Sustainable Ecological Earth Regeneration with Rockdust

by Moira Thomson


ROCKDUST IS CATCHING THE IMAGINATION of gardeners and farmers and its use is spreading in the UK and beyond. Consumer demand is bringing Rockdust’s miracle effects into our gardens and farms and into the environmental, farming and food debates. The SEER Centre Trust was established as a Recognised Scottish Charity in 1997, following 13 years pioneering work by co-founders Cameron & Moira Thomson, advocating Rockdust as The Solution to achieving Sustainable Ecological Earth Regeneration. The SEER Centre is a working model for conversion to sustainable organic “remineralised” agriculture by application of rockdusts and recycled municipal composts for soil creation, maximum soil fertility, minimal soil erosion and maximum protection from climate-change weather extremes. The charity aims to attract scientific research into the benefits of Rockdust. Since 1997, on the foothills of the Grampian mountains in Strathardle, Perthshire, the infertile, acidic, upland grassland site, although exposed to severe weather at 1000 feet, has been transformed into an ecologically diverse environment by the Thomson’s soil creation with rockdusts and municipal composts. (This growing medium is called “SEER Rocksoil”). Remarkable terraced gardens have been created. Deep fertile soils produce convincing heavy mineral-rich crops of tasty organic vegetables, fruit and bright flowers.

Cameron & Moira share how they achieved this and why they are so enthusiastic about spreading the benefits of Rockdust. Moira points to her daughter holding a huge freshly cut calabrese head weighing 1.75 kg, saying, “this kind of food contains all the nutrients, energy and natural forces that nature intended our food should bestow to us - all food sold in all markets and shops should be grown with rockdust! Mineral Replacement Therapy (MRT) with Rockdust is natural fertility treatment. NPK chemical fertilisers, which cause ecological imbalances and soil erosion, are not. If we humans can manage to cover the Earth’s soils with various chemicals several times a year to chemically grow our crops, we can surely cover Earth’s soils with Rockdust! We believe that using Rockdust on a global scale for sustainable organic gardening, agriculture, forestry and composting can boost fertility and regenerate natural ecosystems which, in turn, can nourish our increasing populations with nutrient-rich organic foods for current and future generations”. SUSTAINABLE SOILS Soil is our most important and fragile resource. The fertile soils in volcanic areas like Lanzorotti are productive and high yielding due to the abundance of minerals and trace elements in volcanic soils. BBC Horizon, “The Blue Nile” in 2004, traced the Blue Nile to its origins in the highlands of Ethiopia where the weathering of volcanic rock flow-


