Environment, Europe, Europe english

Enjoy Brussels or put worms in your life

wormpower-soon-in-your-homesToday I assisted to a session to learn to do compost at home with worms –vermicomposting– organised by the Inter-Environment Bruxelles and it showed me to which extend we live in a strange world.

The session was very entertaining and a huge success. I was expecting that in a meeting like this I would find 5 to 10 housewifes and/or old hippies, rather the opposite: it was mainly young people -both genders- that you could find any day in the metro. We were taught how to build a worm composter and everything we need to know about the life of the worms: what do they eat, what do they like, when to feed them, how to protect them, how -and when!- they have sex, how long do they live… amazing. I found a bit surreal that our civilisation has reached this level of paroxysm.

On one hand it is clear that more and more people are starting to be conscious about the unsustainability of the throw-away society we live in and this is good. It is good when people look at the garbage bin and ask themselves how can they generate so much trash and they want to help by doing home-composting. On the other hand it shows how people are starting to take the initiative as a reaction to the inaction from the institutions. Because, wasn’t it the role of the municipality to take care of our garbage?

Don’t get me wrong, I think that doing home composting -and vermicomposting which enables those of us who live in apartments to do compost- is great and necessary because it raises awareness about the impact of our actions and it reduces the amount of mixed waste we generate, which in Brussels ends up in the incinerator (producing CO2, toxic ashes and destroying resources; let’s not forget that organic waste is more than 60% water and burning water is not very smart). HOWEVER, shouldn’t it be the authorities who should be ordering the organic waste to be collected separately in order to either generate energy with anaerobic digesters or directly compost it?

I mean, vermi-composting and home composting are great but having seen how it works I can tell you it is not as easy as it looks, it is time consuming and having worms at home is something that we can’t expect that everyone will accept with open arms. Personally I’ll do vermi-composting because I believe in it but I know that the market of this is rather limited and I’m fully aware that nothing really substantial will really change until organic waste is separately collected and treated.

Currently EU legislation says that organic waste should be gradually phase out from landfills -where it produces methane- but it doesn’t say what should we do with it. So we burn it. The EU has been avoiding having compulsory separate collection of organic waste since 10 years and only some countries have taken the initiative to impose it. Of course the incineration industry is happy to burn organic waste -again, mostly water- that would be a lot more valuable as carbon returned to the soil and the European Commission is also happy because less legislation means less work -even when this is effectively damaging the environment-. How long will we have to wait to make possible what is environmentally and economically sensible?

In Flanders they collect organic waste separately and they have reached recycling rates of even 75%, in San Francisco they do the same and they are also recycling 70%. Separate collection, better if door-to-door, radicaly increases recycling which saves money to the people, helps the environment, creates jobs and is the right path towards a Zero Waste society. 

I was surprised by today’s unexpected interest generated by the training on vermicomposting, more and more people are realising that things need to change and they are willing to their bit. Will the competent authorities also dare to look beyond the interests of the industrial lobbies?

In the meantime I’ll start taking care of my worms 🙂


  1. Dr. A. M. Azmal Morshed

    Root reasons behind the Climate Change around the earth which is responsible for the world environmental calamities

    Abu Mohammad Azmal Morshed

    Department of Chemistry, Primeasia University, 9, Kamel Ataturk Avanue, Banani, Dhaka-1213.

    Climate is the long-term statistical expression of short-term weather. Climate can be defined as “expected weather”. When changes in the expected weather occur, we call these climate changes. They can be defined by the differences between average weather conditions at two separate times. Climate may change in different ways, over different time scales and at different geographical scales. In recent times, scientists have become interested in global warming, due to mankind’s impact on the climate system, through the enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect.
    Up to now the overall state of the global climate is determined by the amount of energy stored by the climate system, and in particular the balance between energy the Earth receives from the Sun and the energy which the Earth releases back to space, called the global energy balance. How this energy balance is regulated depends upon the flows of energy within the global climate system. Major causes of climate change involve any process that can alter the global energy balance, and the energy flows within the climate system. Causes of climate change include changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, changes in the amount of energy coming from the Sun, changes in ocean circulation or changes in the composition of the atmosphere. Large volcanic eruptions can affect the global climate over only a few years. By contrast, the movement of continents around the world over hundreds of millions of years can also affect global climate, but only over these much longer time scales.

    Throughout the Earth’s history climate has fluctuated between periods of relative warmth and relative cold. Paleoclimatology is the study of climate and climate change prior to the period of direct measurements. Direct records of temperature and other climatic elements span only a tiny fraction of the Earth’s climatic history, and so provide an inadequate perspective on climatic change and the evolution of the climate today and in the future. A longer perspective on climate variability can be obtained by the study of natural phenomena which are climate-dependent.

    Such phenomena provide a record of past climates, and are revealed through the study of, amongst other techniques, tree rings, ice cores and sea floor sediments. In the last 100 years or so, the Earth’s surface and lowest part of the atmosphere have warmed up on average by about 0.6oC. During this period, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased, largely as a result of the burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation, and land use changes, for food by mankind. In the last 20 years, concern has grown that these two phenomena are, at least in part, associated with each other. That is to say, global warming is now considered most probably to be due to the man-made increases in greenhouse gas emissions. Whilst other natural causes of climate change, including changes in the amount of energy coming from the Sun and shifting patterns of ocean circulation, can cause global climate to change over similar periods of time, the balance of evidence now indicates that there is a discernible human influence on the global climate.

