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Natural Solutions

Recommended by the Trappist Abbot was "To Care for the Earth" by Father Sean McDonagh. It is the first by a Catholic priest setting out the church's responsibility to take care of the environment. More than 25 years old now, its predictions are, if anything, modest. One prediction was that there would be seventy million in the Philippines by the 21st century, now there are nearly a hundred million. He calls rapid population growth one of the most serious problems facing Earth's community. He quotes Matthew Fox: "The Cosmos keeps a ledger-not God: and cosmic order will not tolerate human greed."....and Hindegarde: "as often the elements are stained through mishandlings by humans, God cleanses them through the sufferings and pains of those same human creatures." Unfortunately the humans that pay are the poorest living in the lowest lands while the greedy have the high ground. When ten million Chinese rode bicycles in Shanghai there was little pollution, now they have cars and tricycles and it is polluted. The population of China has not increased but their carbon footprint has due to consumption. We have to be careful to encourage voluntary simplicity as a way of being more contemplative rather than advocating for economic growth or industrial jobs for the poor. This is why we are producing a simple manual of natural solutions to agricultural problems, by getting knowledge from many sources. One old farmer on Palawan told me how to defeat both cogon grass and stumps. Integrating ducks with rice is a solution for the small farmer with a good water supply. Hedgerows of kakawate are a solution to erosion. Using effective microorganisms to overwhelm the destructive ones is a natural solution as is using predators. Making small natural farming more successful is much more important than producing food on a large scale or food for export. It is a win-win solution.

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