The Limitations Of Bioremediation

By Roy L Hales

In its’ simplest form, bio-restoration is something that every farmer every just does naturally.  In this interview, Canadian  ecologist/journalist Rex Weyler talks about natural solutions to most of the world’s environmental problems and the limitations of bioremediation.

The Limitations Of Bioremediation

A typical eutrophic — over-productive — lake with algae bloom, causing the lake to become swamp-like. Although this trend appears commonly worldwide, biological remediation, removal of nutrients from groundwater, can help restore these lakes.

Many of the problems that beset our world today are as old as civilization. (It is  surprising how little humanity has learned in the past 4,000 years!)

Ecological systems can process nutrients, bacteria, and toxins from soil & water, restoring them to a usable state. We can even restore our atmosphere. (Weyler cites numerous large and small scale examples of this is.)

If we had a smaller population (hundreds of millions instead of 7 billion),  it would be relatively easy to restore our environment to a more human friendly balance.

New Technologies Are Not “THE” Answer

Garden giant mushroom growing from Stropharia rugoso-annulata mycelium can be used as a bio-remediation species that takes up nutrients and toxins.

Some hope that new technologies will provide ways for humanity to continue

Weyler points out that most of today’s environmental problems are the result of previous technological solutions.  For example, modern agriculture was made possible by the mass exploitation of fossil fuels – but the overuse of fossil fuels triggered climate change. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides compensated for the soil’s decreasing fertility – but are filling the soil toxins. (The chemicals used in these fertilizers and pesticides are also finite and diminishing.)

Addressing Scale

Humankind has overshot its’ resources and, in the process, as set in motion climate changes whose impacts will be felt for decades to come.

There are ecological solutions to most of these problems, but Weyler insists we first need to address the problem of scale.

Listen to the interview, above.

Top photo credit: Algae Bloom by Petra Bensted via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)