The world turned to intensive farming in the 1950s as an answer to global hunger. Chemistry had to replace biology just to feed a fast growing population of mouths. That then created a powerful lobby of vested interests ? the fertiliser companies, pesticide manufacturers, machinery suppliers, even the bank lenders ? dependent on keeping farmers on that treadmill.
Now the damage, in terms of the ecosystem and environmental damage, is all too apparent.
Soil microbiologist Dr Walter Jehne of Healthy Soils Australia says our bodies evolved to take a wide range of micronutrients ? all sorts of obscure vitamins and plant hormones ? for granted in our diets. These are now lacking in global soils.
Further, there is ten times more carbon sequestered in healthy soils than in the vegetation above it. An inconvenient truth is that world agriculture has been releasing massive quantities of carbon with its intensive farming methods, digging over the ground, swamping it with artificial fertilisers and leaving just 0.3 per cent carbon when it should be 3 per cent. Or better yet, 6 or 8 per cent.
“We can naturally cool the planet. And we can do this through rebuilding,?through regenerating the Earth?s soil carbon sponge?, Jehne asserts.
The good news is that steps are being taken towards this goal around the world.
Phyllis Tichinin, a Californian nutritionist says industrial farming becomes a false economy when stacked up against the world’s soaring bill for chronic diseases ? diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, immune disorders. And governments are now coming to realise that. Time to switch back to food with a proper nutritional density. Regenerative agriculture is the solution.
In the next issue of Everlution, we will discuss some of the initiatives being taken around the globe to advance regenerative agriculture.
As a follow-up to our last issue?s editorial article, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says that it will cost the global economy $95 trillion to help return the world economy to
normal.?Investing $110 trillion in renewables?could, on the other hand, potentially spur an even more robust economic recovery from COVID-19 by creating massive socioeconomic gains as well as generating savings of $50 trillion to $142 trillion by 2050.
IRENA asserts that channelling all those stimulus dollars into the renewable energy sector would grow global GDP about 2.4 percentage points faster than the currently recommended scheme and spur a 13.5% increase in global welfare indicators such as education and health.
JobKeeper?fortnightly payments of $1,500 are available per eligible employee from 30/03/2020, for a maximum period of 6 months, provided business income is down by 30%?or?meets an?alternative test.
The ATO has?now?revealed who is eligible to apply this alternative test including:
- You started your business before 1 March 2020, but do not have comparative financials for March 2019, April 2019 etc – you can use your average or 3 months GST turnover to substantiate a 30% decline.
- You have restructured your business, or bought a business, or sold a business – and this makes proving a decline impossible – you can compare to the month before.
- Your business grew well before the virus came along, and this means comparing to last year’s base level is unfair to prove a decline – you can use 3 months of current GST turnover as your base level.
- You are in a business with irregular turnover that?does not?follow a cycle – you can use average monthly GST turnover.
- You are a small business (sole trader/partnership) and the comparison period last year was low because you were sick/off work – you can use your current GST turnover for a month.
Things to consider:
- JobKeeper payments you receive from the government may be taxable and are subject to PAYG withholding.
- These payments may count towards payroll tax (State) wages and salaries (consider this if you’re close to the threshold).
- These payments probably will need to be included in your WorkCover premiums (Workers Compensation Insurance).
- Leave entitlements (sick/annual/long service leave) may accrue whilst your workers are on JobKeeper.
- You’ve got the option of not paying Super Contributions on the JobKeeper payment to the employee, but you do need to pay Super Contributions on anything above the $1500 fortnightly JobKeeper payment threshold.
Stuck-at-home online series
Are you stuck at home and twiddling your thumbs waiting for the coronavirus to abate? If so, why not spend time learning about carbon and energy management solutions for your workplace. Carbon Training International introduces the Stuck-at-Home e-learning series.
You can easily enrol in one of our online webinar courses which include Carbon Offsetting, Carbon Accounting, Applied Energy Efficiency, Reducing Fleet Emissions and Strategic Carbon Management. Be ready to walk-the-walk on carbon and energy management subjects of interest when you finally get back to your usual workplace. Be able to assist your organisation to improve its bottomline.
Choose your preferred course and course start date at co2ti.com?and advance your Learning and Development. Extra course dates can be arranged.
Eco-tip for the day ?? Insulation
Insulation is a good barrier to reducing heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, particularly in roofs, ceilings, walls and floors. It helps to keep your home efficient in winter and summer.
Over half of the cooling/heating energy in your home simply escapes without insulation. Insulation helps to reduce the use of cooling/heating systems therefore saving you money on bills and improves the comfort of your home.
Insulation?s ability to prevent heat coming in or out is described as its ?R-value?. The higher the R-value, the better it protects. Also, insulation products must be installed correctly to be effective.
There are two main types of insulation –
- Bulk insulation (batts, rolls or boards) acting as a barrier to keeping heat in or out of your home. Made from materials like glass wool, polyester, wool or recycled paper.
