lighter in colour with deserts of sand, rock, cloud, them into the soil, improving the potential for soils to absorbsnow and ice, reflecting more and more heat back into space. excess carbon from the atmosphere. Sir George Simpson, a Scottish scientist, postulat- Dr. D Supkow PhD, has degrees in geology froming on the possibility of glaciation in1939 said that in order Rutgers University and the University of Maine and a PhDfor glaciers to build up in the higher latitudes, a lot of water in hydrology from the University of Arizona. In his paperwould need to be transported to the higher latitudes. on the “control of CO2 build up and the greenhouse effect” The overheating of lower latitudes is the engine that in “Remineralize The Earth”*, issue no. 7-8, 1995, Dr.drives the water to the higher latitudes. Supkow estimated that in order to keep atmospheric carbonWhen our weather in the middle latitudes of the northern stable at today’s level, 0.8 - 3.2 tonnes of rockdust wouldhemisphere comes from the south, summer or winter, tem- need to be applied to every acre on Earth, every year (apartperatures are warmer than normal. When our weather comes from Antarctica and Greenland). He says, “When rockdust isfrom the north, summer or winter, it is colder than normal. applied to the land, the calcium and magnesium content combine 26.5°C is necessary for a hurricane to form. If with atmospheric carbon, forming carbonates”.tropical oceans are hotter than normal, we have increasingly By increasing the mineral availability in soils, alongmore destructive hurricanes than normal. with carbon absorbed from the atmosphere, it is possible to Warmer than normal ocean currents, coming from recycle excess carbon and re-grow soil, simulating that 7.5 * “Remineralize The Earth” magazinethe overheating tropics are melting the edges of the ice sheets feet which covered the Earth during the Mesocratic phase, and website followedat the higher latitudes. The fresh water ice melting into the thus reducing the impact from both greenhouse and albedo on from the worksalt water oceans is closing down the warm Gulf Stream. effects. of Americans, John Hamaker and Don All of these extreme climatic catastrophes indicate The SEER Centre has demonstrated that 20 Weaver, and their bookthat we are fast approaching the end of the present inter- tonnes per acre of Rockdust can be applied every 10 years, “The Survival of Civi-glacial. We can put this into reverse if we reduce the impact (5kg per square meter). We think this is an achievable, local, lization” that founded the theory that climatefrom the greenhouse effect and the albedo effect simultane- sustainable solution. change precedesously, by reducing levels of atmospheric carbon using several The SEER Centre trading arm “Rockdust Ltd” an ice age and soilpossible methods such as remineralised soils absorbing remineralisation can works in association with Angus Horticulture Ltd. to sup- prevent one.Thiscarbon, reducing carbon emissions, sequestering carbon into ply SEER Rockdust products to retail outlets throughout possibility influencedoceans, mechanically recovering carbon (Prof. Wally Broker, the UK and beyond. www.seercentre.org.uk and www. Cameron and Moira’s aims in achieving nutri-Ohio State University, USA). The most simple achievable angushorticulture.co.uk ■ tious self sufficiencymethod is to remineralise the soil, whether window box, and sustainable Earthgarden, farm or continent. It’s so simple and achievable. management. www. remineralize.org Star & Furrow Issue 109 Summer 2008 23

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