Reflections: Moving forward, in context

Mountains & Waters Alliance

The Cannon River The Cannon River

It’s been a quiet period: information coming in, little going out, gestating. It’s included consulting with experts on development, organization, marketing – and waiting for construction of the chimney for the masonry stove.

The brief report is that we are going to restructure, so the farm and land activities are formally separated from the residential spiritual community. The farm has a new mission/vision statement, here. And although we need major fundraising to create the off-grid house and buildings, that will be postponed while we strengthen our people base. And we’re thinking about names, now that there are two entities. Could be Compassionate Earth Farm, or Vairochana Farm, or I don’t know what else.

Visitors (recent and near future) include possible apprentices, residents, and supporters. We have not yet settled on a farm manager.

We do have a nonprofit sponsor for the farm, so donations can be…

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Bare Bones Biology 243 – No More Games

Repost of Limiting Factors, BBB 035


If we decide we really want to save our ecosystem for future generations, we need to organize our opinions around the unchangeable facts of Life in a way that will save us.  About five years ago, I described the most important facts on this blog, and since that time I’ve been trying to sort out the most important ones that most people don’t know about.  At the top of that list is Limiting Factors.

141215-Snow-ASC_3244RLSs To a professional biologist, Limiting factors are those conditions that prevent any population from growing beyond the ability of the ecosystem to support it.   Limiting factors are complex and they fluctuate, and every organism is somewhat different, so let’s invent an organism and compare it with ourselves, the human organism.


Suppose we invent a mouse living in Texas and we say its first limiting factor is water.  I mean a species of mouse, not one individual mouse.  So this mouse species cannot live in areas where there is not as much water as it requires.  Also, as global warming increases, the amount of water will be less in its home range, and there are fluctuations year by year.  The mouse population is responsive to all these changes, mostly in terms of how many baby mice they can raise in any given area and year.  The mouse can’t raise babies in areas that have not enough water.  For humans, up to now, we have taken care of the water problem by building dams and water pipes.  Most of us bypassed that limiting factor.


But back to the mouse, supposing there is enough water, but the temperature limits the number of mice in any area.  We humans make heaters and air conditioners.


So maybe all the conditions were great for the mouse one year and they raised a skizzilion babies, until they are so crowded that a disease spreads through the whole population and wipes out half of them.  That year the mouse limiting factor is disease; humans invented flu shots.


Mouse populations are constantly balanced against the predator populations.  If there are five different species that eat mice, then there is a constant automatic balancing of both the predators and the prey so that the predators never eat all the mice and there are always enough mice to eat.  If something happens to the mice, the numbers of predators will be affected.  All these things are limiting factors both to predators and to prey.

The bottom line limiting factor is that every living cell and organism and ecosystem requires food energy to stay alive.  Food energy is made by photosynthesis in plants and other green organisms.  If the major food of mice is a particular kind of grass seed, and if the mice become too populous, so that they eat up all the seeds, then all the mice will starve, and so will the predators.



Survival of the Biosystem is NOT basically a story of individual survival of the fittest; it is a story of balancing millions of biological interactions so that the SYSTEMS can survive together within the limiting factors of all the millions of species that make available the air, water, earth and energy that are required for the survival of the whole Biosystem.


Human technologies can increase efficiency, but there is nothing humans can do to actually make food for ourselves, so the bottom line fact is that food energy (chemical energy) is a limiting factor that humans cannot exceed on Earth .   And that is the limiting factor we now face.   Or actually we are not facing it, because we’ve gotten a bit big-headed.  We’ve used technology to get around all our limiting factors for all these millennia up to now, and we’ve forgotten that the only reason we could do that is because the earth was making more food than we needed to feed ourselves, and our machines, and now our corposystem.


That is no longer the case.


People have learned to grow their own food.  Cattle.  And corn.  And the like.  But we have now reached the point where we and our machines and our corposystem are all competing with the ecosystem for food energy. 


