The Typha Project
In the Gulf of Mexico on August 21st 2010 the oil I experimented with that had been gushing out of the underwater geyser for the previous few months was crude Bitumen and not crude oil per say. Bitumen solidifies when it cools and naturally sinks. It is a natural resource that has been used in the past to build roads and large structures such as boats and buildings. Instead it is now probably paving the ocean floor. Interacting with and observing this substance it is my belief that the bitumen could have been pretty easily lifted out of the ocean (once it had cooled and congealed) with big nets of strong natural fibers to save the ocean ecology instead of being dispersed. This incident is a perfect example of how an economic principle out weighed the ethical ecological principle. We can’t let this happen again. We don’t know how those actions that were took to disperse the oil will effect the planetary ecology. BP could have cleaned up a lot better then they did and there was really nothing any individual or policy group or stewardship council could have done about it.
I worked with Division 8 who works with the Coast guard and I told the team leader our vision of how to protect the shoreline from liquid forms of oil foam that were still surfacing using the typha fluff, though I didn’t have the time I needed to demonstrate. I was only able to do one onshore successful demonstration in utilizing the Cattail in combination with Horsetail silica tea to easily wipe the sticky tar bitumen off of my hand and the glove I was using. They already had a solution for this though they were using Dawn dish detergent. I researched all I could for the 3 days I was there, then I had to go home. I would have liked to stay longer and work with Division eight to do the field research I intended to do. I made no connection with BP. This scenario should never have been left in the hands of those people. ‘The problems that are created cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created them’ I am very much grateful for the learning experience and the connection with the National Wildlife Federation, Wyland and the Save the Gulf team. I really wonder how the ecologies are holding up in the Gulf. I did witness that those salt marshes are incredibly resilient and teaming with Typha and other wetland plants whose roots will consume the oil eventually. Until then we will continue to investigate the many miraculous qualities of the Typha Latifolia and many other plants that are essential for the health and well-being of people and the planet.
This is our Earth to protect for our selves, the animals and future generations. Intelligently utilizing nature to remediate nature is a fundamental principle of natural farming. The best approach is what will work for ecological remediation and reclamation and for the future economies that benefit all life on the planet.
Gabe Cipes – Permaculture, Biodynamic
Summerhill Organic & Wildcrafts ltd