30TH EPISODE OF THE REGENERATIVE HOUR: Can we turn the 2020s into ‘The Regenerative Decade’? In this series of interviews about what that would imply, we talk ecology, deep adaptation, grief, compassion, passion, connecting with nature, resilience, revitalisation, restoration, and revolution
Pets, people and planet: Interview with Gundula Rhoades about her book ‘The Food Solution – Eating for today to save tomorrow’ – where she joins the dots of the health of the soil to the health of the animals to the health and mental health of humans.
“We lose our health when we lose the health of the soil. The root cause of disease is in how we treat the soil.” This is, in simple terms, the message of Gundi’s book ‘The Food Solution’.
She calls for a reeducation of the general public and of farmers in particular when it comes to understanding the importance of microbiomes and the relationship between food, gut bacterias and our health. “Farmers are being misguided by chemical industrial businesses which have only one aim – to make profit,” Gundi says. “To regenerate planet Earth we have to stop chemical agriculture.”
Do you suffer from one of the many modern day diseases? Do you constantly feel bloated and lack energy? Then listen to Gundi explain some of the reasons for this, and why you must choose organic food whenever you can. Support the regenerative farmers by making the right choices when you buy your food.
Gundi questions the way the chemical industry is marketing their products to agriculture. We will soon follow this interview up with an interview with Dr Stephanie Seneff concerning Gundi’s concerns about glyphosate and what it is doing to our soil.
Full transcript of the interview below.
Towards the end of the hour, we listen to:
Zach Bush: The Way Out – Nature Separation
Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective – (Youtube trailer from 2020)
Planet Local: A Quiet Revolution
We round off the hour with a song by Aurora: ‘The Seed’
The Food Solution by Dr Gundula Rhoades
Available on Amazon.com
Food & Farming Revolutions
Planet Local Summit Livestream on Friday 29 September
In the panel: Patrick Holden, Chris Smaje, Jyoti Fernandes, Nelson Mudzingwa and Margarita Barcena Lujambio.
Eating a permaculture diet
A permaculture diet is healthy, local and sustainable, with much of the food grown in our own gardens, farms and communities.
In every issue of Pip Magazine and on their website, you can find wholesome “from scratch” recipes you can try at home. The Pip team understands that we’re all time-poor but they encourage you to add some quick, simple recipes on regular rotation. Recipes like grain free crackers, homemade pastry, fermenting recipes, and their favourite staple – sourdough bread.
Read more: Eating a Permaculture Diet
The Regenerative Hour no. 30 – full transcript
Mik Aidt: Welcome to the 30th episode of The Sustainable Hour’s “child”, you could call it, The Regenerative Hour, where we look at how we can turn this decade into a more regenerative decade. This is a series of interviews where we give ourselves time to talk about deep adaptation, ecology, passion for nature, and topics like resilience, revitalisation, restoration, and, dare I say, revolution.
Today in the Regenerative Hour we talk with the author of a new book called ‘The Food Solution’, written by Dr. Gundula Rhoades, or – as we do here in Australia, where names are always shortened: Gundi Rhoades.
Gundi Rhoades: I’m a veterinarian in rural Australia in the northern part of New South Wales. I’ve lived also for over 20 years – not anymore, I might say – but I lived for over 20 years on a cattle property.
You can hear by my accent that I’m actually originally from Germany. I came here in 1997, 1998. Got married onto a property, and I already was a vet and had been working for a few years in England, learning the ropes, and came over to this country as a European, learning everything. I knew nothing about cattle farming in Australia, knew nothing about soil. I was just a completely normal veterinarian, dealing with the cases as they come into my clinic, dealing with whatever we deal with — itchy dogs, go out to do a carving, treat a horse, stitch them up, find the lameness, spay a dog, castrate a cat… that sort of things, normal veterinarian life.
One thing though, that I’ve always done from when I was 20, is that I was very interested in nutrition. And that happened because my mother – while in my first year of university – was diagnosed with breast cancer. And thank goodness, she’s fine. She’s in her mid-eighties, still ballroom dancing. She can recite 250 poems. No signs of any sort of slow down in her mind, …which is part of this whole story, right?
So [because of her cancer] she then looked at nutrition. Way back, 37 years ago, this is – when I was 20. So in 1980, 1985, and – when we remember – when Roundup came on the market in Australia, it was 1991.
My youth was before Roundup. I knew nothing about pesticides. But when my mother looked into the question “Why did I get breast cancer?”, she found [the answer to be]: food and the breakdown of food, then already, which is not surprising. And chemical agriculture would have happened then already. But I lived in a city. I knew nothing about that, anyway, about the breakdown of wholefoods. What we do to flour. And the grains… That we, in the processing, we just chuck all the goodness away.
A German doctor called Dr. Brucker was at the forefront. He was with Dr. Weston Price, who a lot of people would know, a dentist that did indigenous people research about the health and their jawline and who did rat and mice and cat tests.
“What happens if we degrade the food, process it, get rid of the germ in the wheat?”, for example.
That was my foundation that I looked at when I was in the start of my university studies. I already looked at food. Then I did my normal years of study of… first seven years as a veterinarian, came over here onto this cattle property and worked for a local clinic, had one, two kids, opened my own clinic, started to run the farm, eventually by myself. And I then became a cattle farmer.
I’ve been a veterinarian, so it wasn’t alien to me – it’s been in my blood. I think through my ancestry, like, we were all farmers once, anyway. I developed an interest in cattle, black Angus cattle. I learned about that, about the genetic side of things.
