Bare Bones Biology 069 – What to Do 03

In this third episode I want to focus on local actions. Of primary importance, right now today, is to focus on preventing the corposystem from taking ownership over or destroying our major survival requirements. That’s our soil, good farming dirt, our food, our water, and our air. Because once they have finished, either damaging or taking ownership of these basic survival needs, we will not have anywhere near as many choices for building a better future as we do have, today.

Here in the Brazos Valley the smog is almost as bad as Los Angeles on some days, and the oil companies are coming in now to do heavy-duty fracking operations that will certainly affect our water supplies, because millions of gallons of water are made unusuable with each well that they frack. It will contribute tons of diesel fumes to our air, from all the trucks and equipment, and not to mention the fumes that come out of the wells.

Certainly it is possible to regulate these activities locally. It was done in Flower Mound, and anyone can make a local impact. It’s not like trying to deal with the Federal Government. I don’t know that anyone is, at this moment, making that effort.

Also in the Brazos Valley I think it’s important to understand what is happening relative to genetically modified foods, because the amount of Roundup©, which is a plant poison that is spread on genetically modified foods, increases every year, so that the air we breath is damaged, the soil is definitely damaged. Soil is an ecosystem of its own, and really good soils may have more than 50 percent of living organisms. Spreading poisons on the living organisms that make up the soil is not good for the soil any more than it’s good for our air. We’re just beginning to understand the harmful effects that this may have, and at the Peach Clubhouse we’re trying to tabulate that information now.

Another thing you can do is try your very best not to allow anyone to threaten you out of your rights. I’m thinking now mostly of people who do fracking. Sometimes we have to give in to intimidation, but before giving in, try to get help to discuss the issues. Or, if you have expertise in that area, help someone to find alternatives to whatever situation they are in.

If you’re good at assessing cost/benefit ratios, that would be another good thing you could do to contribute to the decisions we are making in the Brazos Valley. Use whatever is your best skill to put whatever pressure you can against the root problems. And of course recycle. Of course. Recycle. And if it’s at all possible you will want to provide for yourself a source of energy that is not controlled by the corposystem.

But the bottom-line understanding, while you’re doing all this, the most important bottom line understanding is that whatever you do must take into account the cause of all these myriad problems that we are facing. We will not succeed in making a better future, if we spend all of our time and energy dealing with the symptoms, while still ignoring the cause. The bottom line cause of those symptoms is our continuing growth on a Mother Earth that is already overgrazed, maxed out, and can not provide any more food energy for us to continue to grow.

Bare Bones Biology 069 – What to Do 03
KEOS radio 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
Transcript at
Audio later this week at


On this blog (FFF), Bare Bones posting day rolls around twice a week like clockwork, but our Bare Bones Ecology Book requires thinking between posting days, which can be a bit of a problem. Thinking is not as reliable as time, and I don’t have a detailed materials cycle for you today, so let’s begin with a bit of background for chapter 02.

As we have emphasized, the ecosystem (and all other living things) require for their survival:

1. the flow of energy through the “body,” as the energy is converted from sunlight to food to heat in the process of doing work;

2. the cycling of materials that, unlike energy, can be used over and over again;

3. the flow of information over time to maintain and reproduce the flexibility, resilience and stability of the interacting functions that are necessary to do the work of processing energy and recycling materials.

That was in the introduction to chapter 01. We will publish the introduction and chapter 01 when we receive feedback from one more editor, and the ISBN number. But don’t wait for the book, the pdf can be downloaded from the link at the right.

Meantime, the main points of chapter 01 are:

1. Life can be defined by its ability to maintain itself and reproduce itself;

2. The earth ecosystem is a unit of life, and like all units of life it requires organic energy for its survival (to maintain and reproduce itself). All organisms require organic energy for food. Only the green ones can convert light energy to organic energy. Therefore it is the green organisms that limit the amount of energy that is available to keep the earth ecosystem alive.

3. The earth requires, for its survival, a balanced relationship between the energy that it uses to stay alive and the energy that is available. The ecosystem also requires a balanced relationship between the molecules that contain the organic energy (food and other resources) and the waste products of metabolizing the food (carbon dioxide and water and some other minerals and molecules). In addition, energy-out must balance energy-in (or vice versa) for the earth ecosystem to maintain itself over long periods of time. All the food and minerals and organic molecules and other resources must stay in balance. In other words, for life to maintain itself and reproduce itself, it must maintain a balance among all the activities that keep it alive.

4. We are living organisms. Therefore our economy is component of the earth ecosystem. Our economy is totally based on food and energy and minerals and organic molecules. Therefore, the economy must also be maintained in balance for the ecosystem to survive. Because of our technologies, that are part of the economy, we have the theoretical ability to fatally unbalance the ecosystem. Ecological balance is sustainable; Ponzi economics will either run out of resources or create too many waste products for all the interacting systems of the earth ecosystem to maintain in balance.

5. The ecosystem maintains its balance by all the interacting processes of all the levels of its organization. In other words, the ecosystem requires all the diverse species of organisms to do the work of balancing the energy, balancing the resources, and responding to the imbalance created by anything. The resilient balance of all its parts and processes is what makes the ecosystem sustainable.

Chapter 02 of Bare Bones Ecology will be about the cycling of materials. Mostly chapter two is a rather nit-picky collection of : carbon cycle, water cycle, nitrogen cycle; phosphorus cycle, and a bunch of other cycles, and a description of how each of them actually works. I don’t know about you, but I find this rather boring, and it’s easy enough to find descriptions of the cycles on line or in any ecology book. For me, the interesting part is the bottom line of how life works, and we already mentioned that life works by staying in balance. The interacting processes of all the organisms of all the levels help to cycle and recycle the materials (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, etc.) that are required to maintain life. The water cycle, for example, is the product of living processes. It is not just something that automatically happens between the air and the rivers and oceans, but is intimately directed by the living ecosystem itself. We will talk about a few materials cycles over the next couple of weeks.

After that, we will tackle the information flow. In chapter 03. That will be fun. Genetics, cell biology, evolution.