Star & Furrow Issue 109 Summer 2008

ing down the river is deposited on the Nile delta making it famously highly fertile. The Blue Nile is called so because it is coloured with blue-grey rockdust. It is possible to create such mineral-rich soils in your very own garden by spreading a dressing of SEER Rockdust. Quarried from ancient 420 million year old Scottish volcanic rock, it is rich in the minerals and trace elements that are deficient or missing from the majority of our soils globally, having been used up by vegetation and eroded by weather over the last 10,000 years since the last ice age ended. Soil is the mineral-rich sponge that enables the Earth to sustain life and absorb carbon. Without fertility, this sponginess disintegrates and erodes. Glaciers crush rocks during the 90,000 year long ice ages. Their advancing and retreating action releases enough minerals and trace elements from the crushed rocks to grow and sustain soils which life uses and depletes during the 10 - 12,000 year long interglacial periods between the ice ages. The exact length of each interglacial is determined by the amount of rock that was crushed by the glaciers and the minerals and trace elements released. There have been 25 of these Earth fertility cycles in 2.5 million years resulting in 25 fertile interglacials. The present interglacial is 10,800 years old. We can simulate the beneficial effects of glaciers when we spread Rockdust to “remineralise” our soils. Earthworms digest rock particles in the soil and decomposing vegetation and deposit “remineralised” organic matter in their wormcasts which contain nitrogen, carbon, minerals and thousands of micro-organisms which ultimately become organic, mineral-rich plant food. The more worms in your soil, the better the rockdust will be worked into the soil. Many of today’s medical conditions are attributed to mineral and trace element deficiencies in our bodies and our diets which result from eating food grown in mineraldeficient soil. We would need to eat five apples to get the nutrition we would have got from one fifty years ago! We can take mineral supplements to address some of these deficiencies in the food chain. For those of us who grow our own food, spreading Rockdust puts minerals and trace elements back into our soil, increasing microbial activity which makes our soil grow gradually darker and the crops more vigorous, mineral-rich, flavoursome and heavier yielding. We can really feed the world this way, promoting health and wellbeing, reducing disease and costs of disease management. CREATING THE OASIS IN THE GLEN Deep fertile soils and dense forests once covered this poor Perthshire grazing land. The soils have been used up by vegetation and eroded, leaving the glacial moraine, dumped by the last ice-age, covered by shallow soil with a PH of 4.5 - a challenging site offering the perfect opportunity to demonstrate soil remineralisation and soil creation. In April 1997, with our two shovels and a wheelbarrow, we built dry stone walls then started making the first two terraces with 200 tons of recycled resources donated by Dundee Council’s Discovery Compost and Tayside Contracts Collace quarry. We filled the terraces with “SEER Rocksoil” a strip at a time so we could start planting right away and keep up with the growing season. We finished a few months later in July 1997. By this time the five children were tucking into

the first-sown juicy crops. By 2000, the young remineralised trees were beginning to grow profusely, providing shelter and wildlife habitats around the perimeter. ROCKDUST EXPERIMENTS The large spruce trees that towered above the house shaded and impoverished the soil and were cut down in 2001. We spread 2 inches of “SEER Rockmix” (the SEER top dressing) on the surface of the poor soil and grew impressive potatoes. The soil was transformed in one growing season. We made the fourth terrace, the soil terrace, with topsoil we’d saved from the car park construction. Plants in this poor acidic soil got smaller, going blue and yellow, so we added a 2 year dose of Rockdust on the southern half of the terrace. The following year brassicas were gown in both halves and were noticeably bigger and higher-yielding on the rockdusted half. A year later, potatoes on the rockdusted half showed an obvious effect yielding twice as many potatoes and they were twice the size than those on the untreated half. We’d quadrupled the yield! There were also bigger plants and yields on the “soil only” half, directly next to the rockdusted half – the worms had been taking rockdust to the poor half and doing their own remineralising! This proved that rockdust does boost fertility without the addition of compost. We erected a Greenhouse in 2001. We made a path using bricks and cement and deep rubble infill between the two borders to ensure worms couldn’t travel from side to side to mix the two treatments and skew the results. Compost and Rockdust (Rocksoil) fills the east side. Poor soil and rockdust fills the west side. We grew equally giant organic tomatoes in both sides! The rockdust achieved equal results on both sides in one growing season. In 2003 we ploughed some flat land that hasn’t been ploughed in living memory. We spread 8 inches of “Rocksoil” on top of the ploughed bed and planted potatoes. Seven weeks of drought followed but we didn’t irrigate because we’ve observed that remineralised soil can retain moisture in the particles of stone. We grew the biggest potatoes ever and they stored with perfect shelf-life, lasting until the following June. The first two terraces are now in their 12th growing season and are still producing bumper nutritious organic crops, year after year! Everything is healthy, lacking nothing, no pest damage or disease. We really don’t know when these deep terraces will run out of minerals! THE EARTH’S FERTILITY CYCLES Cameron explains that Planet Earth’s natural soil history, soil creation and soil demineralisation patterns during the present interglacial are part of Earth’s natural fertility cycles that cause climate changes and how our species responded to these changes in the past or may respond to the present climate change chaos. “Soil erosion and climate change threaten the survival of civilisation. The world’s weather becomes extreme and unpredictable when Earth’s soils become severely demineralised. Climate change is pre-glacial tension. We’re convinced that spreading Rockdust on a global scale could enable Earth’s soils to absorb sufficient amounts of excess atmospheric carbon to stabilise global climate change!”