Another thing we sometimes forget is that the ecosystem is not growing that food just for us; the ecosystem needs food for all its populations of millions of organisms because all those OTHER organisms do make available the air, water, soil and food energy that we and they, and therefore the entire Biosystem, require to stay alive and healthy. 


So we need to pay attention to the fact that we have hit the bottom-line limiting factor for humans on this earth.  That is one of our facts that we cannot change.  We cannot change how the Biosystem functions to prevent overpopulation by any species.  Overpopulation by definition is when the species hits the final limiting factor.  Normally, at that point in overpopulated species, the population continues to grow until it eventually eats up all the food and then it dies.  The population of humans on this earth has already surpassed the limit and is beginning its descent.


What we decide to do about this situation will determine whether or not we survive as a species, and how many people must suffer for our big-headedness.  Whatever happens, our population will not grow beyond its final limiting factor because no technology can change the second law of thermodynamics.  We could, however, change our behaviors so that we stay within the biological limits.


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan Texas

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:

Bare Bones Biology 242 – Fracking III repost

So here’s my answer to the question asked by the young man at the airing of the documentary Gasland in College Station in 2011 ( Yes indeed, young man, every industry is having problems. That’s because the question is not fundamentally about industries. It’s about the universal law of cause and effect. About the common root cause of the effects that you don’t like, and the bigger question is whether you will decide to take actions that will make things better — or carry on doing the same behaviors that caused the problem in the first place.

No living thing on this earth has ever had the power, in the long term, to get whatever it wants without doing the behaviors (that is the causes) that will bring the effects that we want. I150118-Sette-ASC_3695RLSsf we sincerely want to solve the problems of industry and their root cause, then problem solving requires, first, knowing what we want; second, knowing what stands between us and getting what we want; and third, understanding that many actions are possible and useful for now, but most of them will cause more harm than good for future generations if we don’t know how the system functions.

So it’s your choice:
You can do nothing, or you can do something.
If you decide to do something, you can decide to:
Do something that will make you feel better;
or you can
Do something that will probably be a little more frustrating but will actually help improve the conditions.

The living earth ecosystem, not industry but the living Earth ecosystem – that’s what produces our air, water, earth and energy.


The living Earth ecosystem does not function by human values or aspirations. The living earth ecosystem functions very elegantly, incredibly, but definitely on the basis of cause and effect and according to the natural laws of physics and biology. So if we want to influence the living earth ecosystem we must do the actions, the causes, that will cause the effect we want. And not do the actions that cause adverse effects.


That’s all there is to it; and we know enough to do it; and there is no other way to get what we say we want.

For the past 100 years at least we have clearly understood our problem. We are unbalancing our ecosystem by taking away too much of the resources it needs to maintain its own balance of life, and using those resources for activities that poison the cycles required for its health and ours.


We know how to fix that. We fix it by reducing our growth of all kinds, because it is our growth that consumes the resources that the ecosystem needs to maintain its own healthy balance. There is no other way to get what we say we want, but we refuse to do it.

That’s why the oorporations don’t want us to understand our human problem. They would be required to help grow healthy communities rather than simply use the productivity of the existing communities to feather their own pocketbooks.

So your choice, young man, now, is to decide whether you want to make the earth more healthy, or if you would prefer to spend your time:


Doing nothing;
Trying to believe the corposystem fairy tales;
Resorting to powers like prayer or spirituality, that we cannot control, while ignoring or mis-using our own personal and social power;
Having fun;
Being miserable;
Blaming someone else;
Fighting over issues that will not change the outcomes;
Debating issues that will not change the outcomes;
Pretending the glass is half full;
Pretending the glass is half empty;
Trying to win something;
Or trying yet harder to believe in the human value system that caused the problem in the first place.

Well, here’s my helpful hint. Your first next step should be to learn the difference between measurable facts, propaganda and opinions, including your own opinions.


