Dr Chris Miliotis on Diet for a Cool Planet Introduction
Today we are going to discuss a diet for a cool planet. And my guest today is Dr. Christo Miliotis, Eco entrepreneur, a micro-organism enthusiast. From gut to soil to delectable food, pest weed control to hydrogen gas, microbes, carbon dioxide water. We discuss it all today.
He describes himself well. People have described him as a renaissance man whose passion for microbes has led him from farm to food and beyond. And Christo is a tireless inventor as you will hear, he’s guided by the principles of regenerative biodynamic agriculture. He’s developed Agent Green Orange Fertilizer, an organic agent Green, an organic fertilizer, and a weed killer along with leaf fertilizer insecticides named bee-friendly.
His love of fermentation inspired his calling Upbeat and a special concoction he’s christened called Fire in the Belly that contains everything required for optimal nutrition.
Christo’s even taking his obsession with microbes to the screen. He’s got an upcoming documentary called The Universe Beneath Our Feet. He’s passionate about having Grounds for Hope, and his book, Diet for a Cool Planet, is something we discuss in a little more detail in today’s episode. I hope you enjoyed this conversation I had with Dr. Christo Miliotis.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:00:00] I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which I am recording this podcast, The Gadigal People of the Eora nation, recognize the continuing connection to the lands, waters, and culture. I pay my respects to their elders of past, present, and emerging.
Hello and welcome to Unstress. My name is Dr Ron Ehrlich. Well, today we are going to discuss a diet for a cool planet. And my guest today is Dr. Christo Miliotis, Eco entrepreneur, a micro-organism enthusiast. From gut to soil to delectable food, pest weed control to hydrogen gas, microbes, carbon dioxide water. We discuss it all today.
He describes himself well. People have described him as a renaissance man whose passion for microbes has led him from farm to food and beyond. And Christo is a tireless inventor as you will hear, he’s guided by the principles of regenerative biodynamic agriculture. He’s developed Agent Green Orange Fertilizer, an organic agent Green, an organic fertilizer, and a weed killer along with leaf fertilizer insecticides named bee-friendly.
His love of fermentation inspired his calling Upbeat and a special concoction he’s christened called Fire in the Belly that contains everything required for optimal nutrition. Christo’s even taking his obsession with microbes to the screen. He’s got an upcoming documentary called The Universe Beneath Our Feet. He’s passionate about having Grounds for Hope, and his book, Diet for a Cool Planet, is something we discuss in a little more detail in today’s episode. I hope you enjoyed this conversation I had with Dr. Christo Miliotis. Welcome back to the show.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:02:04] Christo.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:02:07] Ron, it’s great to see you again, even though it’s virtual. And I really appreciate the opportunity to share what I think is grounds for hope, literally grounds for hope.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:02:16] Oh, good. Now, listen, this book you’ve written is a Diet for a Cool Planet.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:02:22] Tell us what
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:02:23] we before and we’re going to dove into. You’ve identified 12 issues and we’re going to go through them step by step. But I just wanted to ask you, what prompted you to write this book?
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:02:33] Okay, well, I’ve written the first draft of a three-volume series called Grounds for Hope Volume one is a blueprint for Cooling our Blue Planet. The second one is Beacons of Hope, interviewing people around the world in regenerative agriculture, scientists, health practitioners, etc… And the third one is really the nitty-gritty. And it’s called Cultivating a Sense of Humus.
