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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Nature Prevails, a new Elemental Impact platform

Bigger than Us podcast 
promo graphic

Since inception in 2010 as the home for the Zero Waste Zones, Elemental Impact (Ei) embraced the "nature knows best" concept. Ei's work uses a holistic approach where the broad ramifications of action taken is assessed including the essential microbial communities.

As featured in her May 2020 Bigger than Us podcast interview, Ei Founder Holly Elmore is known for the following quote:

In order for life as we know it to survive and thrive on planet earth, we must - absolutely must - get our soil and water microbial communities back to a healthy, balanced state.

Food-Waste Collection for Compost
During the Ei Era of Recycling Refinement, from inception through June 2017, commercial collection of food waste for compost was a primary focus. In 2014, Ei announced post-consumer food-waste collection for compost or a state-permitted destination other than landfill was the prime Sustainable Food Court Initiative focus.

The "Nature Knows Best" slide in the
World Chef's Sustainability Course
In 2015 Ei prepared the waste & recycling curriculum for the World Chef's Feed the Planet Sustainability Education for Culinary Professionals, a course currently taught in culinary schools across the globe. For the food-waste composting section, a "Nature Knows Best!" slide discussed nature's perfect decomposition system and the role it plays in soil and plant health. For example, a tree’s decaying leaves contain up to 80% of the nutrition required for the tree to thrive.

Though they can emulate nature's system, humans cannot duplicate it. As human-created food-waste destinations stray further from natural parameters, the end product contains fewer nutrients required by the soil’s microbial community. Thus, Ei embraced outdoor windrow-compost operations as it emulates natural decomposition; Ei opposed anaerobic digestion of food waste as the system strays from natural decomposition. Ei's perspective was based on the implications for the soil and water microbial communities related to food-waste destination options.

In July 2017, the RiA Magazine article, Soil Health: regenerating the foundation of life, announced the Ei Soil Health platform. Within the announcement, Ei evolved from a focus on recycling refinement and food-waste collection for compost to Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity. Inherent within the Soil Health platform are focuses on Regenerative Agriculture, Carbon Sequestration, and Urban Carbon Sinks. Thus, Ei segued from the Era of Recycling Refinement and into the Era of Regeneration.

Carbon Crisis: simply a matter of balance
Within the Era of Regeneration, Ei's underlying premise is restoring balance to the Earth's five carbon pools: atmosphere, oceans, soils, biosphere, and fossil. Ei Strategic Ally Kiss the Ground's The Soil Story video explains the Earth’s carbon cycles in an easy-to-understand format where soil is the hero for regaining balance.

The RiA Magazine article, Carbon Crisis; simply a matter of balance, establishes carbon-crisis solutions that are grounded with two simple tactics: 1> align systems within Nature’s proven cycles and 2> rely on basic supply | demand economics. Regenerative-agriculture practices align with these two tactics and are integral to balancing the carbon cycles. 

In the November 2017 RiA Magazine article, Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions, Ei coined the term Urban Carbon Sinks where regenerative landscape and grounds maintenance practices are the protocol. Ei's Urban Carbon Sink Pilot $100,000 grant proposal was a finalist in the Ray C. Anderson 2020 NextGen Grant process. Due to COVID-related challenges, the 2020 final grant proposal was not submitted. An impressive Urban Carbon Sinks team is excited for the 2021 NextGen Grant request for proposals.

Holocene Extinction (sixth mass extinction)
According to the November 2019 Science Alert article, Are We Really in a 6th Mass Extinction? Here's The Science, current conditions indicate that the Earth's Holocene extinction, or sixth mass extinction, is well underway. From the article:

A mass extinction is usually defined as a loss of about three quarters of all species in existence across the entire Earth over a "short" geological period of time. Given the vast amount of time since life first evolved on the planet, "short" is defined as anything less than 2.8 million years. 

... The Earth is currently experiencing an extinction crisis largely due to the exploitation of the planet by people. 

The previously referenced Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions article establishes the building crisis of the diminishing food and oxygen supply.

Abandoned farmstead in the
American Dust Bowl, Oklahoma
photo courtesy of Britannica.com 
According to a Global Agriculture Soil Fertility & Erosion Report:

Our most significant non-renewable geo-resource is productive land and fertile soil. Each year, an estimated 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil are lost due to erosion. That's 3.4 tonnes lost every year for every person on the planet. Soils store more than 4000 billion tonnes of carbon.

A dangerous dilemma is brewing with an increasing global population and a diminishing ability to produce food.