Then we discovered the grasses, learned about the grasses. And I thought: it’s all about growing grass, to get good cattle. I converted because I was really concerned then already about the environment. In Europe it was a thing, like I grew up with acid rain and catalisator techniques for cars before we knew that CO2 was actually the culprit: “It’s just CO2 that we are puffing out into the air. It doesn’t really matter.”
So I converted my farm to organic. More by default because I didn’t have any money to do anything with it anyway. Before I took over the farm, my biggest super phosphate check that I signed was $75,000, for a 3,000 acre property.
I knew a bit about what happened. And so I took over this property – ran it badly, because of time restraints. I had three young kids and no finances and was running a vet clinic that I was building up. And when I converted it to organic, even though I didn’t do a very good job on it, I still learned about the soil and then it started ticking, in my brain: What does it have to do?
And to cut a long story now short: this is when I discovered the soil and eventually I discovered chemicals, agrochemicals and what they did [to the soil]. Then with my medical mind, those two joined each other, and then suddenly I started to look at disease, chronic disease in a very, very different manner. Then it suddenly made ‘click, click, click’. And now, while the picture has become very clear to me, I would put that statement out there that the degradation of the soil by what we do – research, plowing, superphosphate, NPK fertilisers, and then the agrochemicals like the herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, fungicides – how that does destroy the microbiome of the soil, how important that is, how that reflects in the plant, in the livestock, and then in us. And that is huge.
So what you’re talking about is not just the animals anymore, but also us, the human beings. A hundred per cent. And I’m talking, like: Pets, Planet People – such a nice triple P, it’s not just the pets, it’s ruminants, of course, and horses and all the other animals. But it is far more far reaching than that. Actually, it’s climate, it’s ecosystem destruction. Destruction of our human society.
Let me just explain this in as simple a term as I can.
Nature has made it this way that we have soil, and in the soil are so many microbes that are just like in our gut microbiome, or an animal’s microbiome. We haven’t really known about that. We completely disregarded that until around 10 years ago. The first research that I read about gut microbiome was in 2011, 2012. And we, as veterinarians, we have learned about microbes in animals for a long time, in the cow, the rumen, in any ruminant. So any ruminant – and you can put the rabbits in there, you can put antelopes and deer and even the koala – they are all working with microbes that are digesting the cellulose, the fiber, the herbs, the grasses for us, because we can’t do that. And the horses do it too. It’s a well known fact for us veterinarians: if you give any of those ruminants or herbivores antibiotics, they will starve to death and they will die. We know this. So when I started to learn about the microbiome in people, it was just like: yeah, of course! We’re not sterile. I’ve said this for years: We’ve got bacteria on us. In our eyes and our mucous membranes, our skin, in our breasts, which protect us from breast cancer. In nearly every organ of our body do we have bacteria.
And in the soil, we completely disregarded the bacteria too. When I talk about microbiome in the soil, as we know, it’s bacteria, fungi, arthropods, protozoa, and then, like the nematodes and the earthworms, and the little spiders. All of that is a microbiome of the soil, which Elaine Ingham, a soil scientist, called the soil food web. Because in the early 1900s, Mr. Liebig discovered that for the soil, we need different minerals and a different quantity, he put this, and most people that learn biology at school, do you remember this, this tub, with wooden sticks, and then, like, that picture is in my mind, like, and let’s, and every wooden panel is a mineral.
And then if you have one down, like, let’s say magnesium is down. The water flows out. So in other words: we need all the minerals. And so it was very minimalistic, like mineral-based agriculture that we had, really, until recently, in the last two or three years, maybe five: we have discovered the microbiome of the soil.
Before that, we didn’t know. So I think a lot of the destruction in agricultural land has happened out of ignorance. I don’t think anybody – and this is very important – that the destruction of our planet… Yes, there is greed. And yes, everything is about money and everything is about capitalism, and our economy just runs on one way of making profit and nothing else that is behind it. Yet, I like to believe that nobody gets out of bed in the morning to really destroy a planet. You know, “Let’s destroy all the agricultural land!” I think it just happened. We were what science… and science is always just trying to catch up what is already, yeah? … We always think, “Oh, we’ve discovered this.” No, you haven’t! You have now finally understood it, what actually has been happening in nature for the last three billion years since life existed.
So: we didn’t know. And science in the last hundred years has been so fast in its development. 100 years ago, in 1904, we discovered the microbiome. We discovered bacteria – Pasteur and Fischhoff.
And then, in the 1940s, 1950s, we discovered antibiotics. And DNA, when was that? In the 1970s, 1980s… So, science has just done this exponential curve of knowledge. And we have, with our little brains – amazing brains, but still limited – we’ve had the kidney here and the brain there, and the eyes there, liver, kidneys, heart, but we haven’t actually had time to put it back together, in all its holistic form.
And the same with the soil and with agriculture: we thought in our minimalistic thinking: we can pour a bit of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, NPK fertiliser on, and then we kill it all with Roundup. Then we put a bit of urea on, and then we can make things grow. Completely disregarding the complexity, because our brains just didn’t really get it.
Now that we do get it back together, I think this is a gift that I’ve been given to share. I’ve just been given this knowledge about medicine on one hand, and then, through sheer fate, karma, whatever, I ended up on this property that then through more karma – me as a German city woman who had to learn how to run and how to make sense of and how to, how to understand the system, you know? – So when you are not born on the land, you’ve got a certain emotional and, brain freedom, to think about things. When it all comes together, then the microbiome in the soil is very important.
