I have quite a few houseplants in my living room. On my tiny balcony, in addition to ornamental plants, I have plants for consumption too.
I purchased the spathiphyllum specimen shown here over ten years ago and it did produce some flowers every year. Inspired by my ‘microscopic‘ horticultural activities and observations, a few weeks ago I finally gave that plant specific fertilizer aimed at the growing tips (with phosphor) and not only did the plant grow more flowers, they now also grow approximately 50% larger.
On a balcony, wind and aphids pose additional challenges for horticulture. On the other hand: everything happens very close to your eyes.
Contemplating about these observations and activities, my thoughts go in two very different directions.
For a good harvest you have to take so many factors into account.
And vice versa: people have been collecting knowledge about this for tens of thousands of years, and that knowledge has been spread and further expanded.
About propagating (human, non natural selection), fertilizing, watering, protecting against all kinds of animals and diseases, preserving, safe transport, etc. etc.
Now that all these learning processes have been going on for so long and have already led to so much success, their progress is self-evident, but how different it was in the early days of agriculture!
It takes so much time to fully get to know each type of crop and livestock: that was not the work of months or years, but of decades and centuries.
And always under that threat of famine!
And even further back: discovering what was and was not edible. Which nutrients could even counteract pain and diseases.
And let’s not forget: how to make really tasty dishes!
The success of agriculture is really colossal. Humanity has increasingly managed to keep up with the strong population growth and even considerably more than that.
But large-scale famine is no longer the biggest and most important threat today. We face different threats. Roughly divided into two very different categories.
On the one hand, we as humanity recognize and study more really existing threats: such as the impact of a meteorite or asteroid. Or the chance that the large volcano under Yellowstone Park will erupt.
It is extremely important to realize that almost every increase in our knowledge of physical reality provides fuel for alarmists.
Yes, they are real threats, but with only a small chance that the disaster will occur in the short term.
And there is also great variation in the extent to which human intervention could provide a (partial) solution. Defense against the impact of chunks of space objects identified timely is conceivable, but against a tsunami that is triggered by the sliding of tectonic plates, nothing at all, nada, niente.
On the other hand, there are more and more politicians and ‘journalists’, scientists even, who contribute to instilling fear in the population about all kinds of subjects. The worst fear that is being stirred up with the greatest possible success is that for ‘the’ (!!) climate [Warning: link leads to really long text] and for CO2 , the greenest of all gases, in particular.
And they have already gone a step further than just raising fears.
Nowadays – the Netherlands is a painfully clear example – even outright incompetent people are placed in important positions to show the independently thinking part of the highly educated population who is boss. The most memorable part: total war against farmers and fishermen. The Netherlands is also a painfully clear example in this area.
Speaking of raised middle fingers: yesterday this message came from Sweden:
Returning to tsunamis that are set in motion by the shifting of tectonic plates: we as humanity certainly cannot do anything to prevent them, but you can of course do something about it for yourself as an individual if you are seriously concerned. Just live far from any coast. If you happen to live on an atoll, you really better start building a future somewhere else.
Conversely, it is striking that people who fanatically suggest to worry about rising sea levels often live close to an ocean or sea…
Those preparing for enormous, possibly even global, catastrophes –preppers or survivalists-: according to fairly serious sources, there are many millions of people who can be considered part of that group.
The first message I came across after a very general search for this subject sent me to some sociological (in the sense of not really serious ‘scientific practice’) Amsterdam research. The article about it initially went along with the approach of mocking those millions of people, but then apparently its author realized that inciting fear was in his job description and concluded with a call to perhaps take the preppers a little seriously …
I also have reservations about preppers.
Their approach strikes me as giving up the fight. As a fan of Winston Spencer (“Never, never, never give up”) Churchill, I have a problem with that.
But I also have doubts sometimes.
Am I sufficiently aware of how widespread and determined evil is in the world? Just this morning I was urgently reminded of how determined ‘Brussels’ is to greatly expand censorship.
When all kinds of societal shit hit all kinds of ventilators, when various services – whether or not planned along World Economic Forum lines – completely collapse at the same time: am I sufficiently ‘prepared’ myself?
I do prepare in my own way. Including by making more use of non-digital mail and by encouraging others in my own way to do the same.
I even sell postcards.
And I have that tiny balcony. I have a filter to make (even) ditch water drinkable. And my freezer is filled with meat that I buy from a butcher who has his own cattle. I certainly can’t last years, or even months, thanks to this ‘prepping’. Just a few weeks. Weeks to possibly completely change the rest of my life. There is something soothing about that