Last week’s war of words that followed AWS’s announcement of its Open Distro for Elasticsearch marks the latest example of the growing pains for open source companies. While the past year has seen a proliferation of new open source licenses, will the well-worn open core model actually prove the better option for keeping open source companies viable?
3/29/06 From The Lord, Our God and Savior The Word of The Lord Spoken to Timothy For All Those Who Have Ears to Hear
Thus says The Lord God: You shall not desecrate the #Sabbath, the seventh #day of the #week, which I have commanded you to #remember and keep #holy. For as I had spoken it to My #servant #Moses, so it is and shall be, even to this day. And as I had spoken it before the #... Show more...
You Shall Not Desecrate the Sabbath
3/29/06 From The Lord, Our God and Savior The Word of The Lord Spoken to Timothy For All Those Who Have Ears to Hear
Thus says The Lord God: You shall not desecrate the #Sabbath, the seventh #day of the #week, which I have commanded you to #remember and keep #holy. For as I had spoken it to My #servant #Moses, so it is and shall be, even to this day. And as I had spoken it before the #congregation, so shall it be done. Yea, with the blowing of the great #trumpet, with lightnings and thunderings, did I declare My #Law; before the #tribes of #Israel, and in the presence of #angels, did I put My #power on open #display. Behold, by My own #finger was it engravened upon #tablets of #stone, and by the power of My #spirit is it established within the #hearts of the penitent.
Yet the churches of #men forsake The Law, and the peoples of this #world seek to #tear down My #Commandments! Thus they shall surely #die! For #transgression of The Law is #sin, and the #penalty of sin is #death. Yet a New Covenant I have sent to you in #YahuShua The #Messiah, to save you from the penalty of that which you have forsaken. Therefore, you shall #live because of Him and set your steps aright, according to that which He upholds and has magnified in Himself, He being the only One who is without sin, having kept every tittle of The Law - blameless. For it is #written: It is easier for the #heavens and the #earth to #pass away, than for one tittle of The Law to fail. For the spirit of The Law is shown in The Messiah’s vesture, He being the same One who taught you The Law anew, by His #example and by His every word and deed. For The Law is fulfilled in The Messiah; indeed, He is the #goal at which the #Torah aims. Thus He is The Lord of The Law and of the #Sabbath.
If He is The Lord of the Sabbath, Having obeyed My every #command, Why do you not follow Him?...
You say you follow Him and #honor Me, Yet most assuredly, I say to you, you shall All be found liars in the Day of Reckoning!...
Says The Lord.
And you, O church called #Roman and #Catholic, how We #mourn for you! For you have been #judged, and shall be left utterly desolate in the Day of The Lord’s %Anger! You say you #speak for Me and have The Messiah’s #authority, yet I tell you, you have trampled upon the #grave of The #Resurrected One, making His #sacrifice of no effect! WOE TO ALL WHO #BLASPHEME THE SPIRIT! Throughout your #generations you have not ceased from transgressing The Law by your #traditions! Even to this day you #embrace every #foul and contemptible #doctrine, reveling in those #things I #hate! Behold, you #pollute the name of The Messiah by all you say and do, as you #lead the people astray! O #unholy church of #adulteries, #mother of all #fornications and #lies, your #destruction draws near! You have become #Egypt! LET MY PEOPLE GO! Stop desecrating My Sabbaths! The seventh day is the Sabbath, which I had #ordained from the #beginning! Cease from your #heresies, hold your #tongue from your blasphemies, turn #back from this #wicked way you have chosen, AND #REPENT, and I may yet have #mercy upon you! For I am The Lord, and I DO NOT #CHANGE! Therefore heed My words and #bow down, O unholy church of men! #Hear the Word of The Lord, and be #broken in #pieces! For The #Holy One is coming quickly and will take from you His own; He shall snatch them from your very #breast! And no more shall My #children receive #nourishment from you! No more shall they be held #captive under the #veil of your deceptions! The #light shall be taken from you, and you shall be left all #alone, utterly estranged, on #account of your unending adulteries and for the multitude of your whoredoms, which you performed in MY NAME!
