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[GreenYes] ZERI Establishes Presence in U.S.
- Subject: [GreenYes] ZERI Establishes Presence in U.S.
- From: Mary Appelhof <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003 15:12:53 -0500
As you know, Gary Liss has been posting notices of several
opportunities to participate in workshops, seminars or training with
Gunter Pauli, founder of ZERI. I attended a one-day session in
February (where I saw Gary for the first time in years!), and
followed that up by participating in the first ZERI Training. I
submit this article to give you an idea of some of the concepts and
principles which provide the foundation for ZERI projects and work.
This article is the feature in the current issue of my free
WormEzine which you are welcome to subscribe to by going to my
website at: http://www.wormwoman.com
ZERI Establishes Presence in United States
by Mary Appelhof
ZERI is an approach, a methodology, a practice. ZERI stands
for Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives, and the international
non-governmental organization was founded by Gunter Pauli in 1994.
Gunter Pauli is truly an international citizen. Author of several
books, the most recent of which is Upsizing, he has worked in 120
countries, speaks seven languages, and has influenced millions of
people through his creative and innovative approaches to solving
problems of food, poverty, self-esteem, and resource depletion. On
December 8, 2002, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Pauli awarded certificates
to the first 24 ZERI practitioners in the United States. I was among
them, having completed a 120 hour training program which took place
over a six-month period. Assembling in Santa Fe for three four-day
sessions, trainees came from New York, Paris, Colorado, Texas,
California, and Michigan, in addition to local people from the Santa
ZERI USES THE FIVE KINGDOMS OF NATURE
Based on a systems approach to evaluating problems and opportunities,
ZERI projects look at people's needs, for example, for food, shelter,
and self-esteem. The team then identifies assets often hidden from
typical evaluation formats. Using the principles of nature that (1)
no kingdom eats its own waste, and (2) that waste from one kingdom is
food for another, ZERI projects incorporate the five kingdoms,
bacteria, fungi, algae, plants, and animals, into their schemes: . An
example, with successful pilots and an existing commercial venture,
is a microbrewery which uses fermented grain (plant).The problem is
that only 8% of the grain becomes beer, 92% is spent grain which is
often landfilled. Or, perhaps fed to cows (animal). But the unbroken
down fiber is not the best food source for them, so the bacteria in
their stomachs produce more methane which gets expelled as a
However, by growing shitake mushrooms (fungi) on the spent
grain, additional value is added with a new profit center. The
mushroom enzymes break down the fiber bonds so that the spent
mushroom substrate then provides better food value for the cows.
Manure from the cows processed through a biodigester (bacteria)
produces harvestable methane which can provide sufficient heat energy
to sterilize the spent grain to use as mushroom substrate. The system
can be carried further by processing water through oxidation ponds
supporting algae growth which can provide food for fish. And the
water--nutrient-rich, but purified from pathogenic bacteria--can be
used to fertilize gardens and fields to obtain higher quality crops
without the use of synthetic fertilizers. With the possibility of
profit centers from algae (for vitamins) and fish, fully integrated
ZERI systems provide more jobs, more income, more self-esteem, and
ZERI PROJECTS OFTEN INCLUDE EARTHWORMS
Does it surprise you that several ZERI projects utilize earthworms as
a part of the integrated system? The spent mushroom substrate is
protein-rich from the mycelium still present. This can be used to
feed worms, yielding another high-protein nutrient which can be fed
to fish or chickens. A unique use of earthworms in some ZERI projects
is to produce enzymes that are being used for cleaning agents. A hope
for one of the New Mexico projects is to use earthworms grown on
slaughterhouse wastes to produce enzymes to separate lanolin from
wool at lower temperatures than the current washing process requires.
It's too early to share details yet, but can you imagine my NOT
wanting to be involved?
EARTHWORMS HAVE LONG HISTORY IN CHINA
Gunter Pauli wrote the article, "Earthworms, Mushrooms and Zero Waste
in China" which appeared in BioCycle Feb. 1999. In it he says that
the typical farmer in Wuxi, Hubei Province, has on average of 100
square meters reserved for earthworm farming. From this small area
the farmer is able to produce some 500 kg per year (1100 lbs) which
he sells to a local pharmaceutical company that uses the worms as a
source of enzymes. Pauli reported that the Wuxi region produces 3000
tons of earthworms per month and may be one of the largest earthworm
production centers in the world.
