Dialectical Gardening – revision and correction January 2018

Although technology helps us to do all sorts of clever things there is a catch. It requires us to be equally clever about the way that we use it. In short, with opportunity comes responsibility, and to any community or person conscious enough, the responsibility is likely to be a burden – an unpaid one at that.  

This is the case with nearly every invention, device and machine at our disposal. Leaving aside the issue of producer responsibility, the opportunity presented by commoditised technology requires us to be more responsible, and still more so if the qualitative aspects of life such as the condition of the environment or standards of public health are appreciated, because commoditisation is primarily the homage to quantity.

It is a message that was iterated on a daily basis when a forsaken[i] corner and institutionalised space was restored during ‘Clean for the Queen’[ii]. And it happened despite the glaring contradiction between a clarion call for a tidier realm on one hand, and on the other, society’s accommodation of a modern commodity economy that drives dirt into the tiniest recesses[iii] of these sceptred isles and generates the greyness that so irks the Royal Horticultural Society[iv].

Clearing debris, dereliction, rubbish, surplus and waste (material outputs) from the site, and then re-cycling[v] some of it, formed the first stage of the project and amounted to 96kg/m2. That there was so much on this comparatively tiny plot was a shock to the system even though it is common knowledge that environmental degradation caused by chucking stuff is widespread.

What seems to escape the notice of many though is that a encyclopaedic list of nuisances flow from this – and from all the different material outputs uncovered on 142m2. They are environmental and social burdens of production and consumption that connect this precise spot to what is happening in the environment at large[vi]: asbestos[vii]; bathroom accessories; building materials[viii]; glass fibres[ix]; barbed wire; door furniture; scrap metals[x]; scaffolding equipment[xi]; sacks of 15 different, non-biodegradable, polymeric materials[xii]; batteries[xiii]; broken glass[xiv]; kitchen cabinets; food[xv]; furniture; N2O cylinders; toys; tools; umbrellas; vehicle components/spares; broken traffic signals; electrical/electronic equipment[xvi]; chemicals; cleaning agents; clinker[xvii]; clothing; crockery; coal; coke; cosmetics; sports equipment; used personal hygiene products[xviii]; bike locks/components[xix]; paints[xx]; components from domestic appliances; leather; clothing; cheap jewellery[xxi]; first aid items; hypodermic needles; and much more. Some of the other things that were unearthed would have mystified a Mellors or goaded a Watson to search for known associates: a clutch of assorted knives[xxii], a bullet, a Molotov cocktail, 2 ransacked safes, keys, handbags, purses, wallets, luggage and plenty of ‘unmentionables’. ‘Gobbed’ out gum[xxiii], cigarette filter tips[xxiv], accessories for a branded drug[xxv], ‘wraps’[xxvi] for unbranded drugs, cat poo[xxvii] and bags of dog muck[xxviii] were in the mix too.

Officially, this street corner was never a landfill site although the material outputs suggest otherwise. Indeed, its potted history (Figure 1) confirms this and shows that it was never so offensive or smelly.

Fig. 1 The Site

Geological/geo-morphological history

49 million-years-old London Clay (Claygate member) of the Eocene partly overlain by Taplow gravel (Pleistocene)

Earthy-story

Results of a citizen’s science project with OPAL[xxix]:

300 mm deep + some ‘made-up’ ground

pH = 5.5          

Handling test: moist

Calcium carbonate test: no calcium

Soil colour: grey/brown

Soil compaction: easy

Soil texture: silty clay

Soil ribbon: >50mm, earthy, sweet, fresh

Drainage test: <3 minutes

Vegetation cover: <50%

4000 cc test pit: 12 immature Aporrectodea caliginosa and 3 immature Lumbricus rubellus[xxx]; 6 millipedes; 1 bug; 1 snail

Land use history

Poor pasture of St Quintin Park[xxxi] until 1919 the adjacent Hill Farm was closed and developed as a Homes-for-Heroes[xxxii], social housing estate.