Thus your #fate lies with him who is coming, the wicked one who shall #lead many into perdition and death. You shall #bear him a #son, a #man who bears the #number of his name, his prophet. Yet you will not be alone when desolations come; you and your #enemy, #Ishmael, shall receive recompense in full. For you both remain #children of your #father, the #devil.
Behold, The #Mighty and #Strong One Shall return and take from the earth His own, and great recompense Shall be poured out on all nations...
He shall come in #power and great #glory, And Judgment shall sit...
Yet all who come out from among them, And call upon the name of The Holy One of #Israel, In spirit and in #truth, shall be #delivered...
THERE ARE TWO TYPES of books in the Silicon Valley canon: books on programming and blockbuster memoirs by entrepreneurs. When I moved to San Francisco after graduating college, I had read just enough of the first kind to land a software job. After receiving my company-issued hoodie and learning the hard way when not to wear it (at parties), I decided it was time to catch up on the second kind of book.
The first thing I noticed is that the West Coast techie strain of elitism is far more flagrant than the East Coast strain I was used to. For instance, in his memoir, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announces that he has come up with a new “social good”–oriented definition of capitalism (fact check: he is actually just repackaging Andrew Carnegie’s 1889 “The Gospel of Wealth,” a treatise justifying the concentration of wealth as a means of promoting public welfare). Among his catalog of good deeds: switching his company from bottled to filtered tap water (bottles of Starbucks’s Ethos Water available for visitors) and reserving the @red Twitter handle for Bono’s humanitarian brand. Truly, he is virtuous.
However, it’s not just the feigned benevolence nor the arrogance that struck me in these memoirs but how these self-made millionaires talk about consuming, rather than overcoming, competition. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen celebrates software companies’ “eating the world,” ingesting entrenched industries in their path. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, declares that “competition is for losers,” and claims that companies can only reach their highest creative potential if they don’t waste energy fending off pesky competition. Capitalism, according to all these men, is about frictionless, seamless engorgement.
Their argument that monopolies can be good for the economy and good for consumers is not new — it does not originate in Silicon Valley, as their memoirs would have us believe. It emerged in the late 19th century during the United States’s Gilded Age, advanced by men of unprecedented wealth, like J. P. Morgan, the steel, shipping, rail, banking, and electricity magnate; Andrew Carnegie, the union crusher unafraid of violence; and John D. Rockefeller, the oil man who at his death was worth roughly three times Jeff Bezos in today’s dollars.
What is different, then, is what might be called the stylistics. For one thing, the image of those old top hat–clad robber barons with their cultivated urbaneness is sartorially different from that of today’s hoodie-clad tech titans. And for another, their business tactics are different. The major tech companies don’t extort the public and shake down competitors like the monopolies of old. They give us what we want, or think we want, offering most of their services for free (email, messaging, maps, cloud storage, et cetera). On the whole, consolidation in tech seems actually to help consumers. Or does it?
Tim Wu’s The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, a history of antitrust in the United States, makes a compelling case that it doesn’t. More generally, he argues that we are, in fact, in an all-out return of the Gilded Age — and perhaps only the clothing has changed. A professor at Columbia Law School known for coining the term “net neutrality,” Wu argues that the very bigness of present-day companies — especially those in the tech sector — does not just harm consumers, but that it also threatens innovation and undermines the power of government.
In a nutshell: His prescription to end the new Gilded Age is the same bitter pill that ended the old one — trust-busting.
It’s worth revisiting the history of trust-busting, which he does in some detail in his book. During the first Gilded Age, powerful trusts were celebrated as an embodiment of social Darwinism — in other words, as survival of the fittest. As Rockefeller himself said, “The American Beauty rose can be produced in the splendor and fragrance which bring cheer to its beholder only by sacrificing the early buds which grow up around it.” Between 1895 and 1904, the number of manufacturing companies operating in the United States declined from 2,274 to a mere 157. Those who survived, including General Electric, US Steel, Standard Oil, and AT&T, used predatory-pricing exclusionary cartels and virulent lobbyists to keep rivals at bay.