Yeah, but the reason it needs a rewrite is because it’s too technical in that position when you’re making assertions, you want to validate it with available science and calculations. And I’ve spent probably 16 years synthesizing and working this area both on the field, reading, writing, researching, lecturing and workshopping, but. I will use certain devices to make it more palatable, so with footnotes to people like to monitor detail, they can do that, otherwise, people can read the narrative. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is the central theme to empower people that they don’t have to go over well as the climate crisis is getting worse, that they can empower themselves by the simple statement. The soilution to climate change lies beneath our feet, and it depends on what we choose to eat, that we can use the power of voting with our dollar. And it’s a climate activist act. As to what you buy, whether you buy into and support and promote. Chemical agriculture, which will add significantly to climate change or whether you make the. You fund those farmers working with the laws of nature and improve your health and planetary well-being at the same time.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:04:44] Yeah, well, it’s a theme that I feel also very passionate about. And I have also encouraged people to vote with their dollars every single day. You know, we get to vote once every two or three or four years depending on the cycle. But we do get to vote every single day by how we spend our money. And I think we can agree money talks. And if we can talk in a positive sense, that’s a good one. So you’ve actually I love the play on the word soilution. Yes, very good. We won’t let that one pass unmentioned. I like that. And let’s move on to the next one. We can prevent chronic diseases, including cancer, by eating 100 percent organic and fermented foods within a six-hour period.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:05:28] Yeah, it’s interesting. Probably in the early 90s, I saw with my own eyes one of the most profound experiments in cancer that I’d ever seen. But it went in here, but it didn’t go into here and interaction. It lingered, you know, like I didn’t, you know, kind of the so-called objective detachment. Didn’t really hit home.
I’ve struggled with weight and I’m losing weight and but it’s becoming very clear that intermittent fasting, not only calorie restriction, which is what people do often in dieting, but time-restricted eating, has a powerful influence on preventing chronic disease.
Now, one of the principle mechanisms of chronic disease is chronic insidious, low-grade, long-term inflammation. That goes for cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, you know, the whole gamut.
In fact, 90 percent is obviously connected, but as the good doctor said. 440 B.C., and I think you know what I’m going to quote you happened to be Hippocrates. And what did he say? He said. Not the solution to climate change lies beneath our feet, but all diseases begin in the gut. So let’s dove into that. There’s the Gut Wall now, the question is inside the digestive tube is that the inside wall of the body of the outside world? No, it’s contiguous, but the top end and the bottom end with the outside world.
We need a layer called the gut wall barrier, which is composed of three layers. The first layer is the microbiome biome microbiota. And of course, you need to have a good amount of friendly bacteria, if we call them, instead of pathogenic bacteria.
The second layer is the museum layers is similar to mucus and we need to nourish that as well, which with L-Glutamine, most not likely know. The third layer is really a one so thick column, undersides, which are only one so thick, but they’re held together by tight junctions and it’s very carefully regulated by a substance called zonulin.
Now, the tragic state of affairs today. Roundup it’s related not just a lot non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but to 39 diseases and the rise of autism, as one example, is concomitant with and strongly correlated with the rise of the use of Roundup, the mechanism to go into it quickly there are a number of mechanisms, but the essential ones are firstly, roundup or glyphosate was first patented as a chelating agent and it was cleaning out pipes of mineral deposits.
What that does for the plant when you use Roundup is it stops the uptake of trace elements and. Professor Linus Pauling said all chronic diseases are related to trace element deficiency. Well, you’ve got that with Roundup. It just blocks the uptake.
For example, a manganese is a precursor molecule for making chlorophyll. It’s blocked. Manganese is also important for male sperm motility, manganese, if not present the earthworms, the laborers of the soil, become sort of semi-paralyzed and then reproduce, so that’s one problem. Second problem is round up second was an antibiotic. It was used it could be used for tuberculosis, for instance, and many other conditions. Now, as we know, if you take an antibiotic, you should take probiotics to replenish the gut microbiome. But when you have a persistent presence of an antibiotic, you get antibiotic-resistant bacteria and they happen to be.
One example is the species of Clostridium difficile, which could a potentially lethal in a immunocompromised person. The Clostridium species also produce neurotoxins, which, if given in a mouse model, will produce symptoms of autism. And, of course, a pathogenic microbe in the gut will also cause inflammation, which increases gut permeability, which is leaky gut syndrome. If that wasn’t enough to add insult to injury.