Cricket ground: 1919 - 1936

Social housing estate: from1936 onwards

Fenced-off, low-maintenance shrubbery: 1936 - 2016

Air raid shelter, potato and cabbage patch: 1939 -1945

Dumping ground and bolt hole plus 4 ‘wolf’ specimens of Robinia pseudoacacias[xxxiii], 1 Prunus, 1 Acer purpurea 1970s - 2016

Accessible community and wildlife garden where no pesticides etc are used: from 2016 onwards

Native plant history[xxxiv]

Bramble, Hawthorn, Horsetail, Artemisia Absinthium

Recent wildlife history

RSPB Garden Bird Surveys 2008-17: 5 -7 species

Garden bird list 2016-17: 9 species

Neighbourhood bird list 2001-17: 34 species

Butterfly Conservation Society Survey2017

5 spp butterflies, 3 spp moths

Current (W10 5JG)

Gently inclining garden that mirrors Dalgarno Physic Garden (W10 5JE)

Unofficial access to utilities

In the context of creating this community garden and incorporating a bee and butterfly-friendly area the reader is referred to the current geological era we are living through - the Anthropocene. This era of the Holocene[xxxv] dates from around 1712[xxxvi] when a new stratum was laid down over Albion. Throughout stage 1, the project confirmed the reality of this era and the technosphere, which accounts for an estimated 50kg/m2 worldwide[xxxvii]. Much of this mass is infrastructure or useful stuff though. In contrast, the 96kg/m2 is nearly all rubbish, or to be more accurate, spent resources that are in the wrong place, or for which the so-called circular economy does not cater.

The collection of things unearthed on site would almost certainly be replicated elsewhere in the UK[xxxviii] if people would only dig around where the earth has been smothered with ³50kg/m2.

The relevance of this is twofold: 1. The U.K. has a precious pedological heritage of numerous soil types[xxxix], due its diverse geology that includes every era except the Miocene. During the short era of the Anthropocene soil diversity was rapidly overlaid with the fallout of both consumption and production. 2. This contrasts dramatically with that comparatively slow, natural, pedogenic process[xl] of building a thin, loose accumulation of weathered material, moisture and billions of living organisms that supports terrestrial life around the world yet can be ruined in less than a day.

It is also relevant to consider the project’s outputs and inputs[xli] as a whole and then to identify any environmental and social benefits.

Clearly, an accessible, diverse garden with permaculture beds, fruit bushes/trees, over 100 different species and many more varieties depends on fresh inputs for its second stage: material inputs[xlii]and sustainable material inputs[xliii]. These amounted to a total of 235.4kg/m2[xliv]. This total mass however includes many reclaimed, recycled, salvaged and second-hand material inputs of both kinds[xlv] that can be discounted[xlvi] because they do not impose significant, additional environmental burdens, and do not add to the technosphere of the Anthropocene. They represent the relocation of resources, which were already available, in order to enhance and prolong life. Discounting resulted in a remainder of 5.6kg/m2 of material inputs and 54.0kg/m2 of sustainable material inputs.

Since all the inputs into the garden sustain it in some way rather than dissipate it, it could be argued that none of them should be classified as environmental burdens, particularly because their impact is further discounted over time by biological productivity on the site and the increase in sustainable material outputs and closed-cycle outputs. This reasoning was not pursued however.