According to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) June 2020 How much oxygen comes from the ocean? fact sheet:

Scientists estimate that 50-80% of the oxygen production on Earth comes from the ocean. The majority of this production is from oceanic plankton — drifting plants, algae, and some bacteria that can photosynthesize. One particular species, Prochlorococcus, is the smallest photosynthetic organism on Earth. But this little bacteria produces up to 20% of the oxygen in our entire biosphere. That’s a higher percentage than all of the tropical rainforests on land combined.

Yet plankton is perishing at alarming rates due to ocean acidification and warmer water temperatures. 

Though life as we know it on planet Earth is endangered, Nature always prevails and will simply nurture and embrace new life forms if the existing species perish.

Nature Prevails

An elder tree thrives within a 
building in Old Havana
photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
Ei announces the Nature Prevails platform to complement the Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity platforms. Within the Nature Prevails premise, the Earth heals herself and nurtures renewed life forms, no matter the calamity caused by humans or extraterrestrial activities.

During the 2020 COVID-19 global pandemic quarantines, citizens witnessed an immediate impact of reduced human activity via clearer skies, orchestras of bird songs, and the roaming of wild animals in urban and rural parks. The experiences were a glimpse of how quickly the natural world resumes when human activity subsides.

With a commitment to align work with Nature, Ei defined The Principles of Nature with three broad categories:

  • Diversity
  • Dynamic Balance
  • Necessity of Cover & Ability to Roam

Beyond the environment-related activity within in each category, societal systems including economic structures, financial markets, urban design to name a few also align within and are impacted by The Principles of Nature. 

In the recently published The Nature of Nature, Why We Need the Wild, author Enric Sala explains the fallacies inherent within using a country's Gross National Product (GNP) as the standard indicator for a country's economic growth and stability. According to The Economic Times, GNP is defined as follows:

GNP measures the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced by the country’s factors of production irrespective of their location. Only the finished or final goods are considered as factoring intermediate goods used for manufacturing would amount to double counting. It includes taxes but does not include subsidies.

In Enric's perspective, the GNP is one of the worst indicators for human prosperity for three reasons:

  1. It does not factor in the destruction of the natural world and externalizes devastating consequences in favor of manufacturing capabilities.
  2. It assumes that the only value of a society is what can be measured as part of an official, organized market.
  3. It does not measure well-being and happiness.
Within the current definition, forest-protection by an indigenous tribe would not be included in the country's GNP. Yet, clear-cutting of the forest for timber sales would be included in the GNP.

Simon Lamb's groundbreaking book Junglenomics published in late 2019 presents Nature's clear blueprint on how to reorganize the economic domain to protect and benignly coexist with natural environments, halt species decline, and benefit the poorest. The result of 25 years of research and insight, Junglenomics provides a new vision for a future world rescued from decline, gained through an understanding of the profound forces at work in modern economies.

Future articles as well as Ei website content will further delve into The Principles of Nature and how they apply to environmental as well as societal phenomena.

The opening slide in the GRLEI intro PPT
photo credit: Holly Elmore Images

Activities within Ei’s Nature Prevails platform are in partnership with the GRLEI.

On April 6, 2020 Ei Founder Holly Elmore hosted the inaugural GRLEI call to announce the initiative formation. With approximately thirty prominent land-economics professionals on the call, it was a milestone day!

The RiA Magazine article, Global Thought Leaders Embrace Regenerative Land Economics, launches the initiative and announces the prominent GRLEI Executive Team:

  • Holly Elmore, GRLEI Chair (Ei Founder)
  • Bernadette Austin, GRLEI Focus Area Lead (Acting Director of the Center for Regional Change at the University of California at Davis)
  • Brad Bass, GRLEI Advisor & Industry Expert (30-year veteran at Environment and Climate Change Canada as well as a Status Professor at the University of Toronto (UT))
  • Ronald Thomas, FAICP, GRLEI Adviser & Industry Expert (Ron Thomas & Co. President)
Many of the Ei Advisors are enthusiastic to serve as GRLEI Advisors in their respective areas of expertise.

GRLEI Vision: to explore challenges related to stated focus areas from a holistic approach where the community, environment, and local economies benefit from commentary, discussions, and proposed projects.

GRLEI Tagline:

Global thought leaders supporting complete and equitable communities.