We talked about Zonolin then and the tight junctions to very carefully regulate some macromolecules which are needed for nutrition to big, so the gates opened up under the influence, resulting in quite intricate, really, and then close shot. I like yeah, so like a drawbridge, if you like, to stop the enemy getting in, which is Balcon and other things and what is round up, it actually opens up.
So you get a flood, the floodgates are open, which then you got 70 percent, up to 80 percent and include the cells in the liver. Eighty-five percent of the total number of immune cells are related to that intestinal tract and liver, which is intimately connected via lymphatics to the track. So what happens when those that bowel content comes in, those antigens, whatever they be, trigger an inflammatory side, a cytokine cascade?
In other words, pro-inflammation and inflammation that not only stops circulates throughout the body cytokines is the word a great movement and sort of a cell the movement of these immune cells which carry inflammatory processes. But when you get a breach of the gut wall barrier, as in leaky gut, you get a breach of the blood-brain barrier and you get inflammatory process of the brain and all the chronic degenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s, etc, and all the neuropsychiatric diseases, autism, schizophrenia, mania, anxiety, depression. Which one in five people have depression. Now, then you can see why we’re creating these epidemics.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:12:42] Yeah, I mean, I think this raises the issue because we often hear about organic food, you know, whether there are more nutrients in organic food. But it’s not just about having more nutrients, it’s about having less toxins. And I and I totally get that. What do you think the impact of the intermittent fasting, though, is on that gut barrier that affects?
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:13:07] It’s a really interesting question, and it’s something I’ve researched quite a bit. But yes. Thank you for bringing back to that point. Interestingly, intermittent fasting, I suppose you could introduce this way, were overnourished, sorry, were overfed and undernourished, overfed with nutrient-poor food. And undernourished because we don’t have nutrient-dense food for the caloric loading, therefore organic food is known to have on average 30 percent more nutrients without the nasties that you referred to. Hmm.
But by even restricting the eating period with six hours or less, that has in itself an anti-inflammatory effect. And I know that from lived experience, I have extensive arthritis. I mean, you could say there’s genetic loading, but it’s inva. It’s environmental and lifestyle-based since I’ve been intermittent fasting seriously for the last year. My fingers don’t have pain. I could just get the base of my thumb because the larger joint is still inflamed. But I’d say it’s 97 percent reduced. 97 percent. No, no, nothing else. No anti-inflammatory, whatever. So now if you if you go back to the statement, 90, 90 percent of chronic disease starts in the guts. It’s an inflammatory mediated process which starts through leaky gut. Then we’re covering 90 percent of chronic diseases by building the gut wall barrier protection and having time-restricted, eating.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:14:55] You know, I mean, I’m a huge fan of that, too. And I think when there’s always lessons to be learned from the past and when in human history did we eat three meals a day and two snacks? You know, this is a great economic model for the food industry and the inevitable problems which arise from it. But I’m a huge fan of that and the whole idea of intermittent fasting. Let’s move on to another one here. We can farm the air.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:15:27] Before people tune out to that idea. I have to really punctuate and emphasize this experiment I saw. Now, what happened was there were my spread without hair. So the hairless mice, they were put in two separate cages and they were given a fixed dose of UV radiation, which, of course, will induce skin cancer.
The test group eight within a six-hour period from 9:00 a.m. to three p.m., the other control group ate the same chow whenever they liked. It was horrific to see the difference. They will mount. It was a mountain of skin cancer on the back of the 108.
