The most important challenge of our generation will be to regenerate the earth back to health and abundance from the degraded and polluted state that it's in now. The Abundant Edge podcast is here to show you how you can make changes in your life that will create a regenerative future for you, your family and community, and for the earth we all call home. Join host Oliver Goshey every Friday as he interviews innovators and leaders on the cutting edge of regenerative movements in business, land management, ecosystem restoration and much more.
The fascinating new science of regenerating soil, with Matt Powers, author of “regenerative soil”
Now that I've wrapped up the series on waterway regeneration, I wanted to transition into a two episode deep dive into an essential component of water cycle health and how it affects the land by analysing the most elemental component of a healthy ecology, and that of course is soil. There’ve been a ton of new developments and research in this field in a very short time as scientists and agronomists alike are uncovering new insights into mineral cycles, the soil food web, plant and mycological relationships, and so much more.
Now you could sort through a small library of work to get a complete picture of all of these new developments, or you could save time and find them all in one brilliant new book called Regenerative Soil by my good friend Matt Powers, the author of many well known volumes including the Permaculture Student volumes one and two, Unstoppable Enthusiasm, and now even volumes for children including the newest, The Forgotten Food Forest which can all be found on his website along with many online courses at thepermaculturestudent.com
But of course today, we’ll be focusing on the cutting edge of soil science and how these new discoveries can help you in a very practical way to improve the health of the soil on your land and grow the highest quality food anywhere.
In this session Matt unpacks and simplifies concepts like Eh and redox scales, Exclusion zone water, and soil amendments for any kind of deficiency. We also talk about how this new information has changed the way he manages his own garden and his advice for some of the best practices for large scale soil improvement.
Regenerating lakes and ponds with floating islands, with Bruce Kania of Floating Island International
We’ve covered a ton of angles to this topic already, from fixing broken water cycles on the land with keyline planning and earthworks, to marine ecosystem restoration through conservation and even farming. In today’s episode I got to speak with Bruce Kania of Floating Island International which developed their patented Biohaven floating island technology as a solution to algae-ridden and nutrient impared waterways since 2005. Since then they´ve launched over 9,000 island systems worldwide as solutions to a variety of problems facing contaminated water.
In this interview Bruce breaks down the chemical and biological processes that happen in the water when there’s a heavy nutrient load and how it affects the balance of oxygen and the lifeforms that depend on it. He tells me how the floating islands that he’s helped to develop work to cycle the nutrients of polluted waterways back into the food web that then fosters the beneficial life forms that are emergent elements of healthy water ecosystems and that mature to help the whole system and surrounding ecology to thrive.
We also take a look at the case study of Fish Fry Lake in Montana and how it’s gone from a polluted lake with regular algae blooms to become the most productive wild fishery in Montana where people can even swim and snorkel!
Be sure to stick around till the end of the interview as Bruce explains just how big the potential of these floating wetland systems is as he’s looking to develop inhabited floating islands that help to filter and clean the great plastic garbage patches in the Pacific ocean and the possibility of creating floating solar farms that function as new real estate as well.
Main Website https://www.floatingislandinternational.com/solutions/
Dos and don’t of waterway stewardship https://www.floatingislandinternational.com/the-dos-and-donts-of-waterway-stewardship/
Ted talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPIUUnoRPcY&feature=emb_logoInternship link https://www.floatingislandinternational.com/internships-available/
Reviving urban waterways with floating wetlands, with Galen Fulford from Biomatrix Water
Welcome back friends and family to this ongoing series on waterway regeneration. In the past three episodes I focused on marine regeneration through conservation as well as farming. Today we're going to take a look at fresh water systems and specifically, how to decontaminate them through biological methods. I'll be sure to put a link to that interview in the show note on the website in case you missed it.
Some of you may remember an interview I did with Tom Duncan about his floating wetlands and how they can be used to clean up excessive nutrients and pollutants back in season 1. Today I'll be expanding on that technique since it´s gained a lot of traction and floating islands are popping up all over the world to help deal with contaminated rivers, lakes, and ponds. I'll be sure to put a link to that interview in the show note on the website in case you missed it.
For this episode I reached out to Galen Fulford, the managing director at Biomatrix Water, a biological technology company working on solutions for waterway and wastewater treatment based in Moray, Scotland.
In this interview, Galen explains the science behind waterway contamination evaluation and the calculations they do to determine the restoration approach and techniques that are appropriate for each site. He also breaks down how their floating wetland systems work and how they compare and differ from traditional wetlands in the way they decontaminate water and provide habitat and sanctuaries for wildlife. We also explore the challenges that installing floating wetlands in urban environments can entail as well as some of the novel solutions in engineering that Biomatrix Water have developed to help their installations withstand events like floods and heavy contamination loads.
This is a great episode for people who really want to understand the biology and engineering behind some of the most promising natural waterway remediation techniques being pioneered today. Make sure you listen all the way till the end too when Galen explains how these floating wetland systems are being applied to ecological sewage treatment and municipal water purification.
Regenerating coral reefs with art and community, with Celia Gregory of the Marine Foundation
Welcome back friends and family to this ongoing series on waterway regeneration. We’ve covered so many approaches to this subject up until now, and over the last two weeks I’ve been exploring regenerative solutions to the environmental degradation of marine ecosystems. Today we’ll be looking closely at some creative ways of protecting and even reseeding coral reefs in my interview with Celia Gregory.
Celia is the founder of the Marine Foundation, an Eco-arts organisation that uses art for change - not only in awareness and education, but also directly on the restoration of coral reef habitats, fish stocks, and associated provision of livelihood.