    The atmosphere plays a crucial role in the regulation of Earth’s climate. The atmosphere is a mixture of different gases and aerosols (suspended liquid and solid particles) collectively known as air. Air consists mostly of nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%). However, despite their relative scarcity, the so-called greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, have a dramatic effect on the amount of energy that is stored within the atmosphere, and consequently the Earth’s climate. These greenhouse gases trap heat within the lower atmosphere that is trying to escape to space, and in doing so, make the surface of the Earth hotter. This heat trapping is called the natural greenhouse effect, and keeps the Earth 33°C warmer than it would otherwise be. In the last 200 years, man-made emissions of greenhouse gases have enhanced the natural greenhouse effect, which may be causing global warming.
    The root reasons for the global climate change has been described in many ways, showing many major and minor factors responsible behind. Fact whatever may behind result is very alarming for the living beings and to the overall existence of the universe.
    Counties such as Bangladesh, Maldives, Part of India and many other costal countries whose land height is very little difference with the sea level and now it is well documented that many part of these lower height countries will go under sea level. It has been the fact that global climate change is responsible for the unusual behavior of the earth i,e., Earth quick, lands light, land fall, Tsunamis, depression around the world, Cyclones, Smog, acid rain, Heavy rainfall, rain less over year to year and Heavy snowfall years in many areas of the world.

    It could be correlate the introduce of many new diseases caused by the introduction of new virus, bacteria’s or even by new cancer cells in the living beings due to the change of world environment. If these happenings continue over year after year then there will be introduce of many other natural calamities which will turn to must causing alarming devastating epidemic for the existence of living beings in this universe. I propose here about the significant reason that could be said as the root cause of the world environmental change which is effecting on the suitable conditions of the living beings existence and about the possible recovery from the alarming situation. I strongly propose thus we can save the living beings suitable existence in the world if we can resolve the problem.
    If we mention the golden period of the earth condition for living beings than it will be hardly few thousand years back to tail of nineteen century. Reviewing the world environment condition of the mentioned age it is found that, this period was backboned on natural living system (nonscientific) or may be just the beginning of the scientific ages.

    If we look around earth’s environment along with the space we find the world is surrounded by three main atmospheric layers as: tropospare, statospare and ionospare. These layers are used as filter to protect the earth from many hazardous rays of the sun and also from the other disaster elements of the space thus to make the earth suitable for living beings. I would like to introduce here the main concern about the atmospheric layer is about its dual activities first one as the filter of the earth and the second one is the atmospheric layers act as the shed or boundary to keep the earth’s environmental condition in suitable for living beings there. The layers also restrict the mixing of the earth environment with the more hazardous space environment.

    If we look to the components and the composition of the earth surface we find more than two third of the total earth’s area is occupied with liquid component mainly with water that is also main component of living cells constituents. Among the existing total amount of liquid on the earth surface most amount are saline water in the oceans, seas and in the gulf. Rest water are sweet but having the same properties of polar nature in the sources of rivers, cannels and in the ponds. My main attention is on the fact of salinity of the water sources on the earth surface and their role on the total earth environment.

    In the saline water Sodium is the main constituent’s component that are forming ionic/ polar bonded compounds with halogens. The situation is that, most of the existing liquids on the earth’s surroundings are in polar form which is in term in the form of ionic condition. If we deepened our concern the earth surface is accompanied with abundant of ionic (polar) components and how the situation was made stable on the earth surface that was suitable for living beings existence?

    Answer may come by the way that there is an exact electrostatic balance between with the aqueous electrolytes (in the saline sea water) and the existing all other components (ionic, nonionic, covalent, and neutral) inside the atmospheric boundaries along with the components of the mines in the total mass of the globe. There may have other facts in the form of attraction force as: Van deer Waal’s attraction forces, dipole- dipole interactions (which associate the molecular level) between the abundant polar solvent (water) on the earth’s surface and also with the all other components in the range of earth. If we come to the main concern of the global climate change relating the change of the quality and quantity of the sea water which is effecting on the electrolytic purity and quantity are causing the electrolytic imbalance inside the atmospheric boundaries around total mass areas of the earth. The fact of electrolytic imbalance is the main reasons for the unusual behavior of the climate around the globe. This reason also may responsible for unique happenings in the space near to the earth.

    The fact of the gradually losing electrolytic balance can be pointed out as the use of the electrolytes by living beings over million/ billion years through the total mass of the earth. Besides the sweet water percent is also adding for the last few decades by melting snow and freezing water from the storage of the end corner of the earth and also from the many points of the earth due to the raise of the overall temperature of the earth surface.

    All living beings collect their required energy to lead their mode of life using the available sources related with the earth existing balancing system. By the way the earth is losing (directly or indirectly) the balancing properties from the existing suitable conditions for the living beings on the earth surface. Inventions of much new scientific equipment using the available sources from the earth, causing the loss of the total electrolytic balancing system throughout the earth. Moreover the radioactivity of many elements both natural and artificially causes the serious damage to the total electrolytic balancing systems across the earth environment. Even the productions of various new living organs inside the living being using the earth sources causing the deficiency in the total available balancing systems across the earth. These are all spontaneous process and are increasing more rapidly day to day with the modernization which is much alarming to the loosing of total balancing system across the earth. From these above facts it may mentioned that the world existence is under threat.

    The science has reached up to sky scraping success with many inventions. So there is nothing to be worried about the climate changing effect on the world environment. We can find out the root cause of the happenings. According to my assumption, the electrolytic imbalances between existing electrolytes in the sea water and with the other electrolytic earth components which is causing the rapid climate change across the world that is causing the unusual behaviors of the earth climate across our loving suitable earth surface. This assumption can be proven by making artificial pilot earth environment thus observe the effects of the electrolytic imbalances on the living beings.

    Reference: This is totally my own assumption. If we emphasizes on the mentioned cause we may be able to prove experimentally and can get rid of from the curse of environmental calamities.

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