When they light, there was a mere little scab on the ones that I restricted eating. And that was so profound, but it was kind of weird in here, but not into action, and it took me some years later because at the time the professor who did the work would only eat one meal a day. And I thought that goes against the grain of our culture, but
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:16:40] It goes against the advice of healthy eating guidelines.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:16:45] Well, the thing is, the exclusions, there’s always exclusions. If you’re pregnant, if you’re growing child, if you’re an athlete, if you’ve got an eating disorder now, you don’t do that. But for the rest of us who don’t work from dawn to dusk, you know, we just don’t burn up the calories we take in. We need to restrict eating time, so that was probably now just to really highlight that the depth of the problem some years later when I started to do this myself and I’ve lost twenty-four kilos, I still got a long way to go. But it’s a start.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:17:27] Good. Well done.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:17:29] Thank you. So I’m practicing what I’m preaching, although I’m not an exemplary example of.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:17:35] It’s
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:17:35] aspirational, aspirational rather than autobiographical.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:17:39] Yes, right. But the point is, thank you for that preface, but yet you always took me off my track. But the point is, I don’t really know what it’s going to say now,
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:17:49] but we don’t. We were talking about the intermittent fasting and the narrow window of overeating. And I think I’d like to encourage people to embrace hunger is as not a, you know, to eat when you are hungry. And it’s surprising if you do eat a nutrient-dense diet and include healthy fats in that. I think the one caveat that I would make to the intermittent fasting, and I’m not imagining too many of my listeners listening to this are on this, but if you are a low-fat aficionado and you’re trying to do all the supposed right things, to move from a low-fat diet to intermittent fasting is difficult. I think you need to spend some time going on low carb and healthy fats and then transition maybe a few weeks.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:18:39] I think the point I was trying to make was that it’s really important to allow your body to adjust not only just the habitual habit, the habit of eating, but it took me a year because you used the word hunger to eat only when you’re hungry. Yes, that’s true. But quite frankly, one can eat within a six-hour time frame and not be hungry.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:19:03] I don’t. It does.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:19:04] time. Certainly your point about healthy fats. In particular, my our big fan, as you would be not fish, which is another big industry, and for God’s sake, we don’t need to keep taking fish out of the water and bloody ingesting microplastics and mercury. It’s just not right.
I agree with flaxseed oil prices properly, and you only buy it when it’s in the fridge. Organic flaxseed oil, as we know, it was anti-inflammatory and it’s the same thing. Everything inflammation. So, yeah, healthy fats, macadamia, all avocado, olive oil, olive oil, the nutrient there, the poly polyphenol actually nourishes gut microbes. So we need to when we say to a pregnant woman, eat for two. Well, we need to actually eat for two. We need to eat for ourselves and our microbiome. And that’s basically a lot of plant-based food with fiber and the right sort of proteins and fat.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:20:10] And let’s not forget the fat from those grass-fed and finished very important grass-fed and finished animals. You know that is another important one. Let’s move on to we can from the air. You please explain.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:20:27] Yeah, well, I’m going to reach across for prop that helps me next to me to because I believe in healthy skepticism and one should approach this concept, which really turns everything on its head with skepticism. But having researched this, because I’ve worked as an agricultural consultant internationally as well, because health starts from the soil, as we all know, the reality is if you take a crop, we know that a plant has 70 percent water, so you’ve got to dry it out. But if you weigh the actual substances. Of a dried-out crop. What percentage do you think came from the air and what percentage came from the soil? It is a trick question.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:21:15] You’re going to tell me. I’m not going to I know the answer to this because I know you gave prompted me. But let’s tell our listeners, let’s not play with our listener now.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:21:24] Well, you know, let’s hold that thought. OK. How are they doing those reality shows? And the winner is.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:21:30] Yes, yes. Yes.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:21:32] Well, Sarlat pregnant pause. But the fact is, it’s 95 percent came from the atmosphere, including the all-important trace elements. Let’s talk about trace elements, which you mentioned before. We know the ocean. That’s why seaweed is so healthy. If it’s not contaminated, has 130 macro elements, microelements, trace elements of ultra-trace elements.
Now, if you imagine Seaspray, that’s evaporated, that carries those trace elements and the winds move around the girth of the earth. So there’s trace elements in the air. Now, I have to substantiate the claim. Firstly, it’s quite interesting. We have this [00:22:17]we talked about [0.5s] Roundup before.