I listened to somebody who explained glyphosate, and I had never got my head around Roundup. Roundup is the commercial name for glyphosate. And when I heard that it is the killer of the Shikimate pathway, then I had to look up: what is the Shikimate pathway? It’s a pathway that we [humans] don’t have. Hence the illusion that it is harmless. “You can drink this stuff.” We don’t have the Shikimate pathway. Bacteria do, plants do, algae do, fungi do, but we as humans and mammals don’t. So it’s [claimed to be] completely non-poisonous.
So everybody started pouring out Roundup and as a herbicide before they’re planting. And just to explain that to the normal listener who is not on the land: When you drive around the district next time you go for a drive from A to B and you are on farming land, look around you and you will see paddocks, either green lush with some cattle on it or some sheep, and they are looking relatively healthy, and then you’ve got the cropping country where crops are grown. Wheat, sorghsoy, canola, cotton, sunflowers, and so forth. And you will notice that at certain times of the year, for months, sometimes on end, they are fallow. So they are plowed. There is nothing else growing. Then you probably can see that there’s brown remnants of herbs or weeds or grasses sitting in there. So they would have been sprayed with Roundup. Yeah. It’s a common practice and another herbicide, as we call them, weed killers. There’s lots on the market. Glyphosate is the mostly used one. And the second mostly used one is 2,4D, which is actually 2 Agent Orange, which the older people of us will remember as a defoliant for Vietnam.
And you might also know the pictures of the people and the birth defects that the people in Vietnam got. It’s horrendous when you watch tv programs about Agent Orange and it’s multi generational causing of disease, like people on crutches, people are blind, cancers everywhere.
So these are very commonly used herbicides. When you go into Bunnings and you buy a weedicide for your grass, look on the label, it’s probably got 2,4D on it, so you’re spraying Agent Orange, which is not very healthy. This is how we farm. And then what happens, the farmer puts a crop in, the crop comes up.
And then, a fungal attack comes, so there come the fungicides. Insect, because the plants are very weak, an insect attack comes, then come the insecticides. And quite often the crops here, talking to farmers, like they spray 5, 10 or even 20 times a season, with sprays.
So, you have to assume that every time every paddock you see will have been sprayed out. After a rain event, the chemicals will go down into the rivers. When you look – if you bother to get out of your car and go into this paddock and have a look – you will find that it’s quite often rock hard after a rain event, the water will just sit on top because it can’t penetrate anymore.
This is the lack of topsoil and the lack of microbiome. So what glyphosate Roundup sprayed everywhere on every cropping country in Australia, America, and a lot of places in the world. It has got three different really detrimental functions. A) it’s a herbicide, we know that, but B) it’s also an antibiotic. It’s been classed as an antibiotic since 2001 because it kills the shikimate pathway. So therefore, the microbiome in the soil is dead after application of Roundup. The fungi go and the bacteria go. And with that goes your organic matter, which is what makes soil into humus. It makes it black and crumbly and, and can absorb water and keep the water for the next sunny day. It protects the soil.
So the microbiome is dead. That’s where the hardness of the soil comes from. That’s why the water sits on top and doesn’t go. The soil is dead.
Then what happens is that the plants that the farmer wants to grow are trying to grow, but they’re lacking in nutrients. So that’s the number two. Roundup is absolutely detrimental. And number two is that it’s a calculator with a C H E L A T O R. It’s a chemical term. Kilon or kil, come from the Greek word for hooking. So it hooks itself onto the minerals in the soil, and especially the ones that have got a plus behind them. Magnesium plus, copper plus, selenium plus, iron plus, molybdenboron, calci… – all of these things that we need for good plant growth, but we also need them when we want to eat that plant.
Then we hopefully want to have those nutrients in there. Now the bacteria would also make these minerals available for the plant. So you’ve got a double whammy. You’ve got the bacteria locked in the ground, chelated by Roundup, which doesn’t let them go, which doesn’t let them go into the plant.
So therefore the plant doesn’t have it. The animal doesn’t have it, and we don’t have it. That’s one reason why food is not the same anymore. This is why we say, like food hasn’t got any, any, anything in it anymore. Right? And the other thing is the microbes would have made these minerals available for the plant.
Very fascinating story, but they are dead, so they can’t do it. The fungi that would have elongated the roots for another kilometre sometimes, and then as a nutrient highway, sort of zip the nutrients to the plant, they are killed by Roundup as well. So the farmer really has shot himself in the foot. Now, when we go into nitrogen, yeah, every farmer wants nitrogen.
So that is the N part of the NPK. That’s nitrogen. And as you might know, in the air, we have got 70 per cent nitrogen. There’s a heap of nitrogen in the air, 20 per cent also in oxygen, 70 per cent nitrogen, but in a triple binding. Triply bound, like one N triple, that’s a, that’s a little, it’s like a macadamia nut.
You can’t crack it, until you have real force. So what is that real force that cracks that nitrogen? Actually, we need a lot of energy or a very smart thing to do that. Why do we have to crack it? What do we need nitrogen for? I don’t know how good the listeners are with biochemistry, nobody is normally good at biochemistry.
So in very simple terms, carbohydrates are just carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, nothing else, just in different forms. Fats are the same carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and proteins have got nitrogen in them. So that’s where we need nitrogen. So we got to get it from the air somehow into the plant, then into the animal and then into us.
Because as we all need proteins, right? So we need to get that 70 per cent of nitrogen out of the air into the ground. So in nature, a lightning strike will do that. It’ll crack that triple binding after when you go outside next time, after lightning strike, go outside and have a look at your grass and you will find that it is in a very short time, half an hour, an hour, two hours, it’s darker, it’s greener.
