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European Alliance of Initiatives
for Applied Anthroposophy

Climate, Soil and Effects of Herbicides

Dear Friends of ELIANT,

The climate is changing. Throughout the world the number of heavy rains storms is increasing. Water that cannot be absorbed by the soil runs off as surface water. Small brooks become raging torrents. Agricultural land and villages are flooded and the damage and costs of reparation are huge. Most serious of all is the large-scale clearing of (original) forest to make way for intensive agriculture, the ecological consequences of which are rarely taken into consideration.

How come the soil is no longer able to take up water?

How come the soil is no longer able to take up water?

Both ancient and newly formed soils are made up of mineral substances and organic matter. The organic matter in the form of humus and microbial biomass can absorb and hold water. The water holding capacity of mineral particles and sand by contrast is small. This means that soils containing a lot of organic matter are able to absorb and retain water and then release it again slowly. In so doing they prevent erosion.

The long-term trial DOK comparing biodynamic (D), organic (O) and conventional (K) growing systems prove scientifically that organic and biodynamic agriculture produce soils with a significantly higher level of organic matter and humus than those of conventional agriculture. The following pictures were taken on the DOK trial plots after heavy rain:

The photo on the left shows a conventionally managed field - and on the right by way of comparison the biodynamic field. (Photos Thomas Alföldi, FiBL)

Soil is the Foundation

Healthy soils have a high organic matter content and and an unbelievably diverse range of soil micro- organisms. The greater this diversity, the more able are plant roots to access soil nutrients and provide plants with a diverse source of nourishment. The more diverse this nourishment is the healthier and more flavoursome do the agricultural products become. In conventional agriculture this microbial diversity is largely destroyed through the use of harmful herbicides and pesticides.

Glyphosate the all round herbicide (contained in Roundup)

The cancer agency IARC of the World Health Organisation categorises Glyphosate which is used in conventional agriculture throughout Europe, as being 'likely to cause cancer'. Its harmful effect on the environment has long been recognised.

ELIANT and its member organisations are actively engaged in discussions about Glyphosate. They are demonstrating the importance of holistic alternatives such as for example biodynamic and organic agriculture. We thank you for the support which makes this effort possible.

With warm greetings
on behalf of the ELIANT Carrying group
Dr. med. Michaela Glöckler