We have this thing of waging war against nature. But a weed has a purpose and we need to read the language. We need to become ecologically literate. What is that dandelion or that dark or whatever Thistle saying about our soil?
It’s usually compacted if you got a terrorist because trying to break it up, etc… There’s different ways of interpreting that, but we’re looking at the reading of it, and if a good farmer will read, what are these words telling me about my soil and you incorporate that weed in your nutrient cycle through composting or slashing it and cooperating through a green manure process, whatever.
So. One example is if you have Paterson’s curse. A course always grows. Well, usually when this drought, but secondly with a copper deficiency. Ron, you’re very intelligent. What, what? Element, does Patterson curse collect from the atmosphere with the copper-deficient, so.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:23:33] On tell me I’m not that intelligent.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:23:35] Oh, come on, Ron. It’s copper, obviously. That’s right. So you’re listening in very intensely. That’s good. So it’s copper. So we’ve got a deficiency of something. You that interesting wisdom, if you like, of nature is that it will proliferate those weeds which will collect specialize in harvesting those particular trace elements. I’m not advocating this, but what you could do is you could actually use copper sulfate, and the next year you’ll get the pedestal because its function is finished, just water. It’s filtered water, good,
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:24:17] good idea I never doubted them.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:24:19] Yeah, but so and it’s a good thing. We talk about water will come down to the most important point I want to make. Right. So, OK, that’s one example. So if you slash the Paterson’s curse. Then you know that copper becomes bioavailable when it’s digested and killed by the microbes, which will then symbiotically give it the plant, what it needs in the right portion.
Example number two rose bushes. If you take a soil and analyze it for titanium before you put the rosebush in, it’s unlikely to be titanium then and space junk or something. There some, you know, some years ago. But in time, as the petals fall, the leaves fall, you know, whatever, the titanium levels will slowly increase. Where did the Titanic come from? Not from the soil, from the atmosphere collected by the rosebush. And that goes across the board.
The other side of that equation is to make it plan available. That plant has to shed some of its lethal organic matter, be digested by particular microbes. And it’s now thought that a plant will send out signals or nutrients which will nourish those microbes, which are very of mine, that trace element that it needs incredible, exquisite symbiosis. And we call them weeds, they’re not weeds, their resources. Right, so we go from that. The third example I will give you and I’m just this is called a… I’m aging old man’s beard elements.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:26:18] Beard.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:26:19] And Spanish moss isn’t not.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:26:21] So how much percentage of that kind of soil
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:26:26] none,.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:26:29] Because it doesn’t sit on the soil,
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:26:31] It came from the atmosphere. Need doubting Thomas is that’s the clincher.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:26:36] Yes. Yeah. Now, let’s move on to the next one. Greenhouse gases are too much of a good thing in the wrong place.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:26:42] So that’s very timely. Thank you. Because I was going to say that I extended the concept further that we just talk now from COP 21 race to zero. Well, I say fast-tracking the race to zero. We need to carbonized our soils as we decarbonize our economy. Because whatever when we do reach zero emissions say 20, 25, 20, 50, whatever level that carbon dioxide will be will remain for hundreds of years and by that time were gone past a couple of tipping points, which will have foreseeing effects and accelerate melting of the ice, the glaciers, sea-level rise, more water vapor in the atmosphere, which I must talk about, et cetera, et cetera, and melting of the tundra with the release of methane and CO2. So the thaw of the tundra. So we’re in trouble.
And it’s not enough and the preoccupation with going to renewables, I have no problem with that, the air will be better. The electric cars don’t make noise. You know, there’s so many people die from respiratory diseases, from air pollution. No problem with that. But it doesn’t cut the mustard. And no one’s talking about the import.