And that is the nitrogen, fixed by the lightning strike. So the only other thing on the planet that can crack that is the nitrogen fixing bacteria. And they, again, are bacteria in the soil. And they’ve got an enzyme in there that’s called a nitrogenase. And bang, that can take that, make it into a single nitrogen, and then build it into proteins for us, so it’s pretty magic.
So when we spray Roundup, we kill the bacteria. that make the minerals available. We kill the bacteria that, that can split the nitrogen and we’ve shot ourselves as a farmer pretty much in, in the foot, so that’s, the third thing that the bacteria do, which is absolutely important. So I really want you to listen now because this is just really important.
So when I went into… I wrote a book, called the food solution, if anybody’s interested. So when I did my research for this book, and I was sitting on my computer for hours, went down rabbit holes and tried to find out where the nutrients were made. And it turns out that all the B vitamins, B1, they are important for all metabolic functions in your body.
The only place, the only life form on earth that makes them are the bacteria. So they is little fermentation. Engines in the soil. So again, when they are alive, they make the B vitamins, and then they can go into the plant and into us. And for example, we are running as people on one milligram of B1 vitamin B1 a day and nutrient intake, but we should have at least five.
So, and I can tell you stories about what happens acutely when cattle or sheep, or I saw a little chucky chicken the other day with vitamin B1 or also called thiamine deficiency, the brain liquid becomes liquid. And, the little chucky was blind, and couldn’t find its food anymore. They go stargazing, cattle and sheep go stargazing and they will die very quickly, so we are running, this is only one vitamin of many and one nutrient of many, but it’s a really good example of what actually happens. Not only do the bacteria make the vitamins, they also make alkaloids, which I won’t go into now, they’ve got immense function in the body. Uh, polyphenols, the same thing, blood pressure, anti cancer, anti parasite and so forth. But they also make the essential amino acids.
They are the building blocks of protein. Yeah. And tryptophan is the most famous one of them because tryptophan is a precursor of serotonin. Which is our happy drug precursor of melatonin, which makes you sleep and the precursor of IPA, which is, protection against Alzheimer’s. So the pathway that it’s made by is the Shikimate pathway, which Roundup kills.
Yeah. So this is how this story of nutrient deficient. food that then makes a very nutrient deficient population. Yeah. Animals, people, plants alike. Yeah. And on top of that, the organic matter in the soil is the biggest and really the only available carbon storage we have to get the CO2 out of. You know, the air back into it because the oceans are chock a block full of carbon.
You know, they are becoming acidic. They have dissolved so much carbon dioxide and the oceans will spit it out. You know, if we remove it from the atmosphere, it’ll just, the chemical balance, will push the CO2 back in. So let’s assume that now we agree that climate change is true. Climate change is not the only way we destroy the planet, but it’s a major one.
And that CO2 has to come out again, out of the atmosphere. And the only place where it can go and easily, it’s into the soil. And that process called photosynthesis happens every time the sun is shining. So not 24/7, but 12/7, because it doesn’t happen at night. Only during the day where everything is green and pumps the carbon from the air back into the soil, so this is why it’s so important.
I call it ‘Pets, People and Planet’ – because, that is, you will have, there will not be health, with, with, chemical agriculture for all of these different reasons, and there will not be planetary health, and the chemicals flow down into the rivers, into the oceans, and very, very, very detrimental there too.
Mik: So we’re being told, and the farmers are being told that the only way we can feed 8 billion people on this planet. It’s because of all these, wonders from all these chemicals and things we can put out on the fields and you’re telling us the complete opposite story. How does that story now come out?
Gundi: How does it come out? I think we have to re-educate people, and at the moment you could nearly go into despair because… I’m part of the medical profession, but I’m a veterinarian, so I’m coming from a different angle. And I’m not as restrained by what I can say. You know, the doctors are very much one line.
We call it the agrochemical pharmaceutical complex. Now those two industries are the biggest industries in the world. You know, there is huge money interest against. The message that we want to say, yeah. Do universities teach it yet? No. You know, Southern Coast University in Lismore with the wonderful Lorraine Gordon, she started to teach regenerative agriculture.
Do you do the medical people, the medical profession, do they teach food? Not yet. Yeah, the universities don’t. Is my own profession aware of the destruction of glyphosate and what it actually does cause, and we have not got into, and I will have to do this, about the chemical, about the, the, the problem in people and in pets, what glyphosate does in us.
You know, and I need five minutes to talk to you about that. I can’t stop before I have told you that. So we have to just really reeducate. And it’s coming, you know. Like, 10 years ago, nobody talked about microbiome. Suddenly, in my book, I’ve got a whole chapter of mental health. It came out two, two years ago, my research.
Probably in the last four years, I’ve got a whole chapter there, mental health and gut and microbiome. And now I’m listening to the first, webinars about, Hey, like there’s actually the microbiome in our gut is the one that takes that amino acid tryptophan that is made by the bacteria in the soil that then you’re eating, but it needs bacteria again to make it into serotonin.
It needs bacteria to make that same ingredient. into the hormone that makes you sleep. Yeah. It needs bacteria, different bacteria again to, and so forth, so the connections of the brain gut axis are huge. And we are just discovering them now. You know, I remember during COVID, how everyone was talking about our immune defense system and how, the COVID bacteria.