Few businesses were safe from the trusts, especially from the United States’s most aggressive bud clipper, Rockefeller himself. In 1904, investigative journalist Ida Tarbell said that, for him, “nothing was too small: the corner grocery store in Browntown, the humble refining still on Oil Creek, the shortest private pipe line. Nothing, for little things grow.” Tarbell’s 19-part exposé on Rockefeller’s Standard Oil would mark a turning point in setting public sentiment against the trusts. And it set the stage for one of the earliest antitrust cases, led by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Though he venerated size and power, Roosevelt forcefully brought his big stick down on the likes of Rockefeller because he understood that the Gilded Age trusts posed existential threats to the power of government. Fewer firms meant more powerful firms that could easily coordinate on prices and unify their lobbying efforts to change laws in their favor. He cleverly gave teeth to the vaguely worded Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, which he then strategically deployed to win landmark cases. In the process, he became known as the trust-buster par excellence.
After World War II, trust-busting became a bipartisan issue undergirding American nationalism. This was in part because people blamed German monopolists for enabling Hitler’s rise to power. Support for antitrust continued to grow until it reached fever pitch in the 1960s. The Johnson administration was so aggressively litigious that it prevented the merger of two Los Angeles–based grocery chains, Von’s Grocery and Shopping Bag Food, which together would have controlled a mere 7.5 percent of market share.
But it was in this very same period, 600 miles west of Washington, that the ideological wheels favoring the return of bigness were already in motion, according to Wu. Known as the Chicago School, a group of libertarian, classical economists at the University of Chicago, including the conservative intellectual heavyweight Robert Bork, were arguing that the sole purpose of the Sherman Act was to promote “consumer welfare.” Monopolies, they said, should only be broken up if they raised prices for consumers, and not simply because they were too big or anti-competitive. When a young Bork first presented his thesis on the consumer welfare standard in 1964, he was considered to be on the “lunatic fringe,” but within 20 years his thesis would shape the majority opinion of the Supreme Court.
As Wu and others have rightly pointed out, the straightforward Chicago School standard overlooks, among other things, the stifling effect monopolies can have on innovation. As a case in point: when AT&T was broken up in 1984, a torrent of new products came on the market, everything from the first answering machines to early ISPs. Until then, “Ma Bell” had prevented other businesses from selling attachments to its phone jacks. Antitrust again shaped the internet in 1998 with the defunct case against Microsoft. Microsoft could easily have crushed early internet companies like Google and Amazon in their infancies if not for regulatory scrutiny, which effectively stopped it from forcing users onto Internet Explorer.
Today, despite what Thiel says about the creative potential of unbridled monopolies, it feels like we are again in one of those innovation bottlenecks. In the decade between 1998 and 2008, the tech sector went from stuffing mailboxes with AOL free-trial CDs to releasing the iPhone 3G, Google Docs, Amazon Prime, and the Facebook News Feed. Another 10 years on, our technology actually looks much the same, and the promises of virtual reality, IoT, chatbots, and blockchain continue to elude us. And yet the value (and influence) of the big tech companies has only grown, now making up five of the top six most valuable companies in the world by market cap. In 2008, none were in the top six.
As we enter the third presidential administration in a row without a major antitrust case, and with none on the horizon, tech companies are consolidating with impunity.  The software that is “eating the world” is eating itself too — Facebook has made 67 straight unchallenged acquisitions, including competitors Instagram and WhatsApp; Amazon has made 91 acquisitions, including Whole Foods; and Google has made 214, including Waze and YouTube. Budding companies that resist being acquired are pruned through flagrant copying. Snapchat experienced this firsthand when its stock price and user base crumbled as soon as its signature “story” feature appeared almost simultaneously on Facebook Inc.’s four largest platforms, Instagram, Messenger, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
The New Gilded Age even holds the risk of something unprecedented in the United States: an undemocratic alliance between big tech companies and the government. In a recent interview, Wu said that, referring to while he was an advisor to the FCC,
Facebook is always trying to be helpful because they want to be our friends, in government … so they came over and they say something like … “We know what everybody’s faces in the world look like, so if you’re looking for someone, let us know.” Now they said this in the context of missing children … [but]you can see that, pretty quickly, if you have a company which has spying powers that actually frankly transcend those of the CIA or the FBI … you have the possibility of totalitarianism that we’ve never really fully witnessed …
But The Curse of Bigness leaves room for optimism in two ways. First, Wu offers a number of specific recommendations (some of them perhaps too specific to be readily understood by a general audience) on how to strengthen antitrust law, including reviewing more mergers, increasing opportunities for public comment, having the government once again take on big cases, and generally moving away from the “consumer welfare” definition of antitrust toward one of protecting competition. Second, he argues that the economies of scale that incentivize bigness are only beneficial up to the point when they become “diseconomies of scale.” In other words, layers of management and internal control systems eventually make larger companies less efficient. So long as they cannot change the rules of the game, they become less competitive as well.
