Julian's blog: TED session 7: Creatures Great And Small

July 16th, 2010
bug cookies

Bleary eyed but game we queue from 0800 and this is what we get to enjoy…

Adrian Dolby, Organic Farmer
I breakfasted with Adrian yesterday and what a charming man – he runs a huge organic farm in the Malvern Hills called Barrington Park Estate Farms. His talk is excellent.  Half a kilo of healthy soil (“the ecstatic skin of the Earth”) contains 300,000 million bacteria and 10km of fungus. Organic farming works if skilled rotation is used, based on clover (naturally created nitrates). What about weeds? “We stopped calling them weeds and started calling them biodiversity” – and they found that unweakened by chemicals the crops were able to defend themselves against attacks. Very hopeful.

 

A brilliant TED talk. CM followed one pig through the whole process to see if it was all used after slaughter and if so how. We meet pig early in the morning in soap and toothpaste, then frequently through the day in low fat spread, concrete, train brakes, desserts, fine bone china, paint, sandpaper, beer, wine, fruit juice, collagen and bullets. Altogether 185 products, and it is all used up. Christien says we should be treating pigs like kings.

 

Thomas Dolby, Electronic Music Pioneer (see my AudioBoo with Thomas here and here)
A superb set from Thomas and hid band featuring three songs from his forthcoming album Amerikana, all in American roots style but with a British twist. I was beaming all the way through, especially in Toad Lickers (!). Great playing and a supreme merger between wide-eyed roots and ironic humour. Good to have him back.

 

Toni Frohoff, Wildlife Biologist
I totally support the content (whale and dolphin conservation) but this was not very well written or well read, so I have to admit I zoned out. Tired after too little sleep.

 

Marcel Dicke, Ecological Entomologist
Awake again for this one though. 80% of the world eat insects: over 1,000 species are eaten. You may go eurgh! (we all did) until a classic TED moment – Marcel reveals that you and I already eat 500g of insects every year in tomato soup, peanut butter, chocolate etc – because bits are permitted in most packaged foods. There will simply not be enough meat to supply the demand in 10 years, so we should switch to insect meat. Locust meat can be textured, and is very efficient: 10 kg of feed will produce 1 kg of meat or 9 kg of locust. He kindly supplied us with bug cookies at the break – they were delicious!

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