GRLEI Focus Areas:
  • The Focus Area slide in the GRLEI intro PPT
    photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
    Infrastructure
    – explores the built environment including a city’s water & sewer systems, water treatment plants, public utilities, as well as corporate, government, and educational districts | campuses. Additionally, focus is on the availability of and access to affordable housing within a community.
  • Environmental Resources – explores the impact of existing and proposed projects and infrastructure within urban and rural communities on energy sources, soil health, local greenways, open spaces, waterways, and resident access.
  • Social Equity – explores ways to promote complete communities that include equitable access to housing, transportation and transit, education, employment, human services such as healthcare and safety, and other amenities such as parks. These complete communities balance land uses focused on people, (such as commercial and residential land uses), with natural and working land uses such as open space, waterways, farms, and ranches.
With utmost generosity, Brad offered eight hours of student time from his UT research platform to assist with developing the GRLEI communication vehicles and researching content.

Beginning the week of May 25, Jahin Khan, a UT research student within Brad’s COBWEB platform, worked closely with Holly on crafting a GRLEI PPT presentation to support the introductory magazine article. Later in the summer, Ridhi Gopalakrishnan joined the UT-affilated research team to study Urban Carbon Sinks and the impact of glyphosate on the soil ecosystem.

One of the initial Nature Prevails tasks is to classify each of the identified topics within the respective Focus Areas within The Principles of Nature's three broad categories.

Launching the Nature Prevails platform is an Ei Milestone and is destined to catapult Ei's important work into new dimensions of influence and impact.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

From Macro to Micro to Nanoplastic, an Ei Article Book

Image captured on Long Boat Key, Florida
Image captured on
Long Boat Key, Florida
In September 2020, the Fingertip Press published the first Elemental Impact (Ei) Article Book: From Macro to Micro to Nanoplastics, an excerpt from the Regeneration in ACTION (RiA) article, Plastics: a double-edged sword

From "Plastics: a double-edged sword:"

The seemingly magical gift of plastic came with a double-edged sword filled with the potential to destroy life as it is currently known on Earth.

In less than seventy years, humans managed to infiltrate the Earth with micro and nanoplastics from discarded single-use and durable products in literally every nook and cranny, ranging from the arctic snow caps to the depths of the oceans and everywhere in between.

It is time to shift perspectives from human-focused to life-focused and let the Earth show us how to heal the damage inflicted. Answers will come to those who live and take action from the heart.

Additionally, the Nanoplastics article includes the following new sections:

  • Plastics at the beach - showcases how readily available durable and single-use plastic items are common place during beach enjoyment.
  • Beyond litter, cigarette butts are plastic pollution - explains how cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic.
  • Ei Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health & World Hunger - gives an overview of the empowering October 2018 exploration.
  • COVID-19 plastic pollution - explains how the recent pandemic resulted in a new surge in plastic pollution.
Image taken on a
secluded Cozumel beach
Soft cover, magazine-style books are available for purchase at $11.99 each plus delivery; volume-purchase discounts are given. Additionally, a pdf version of the book is available for $8.99. Here is the link to purchase the book: https://bit.ly/3bl2Zxs

A portion of the book proceeds is donated to Ei, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to Soil Health | Regenerative Agriculture and Water Use | Toxicity.

The Fingertip Press is a division of Holly Elmore Enterprises and the nomenclature for Ei Founder Holly Elmore's published articles, documents, and other written communication. Photos in the Nanoplastics book are courtesy of Holly Elmore Images.

While formatting the book design, Holly discovered a shortage of plastic photos to include. Thus, on an early summer Sunday morning, Holly went on a five-mile walking photo shoot in her urban Atlanta neighborhood. As suspected, there were ample plastic-pollution photo opportunities to complete the book-image portfolio.

For the cigarette butt image on page 15, in 2017 Holly walked a similar five-mile neighborhood route and collected every butt encountered. Upon returning home, Holly staged the artistic capture and promptly got ill from the cigarette toxins.

Remnants of  plastic holiday decor 
in Selby Garden's pollinator garden
On the bottom of page 2, the image depicts plastic debris blown from nearby I-75 onto Kennesaw State University's Hickory Grove Farm, a regenerative farm that provides food for campus dining and serves as a research field station.

Many of the other book images are from Holly's extensive travels over the past several years including Puerto Rico, Cozumel, Austin, Texas, and her lovely hometown, Sarasota, Florida. 

For those interested in promoting the monumental book in their networks and beyond, contact Holly at holly@elementalimpact.org to strategize on opportunities available. The book is an excellent plastic-pollution-education tool for schools, corporations, and the overall community.