Fig. 2 Inputs and Outputs

 

   kg

kg/m2

kg/m2

kg/m2

kg/m2

Stage 1 Clearing

         

TOTAL MATERIAL OUTPUTS

13632.0

     

-96.0

Stage 2 Building & planting

         

Material inputs

16272.0

115.4

     

Material inputs - discount

15594.4

 

109.8

   

Material inputs - discounted

     677.6

   

5.6

 

Sustainable materials inputs

17039.0

120.0

     

Sustainable material inputs - discount

9389.0

 

   66.0

   

Sustainable material inputs - discounted

7650.0

   

54.0

 

TOTAL INPUTS

8327.6

     

+59.6

Stage 3 Growth

         

Sustainable material outputs

       >0.0

       

On-site, closed cycle outputs

       >0.0

       

MASS BALANCE

       

-36.4

Setting discountable inputs against material and sustainable material inputs resulted in a total of 59.6kg/m2. This was then balanced against the 96.0kg/m2 of material outputs achieved through clearing, recycling and remediating. The mass balance is 36.4kg/m2. Hence, with labour time and “moments of imagining[xlvii]”, the project dealt with more environmental burdens than it created. It is a lower figure than Leicester University’s global average of 50kg/m2 although it needs to be acknowledged that before discounting, the inputs amounted to 33311kg or 234.6kg/m2, which is considerably more than the total 59.6kg/m2 of discounted inputs.

The next stage of the project started on 14th June 2017 when tree surgeons formatively pruned rampant Robinias. Sadly, this paled into insignificance as ash and soot from the ghastly and grisly fire at Grenfell Tower[xlviii] floated down.

From the start the objective of this project was not to affirm the benefits of reclamation, recycling, reuse (second hand) and salvage, yet it did. The project was not intended to provide a refuge for some exotics either, yet it did. It succeeded in securing some sustainable, material outputs[xlix] too, which are not included in the 96kg/m2 total. The ‘closed’ cycles on the site, which will grow in significance over time and are an aspect of environmental sustainability, yielded material outputs[l] as well. The objective was not to amplify the massive nature of the technosphere in kg/m2, yet it did. Also, there was no intention to show how ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ fails to confront overproduction or obsolescence although this is the situation. It was not intended to reveal flaws in the SETAC approach to environmental impact assessment, yet some became evident.            

Furthermore the project provided some unwelcome reminders of the effect of passivity, social alienation and more: that the degradation of soil by chucking, flicking and tossing unwanted stuff onto it has surpassed anything that approximates to ‘fouling one’s nest’ and has reached the point of ‘self-harm’; that the abatement of environmental damage, which increases exponentially and shadows the growth of production and population, needs iron columns of people to tackle the pressures.

In order to balance the quantitative approach of this article some soft bonuses that flowed from the project are spelt out in Figure 3. They give reason to the conservation and defence of natural and life-support systems and belie the conventional wisdom about value production in a modern commodity economy.

Fig. 3

Action taken

Environmental/social benefits

Coffee grounds and surplus builder’s sand to mark pathways

Increase in plant diversity

Marking trip hazards and utility inspection chamber covers

Aluminium wheelchair ramps

Albedo effect change           0.17 to 0.30

                                            

                                              0.17 to 0.45

                                              0.12 to 0.65

                                             0.17 to 0.70                                                                            

Management of space to compliment Dalgarno Physic Garden

Validation of tenants in a neighbourhood of dense social housing estates and low-income households.

Less toxicity and fewer hazards to wildlife and children

Informal dissemination of information

Social cohesion

Niche for street-corner dialecticians[li]

Diverse planting

Abatement of invisible wastes e.g. gases

“A cosy place for wildlife”[lii]

Visual interest

Arrows: Japanese Arrow bamboo

New wildlife: 6 spp butterfly, 4 spp moth, 8 spp of feeding and visiting birds, 4 spp fungi, 2 spp nesting, charms of visiting Goldfinches, flocks of Long-tailed tits

Chicken food

Classroom for family workshops

Commemorative planting

Conservation projects

Foliage for special occasions and events

Funerary flowers

Hedges of 7 native spp and 3 spp of cultivars

Informal education resource: NHS community champions and passers-by

Niche for 12 spp of caterpillars in the lichens on site

Space for outdoor science projects

Substances for textile dyeing and printing workshops

Respite from indoor pollution[liii]