One of the papers presented at the Vermillennium was on the use of
earthworms as pharmaceuticals in China, given by Dr. Sun Zhensun,
professor of earthworm science in the College of Resources and
Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing. He
said that earthworms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine
for 2300 years for numerous and diverse treatments of arthritis,
itching, burns, carbuncles and inflammation. They have been used as
anesthetics and to lower fevers. More recently, earthworm enzymes
have been used to dissolve blood clots, and oral preparations are
used to prevent cardiovascular disease in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea,
and China. Dr. Zhensun is in the process of founding a new
organization, the International Institute of Earthworms in China.
We Americans are often perceived as very Americentric. . . we come
across as thinking we have all the answers. The reality is that the
ultimate answers to solving our environmental problems, our societal
problems will come from everyone from all nations and cultures
pulling together, learning lessons from the past, moving forward in
ways that make sense for everyone, not just a favored or powerful few.
As we learn about the Five Kingdoms, we begin better to understand
the consequences of loss of our species diversity. When we learn
about the replenishment of oxygen by plants and algae carrying out
photosynthesis, we impart more meaning to the loss of the forests
which regenerate the air that we breathe. When we learn that it's the
bacteria that learned how to free up oxygen first, and they'll
probably learn how to perform many more healing reactions first, we
may not be quite so ready to disinfect everything before we touch it.
Who would have thought that the mycelium of fungi could make wood
fibers palatable and nutitional for cows? Or that some fungi can
enhance our immune system?
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
My hope is that the work and vision of Gunter Pauli will draw people
more fully into lives that have meaning because their basic needs are
met in ways that harm neither the environment nor their fellow
beings. Their spirits will be able to soar with joy as they develop
and share their culture with others who also have their basic needs
met. They will do this by working with nature in the way nature
intended--any waste they produce will become food for another
kingdom. Which is what happens when our food wastes become food for
bacteria, fungi, and protozoa, which themselves become food for
worms, which produce nutrients for plants, and food for animals. . .
the cycle is unending.
To read the archives for WormEzine on the web, visit the following url:
A. ZERI on the web at: http://www.zeri.org To find the most detailed
articles about various ZERI projects, select NEWS, then toggle
through the NEWSLETTERS from 1998 and 1999.
B. BIOCYCLE article, "Earthworms, Mushrooms, and Zero Waste in
China," by Gunter Pauli. Abstract available online free, article
downloadable for a fee. http://www.jgpress Go to archives, search on
C. VERMILLENNIUM ABSTRACTS available from Flowerfield Enterprises.
The Vermillennium, a major international conference on vermiculture
and vermicomposting, brought together over 125 scientists and worm
industry leaders from 19 countries to report on their most recent
work and projects. The 128 abstracts from 8 scientific sessions
provide an overview of earthworm projects and relevant research in
vermiculture species, methods, applications, microbiological
relationships, greenhouse and field applications, and economics. Find
out who is doing what and where they can be contacted. Dr. Sun
Zhenjun has four abstracts, "A Novel Vermiculture Bed Design and its
Corresponding Vermiculture Management in Batches," "Pharmaceutical
Value and Use of Earthworms," "Nutritional Value of Earthworms and
Cast in Feeding Trials for Broiler Chickens," and "Influence of
Earthworms and Casts on the Heavy-Metal Content of Tilapia
PS We have a delightful children's color picture book, "Compost, By
Gosh!" by Michelle Eva Portman. I've had a wonderful time reading it
to elementary school children. . . and I know that middle school kids
like it, too! Check our website for details.
Mary Appelhof, Author of "Worms Eat My Garbage"
Flowerfield Enterprises,10332 Shaver Road,Kalamazoo, MI 49024 USA
PLEASE NOTE NEW AREA CODE: PH:269-327-0108 FAX 269-327-7009
"Changing the way the world thinks about garbage"
New issue of WormEzine is out! Subscribe at: http://www.wormwoman.com
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