Star & Furrow Issue 109 Summer 2008


Record cold temperatures, such as -9°C in Greece in January ’04 with 1 foot of snow and the lemon crop frosted, are becoming the norm. Record hot temperatures and forest fires, torrential rainstorms, floods, giant hail, mud/land-slides and soil erosion, are becoming the norm. Increased frequency and size of hurricanes and earthquakes, extreme climatic catastrophes are becoming the norm, globally, due to climate change. Can we continue paying the cost of cleaning up, rebuilding and “prevention” over and over again? Can we actually solve any of the problems? There is one do-able solution to the whole problem that lies beneath our feet in the soil. To shape the future we need to understand the past. These climatic catastrophes indicate that we are living during the final stages of the present interglacial. Twenty five glaciations, in 2.5 million years, each lasting about 90,000 years and 25 interglacials, each lasting about 10,000 years, are more than coincidence.” The Present Interglacial has four main phases. These phases are approximate due to varying localised conditions around the globe. Protocratic Mesocratic Oligocratic

2,800 years

3,000 years 10,800 years

5,000 years

(Dr. Johannes Iversen, State Geologist, and Svend Th. Andersen, Geological Survey of Denmark, 1960’s)

HUMAN RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGES At the end of the Mesocratic phase there was a slight global cooling. Our species response was to stop being nomadic; doDuring the Protocratic phase the Earth turned green. mesticate our animals; build villages and towns and introduce Pioneer trees grew in the crushed rock and dropped leaves politicians and taxation. which biodegraded to form soil. At the end of the Oligocratic phase 170 years ago, our species response was to apply lime to the acidic land; mine During the Mesocratic phase Global for ores; cut down forests to make charcoal for iron smeltaverage soil depth was 7.5 feet. ing, emit more carbon into the atmosphere. This response, Trees during this “post -glacial climatic optimum” phase 170 years ago, was the Industrial Revolution. The Telocratic were up to 8 times bigger in bulk than any trees left on Earth phase lasts 170 years! Our species response, at the end of the today. Deserts of sand and rock in the Tropics were minimal, Telocratic phase is the Technological Revolution! as were the ice sheets. Atmospheric carbon was 270ppm (today it is 378ppm). The carbon that was once in the deep soil WARMING OR COOLING? and giant trees has returned to the atmosphere, along with Oceanographers are telling us “global warming” is melting our fossil fuel emissions. Today soil depth is 4.5 – 7.5 inches. the edges of the ice caps and we may be in a stage of transition into global cooling because the melting freshwater ice The main feature of the Oligocratric phase is cools the warm ocean currents, such as the Gulf stream, that soil demineralisation and soil acidification. keep our British climate warm. As the minerals in our soils were depleted, the soil chemistry When the sun’s rays strike the Earth, there is more and the type of tree cover changed. The Caledonian forest heat impact in lower latitudes, the Tropics, than in higher appeared 6,000 years ago in Scotland. Before that, during latitudes. Also, the sun shines on lower latitudes all year long, the Mesocratic phase, a mainly deciduous thick impenetra- but not on higher latitudes. Since the Industrial Revolution ble forest covered Scotland. People lived on the coasts. our species has been, and still is, “turning up the volume” of the greenhouse effect - the Earth’s warming mechanism The main feature of the final Telocratic phase, - mainly in the lower latitudes. Because the lower latitudes which lasts 170 ± 45 years, is soil erosion, are hotter than normal, more water than normal evaporates when torrential rainstorms wash whatever minerals are left and is transported to the higher latitudes. It passes over in the soil into the rivers and seas, ending in an approximate the temperate zone middle latitudes in both hemispheres, 20 year transition into glaciation. producing more cloud than normal (contributing to global


Star & Furrow Issue 109 Summer 2008

170 yrs



“dimming”); causing more rain, floods and mud/landslides than normal. Any water not falling on the middle latitudes falls at the higher latitudes as snow. This evaporation and transportation of moisture causes a weight-loss at the lower latitudes and a weight-gain at the higher latitudes. This difference of pressure on the Earth’s crust results in increased tectonic activity causing more earthquakes and volcanoes.