Scents

Surface run-off[liv] reduced

Solids trapped: equivalent of ≥30 diesel-car exhausts per year[lv]

Wild plant refuge for 6 spp

1930s barriers removed

Access for ambulant disabled

Less clutter

Hazard to children and wheelchair users eliminated

More useable space

Well-being effect[lvi]

Formative pruning

≤142 kW flux for the whole garden[lvii]

More daylight for neighbours

Layers of cellulose for permaculture

Access to buried utilities: chambers, meters, valves

Damage to buried utilities mitigated

Denser shrubbery for nesting birds

Blind corner eliminated

Ground flora diversified

Perimeter habitat of logs for detritivores

Gabions filled with rubble from the site

Boundary to uneven ground

CO2 sequestration[lviii]

Habitat for alpines and lower plants

Improvised seating

Creation of a micro-climate/habitat

Waste management

Habitat for pollinators and Robins

More microbialdiversity[lix]

Defence against infection

Rainwater harvesting[lx] with >1420 litres of storage and overflow to ground.

Local damage from UK’s 6-year cycle of pluvial flooding is marginally mitigated.

Soft water for containers and planters

Salvaging sand, chippings, timber, planters, pots, window boxes, stone off-cuts, et cetera.

2 local dumps cleared

3 local gardens cleared and improved

Waste stream from a densely populated Borough reduced

Straw bales recycled to the garden

Impromptu seating

Habitat creation and plant diversification

Visual interest

Rubbish clearance, waste disposal

Access improved

Fewer hazards for people[lxi] and wildlife: asbestos, batteries, chemicals, film, recording tape, glass.  

Bird feathers for Notting Hill Carnival

Hedgehog runway

Foul/putrid smells replaced by Petrichor

Utility controls[lxii], air raid shelter remains and 1930s earth post un-covered

Construction of one low-level and nine raised, permaculture beds

Access to gardening for children, the disabled and the elderly

Water conservation

Waste management

Perimeter railings adapted.

Risk to children and wheelchair users reduced

Vertical gardening

Site for displays

Notice board recycled and installed

Niche for trailing/climbing plants

Despite their role in sustaining everyday life, popular culture and Nature these soft bonuses buckle under the weight of interrelated and reinforcing barriers to environmental conservation presented by the economic system. It is a predicament that can detonate further cynicism about, and disparagement of, environmentalists who are already caught in a cleft stick.

Nevertheless there are limits to an economic model that has outlived its usefulness for most people, serves minority interests and, from a position of relative ignorance, subjugates the environment and people to its destructive dynamic. And the world’s libraries are bursting with published conclusions and solutions about it. There have been knowledgeable and experienced individuals who added their critique of the canons of the economic system and its shaky, underlying assumptions:

“Now, my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose…I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of, or can be dreamed of, in any philosophy.” J.B.S. Haldane

“Something unknown is doing we don’t know what.” Sir Arthur Eddington

“The ruling passion of the age is to convert wealth into debt.” Sir Frederick Soddy

“…what we need is sustainable retreat…” James Lovelock

Nicolas Holliman 2016

Revised 2017 & January 2018

The People’s Postcode Trust in Scotland awarded a modest grant for the garden and Corner Nine Arts Project in London supported it. This above article commemorates my twin brother Jonathan who was a conservationist, plant geographer, co-founder of Friends of the Earth Japan and editor of “Environmental Policies



Over the course of many years, until 2016, a succession of contract gardeners avoided the space yet billed for doing so.

An initiative launched to mark the 90th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II. In March 2017 Keep Britain Tidy launched the 1st Great British Spring Clean.

E.g. Matches found in the gut of edible, inshore fish; plastic waste reduced to an air pollutant through ‘corrasion’ (corrosion + abrasion); pollutants that cross the blood/brain barrier such as PM ≤2.5, iron dust and aluminium compounds; the migration of endocrine disruptor Bisphenol A from plastic, food packaging ingested by a cohort of Exeter University students. Invisible debris lodges in people’s lungs and bodies: COx, NOx, SOx tetra-ethyl lead, particles of carbon black and fugitive radioactive materials.