Celia has over twenty-five years directing and managing a varied selection of creative projects around the world. Having completed her padi pro dive master in Costa Rica in 2004 she was inspired to take her creative process under the sea, developing ‘art in symbiosis with marine conservation. She created “The Living Sculptures In the Sea” program, an international series of underwater sculptures and a creative collaboration of local communities, conservation organisations, science and the creative arts.
Through The Marine Foundation Celia has successfully developed projects in several international locations, facilitating programs for local communities.
Now, I first got to know Celia as a co-instructor with me on the Ecosystem Restoration Design course with Gaia Education, and I was fascinated by her unique approaches to community collaboration through culturally representative art.
In this interview, though we certainly talk a lot about specifics of coral habitat restoration and the urgent need to create reserves and sanctuaries to revive coastal areas that have been destroyed, we also focus a lot on Celia’s remarkable stories from the communities that she’s worked with to accomplish these projects.
I myself have worked mostly with local communities in countries that were foreign to me and I really connected to the compassionate and inclusive approach that Celia speaks to from her own experience. I’ve always found that the community aspect of regenerative projects is the most overlooked in the design and planning stage. While some enterprises eventually find success with weak community integration, the ones that create long lasting and holistic solutions are the ones that are built around the needs, wants, and cultural nuance of the places where they’re based. Ownership and responsibility centered around the people of that place are points that Celia makes and that I’ve learned to emphasize in all of the projects that I work with too.
This is one of my favorite chats from this series, and I hope it encourages you to reflect and re-evaluate as much as it did for me.
The massive potential in marine permaculture, with Brian Von Herzen
Continuing today with this ongoing series on waterway regeneration and a deep dive into marine ecosystems, I had the pleasure of speaking with Brian Von Herzen.
Brian is an ocean scientist, engineer and entrepreneur, though much of his career has been in Silicon Valley where he developed innovative technical solutions for companies like Pixar, Dolby and Microsoft. Brian is also the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit The Climate Foundation, an institute working to regenerate life in the world’s oceans and reverse global warming within our lifetimes.
Through Brian’s work with the Climate Foundation, he’s been promoting the concept of marine permaculture through ocean seaweed and kelp farming in a way that could potentially revitalize areas of degraded coastline as well as spark a whole new economy around marine ecosystem stewardship.
In this interview, Brian starts by explaining just how immense and important the kelp forests of the world are by describing the impact that they've had on the ecology of the west coast of the United States. I think it’s so important to regain reference to what our healthy and intact biosphere used to be, because all of us alive today have almost no reference to what our natural world even looked like before humans started to alter and degrade it so severely.
Brian also breaks down what it could mean for the economy and health of the west if these underwater forests could be regenerated and cared for.
We also explore some of the challenges in getting sea farming and ocean permaculture projects started and especially funded, since the initial costs are often much higher than land based initiatives.
We cover a lot of ground in this talk and even touch on topics like how marine farming fits into a regenerative economy and what those of you listening can do to support and even start your own marine permaculture projects, so be sure to stick around for some great action steps by the end.
Diving deep into ocean farming,with Joost Wouters of the Seaweed Company
Over the last month, I’ve been focusing on interviews with people who are pioneering the repair and regeneration of the water cycle as it pertains to landscapes. We’ve explored the installation of ponds and dams, permaculture earthworks and water retention landscapes as well as keyline design and planting the rain in drylands. These are all great interventions at the beginning of the water cycle’s journey, but today I want to start a deeper dive, literally, by going to the furthest point downstream, where water enters the ocean.
Marine ecosystems are much less understood by the general public for a variety of reasons, but our actions on land have a direct effect on the health of our oceans too. Luckily there are incredible teams of people looking to address these issues with promising new solutions and over the next couple of episodes I’ll be highlighting a few of them.
To get things started I spoke to Joost Wouters, an entrepreneur, speaker, author and the ‘Sea’EO of the Seaweed Company. I got to know Joost first as a co-instructor with me on the Ecosystem restoration design course through Gaia Education. I was fascinated with his presentation and the compelling data on the potential regenerative effects that seaweed and kelp can have in bringing back the health of coastal areas. In his role with the Seaweed Company, he and his team aim to implement CO2-reducing seaweed-based business models at large scale.
It turns out that seaweed is the fastest growing biomass in the world. Seaweed farming itself, if done responsibly, has the power to address many of the ecological challenges we face today, without the use of land, fertilizer, or freshwater. It reduces ocean acidification, promotes marine biodiversity, and even absorbs vast quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere.
Seaweed can also create highly valuable end products. It is a nutritious food source for both people and animals and can be used as an environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based fertilisers and plastics. At the moment it's a unique untapped resource, and the goal of the Seaweed Company is to unlock the potential of this wondrous resource to benefit both people and the planet.
In this episode Joost starts by explaining some of the urgent issues facing marine environments and how seaweed farming can help to address them. We go over the advantages that growing seaweed has over terrestrial agriculture, the high value products that can be made from different types of seaweed, the many pilot projects around the world that his company has helped to start and much more.
Towards the end we also examine the roadblocks that are holding this solution back from being more widely adopted and how those of you listening can learn more and get involved.
I’ve personally been learning a lot about marine ecosystems through these interviews and truly hope that a greater awareness will begin to be built around just how essential the health of our oceans is to the health of all life, even to ecosystems that are far inland and away from any saltwater. I’m really excited for this and the next few episodes for this reason.