Choose “Compost” over a Silver Bullet

“There is no silver bullet, but educating girls is like silver buckshot.”

What does this mean? It tries to communicate that we can be much more effective if we keep our focus less tight, and design solutions that create additional achievements beyond the core goal.

Educating girls is not a silver bullet for CO2 reductions, but it is a valuable one that also improves community earning power, women’s health, ongoing educational interests, all while reducing CO2 emissions through reduced birth rates. Silver buckshot. In my preferred analogy, “compost”.

Our goals and efforts are similar to compost rather than to chemically developed, highly tuned, artificial nutrient applications. Compost is local, varied, naturally processed and benign if overused. It feeds not only the plants we aim for, but works over time to create richer soil with better retention capacity for nutrients and water. This level of general soil health naturally supports resistance to disease and fosters growth of healthy, collaborative bacteria and insects.

Applications of chemical fertilizer can overburden soil and water systems with nitrates and phosphates, cause quicker uptake of nutrients lacking complexity and variety, cause chemical burning of the plants, introduce toxins into our food, and can promote the striping of nutrients from the soil. It does not support strong soil systems.

True sustainability can only be achieved through use of “compost”.

Here are some examples:

  • I cannot improve my own health by just losing weight. I need to get more fit and choose better foods. I should assess my mental attitude, get better sleep, and keep my interests and community connections awake and energized.
  • We need to reduce energy use in as many ways as possible – there is no one right answer. This will include eliminating wasted energy, creating smaller, distributed options of production, making building envelopes tighter, allowing wider comfort ranges, and educating building users how to help. We also need diversity in our renewable energy portfolio and applications of same.
  • When advocating and educating about sustainability it will take a variety of methods including blogs, tweets, lectures, conversations, case studies, celebrations and more. It will take years of this informational composting to create systemic knowledge and learning patterns that support ongoing success. We must also approach the topics from many sides: science, religion, community, perspectives of building user, farmer, product innovator, consumer, mom, dad, teen.
  • When we work on resiliency, we need to look at single building strategies, community interdependency, and system flex affecting regional safety issues. We need to address many systems to achieve greater resiliency: buildings, healthcare, commercial delivery, transportation in general, education and more.

It all comes down to robust, varied elements that will positively support systemic strength as well as improvements in tangential systems.

Choose compost,



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