The RHS launched Greening Grey Britain in 2017.

E.g. Western Riverside Waste Authority, Traid, Scope, a scrap metal merchant, battery re-cycling stations.

“To see a world in a grain of sand” William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence” l 1

…every commodity is an encyclopedia Karl Marx, “Capital” Vol. 1

The inhalation of blue, grey and white asbestos fibres causes asbestosis and mesothelioma. A medic working with asbestos mineworkers in South Africa made this connection in 1906 and HM Government responded in double quick time by introducing prohibitive legislation in 1972.

This included asphalt, bricks, cement, concrete, mastic, plaster, putty, roofing slate and tiles. The greatest mass of urban waste from cities like New York and London is wastewater, followed by construction waste. London’s construction waste amounts to 100 million tonnes per year. (“Professional Builder” Vol. 39 No. 3 March 2017)

Owing to their size and non-biodegradability airborne glass fibres have the same potential to cause lung damage as asbestos fibres.

Alloys, aluminium, brass, cast iron, chromium, copper, gunmetal, lead, mild steel, stainless steel and zinc: these metals retrieved on site tell a story about wasteful production, wastage of resources and the U.K.’s failure to reduce environmental burdens by smelting more scrap instead of exporting it to zones where regulations and compliance are weak.

6 boards, 4 poles, 7 footplates, 35 clamps, 3 couplings, 17 debris netting ties, 3 pole caps, 1 hoist. Poles and boards were re-cycled to 2 scaffolding companies.

a) ABS, acrylic, butyl rubber, EPS/PS, neoprene, nylon, HDPE, LDPE, perspex, PC, PET, PP, PVC and uPVC. Vinyls from PVC and phthalates from PET, especially under the action of sunlight, can leach/migrate into soil and water.

b) Crinkly crisp packets filled one sack and of course there were the ubiquitous plastic and EPS cups and plastic bottles. For the author this harks back to an experiment in 1973 when the Field Observers’ Club surveyed and weighed the rubbish on 100 metres of Kessingland beach in Suffolk. The bulk of this was plastic although most of its mass was glass and other materials. Hereward Hill, who was awake to its relevance, sent the results in a letter to the editor of “The Times” newspaper and provoked an apoplectic response from the Plastics Institute (now the Institute of Materials). Their main man explained that plastic rubbish consisted of a small amount of the total mass and was therefore negligible and a problem to be sorted out by tidier Britons.

c) Since they were first manufactured, 8.3 billion tonnes of plastics have been produced worldwide. The U.K. produces 8 million tonnes of plastics annually, which accounts for 8% of total, estimated world production and a very small percentage of this is recycled. Worldwide, an estimated ≤12.7 million tonnes of plastic material enter the oceans each year (Greenpeace 14/03/17). Also in 2017 less than10% of plastic packaging was recycled in the UK (BBC R4 “Today” programme 15/04/17). The Great Pacific Garbage Patch of plastics mixed with chemical sludge and non-plastic debris trapped in the North Pacific Gyre extends from the West Coast of the USA to Hawaii and similar trash vortices can be found in the North Atlantic and Indian oceans.

d) A briefing of British Members of Parliament given on 9th May 2016 by researchers from Kings College, London and the Institute of Environment, Health and Societies at Brunel University announced that ground down pieces of plastics are a new air pollutants that harbour traces of toxic chemicals.

e) On the 3rd September HM Government announced a ban on the use of plastic micro-beads in cosmetics and a few healthcare products to take effect by the end of 2017 yet many other products containing these micro-beads are not included in the ban.

f) The Marine Conservation Society’s annual survey, made public during Easter 2016, showed that one-trip plastic bottles and cups make up the greatest bulk of rubbish found on the UK’s beaches.

