Notes on the end of the cycle 1: the fall armyworm

nobody really knows what is going on out there and thats the truth. when you lock up so much delicious energy behind pesticides and herbicides and selective breeding and genetic engineering you taunt the entire earth to throw its worst at you, terrifying monsters from our darkest nightmares

in 2016 the fall armyworm was found in western and central Africa. It was native to the Americas, bound in place by vast oceans and its inability to overwinter in cold weather. now its native to Africa, soon it'll be native in Europe and beyond. its only a matter of time. this train has already left

right now in 2018, you can find it in 30 countries across Africa, the court wizards of the north are in a panic, livlihoods in the south are destroyed, food that was intended for people has now become moths and larvae and eggs

i can think of no better name than the fall armyworm. a voracious army of nondescript caterpillars. it's omnivorous and can eat over 80 species of plants, but what it really likes is maize. it wants to eat all the maize. its cannibalistic, each individual driven to consume not just crops but every member of its own species it encounters. no one really knows why, but i can guess

once its done consuming it transforms itself into a moth which can disperse widely during its 10 day life, long enough to find new sources of energy and lay a couple of thousand eggs.

when they hatch they're cunning, they know that someone's out there on the look out for them. so they eat very subtly. they don’t want to show any evidence until their big enough to have it all, carefully nibbling without making any tell tale holes. then when theyre ready they consume the whole lot in a matter of hours - too late, far too late to do anything. naturally they like growing tips and buds and delicious ears of corn to eat

where it lives its the most important pest, devouring all that it can, as fast as it can, as agressivly as it can. it requires, get this, daily pesticide applications to control it. yeah, daily. that does not sound good. usaid, fao etc etc is currently doing the only thing it can - mass promotion of pesticide use; even greater destruction has always been their solution

when you gather so much potential food energy in one place, eventually some thing’s gonna come along and eat it all up. when you treat nature as nothing but something to be consumed, you too will be consumed in turn

did engels not write “Let us not…flatter ourselves over-much on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, in the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel the first.”

and did Arnold de Villanova not write "all men who work beyond nature are deceivers and work in an unlawful manner...they are deceivers and deceived"

do you ever wonder why all these species are so vigorous, so violent, so consumptive, so destructive, so strong and versatile? ill be keeping my eye on the army worm of the fall, maybe this ones special
i can think of no better pun than fail aidsworm


cower puny humans
to the corn's owners the armyworm's stealin his food, but the worm's just doing his thing. farmer's scorching the earth in the war against that worm, with those soil drugs, without any idea how to clean the soil up later from em, but like you said tears there's a lot of food in the human surplus, grown on the former lands of the other animals, and everybody's hungry, and maybe these chem plant soil molecules can outwit some of em for now, but the world's got millions of evolvers looking at the surplus at once, trying to eat too, and we moved first, now it's their move.
this is a worthwhile read from bellamy foster despite having all the problems which these things always do https://monthlyreview.org/2018/09/01/making-war-on-the-planet/

especially if you did not already know how genocidal the geoengineering crowd are

BECCS (Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage), however, comes into question the moment one moves from the abstract to the concrete. The IPCC’s median-level models are projected to remove 630 gigatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, around two thirds of the total emitted between the Industrial Revolution and 2011.17 This would occur on vast crop plantations to be run by agribusiness. To remove a trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as envisioned in the more ambitious scenarios would take up a land twice the size of India (or equal to Australia), about half as much land as currently farmed globally, requiring a supply of freshwater equal to current total global agricultural usage.18 The costs of implementing BECCS on the imagined scales have been estimated by climatologist James Hansen—who critically notes that negative emissions have “spread like a cancer” in the IPCC climate models—to be on the order of hundreds of trillions of dollars, with “minimal estimated costs” ranging as high as $570 trillion this century.19 The effects of BECCS—used as a primary mechanism and designed to avoid confrontation with the present system of production—would therefore be a massive displacement of small farmers and global food production.

Is the joke that the army worms are Settlers?
u tell me
says they can fly 300 miles in their ten day lifespan. 30 miles per day, that's a decent pace. similar to a full days journey via covered wagon
i remember in peak army worm years when I was a kid people would tell stories of roads that were so covered with worms that they became hazardous, cars hydroplaning on a slurry of worm guts and careening into ditches. i don't know if these stories were true, but either way it works as a metaphor
the settler analogy or whatever is bad sorry, you cant just traspose an understanding of the past few hundred years of (settler expantionist) human history onto the whole of the natural world in such a crude fashion, because "non-sentient settlerism" isnt a thing, especially when its just species spreading into new niches and habitats: for instance why would the worms be the settler and not the settled mono-agriculture theyre eating up??
in one light the are a reification of natures wrath but on the other hand the people most grievously affected by them are least culpable for humanitys war on nonhuman life
yeah, obviously im not trying to blame the people effected, theyre trapped between fail armyworms and euro-amerikkkan agri-buisiness, what im recomending is that they, um, be really nice to their local syngentia rep and use their blood as an offering the earth

Edited by tears ()

wow way to buy into the myth of the green proletariat, damn arbor aristocracy
all hail the fall armyworm, harbinger of the phase shift
The cannibalism is definitely the most settlerish feature.

ghostpinballer posted:

all hail the fall armyworm, harbinger of the phase shift

can we eat the worms


1 6 5 4 3 5, 2 5 3 4 5 6, polygon harmonics


this stuff scares me. i wish i knew more about agriculture. maybe i should go to college