- Reflective insulation, keeping your home cool by deflecting radiant heat. It?s usually aluminium foil on one side and comes in batts or sheets.
Some products combine features of both bulk and reflective insulation. The type of insulation best for you will depend on where you live and whether you need to keep heat in or out or both.
When building or renovating your home, it?s a good time to insulate. It works out cheaper and can be more effective and done properly. Walls are easier to insulate at this stage.
Areas to insulate –
- Ceilings and roofs:?Information on the internet suggests that 40% – 45% of the cooling and heating energy is lost via the roof (including verandahs).
- Walls:?Uninsulated walls account for 15% heat loss in winter; western walls increase heat gain by the same amount in summer.
- Floors:?Heat can be lost through some types of floors ? timber floors by 5%. Carpets or rugs are one option, as well as batt type insulation if the house is raised above the ground. Be careful, some floor insulation may interfere with the natural cooling from the ground beneath the house.
Share pick ? Australia?s Mesoblast (MSB:ASX) hits 5 year high
Shares of?Mesoblast?have rocketed up on both the Australian and US stock markets, after the company reported promising early-stage results from a small study in COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The Australian stem cell company’s product candidate, remestemcel-L, was administered to 12 patients on mechanical ventilators at New York City’s Mt. Sinai Hospital. Doctors reported that 10 patients survived (marking a survival rate of 83%), nine were removed from ventilator support at a median of 10 days (75%), and seven were discharged from the hospital (58%).
Although the results are from only 12 people, the outcomes are remarkable. A recent observational study of more than 2,600 COVID-19 patients who were placed on mechanical ventilators in New York City found that 88% died.
The first graph above shows the company?s performance on the ASX over 10 years and the second focuses on one year?s trading results. The shares closed on the ASX at $3.85 yesterday. Is it too late to buy in? The 10 year results indicate the company has reached loftier heights, closing in on $9 at their peak. While the coronavirus lurks, this stock is in the right place.
Financial indicators ? a note of caution to our readers
In a positive sign, the VIX fear gauge is down 7.22 points since Friday EST to 33.29. Another 13 points and it will be in secure territory. But is Wall Street a fantasy island?
Danish investment bank, Saxo Bank warned investors should not be fooled by the recent buoyancy of stock markets and should immediately move their money into cash and ultra-safe bonds.
The global economy is forecast to go into the?biggest recession in nearly a century?with no firm predictions of a recovery, while governments have responded with an unprecedented wave of printing money and stimulus spending.
?This is the ending of Rome. This is the time where the Romans started to dilute the amount of silver that was in the coins,? says Steen Jakobsen, Chief Investment Officer for Saxo.
In AD 64, Roman Emperor Nero began a policy of debasing coins with copper, a practice that eventually gave way to inflation after centuries of economic stability. Jakobsen expects a similar outcome as modern governments pour newly printed money into economies to prop up valuations and cover up their own economies? weakening fundamentals.
While those long-term effects still loom in the distance, the short-term moves made by governments to prevent wholesale job losses have largely worked, keeping investor sentiment strong as markets have slowly rebounded instead of plunging further down past the lowest markers since the 2008-9 financial crisis.
The FTSE 100 Index, based in London, has been trading above 5700 points after hitting a low below 5000 points on 23 March, the lowest it had been since 2009. The S&P 500 Index, based in the United States, has recovered at a similar trajectory.
According to Jakobsen, investors have got it all wrong. Top investors he knows are selling their stocks and putting money in one of the world?s safest investments?US Treasury bills, known in the industry as ?T-Bills?, a short-term debt obligation, among other low-risk instruments.
?The really, really smart guys I know went to T-Bills and the like very, very early in the crisis, and just bought a huge amount,? Jakobsen said.
These investors, however, are not in the majority. Most investors have rushed to purchase stocks that have fallen, following the old axiom of ?buy low, sell high,? believing a full recovery is right around the corner, a move Jakobsen warns against.
?Desperate cash was very much part of the first three weeks of the crisis. Some investors have ?FOMO??fear of missing out?more than anything, but it’s not the smart money that are chasing this, this is not chased by people who understand the world in my opinion,? he said.
ASX 200 up 96.30 points or 1.8% from Friday to 5,321.40. The Aussie dollar up slightly to 64.66 US cents.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen since last Friday EST by 618.52 points or 2.60% to 24,133.78, the STOXX 600 up 2.20 points or 0.60% to 335.44 and the Shanghai Composite index down 28.01 points or?0.10% to 2,815.40.
Gold down to 1,725.20. US 10-year Treasury Bonds on 0.664 and oil 12.92. Cryptos keep climbing as a perceived safe haven, with Bitcoin on 7,743.07.
Eco Market Spot Prices
Sources:?RenewEconomy, demandmanager,? Reuters, SMH, Market Watch, greenglobaltravel