At the same time you should:


(1) begin studying the laws of biology. The most basic laws, not all the details people try to befuddle you with. You will not learn about ecosystem health by studying physics or even physiology. It’s the ecosystem that’s sick, not a human or a proton.  A completely free download of the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook is available on my website; I don’t even keep track of who downloads these.


(2) Stop arguing or fighting over anything, and begin problem solving discussions. Preferably with someone who read the same handbook.

(3) Stop doing or supporting those actions that cause harm to the life of the ecosystem.

You’re right. Fracking is a symptom and not the cause of our problems. Stopping or limiting or confining fracking will not solve all the problems. Neither would anything else solve all the problems, instantly. Doing nothing will definitely not solve all the problems, and stopping or limiting or confining  fracking could prevent terminal destruction of the earth’s remaining fresh water, though it won’t improve the dirty air that now pollutes our beautiful Brazos Valley.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan Texas. A download of this radiocast available at:

Links, References and Trackbacks:

Click to access pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

Key Words: fresh water, fracking, propaganda, difference between measurable facts and opinions, industry, root cause, living earth ecosystem, human values, law of cause and effect, resources, poison, balance of life, growth, healthy balance, corporation, biology, physics, physiology.

Bare Bones Biology 241 – Fracking II

The movie “Gasland“ by, Josh Fox (, was aired in College Station in 2011, followed by discussion. Now I would recommend Gasland 2, One of the questions asked at the College Station airing (and recorded if you want a copy) was:

“. . . every industry is having problems, and that goes into agriculture, that goes into everything. This is not just a problem for this industry, this is every single industry. How are people in my generation who are completely apathetic and feel there is nothing we do that matters . . ?”

141227-snow-ASC_3667RLSsYes indeed, every industry is having problems. Of course they’re having problems, because industries are not more powerful than God, and they’re not more powerful than nature. And for at least the past 200 years, they’ve been behaving as though they think they are. The answer is up to you, of course — what do you propose to do about it?

If you want what you want, regardless of what the living earth needs, then you will make your town and your world worse than it is now. Of course you will, because worldwide we have reached the point where human activity is depriving the Living Earth of the things it needs to keep itself alive. Regardless of whatever you believe or I believe — our reasons, emotions, opinions, intentions, desires, wars, tantrums, Presidents, cannot change what the earth needs to stay alive. The living earth does not operate according to whatever people want.

If you mean to force the world to operate the way you think it should, then the answer still is that you cannot. If you mean how can you have yours, regardless of who must pay the price, that behavior will end soon, because the corposystem has already destroyed a large portion of what the earth needs to provide for our needs, and your generation is about to pay the price.

If you mean you are very angry because the corposystem — your culture, in which you deeply believed – probably still believe – has been lying to you, then I don’t blame you. So am I. But being angry will not change what we have done. Neither will blaming someone nor griping nor apathy nor doing nothing. No living thing on this earth has ever had the power to get whatever it wants, over the long term, without doing what is required to get it.

And that means you must study and discuss WHAT THE EARTH NEEDS TO BE HEALTHY, because we are a part of life on Earth, and when the Earth is unhealthy, then we and our industries will also be unhealthy. First we all need to study and discuss (not debate, discuss) what are we doing that makes the Earth unhealthy. Then we need to study what is possible and what is not possible for humans to do on the small surface of this tiny living planet, and then we must stop doing behaviors that make the Earth unhealthy. Those are not choices. The only choice that we have remaining now is whether or not we want to survive on this Living Earth.

If we ignore the requirements of Life because we think physics and human engineering are more powerful or less complicated — then the laws of physics will survive because they are truly laws of nature. But Life as we know it will not survive, because Life is more complicated than the laws of Physics.

Physics functions just fine on the sun and the moon and the Earth, but Life on Earth is more than the laws of physics, and it will not survive if we take away what it needs to survive, which is mostly a viable balance among all its parts. The Earth will simply ease back to the simpler state and stop supporting Life. We don’t even know what all it’s parts are, and with fracking we are killing a huge subterranean ecosystem without even trying to find out what that ecosystem does to help sustain all of the Life of Earth, including us. It’s all connected – all of Life is an interconnected system.