Parenti posted:

this stuff scares me. i wish i knew more about agriculture. maybe i should go to college

just open a book about agriculture and start reading, then read some more, and some articles, maybe chat to a farmer or two, browse some agriculture forums online, see waht farmers are talking about, read up about the agricultural system andits history, soil health, carbon cycling, eutrophication, runnoff, flooding, permacuture, crop rotation, planting cycles, seed types and varieties, and intersperes that with alternative farming methods knowledge, try to develop your botanical knowledge, at least gain an understanding of the relationship between farming and the following clades: invertebrates, fungi, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, birds, plants, learn about the historic difficulty in the sorting of grain crops from poisinous or unpalatable interlopers (the so called arable weeds), and get a good understanding of pesticides (remembering to consider both herbicides and insecticides, but not to neglect traditional techniques and experimental stuff like biological control methods and GM stuff), look into their development, use, manurfacture, human toxicity and especially how they're killing everything, look into permaculture techniques, learn to cook properly and learn about the different types of food, learn a bunch about what we can and cant eat, develop and understanding of the different types of crops, learn about sugar, learn what cerials are, how they were developed through human histroy, read up about collectivisation, its successes and failiures, the overall errors of the soviet farming system, id recomend looking at stuff about the role soil erosion has played in history, try to get some experience on a farm, even if its just visiting one for a day, especially around animals because you want to have an idea of what the meat industry is like, read up A LOT about traditional farming techniques, go into detail with some of them, read a bunch of greenie stuff, whatever you do dont get too sucked into the liberal stuff but forewarned is forarmed, you should check out the ecofascist stuff, at least read that sakai pamphlet about it, learn about the so called "invasive non native" species, take at least 10 outdoor walks this year of at least 1 hour in as many diffeerent habitats as you can (e.g. intensive arable, pasture, diffierent types of woodlands, urban, suburban etc etc) paying especial attention to what is and isnt growing and living in them, what proportion of the biomass is contained in different things, and how the space is used and abused in general, maybe plant somethings so you get a feel for what its like to raise life from seeds, aquire some houseplants and dont let them die, or maybe do just to see what happens, theres a bunch more but i think thats good to be getting on with, just try and get a general overall knowledge and understanding first, but once you have that go deep on a few topics that really excited you or you think are especially useful, preferably both, there you go, i dont do tutorials, assignments will be two 1,500 word essays per week, one on a topic of my choice, one that you have to chose for yourself, as well as 20 short answer questions requiring no more than two hundred words per answer, marked within 4 days with detailed feedback, u can always find me in my office, that'll be $20,000 please thankyou

p.s. try to do this in the marxist method or whatever - if you havent grasped that someone else can fill you in on that if you ask nicely probably

i will start from the very beginning because your post is really inspiring. please recommend me a book on agriculture and i'll read it, then go through the list. i've read a bit about collectivization and the kolkhoz etc. and it always gets me excited. i used to do a bunch of gardening stuff, but that was mostly cutting grass, trimming hedges, pulling weeds etc; destructive rather than creative.
tell me what languages you read
its good when people want to learn about things on here to give them recommendations. also guff but also recommendations.
like HenryKrinkle may be right that this place is CSPAM now but please at least continue to shame your fellow posters effectively into learning more about corn
heres what i got, i suggest starting with "The Genesis of Capitalist Ground Rent" in Volume III of Capital by Karl Marx, FRSA. and then picking up John Bellamy Foster (Trot alert) starting with The Vulnerable Planet. (I usually say to start with someone's latest book if the field is as fast-moving as agriculture but not in this case, because it's an apologia for Marx against non-Marxist eco people and there's probably ten people on Earth including Foster and his coauthor who care about that.)

At the same time grab Introduction to Agricultural Economics by Penson, not because it's mind-blowing but because there's a cheapo ebook/paperback version & it's an okay recent review. Shry & Reiley's Introductory Horticulture is good to start with for agriscience, also because of a cheap version (the e-book one). That will provide you a foundation for more of the technical stuff in terms of both biology and social sciences.

You will probably come across Foster going on about Justus Liebig and his importance to Marx, and you're gonna really wish that certain parts of the specific Liebig stuff that Marx references could be found easily in their entirety in your native language, and they often can't even though they were likely printed in three or four languages when they were first published, because this world smells like the Devil's ass but it's fine.
When you get done with that or if you're already past the point where it would be useful, though it's more for context on debates about peasants at the turn of the century and how they rolled into Bolshevik policy in revolutionary Russia than it is for learning about contemporary agriculture, Lenin's The Agrarian Question and the “Critics of Marx” is pretty fun. Lenin roasting suckers for bad science is the lifeblood of the community, so much so that a bunch of people kind of interested in the topic are going to ignore the post before this one and instead tap that link so hard their phone explodes.
I've read a bunch of JBF, and Lenin & Marx on it, though never a full book. I just used to subscribe to MR. I'll read his books now though and the order of the other stuff you told me too, the more "technical" stuff sounds interesting.

And Tears, I read English and French.

Parenti posted:



Rome's Fall Reconsidered - Vladimir Gregorievitch Simkhovitch (1916)
Reconstruction By Way of the Soil - Wrench, G.T., M.D (1946)
Collumella - De Re Rustica (C1st)
Le Livre de L'Agriculture D'ibn-al-awam (french translation, 1864) - Ibn al-Awwam (C12th)
Knott's handbook for vegetable growers - D.N. Maynard & G.J. Hochmuth (2007)

theres things wrong with them all but thats what brains are for, they're all free online, dont feel like you need to read anything cover to cover, a little knowledge on a lot of different things is a great base to work from on any subject and will hopefully allow you to devolop a whole new agriculturalist way of looking at the world