Another book, The Internet Trap: How the Digital Economy Builds Monopolies and Undermines Democracy, casts doubt, however, even on these two glimmers of optimism. Its author, Matthew Hindman, a media studies professor at George Washington University, argues that the rules governing tech are different — bigness inherently translates into the kind of dominance that prunes the sector down to a few winners and a whole lot of losers. He adamantly disputes the claims of yesteryear that the internet is a Wild West meritocracy, where any programmer with grit, gumption, and a good idea could succeed. The internet does not create a level playing field — and nowadays only PR professionals still believe that “competition is just one click away.”
The Internet Trap does a good job pulling back the curtain on how big tech companies make themselves ever bigger: by making major infrastructure investments to give themselves small but compounding advantages. Google learned the hard way that speed can be one such key advantage (or disadvantage) when, in 2000, the search engine experimented with showing 20, 25, and 30 results at a time instead of 10. The change added only half a second to the page’s load time, but that slight delay led to a 20 percent drop in traffic.
Since then, Google’s lodestar has been the “gospel of speed.” That gospel has reshaped the geography of the internet, creating barriers to entry for competitors along the way. Google has laid undersea fiber-optic cables, built data centers inside of local ISPs, and spent a good chunk of its $13.9 billion annual research and development budget, all in the name of a few milliseconds. As Hindman puts it, “Most sites cannot build a new web browser, and then make it the most popular in the world, in order to speed up their site.” 
Hindman’s underlying claim is that if one website has a wide array of content that frequently updates itself and is also tailored to users’ interests, then that website will dominate their attention. But, again, the advantage of bigness holds: the expenditure behind a feature like personalization is only feasible for the largest companies. Recommendation systems, the engines of personalization and the secret sauces behind Google’s search algorithm and Facebook’s News Feed, constitute a massive fixed cost for tech businesses but can bring about exponential growth. Hindman chronicles just how expensive they can be in his account of the Netflix Prize, a one-million-dollar reward offered by the then-DVD-rental service to the researchers who could improve the accuracy of their rating prediction algorithm by one-10th of a star.
As Hindman points out, the prize allows for a rare public glimpse into the challenges of building recommendation systems. With the contest spanning 2,000 active teams from 152 countries working over three years, many teams had to join forces after the first year to remain competitive and eke out small improvements. Eventually two supergroups emerged — BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos and a 23-team Hydra called “The Ensemble.” In the end, BellKor’s winning solution took more than 2,000 hours of work and included 107 algorithms. By the time the competition was over, Netflix had already pivoted to streaming and the algorithm was never used in its entirety. 
Hindman covers other topics, but the book loses cohesion after the first half when it becomes mired in the statistics and academic jargon of Hindman’s own research. His economic models of the web, of internet traffic, and of local news consumption feel like tangents about methodology and fail to paint a clear picture of internet centralization. By the end of the book, Hindman shifts to advising small local newspapers on how to escape the maw of tech behemoths, and his advice — faster load times, better design, more frequent site updates, increased focus on headlines — feels like too little, too late.
Despite the specter of the Chicago School, the advantages of entrenched tech companies, and the monopolistic evangelism touted by Stone, Andreessen, and Thiel, the pendulum may be finally swinging against bigness. Besides Wu and Hindman, a group of “Neo-Brandeisian” legal scholars have started to question the legality of the tech hegemons under the Sherman Act. Most prominent among them is Lina Khan, a 29-year-old legal wunderkind whose antitrust paper on Amazon in The Yale Law Journal sent reverberations across legal and political spheres. In example after example, her paper highlights how the consumer welfare view of antitrust fails to curb the predatory pricing and vertical integration strategies Amazon uses in its relentless pursuit of growth.