The COVID virus would be attacking our immune system and all that. And I really was wondering why is no one, certainly not in the media, talking about how we improve our immune defense system, from scratch, not just by, by getting an injection with some, more of virus, but, but actually by looking into like, you’re talking about vitamins, the different bacterias that are.
You know, making our bodies strong. Yeah. Once you understand the power of the pharmaceutical industry, then I think you are, like: follow the money and you will know why there is not much research done. You know, like my, my simple answer, by the way, to all of these problems is simply next time you go shopping and you’re standing in front of those eggs, like either the organic ones or the non organic ones choose the organic ones.
Yeah. There is a tsunami of change. Behind that one egg or call it the sugar or call it the flower, like whatever organic food you buy will have been organic is not perfect, but it’s at the moment, unless you you get it from your grandmother out of your own garden, you know how that was grown or from a local farmer that is spray free and works with compost always bacteria, and has got good soil in the shop as a label.
That’s all we have. You know, like we don’t have anything else to go by, but every time you buy that organic egg, you give that, you give Woolworths or Coles or wherever you buy, you give them. I care. I care about my health. And people mostly buy organic because they care about their own health.
But my message also will be you buy organic, the tsunami avalanche behind you that you didn’t use, you bought a product that didn’t use Roundup, it didn’t use 2,4D, it didn’t use nitrogen and phosphorus fertiliser, which also kill the microbiome and puff more, CO2 in the air. The biggest culprit of climate change in agriculture is actually not the methane from the cattle.
Yeah, we can talk about that another time. It’s not the methane from the cattle. It’s actually the emissions from dead soil, and cattle for another podcast are the one life form as a modern sort of macro pod that can pump that carbon. Weekly within two years or one or two years, back into the ground, but that’s a different story, that probably would blow everybody’s mind right now, so, but, that’s where, you buy an organic product, and you’re healing Mother Earth with that.
So yes, is there an incentive to tell people to buy organic food? No, organic farms are small. There’s no big agrochemical industry. You know, the agrochemical industry in, I heard a statistic, and don’t quote me on it. I got this from some somebody $135 billion, …let’s say 135 as a unit, in agricultural turnover in the United States, and 132 of that went to Monsanto Bay, Dao San Genta, to these companies that have got the agrichemicals and sell them. That is huge money. It’s bigger than any other industry on the planet. Only surpassed by the pharmaceutical industry.
So this is why we call it the agrochemical pharmaceutical complex: The money behind this system that is there is huge, and there is no incentive to change. And, also I think, rather than blaming the farmers, and I am one of them, although I sold my farm… We are all in this. We all want to eat, and we cannot just let the poor farmers that got misinformed, misguided… Every time they get an agronomist out, they get told they have to put more urea on, which will kill more of your microbiome. More Roundup, more sprays, so… But they really do not know yet. A lot of them, don’t know yet how to do differently.
There is a desire. I know there’s a desire. There’s so much to catch up on, like it still works. This system, the inputs are huge and the margins are little, but it still gives them a crop at the end of the day.
To get farmers of this sort of addiction of chemicals, we need to educate, like, we need to show them not just that there is a microbiome which will then grow crops with abundance.
Sso much has to change, like, we have to teach how to do it differently, and a lot of that will be around the microbiome. If it is EM, which is a mixture or stuff called digest or ruminant is all bacteria. And maybe seaweed fertiliser, to remineralise. Cattle in landscapes are wonderful. All of those things to reverse this damage that we’ve done and regenerate that. And with regenerating soil comes regeneration of health of people. And then comes regeneration of rivers and ecosystems. Organic farms are normally local and, and, so local economy is a huge thing, about getting us back to local and not in this globalised puffed up, shareholder centered, business, and shareholder only have got one aim at the end of it, which is to make profit. It’s very little slither of our human and nature existence on planet Earth, so a lot of changing.
Mik: So the takeaway message that I hear from you, Gundi, and probably also in the book you’re coming out with now is that we can do this.
Gundi: 100 per cent! 100 per cent. We just have to do it. Yeah. And is our consciousness ready for that? You know, are we aware enough yet? Not yet, but it’s coming, and what else are we going to do? Either we go home and go to bed and give up. And then, I am convinced that society just from chemical agriculture alone, We will not, we will not have a good life, like climate change is going to destroy, the extremes of temperature, like we have got a little slither of Goldilocks, growth of plants, growing of food happens between 15 degrees and 37 or 38, not much, on planetary health, so a little increase to make it too hot over fever temperature of 42 degrees.
Bingo. Cactus. Done. Yeah. You know, I’ve seen a lot of overheated animals when their body temperature is over 42 degrees, which every parent knows, oh my god, that’s a fever, that’s dangerous. Biological systems in the body, blood clotting, cell membranes, will all get destroyed and you will die.
Death follows, cerebral edema. You’re dead within a few minutes or hours, when you overheat and planet Earth. So that that’s a real limit that we cannot under-[estimate], you know. When it’s 45 degrees and the soil is 65 degrees, life actually ceases to exist, but on another level.
When you look at what glyphosate does in the body, so, glyphosate in our bodies with every, you have to be aware, every non organic food you eat will be, especially anything to do with wheat and, and grains will be soaked in Roundup because a lot of farmers harvest now with Roundup, so it’s very, it’s in your flour, it’s, it’s, It’s unavoidable.
It’s in 99 per cent of people you have round up all through your body. Yeah. So it goes into your gut, kills the bacteria in your gut. There goes your microbiome. With that goes your mental health and your physical health. And your short chain fatty acids and so many things, autism, it rips open the junctions, the tight junctions between the gut cells, creating leaky gut, look it up, go into Google images and punch in leaky gut, and you’ll have really good pictures, of how that works.