Batteries contained cadmium, lead, lithium, mercury and zinc and constitute hazardous and toxic waste.

Broken glass bottles cause injuries that have to be treated in the A&E departments of local NHS hospitals.

People in Britain discard 7 million tonnes of food annually and householders in the Netherlands account for 38% of avoidable, food waste.

(Netherlands Nutrition Centre, “Consumer Food Waste” Fact sheet, December 2014). In the neighbourhood the percentage is probably higher, judging from the leftover food and drinks that land on the garden.

Directive 2012/19/EU and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013 relate to responsible disposal. These regulations will be broadened and a new Directive will take effect on 01/01/2019. 2 million tonnes of WEEE are generated each year in the UK. Globally, an estimated 44.7m metric tonnes of WEEE was generated in 2016 and the amount is increasing.

PCBs used widely in the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment, and that are present in WEEE, were detected in the fat tissues of shrimp-like crustaceans living 10 000 metres down in the Mariana Trench. (Paper given by the team led by Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University at the Conference on Deep-Ocean Exploration, Shanghai, 08/06/16; A, Jamieson in: “Nature Ecology and Evolution”, June 2017)

Kensal Green Gasworks used to re-cycle clinker and slag locally as bedding for paving slabs on footpaths. (Personal communication: an elderly woman, and member of the local history group at Notting Hill Methodist Church, whose father worked in the coal gasification plant). It resulted in a more lasting solution than the quick dollop of sand so favoured by today’s contract paviours.

Dental floss, ear buds, tissues, toilet paper, nappies, wipes, sanitary pads, tampons, hair grips, clips and brushes, combs, razor blades, toothbrushes.

Bicycle theft developed into a fully-fledged industry following the promotion of sustainable transport.  

An estimated 59.44 million litres of unused paint is discarded in the UK annually (Community Reuse donation scheme organised by B&Q Ltd., 2016). The VOCs given off from paints constitute an air pollution problem - mostly in summer.

Mr. Gerald Ratner’s throwaway remark about the poor quality of jewellery sold in his chain of shops may have been taken literally.

The Metropolitan Police missed these in their Knife Sweeps.

Local authorities in the UK spend £60m/year on removing bubble and chewing gum (BBC R4 15/04/2017). These petroleum by-products harbour people’s DNA and an unknown range of microbes.

Oceans are strewn with non-biodegradable cigarette filters. Barry Commoner, “The Closing Circle - Nature, Man & Technology”, Book-of-the-Month Club, August 1971. Comité National Contre Tabagisme’s data shows that filters are useless and increase the risk of lung damage by 2 to 10 times because microscopic holes in the tip aerate accumulated tar and nicotine, making them volatile enough for inhalation. Filtrona Corporation (Essentra plc) is one of many in the industry and economy as a whole that produce millions of useless items to damage oceans and soil.

Cigarette packets, clay pipe fragments, disposable lighters, E-cigarette waste, matchbooks, matchboxes, matches, tobacco pouches.

Foil packaging for Class A and B drugs.

Cysts of the cat parasite Toxaplasma gondii in the soil are an infection risk.

Toxocara canis can transmit from dog faeces to humans.

Open Air Laboratories - explore nature  

2 of the 25 species of native earthworms found in the U.K.

Ordnance Survey map of North Kensington, 1894.

A century after the 1914-18 War “…some corner of a foreign field that is forever England” is a fitter memorial to the fallen than 96kg/m2 of soil pollution.    

During the summer months in the UK, 200-240 litres of water/tree/day are extracted from the earth. Capel Manor College, London.

London Natural History Society, ‘Plant List for London”, 1959

The Anthropocene era produced the technosphere; a stratum several metres thick of mines, infrastructure, buildings, machines, products and railways that overlays or disrupts the biosphere. Interventions in the carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and water cycles are also part of the Anthropocene.