In fact, Life on Earth is not surviving in good health, as you clearly describe when you say all the industries are failing. But I think your focus on industry is failing. Water is not an industry; air is not an industry; soil is not an industry, energy is not an industry. These things are the commons by international law because they are made available to us only by a healthy living earth. Yes, they are failing, because the living earth is not healthy, because we have unbalanced it.

If you want all that living ecosystem to stop being sick and suddenly start to do what you want it to do? Ahhhhh, should we try force? A revolution? A war against the ecosystem? We’ve been doing that for the past 200 years. It makes the problem worse because it DOES NOT GIVE THE EARTH WHAT IT NEEDS TO BE HEALTHY.

For 100 years at least we humans have very clearly understood the problem. The problem is too much growth – too many people to feed, in addition to the other living things the earth must feed if it is to continue providing us with air, water, soil and energy. We have known what we must do to fix it. We must reduce the growth – and the human population. We don’t want to do it. So we just throw another technological tantrum and complain when it only makes the Earth that much sicker.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 in Bryan, Texas. A podcast of this program can be downloaded at:

Key Words – War against the ecosystem, blaming, griping, apathy, doing nothing, living earth, corposystem, technological tantrum

Links, References and Trackbacks
bare-bones-bio…–-fracking-iii/ ‎

Click to access pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

Bare Bones Biology 240 – Reality Check

FAX to BLM 140812 (FAX receipt filed)


U.S. Bureau of Land Management
New Mexico State Office
Fax: 505-954-2010
• I am protesting parcels NM-2014-001, 004 through 015, which are in the Rio Chama Watershed and East of the Continental Divide.

I am an 80-year-old retired career basic scientist who planned to spend the rest of my life in the Brazos Valley of Texas and was forced to move because of the destruction of the quality of the air that was threatening my health. I am not alone. Large segments of the American people are becoming homeless or mobile. It is excellent business for the travel trailer parks, but not for building healthy productive communities.

I lived in this location in Texas for 35 years, and invested much of my life savings in four pieces of property in Texas. When I arrived in Texas the air was always as crystalline as that in northern New Mexico on a good day like today. When I left, the air was consistently, daily, gray with a dank smog that damaged my lungs and other organs.

This fug is still there on most days, over the entire region of the hill country and eastward, and up to about 200 feet elevation, and of course it continues to get worse as all those wells leak (I was threatened when I photographed effluent being poured into the local creek). This change took (for the worst of it) about 5 years and was very clearly, the most of it, the result of intensive fracking north of us.

In addition, of course, I know many other people who owned land and homes in the Brazos Valley of Texas who have had personal health problems, have been forced out of their rural homes, have lost their jobs to people brought in from outside to work the oil and gas jobs, and even have observed flights of birds drop from the air, killed or disabled by the fumes from those local processing stations the gas companies try to hide back in the boonies. I can document these things.

Some of the negative effects of fracking are very well known and well documented.. This destruction does not sit there on top of the BLM lands. Among these problems documented in regions of fracking, worldwide. Destruction of air, water and the almost completely unstudied underground biosystem are among them. Earthquakes that indicate unknown kinds of damage to underground bio and geo systems.

Our air water and soil are the commons. They belong to the people – not to the gas or oil companies, and not to the BLM. Money is not more important than the common welfare, and a little more money now will not solve the human problem of depleting resources. In fact, it will make the problem worse for children who are born today, because we did not try to solve the real human problem, but only tried to do more of what caused the problem in the first place.

I am a basic career biologist – not a technician or a technologist. Regardless of the opinions of technicians and technologists, I and other basic scientists know that what we do to the earth today we can never undo. Before we do anything we should deeply consider what will be the effect on the future of humans in New Mexico and beyond, because the effects of this toxic technology are not only local. But expand far across the land air and water, and into the future.