And how that then creates inflammation in your body, and that inflammation in your body can be as thyroid dysfunction, as allergies, as asthma. Yeah, when you look at how many kids have got asthma, the rise of autoimmune diseases, young women with thyroid problems, it’s a hormone disruptor, there is a wave of endometriosis, which is also classed as an autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune means the body is fighting against itself because it is so inflamed and so angry that it is hyper, in hyper drive and starts to attack its own tissues.
Cancer, anyway, the Alzheimer’s epidemic that we have, where the trajectory is that nearly every older woman will suffer from Alzheimer’s, which will make society Nearly impossible because who’s going to look after them and then the wave of autism, which in my town, the teachers and the kindergarten workers that I talked to, it is a wave of autism and behavioral problems of these poor children that are born with it.
And so probably in our town, one in 10, while it used to be one in 5,000. Hardly known, and now everybody has got autistic children in their vicinity. One in two, cancer, and it’s not that we diagnose better, it’s just a wave of disease. So if I just think of that alone, who’s going to pay taxes?
Who’s going to look after the sick people? Who’s actually running on a really good energy with good mental health and good body health? It’s not many, you know. The medical system is completely overwhelmed. And nobody… For me, the root cause of disease is the destruction of the soil. And my proof? Three billion years of evolution.
Yeah. Compared to 50 years of agriculture. Yeah. Or, okay, we have had agriculture for 10,000 years – since we started plowing. Which is funny, like, when I was young and I was very idealistic, and in Germany, we had this peace movement, saying: make swords into plows.
In a way, the plow and what it has done was ever more destructive than the sword has ever been, which is really just a funny little squirky thing, you know. Like, oh my God! The plow was disruption of the soil, exposing it to the air, drying it out, killing the microbes, killing the fungi, fungal hyphae and so forth. So the plow has got a lot to answer for, you know! But the evolution of how we – the animals, plants, and us humans – have developed in evolution, is: We and our food were one. There was no distinction.
And now suddenly we have altered it beyond recognition. And everybody thinks we’re just talking about sugar. We’re talking about too much wheat and too much cake and maybe the wrong fats. But even if you go and buy broccoli, And healthy – so-called healthy – food: it’s got nothing in it.
And then remember what I started with, that we destroyed the soil where all the nutrients are coming from. Yeah. And then you go and buy a supplement where a company in China, probably, or India has made your B vitamins because you don’t get them anymore. Or you have to take zinc now, to push up your immune system because it’s not absorbed from the soil anymore.
It’s not in your normal food anymore, which we always had, you know? Yeah. So, yeah, we are, we are on the road to extinctions really beautifully, which then is. If one in four women, I think it’s probably more now, one in three men is infertile. Yeah, maybe we are self regulating ourselves, but should we, do we have a place on planet Earth or not?
This is what it often comes down to for me. Shall we actually fight for us? So that’s the question that I leave you with, should we be there? Surely the regenerative, regenerative agricultural farmers are going a long way to reversing. That and they’re the educated ones who are doing something really about the soil.
Yes, 100 per cent and regenerative agriculture, like I, my social circle is full of people in regenerative agriculture. There are the most beautiful people. the most well meaning people. And it’s, it’s again, a tsunami of positive change and, and that is heartwarming. And that makes, that gives me hope, that this, all of this, what I’m talking about is not my invention. You know, it’s from all the regenerative farmers, that I talked to and what I learned, like: so many beautiful people.
And with cattle, it is relatively easy, to do, with livestock, it’s, it’s, and cattle are the center of regenerating soil, rotational grasing, Alan Savory’s work, it works really well, I think the cropping farmers have got a much, much tougher job in changing.
Because it’s just much harder to grow grains and, and, and vegetables, that way in a biological manner. Yeah, yeah, they’re the heroes, the heroes of this planet, and, and from what all I know. Apart from stopping fossil fuels, like to regenerate planet Earth, we have to stop chemical agriculture.
It’s very much underrated, in its impact. So I would like to see a wave of actually, and let’s not wait for the next 20 or 30 years to prove that Roundup is really bad, it’s enough proof. You know, it’s a brilliant book by Stephanie Seneff about glyphosate. It’s called Toxic Legacy. You know, she’s got about 40 or 50 pages in the end, in the back of the book, of scientific research.
You know, it’s been proven. It’s just what we call the knowing, doing gap. You know, we know. But what now we have to do, time is up, we just have to do this. Now we don’t have any time, all the climate, but we know this and nobody that I ever talked to wants to see this planet die.
It’s the most beautiful planet in the universe. You know, like, why would we not protect it now that we know, but what I really want to say to everybody, buy that food from these regenerative farmers, support them. And I would like to see the government supporting them because they need help. You know, we cannot, if planet earth.
I’m convinced planet Earth depends on getting that carbon back down again. We have to heal oceans and rivers by stopping chemical agriculture. 50 per cent of the planet is agriculture of the landmass. That is food produced for you and me. Yeah, that’s where the power comes in because that’s us. So every time you go shopping, anybody goes shopping, there is you, you can either destroy and you are destroying planet Earth by buying non organic food.
It’s not just your health. And I could talk about Your health for another 10 hours, right? How it gets destroyed, you are destroying your health, but you’re also destroying the planet, so if you’re sort of halfway sitting on the fence, oh, my God, it’s expensive, which it is, then that might give you that little push to Yeah, but if I don’t.