Newcomen’s engine liberated people from the 1kW/m2 natural, solar flux and made 4kW/m2 available. James Lovelock, “A Rough Ride to the Future”.

The technosphere was added to the biosphere, cryosphere and pedosphere. Geologists at the University of Leicester who studied it calculated that the impact on the Earth’s surface of humans totals 3 trillion tonnes or 50kg/m2. (J. Zalasiewiez et.al., “Scale and diversity of the physical technosphere: a geological perspective”, in: “The Anthropocene Review” 2016)

25% of front gardens in Britain have been paved over, usually to make way for car parking. (BBC News-online 26/12/15)

A cross-party group of MPs gave the first ever report to a British Prime Minister on the UK’s failure to protect the diversity and richness of its soils 2/6/2016.

Over the course of thousands of years Nature builds one inch of topsoil, according to the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, now the NRCS, which dates back to the Dust Bowl in the1930s, the CCC and Roosevelt’s New Deal.

An approach devised by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) was followed although it identifies inputs and outputs per kilogram of a product or activity. This is inappropriate for a garden hence outputs and inputs were related to the m2.. The SETAC approach does not account for labour time either although timesheets were kept. If it did it would open the door to a whole lot of radical critiques.

Material inputs include ironmongery, rainwater-harvesting equipment, wheel chair ramps.

Sustainable material inputs include compost, liquid fertiliser from the wormery, mains water, willow staves

This includes water for irrigation and reclaimed soil.

i) Material inputs: E.g. salvaged stone slabs/cobbles, containers/planters, wooden bench, surplus paint.

   ii) Sustainable material inputs: E.g. re-claimed soil, spent coffee grounds from the Lisboa, lemon rinds, pine needles, coconut coir doormats, unprinted corrugated cardboard

According to SETAC, reclamation, recycling, reuse and salvage is a way of discounting any initial, environmental burdens on the land, water and in the air generated by an activity or product.

W B Yeats

A social disaster with many causes that some claim is the result of RBK&C’s economic ideology while others claim it is capitalism’s solution to social housing.  

Biological productivity: culinary and medicinal herbs, cut flowers, funerary flowers, decorative foliage for events, soft fruit, vegetables, salad leaves, leaf compost, nitrogen fixation, plant materials for dyeing and printing textiles, canes.

Gravel for draining containers, clay for a creative workshop, oxygen, water.  

Jack Common, “The Freedom of the Streets”

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 2017

In Germany, people are now advised to air their homes for ³10 minutes/day in order to clear the fumes given off by synthetic goods and materials and household activities.

The Environment Agency 10th March 2017

Research on medium-sized gardens by the RHS publicised in March 2017.

Franco Basaglia and his colleagues in the Democratic Psychiatry Movement in Italy concluded that the de-institutionalisation of space improves mental wellbeing.

Paul Shepard, “Nature and Madness”.

According to Roger Ulrich’s research, open space and a green view supports wellbeing and reduces patient recovery times.

The natural, solar flux has ranged from 1 to 1.3kW/m2.

Some building waste was placed in gabions. Recent findings of Newcastle University’s research project SUCCESS (December 2016) give theoretical support to this because the calcium in concrete, lime mortar and building dust sequesters CO2 from the atmosphere, more efficiently than natural peat land, to form CaCO3.

Exposure to diverse microbes in Nature can help people strengthen their resistance to common infections and diversify a now reduced digestive, micro-biome that is implicated in illnesses such as some cases of obesity.

London’s annual rainfall is now less than Istanbul’s and Bradfordians and Loiners receive less rain than in 20th C. The last 3 years of drought in South Africa resulted in water rationing for 4m Capetonians.

Contaminated soil impacts on public health. The Environmental Audit Committee of MPs, House of Commons, 2015.

After utility chambers were unearthed Thames Water’s contractor (Z-tech) pounced to check on water theft, ignoring the fact that major, reported leaks in the neighbourhood were left by Thames several times, and for several months.