Still, looking across the political landscape, it is unclear who the David is to take on the tech Goliaths. Republicans are cozy with big business,  Democrats are cozy with tech interests, and constituents may not rally behind the issue on their own if the flow of information is controlled by the companies under threat. Still, the ideas are out there, and thanks to recent media coverage, they have penetrated the popular imagination. Perhaps this generation of Silicon Valley migrants will not read the memoirs of self-important entrepreneurs that I slogged through as a young programmer, but rather the work of anti-establishment academics like Wu, Hindman, and Khan. And then, the phrase “trust-buster” may well return to American lips.
Gabriel Nicholas is a writer, researcher, and programmer whose work focuses on social issues in technology. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 When there have been antitrust cases, it is often to defend tech companies, such as in 2012 when the DOJ sued publishers for colluding to raise the price on popular ebooks. Amazon could set predatory prices because they could recoup their losses over the long-term by locking users to the Kindle platform.
 All of this infrastructure also means that big tech companies can move more quickly to address competitors. For example, in November when Facebook released Lasso, its clone of the popular short-form music video app TikTok, the company already had uploading, video serving, and recommendation technologies it could use from its other apps.
 The Netflix Prize also brought a boom in original research, particularly around restricted Boltzmann machines and singular value decomposition. Netflix used a blend of these two methods until at least 2012. The competition was enough of a success that Netflix attempted to run it again, but they were stopped in 2010 by an FTC lawsuit over privacy concerns.
 Republicans were not always anti-antitrust. It was Richard Nixon who in 1974 started the case that would eventually break up AT&T, then the largest company in the world.
Thus says The Lord: It is written: Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it will be opened to you. My son, I am The #Answer you search for, I am The #Truth yo... Show more...
Thus says The Lord: It is written: Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it will be opened to you. My son, I am The #Answer you search for, I am The #Truth you seek. Therefore, he who abides in Me shall reside in the presence of The #Almighty, and shall be given #knowledge and receive #understanding. Thus those who remain void of the #.Spirit must continually seek Me, and they too shall find Me, for I have written all in My #Book. Yet those who read the Word of The Lord must also believe it, or how shall they know Me? For those who truly know Me seek to abide in My love. Yet how can one remain in My #love, if they do not obey My teaching? For My #grace descends upon all who repent in sincerity and in truth, and My spirit dwells within those who keep The #Commandments and testify to My #glory. Therefore, My son, receive of Me; then will that which you seek become clear. For your heart’s true desire can not be found in the world... Seek #God!
Again I say to you, search not in the #world, For there you will not find Me...
Nor seek Me in the #churches of men, For there you will not find Me...
For I tell you the truth, The #Kingdom of God is within you...
And that which is most needful, is it not written for you?
Therefore, do not place your #trust in any #man, nor lean upon man’s #invention, for the things of this #world deceive you. #Beloved, turn away from those who teach as #doctrine the commandments of men, and stand apart from all this #modern #ideology, for it is #poison. Close your #eyes to all these images on the #screen, shut your #ears to the #noise of this world, and separate yourself from all these mocking #voices. For the #evil one is, at present, the lord of the #air; indeed, every corrupt #seed planted within the #heart of man is of the evil one. From the beginning he was a #liar, and from the beginning he planted seeds of #wickedness in My #garden, for it is written: There is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar; indeed, he is the father of all lies. Therefore, embrace only that which is #good and comes down from your Father in Heaven. For God is love, and that which He sends is Spirit and Truth. And by these things shall you be led, even as you in like manner lead those around you, if you so choose to obey My voice and walk in My ways. Yet remember this: Those who boast of their own #works are prideful, and seek after the praises of men. Yet those who boast of The Lord’s works, for your sake, are #humble, and seek to #honor Me; in these #pride is far removed. For those who give Me glory honor Me, and those who give #thanks without ceasing offer up perfect praise. To the likes of these listen closely, for their desire is righteous and their love true. Behold, they seek The #Kingdom of #Heaven and My #righteousness, and #salvation has become their #companion.