If I don’t stop smoking now, I’ll actually be dead. That is what I can do. I can make that choice, buy from Regenerative Farm and Rusty, absolutely a hundred per cent: the regenerative farmers are the heroes, but who, who knows a regenerative farmer? You know, like… you don’t have that label yet. We are working on it.
I think that is a start of this conversation: to understand how this is all connected. And we as consumers have the ultimate choice: who we buy from. So: local hundred per cent organic regenerative as much as you can, and that is my only hope because when I am thinking on this level of the agrochemical industry and the pharmaceutical industry, that is the system that we live in now, and the banks and everything, it seems so big, that you can’t fight it. But don’t fight it. Just walk around it. If nobody buys the stuff – if we just all buy organic food – this might be a pipe dream of mine, but if we do that, if we really give this really clear message… After all, they’re producing food for you. If you don’t want that food anymore… If everybody would stop eating chocolate, chocolate wouldn’t be produced. The consumer has got the ultimate power.
Be aware. Think before you buy, and then buy that product that has got the biggest impact, and food is massive, 50 per cent of the planet we can change into from detrimental to ecosystems, bees, butterflies, insects, the birds that eat them, the fish down in the river, the coral reefs, all of that.
Destroyed by chemical agriculture, or you’re going to buy food from regenerative farmers that regenerate the soil and the insects and the bird life and the water that runs off those properties is clear. That’s the impact that you have. Nobody else is good. The food is produced for you, so that’s what I want to tell everybody.
Let’s jump all on together, you know. Power to the people in a way, you’re like, can’t do this alone.
Rusty: It now takes me half an hour extra time when I’m in the shops, because I’ve got to stop and read everything. I don’t know where the farmers markets might only be once a month or something or other. And I have to use the supermarkets. So yeah, you’re walking around and it’s quite difficult.
Gundi: Yeah. And there is hardly anybody at all in Australia that would eat normal healthy food. You know, like 99.99 per cent of the population eat rubbish. You go to the supermarket, you look in people’s shops, and then the sad thing is even if you do have only tomatoes and broccoli in there, they’re poisoned. The apples are poisoned. It’s inside them. You know, like… the poison, you can’t even wash it off. Yeah.
Like you go, “What can I eat without poisoning me or my children?” It’s really, really hard. Nature – it’s not just about health as it is esoteric. Yeah, I’ve got to eat healthy because I have to eat healthy. You know, like it actually tastes good. And the taste has got a reason because evolution had made it that way. You know that it is good for us. Fruit that is ripe has got the sugars in it, which makes it sweet. Like the polyphenols, they all have got pharmaceutical, like real substances in your body that all make you healthy and help you on all wondrous ways. So much to that a really red ripe tomato, a really ripe peach, it’s got so much goodness in it that we have got even no idea about.
And we haven’t talked about energy – the energy, the life force. It’s that again… it’s not just chemicals all added up of a few minutes. Life force energy, like… of going into life with joy and energy that comes from somewhere, like, making you alive and vibrant. How many people do you still see that are alive and vibrant on that? Because we are so broken down, and there goes the joy.
The regeneration into real food and into real health has got so much joy and positivity and, and that’s what life is about, that’s what energy is, and then you’ve got energy to dance and to laugh and to go for another bike ride or play with your kids. Like, that energy, yeah, is so lost. So many young people are depressed. They don’t have life force anymore. And this is, I think, where it’s gone. It went with the soil. That’s what it boils down to.
Rusty: Gundi, just one final word to wrap this all up?
Gundi: You have to trust nature.
. . .
Mik: Dr. Gundi Rhoades book, ‘The Food Solution – Eating for today to save tomorrow’, is available on several online sites, including Amazon.com at $24 – and just $11 if you buy it as an electronic Kindle book.
By making just one lifestyle change, you can reclaim your health. And at the same time, be a part of the project of saving life on planet Earth.
Rounding off this Regenerative Hour, here’s first Zach Bush, talking about the way out and about nature and separation from nature. Then a three year old YouTube clip called Inhabit, a permaculture perspective. And a clip from Planet Loco called Acquired Revolution.
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Zach Bush: “We are stepping ever nearer to this extinction cliff by this schism of belief that we are somehow separate from nature. If you look up the definition of nature, it actually defines it in Oxford’s dictionary as the minerals, the plants, and all of the other animals other than humans. We literally wrote ourselves out of the definition of nature.
And when you do that, something interesting happens to the big philosophy of life, which is the new emergence of scarcity. If you really understood that… You and I came from the soils of the Earth and the incredible biophotonic energy that occurs when the sunshine hits the surface of a leaf that is fueled by a diverse and massive micro ecosystem below it that is pulling the nutrients of mother earth into it and then recycling that through to a food system that then hits our microbiome of the gut and then is fed to the mitochondria, the microbiome within our cells to release biophotonic energy so that we are literally solar events.
We are literally the reverse of photosynthesis. Our life is a photo release of solar energy. That’s what vitality is. And so we are all these small star-like creatures that release star energy as it’s translated from the solar systems to the sun to the surface of the planet, through the soils, to the plants, to the food, to the animals, to the humans.
And we release that light. And so as light beings, biophotonic recyclers, we have incredible capacity to adapt, change, transform, mutate. Whether we be a virus or a human, we should always be in a mutation event. We should always be looking for gain of function. When we decide that the very mechanisms of, by which the biophotonic energy would get to us, i.e. food, or the viruses that would allow for the adaptation and transmutation to happen within our systems. When we see that as the enemy, or we see that as somehow needing technologic innovation, we really endanger our relationship to the whole matrix, and we alienate ourselves from the source of life.