Large surface area EQUATOR

Small surface area

S U N ’ S R AY S



Large surface area

ALBEDO EFFECT High reflectivity of the planet turning lighter in colour - The Earth’s cooling mechanism. As we turn up the volume of the greenhouse effect in the lower latitudes, the Earth automatically turns lighter in colour with deserts of sand, rock, cloud, snow and ice, reflecting more and more heat back into space. Sir George Simpson, a Scottish scientist, postulating on the possibility of glaciation in1939 said that in order for glaciers to build up in the higher latitudes, a lot of water would need to be transported to the higher latitudes. The overheating of lower latitudes is the engine that drives the water to the higher latitudes. When our weather in the middle latitudes of the northern hemisphere comes from the south, summer or winter, temperatures are warmer than normal. When our weather comes from the north, summer or winter, it is colder than normal. 26.5°C is necessary for a hurricane to form. If tropical oceans are hotter than normal, we have increasingly more destructive hurricanes than normal. Warmer than normal ocean currents, coming from the overheating tropics are melting the edges of the ice sheets at the higher latitudes. The fresh water ice melting into the salt water oceans is closing down the warm Gulf Stream. All of these extreme climatic catastrophes indicate that we are fast approaching the end of the present interglacial. We can put this into reverse if we reduce the impact from the greenhouse effect and the albedo effect simultaneously, by reducing levels of atmospheric carbon using several possible methods such as remineralised soils absorbing carbon, reducing carbon emissions, sequestering carbon into oceans, mechanically recovering carbon (Prof. Wally Broker, Ohio State University, USA). The most simple achievable method is to remineralise the soil, whether window box, garden, farm or continent. It’s so simple and achievable.

CAN HUMAN INTERVENTION STABILISE CLIMATE CHANGE? Rockdust contains certain minerals which can combine with atmospheric carbon to form carbonates in the soil and lock them into the soil, improving the potential for soils to absorb excess carbon from the atmosphere. Dr. D Supkow PhD, has degrees in geology from Rutgers University and the University of Maine and a PhD in hydrology from the University of Arizona. In his paper on the “control of CO2 build up and the greenhouse effect” in “Remineralize The Earth”*, issue no. 7-8, 1995, Dr. Supkow estimated that in order to keep atmospheric carbon stable at today’s level, 0.8 - 3.2 tonnes of rockdust would need to be applied to every acre on Earth, every year (apart from Antarctica and Greenland). He says, “When rockdust is applied to the land, the calcium and magnesium content combine with atmospheric carbon, forming carbonates”. By increasing the mineral availability in soils, along with carbon absorbed from the atmosphere, it is possible to recycle excess carbon and re-grow soil, simulating that 7.5 feet which covered the Earth during the Mesocratic phase, thus reducing the impact from both greenhouse and albedo effects. The SEER Centre has demonstrated that 20 tonnes per acre of Rockdust can be applied every 10 years, (5kg per square meter). We think this is an achievable, local, sustainable solution. The SEER Centre trading arm “Rockdust Ltd” works in association with Angus Horticulture Ltd. to supply SEER Rockdust products to retail outlets throughout the UK and beyond. and www. ■

* “Remineralize The Earth” magazine and website followed on from the work of Americans, John Hamaker and Don Weaver, and their book “The Survival of Civilization” that founded the theory that climate change precedes an ice age and soil remineralisation can prevent one.This possibility influenced Cameron and Moira’s aims in achieving nutritious self sufficiency and sustainable Earth management. www.

Star & Furrow Issue 109 Summer 2008


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