Therefore, My #son, do not worry because you do not have all the #answers, nor be upset because you do not fully #understand. For The Lord your God is Truth, even as I am The Truth. For all knowledge resides within The #Father, even as I am in The Father and He is in Me. Thus I am also The Answer.
My son, trust in Me, and you shall be set free; For it is the humble, penitent man who shall see God; Behold, he shall look upon My #face, As I restore him in My image...
For I am the image of The Invisible God, The perfect reflection of The Father, The face of The #Majesty from on high, Immanu El...
Therefore open your #heart to Me, And I shall create you anew...
Says The Lord.
↑ Matthew 7:7 ↑ John 15:10 ↑ Revelation 12:17 ↑ Luke 17:21 ↑ See: "Trust in God Alone" ↑ Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7, Titus 1:14 ↑ 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 ↑ Ephesians 2:2 ↑ John 8:44 ↑ James 1:17 ↑ John 14:11
(Washington, DC) –Judicial Watch announced today that U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that within 30 days Hillary Clinton must answer under oath two additional questions about her controversial email system. In 2016, Clinton was required to submit under oath written answers to Judicial Watch’s questions. Clinton objected to and refused to answer questions...
Veganism has rocketed in the UK over the past couple of years – from an estimated half a million people in 2016 to more than 3.5 million – 5% of our population – today. Influential documentaries such as Cowspiracy and What the Health have thrown a spotlight on the intensive meat and dairy industry, exposing the impacts on animal and human health and the wider environment. Our soils were almost dead. Now we have 19 types of worm, and 23 species of dung beetle in a single cowpat But calls for us all to switch entirely to plant-based foods ignore one of the most powerful tools we have to mitigate these ills: grazing and browsing animals.
Rather than being seduced by exhortations to eat more products made from industrially grown soya, maize and grains, we should be encouraging sustainable forms of meat and dairy production based on traditional rotational systems, permanent pasture and conservation grazing. We should, at the very least, question the ethics of driving up demand for crops that require high inputs of fertiliser, fungicides, pesticides and herbicides, while demonising sustainable forms of livestock farming that can restore soils and biodiversity, and sequester carbon.
In 2000, my husband and I turned our 1,400-hectare (3,500-acre) farm in West Sussex over to extensive grazing using free-roaming herds of old English longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs, Exmoor ponies and red and fallow deer as part of a rewilding project. For 17 years we had struggled to make our conventional arable and dairy business profitable, but on heavy Low Weald clay, we could never compete with farms on lighter soils. The decision turned our fortunes around. Now eco-tourism, rental of post-agricultural buildings, and 75 tonnes a year of organic, pasture-fed meat contribute to a profitable business. And since the animals live outside all year round, with plenty to eat, they do not require supplementary feeding and rarely need to see the vet.
The animals live in natural herds and wander wherever they please. They wallow in streams and water-meadows. They rest where they like (they disdain the open barns left for them as shelter) and eat what they like. The cattle and deer graze on wildflowers and grasses but they also browse among shrubs and trees. The pigs rootle for rhizomes and even dive for swan mussels in ponds. The way they graze, puddle and trample stimulates vegetation in different ways, which in turn creates opportunities for other species, including small mammals and birds.
Little owls at Knepp Little owls - one of five owl species found at Knepp – feast on the burgeoning dung beetle population. Photograph: Ned Burrell
Crucially, because we don’t dose them with avermectins (the anti-worming agents routinely fed to livestock in intensive systems) or antibiotics, their dung feeds earthworms, bacteria, fungi and invertebrates such as dung beetles, which pull the manure down into the earth. This is a vital process of ecosystem restoration, returning nutrients and structure to the soil. Soil loss is one of the greatest catastrophes facing the world today. A 2015 report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization states that, globally, 25 to 40bn tonnes of topsoil are lost annually to erosion, thanks mainly to ploughing and intensive cropping. In the UK topsoil depletion is so severe that in 2014 the trade magazine Farmers Weekly announced we may have only 100 harvests left. Letting arable land lie fallow and returning it to grazed pasture for a period – as farmers used to, before artificial fertilisers and mechanisation made continuous cropping possible – is the only way to reverse that process, halt erosion and rebuild soil, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. The grazing livestock not only provide farmers with an income, but the animals’ dung, urine and even the way they graze, accelerates soil restoration. The key is to be organic, and keep livestock numbers low to prevent over-grazing.