. . .
Inhabit, a permaculture perspective: A keystone species is any species in an ecosystem whose population and behavior affects every other species. That’s certainly what we are as a species right now. In order for us to design an agriculture or a culture that is ecological, then we have to look to our local models – and that’s the forest. That is our teacher. Creating a multi-storied ecosystem with mushrooms and berries and fruits and nuts and grasing animals and vegetables all interwoven. This idea of permaculture.
We can actually be healing forces.
What could it be like if humans can help nature?
Permaculture is a design process that’s applicable in any landscape for any set of objectives.
Looking at problems and seeing how they can turn into solutions.
Nature’s the best thing we got, like pointing to something else that’s better. Like, there’s nothing that we don’t have anything else. And it hasn’t only survived. It’s thrived. It’s found ways to adapt to new conditions. An economy that’s aligned with permaculture would be an economy in which the best business decision is the same as the best ecological decision.
What this is about is, whatever species you’re working with, plant or animal, Like, how does it want to thrive, if you give it the right conditions, it just explodes with health. That’s the shift of permaculture from agriculture is how we placed it rather than imposing on top of it. Agriculture comes from agrarian culture, agrarian means the soil, culture means the enrichment of it.
Agriculture today is a destruction and depletion and extraction of soil, it’s closer to mining.
We design ecosystems that are ecologically sound, economically productive, and it’s permanent agriculture. If we walk away from this place right here, it’ll still be producing crops for the next couple thousand years.
So all of a sudden, humans start doing good, and then impact is a great thing. Footprint is something we want to leave. On the ground, on every continent, a quiet revolution is emerging. People are seeking community, collaboration, ways of life that nurture the natural world instead of destroying it. Farmers markets, small business alliances. Transition towns, mutual aid networks, community banks, agroecology schools, alternative education, permaculture, ecovillages, and more.
Collectively, these diverse initiatives demonstrate a new path forward for humanity. It’s a path that localises rather than globalises, connects rather than separates, and shows us that human beings need not be the problem. We can be the solution.
. . .
Mik: Aurora will end this hour with the song ‘The Seed’.
. . .
Aurora ‘The Seed’ – Lyrics:
Just like the seed, I don’t know where to go.
Through dirt and shadow I grow.
I’m reaching light through the struggle.
Just like the seed, I’m chasing the wonder.
I unravel myself in slow motion.
You cannot eat money, oh no.
You cannot eat money, oh no.
When the last tree has fallen, and the rivers are poisoned,
you cannot eat money, oh no.
You cannot eat money, oh no.
You cannot eat money, oh no.
When the last tree has fallen. Fallen and the rivers are poisoned,
you cannot eat me alone.
Mmm, suffocate me, so my tears can be rain.
I will water the ground where I stand, so the flowers can grow back again.
Kiss, just like the sun.
Everything wants to live.
We are burning our fingers.
. . .
Deadly chemicals and food shouldn’t mix
The pathway in bacteria that is blocked by farmers’ use of chemicals in agriculture is called the shikimate pathway.
The shikimate pathway – also known as the shikimic acid pathway – is a seven-step metabolic pathway used by bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae, some protozoans, and plants for the biosynthesis of folates and aromatic amino acids (tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine). This pathway is not found in animal cells.
Folates – made by Shikimate pathway in above named organisms – is also known as vitamin B9 and folacin. Folates is required for the body to make DNA and RNA and metabolise amino acids necessary for cell division. As humans cannot make folates, it is required in the diet, making it an essential nutrient.
Note here that in the interview with Gundi, when she mentions vitamins in food, bacteria fermenting B-vitamins, folates, and amino acids created in a lab, are a part of this picture.
Folates are necessary for neural tube forming in the foetus. When our soils are treated with chemicals such as Roundup, urea, superphosphate, Paraquat, 2.4, Sulfoxalor, and so on, the bacteria, the archaea and fungi are killed. As a result, women no longer get the folates they need in their foods.
On it goes. Deadly chemicals and food shouldn’t mix.
. . .
I would love everyone in environmental movements to read this essay. It’s a painful, difficult but really important subject. By avoiding it we give a clear run to those whose proposals would lead, literally, to the deaths of billions. Please RT. Thank you. https://t.co/tJjZ27oMQr— George Monbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) October 4, 2023
McKinsey & Company:
How businesses and countries are turning dreams of a nature-positive future into reality
The South Pacific island of Niue is one of the smallest countries in the world and sits atop one of Earth’s largest raised coral atolls. Relatively untouched by mass tourism, its waters are home to an array of marine life. In an interview with partner Duko Hopman, Coral Pasisi, president of nonprofit Tofia Niue, and Chris Stone, vice president of Conservation International, discuss an innovative financial model that aims to protect Niue’s marine ecosystems.
Check out the conversation to learn more about Niue’s ocean conservation commitments developed in partnership with the Blue Nature Alliance, and then dive into more interviews from our Voices on Nature series for insights on a net-zero and nature-positive future, including with:
• Walmart EVP and Chief Sustainability Officer Kathleen McLaughlin
• Panama Minister of the Environment Milciades Concepción
• PT Rimba Makmur Utama founder and CEO Dharsono Hartono
For more on McKinsey’s work with on natural capital and nature, visit mckinsey.com/nature.
. . .
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“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
~ Pete Seeger, American singer
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