I sincerely hope I will not need to sell out and move away from New Mexico as fracking continues, but I hesitate to invest further – to buy a property where I can live in winter – until I find out to what extent New Mexico is willing to protect her citizens and the natural wealth of her Biosystems from fly-by-night developers who bring temporary jobs, use up the infrastructure of the communities, and then sell off a portion gas and oil overseas and go away to feed off of the next community. It is the function of government to protect its citizens from these snake-oil salesmen who promise temporary riches rather than help to grow sustainable communities for the welfare of all the people.

I have purchased land here. Again, I hope this is a place where I can live healthy to the end of my days.

Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux
Lumberton, NM 87528

Copy to:
Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens
POB 934
Abiquiu, NM 87510

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of and KEOS Radio, 89.1 in Bryan, TX

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:

Again, this link does not appear to respond to my efforts to open it, but the address is:
You have to precede the above with http://


For a more inclusive and very well informed account of the biological and human consequences of fracking go to Alternative Radio and download the audio or the transcript (or both) of Fracking and Public Health, Sandra Steingraber.

And while you are there:
Thomas Linzety. Corporations, communities and the environment.

Bare Bones Biology 239 – Fracking

Rerun of BBB 060
Podcast is posted at

I have lived in a Tokyo suburb, and in the shade of a mountain in Montana, but it’s in rural loneliness where I learned the most about community. I learned to sit under a tree in the forest until the little creatures gathered around to investigate this stranger in their midst. Almost like a Bambi forest glade with the little birds and flowers, but I learned this before I ever saw a motion picture. And I always knew it was no fairy tale, but the deepest source of life itself.

So I already knew this when I went to college, and there I found the wonder of basic science and I dedicated my life to learning how we humans can use our knowledge of basic science to bring to ourselves a life of ordinary happiness, in a perpetual way, like a forest glade that blooms for us and for our children unto the seventh generation yet to be born, and beyond. I mean learning how the whole system works so that we can help us to continue nurturing us on into the future. And now we know; we are choosing not to do it, and that is our human tragedy.

110611DroughtASC_2572S copyFor a long time, I have been wondering how anyone could make that choice.

This morning I woke up remembering how exciting it was in college, that three year period when I understood how forest glade ecosystems function – using all the species at once, and all the cycles, and the flow of energy at all the levels (see the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook download free from the web site) – to maintain the well being of us all, the rabbits and birds and flowers and all of us who are a part of the ecosystem.

This morning after the fracking presentation, I woke up remembering how that felt and wondering how anyone, as we heard yesterday and have been hearing for the past 15 years or so – how anyone could dedicate his life to tearing down this wonderful dream of a forever fine future.

And then I realized there isn’t very much difference between a young person who dedicates her life to understanding the factual truth of a functioning world ecosystem (that would be me). There isn’t that much difference between me and, say, a young man who grows to that age of enlightenment and observes the amazing power of the workings of the corposystem. A young man raised on Star Wars make-believe instead of the beauty of factual reality can believe in the corposystem very much in the same way I believe in the ecosystem. Very much as Bernie Madoff’s clients and even his sons believed in his Ponzi scheme, even though anyone can do the math and know there is no sustainable future in it. Star Wars economics is of course impossible to sustain for the same reason that any Ponzi scheme is impossible to sustain within a universe that operates according to the laws of energy and the law of cause and effect. Anyone can do the math. But when we are dreaming big dreams and deciding where to devote our lives, if we don’t know about schemes and scams and the first and second law of thermodynamics we get big ideas and are willing to make big sacrifices for them.

That’s the tragedy of human kind.

Of course there are no tragedies at levels three and four (corposystem and ecosystem), so far as I know. It’s all about cause and effect. But level one, the individual person and level two, the communities – the tragedy is all around us now, in the air and the water and the soil and every forest glade. Not only the sacrifice of our best human values – honor, honesty, compassion — but also the promotion of suffering – and the effort it takes for idealistic people to believe that what they are doing is for the best.

Even though anyone can do the math.

Podcast is posted at