Twenty years ago, our soils at the farm – severely degraded after decades of ploughing and chemical inputs – were almost biologically dead. Now we have fruiting fungi and orchids appearing in our former arable fields: an indication that subterranean networks of mycorrhizal fungi are spreading. We have 19 types of earthworm – keystone species responsible for aerating, rotavating, fertilising, hydrating and even detoxifying the soil. We’ve found 23 species of dung beetle in a single cowpat, one of which – the violet dor beetle – hasn’t been seen in Sussex for 50 years. Birds that feed on insects attracted by this nutritious dung are rocketing. The rootling of the pigs provides opportunities for native flora and shrubs to germinate, including sallow, and this has given rise to the biggest colony of purple emperors in Britain, one of our rarest butterflies, which lays its eggs on sallow leaves.
Not only does this system of natural grazing aid the environment in terms of soil restoration, biodiversity, pollinating insects, water quality and flood mitigation – but it also it guarantees healthy lives for the animals, and they in turn produce meat that is healthy for us. In direct contrast to grain-fed and grain-finished meat from intensive systems, wholly pasture-fed meat is high in beta carotene, calcium, selenium, magnesium and potassium and vitamins E and B, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – a powerful anti-carcinogen. It is also high in the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is vital for human brain development but extremely difficult for vegans to obtain.
Much has been made of the methane emissions of livestock, but these are lower in biodiverse pasture systems that include wild plants such as angelica, common fumitory, shepherd’s purse and bird’s-foot trefoil because they contain fumaric acid – a compound that, when added to the diet of lambs at the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, reduced emissions of methane by 70%.
In the vegan equation, by contrast, the carbon cost of ploughing is rarely considered. Since the industrial revolution, according to a 2017 report in the science journal Nature, up to 70% of the carbon in our cultivated soils has been lost to the atmosphere.
So there’s a huge responsibility here: unless you’re sourcing your vegan products specifically from organic, “no-dig” systems, you are actively participating in the destruction of soil biota, promoting a system that deprives other species, including small mammals, birds and reptiles, of the conditions for life, and significantly contributing to climate change.
Our ecology evolved with large herbivores – with free-roaming herds of aurochs (the ancestral cow), tarpan (the original horse), elk, bear, bison, red deer, roe deer, wild boar and millions of beavers. They are species whose interactions with the environment sustain and promote life. Using herbivores as part of the farming cycle can go a long way towards making agriculture sustainable.
There’s no question we should all be eating far less meat, and calls for an end to high-carbon, polluting, unethical, intensive forms of grain-fed meat production are commendable. But if your concerns as a vegan are the environment, animal welfare and your own health, then it’s no longer possible to pretend that these are all met simply by giving up meat and dairy. Counterintuitive as it may seem, adding the occasional organic, pasture-fed steak to your diet could be the right way to square the circle.
• Isabella Tree runs Knepp Castle Estate with her husband, the conservationist Charlie Burrell, and is the author of Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm
Writing in the anarchist journal Fifth Estate, Bill Weinberg documents how fascists are seeking to exploit and co-opt anti-war forces in the US, and build support for war criminals like Assad and Putin. Anarchists—and all progressives—have a responsibility to reject such overtures and offer solidarity to those resisting in Syria.
A reminder of our purpose here on Earth. Much love. This video was created with Much Love and Light please receive it with Love and Light because that is the ONLY INTENTION behind this message. If the message resonates with your soul, please PAY IT FORWARD by sharing with your social networks. Much Love. Why trading your time for money is one of the most effective way to achieve poverty in America or any where in the world. The only difference between the wealthy and the poor is the knowledge that they have, and how they apply that knowledge.