Well, in the narrative, the focus is going to renewable and the political battle is, you know, you know, gas-fired recovery in the oil. That’s a little hot here. So unless we really couple the two together as we. Transition to renewables, we must draw down the excess greenhouse gases. Hmm, interesting point is, I believe it was Tim Flannery said up until 1970.
The major portion of CO2 did not come from burning fossil fuels with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, it began 12000 years ago with the invention of the plow. When you turn a carbon soil with high organic matter, you turn it and exposed to oxygen, you get a combination, an oxidation of carbon to form carbon dioxide. Yes, it’s considered to be something like 120 gigatons or more to 240 gigatons. It’s a lot
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:29:26] Right?
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:29:27] Past 1970. Yes. When you got more industrialization around the world with the developing countries in particular, then we had a greater portion was from burning fossil fuels. But unless we address our practice of farming, I liken it this way when we know that the root system of the plant obtains nutrients and water. But sometimes you can get a plant, can get a calcium molecule 200 meters away. How the hell does it do that?
Through the fungal highway, through the fungal hyphae or filaments, which is a threadlike network, which is very dense and very extensive. If you look at the Australian bush, which is devoid of nutrients, they’ll always be mostly a symbiotic relationship with fungi, which have the capacity to break down ligaments and mine rock and so on and so on. And they even produce water in drought is quite phenomenal, an optimum mechanism.
So we need to consider that and utilize that fact. And I’ve been blessed. I would say that I you know, John Lennon said life gets in the way of the best-made plans. Somehow your life and falls meet the right person, you know, doing those things that you’re particularly interested.
You might say you’re creating a force field of attracting like-minded people, whatever. But I was lucky to find out about some research at Sydney University when I was doing my masters. And the professor worked and discovered to help rehabilitate mining sites I think called mechanizing melanin black coal, like, if you like, in the endophytic, meaning, of course, it’s Greek to go into the root of the plant and the endophelic fungi with these extinct roots networks.
The real the evidence suggests that within 14 weeks. The increase in soil carbon is 17 percent compared to other endophytic fungi to the point where the roots will be black, even the stem of the plant will be black. But it’s not toxic. It’s just carbon. So far, taking the farming year concept, we can do it to three ways through the plant, directly taking CO2.
Secondly, by adding the endophytic fungi and particularly adding the militarizing endophytic fungi. And thirdly, by taking these greenhouse gases directly from the atmosphere by microbes. And I first heard about this when someone talked about you did related a story where there was a truck full of soil and you have to go in the weighing station in Newcastle. And it had wide so many tonnes. But I got to Sydney, it increased the tonnage. How the hell did that happen?
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:32:45] It’s so interesting, isn’t it? Because I recently read that Elon Musk is offering a one hundred million dollar prize for somebody that comes up with a way of taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and sequestering it. And I kind of said, gee, you only really have to talk to a year seven biology student, because I think one of the first things we learned was photosynthesis was a pretty good way of dragging it out of the atmosphere. But as you correctly point out, we need the microbes in the soil to really make that work well. And spraying stuff like glyphosate and fungicides and pesticides is wiping that out anyway. So, you know, it’s a double whammy.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:33:34] Yeah. And we’re not really wiping out and so wiping out in the gut microbiome. So nutrient availability through our food is less as well.
Firstly, it’s poor, there’s nutritional density. And so but if it was there so. Yes. So I, work with a microbiologist in China, professor. We’ve worked together for eight years and we bounce off each other ideas and we do the thing we develop will not we develop that others have developed called biodynamic solar activator. And he actually typed the 500 plus species to the species level of our product.
And then I kept thinking about farming the air and climate change, and they’ve now rebranded it called Sea Capital Sequester because of other things. So what have I added? Obviously, the are minimizing endophytic fungi already in the soil activator is a one call Asset-Backed Fungi, which takes the CO2 directly from the atmosphere. But then there’s the methanotrophs, which can take methane from the atmosphere.
The other big in terms of the proportion of what contributes to greenhouse gas for agriculture, 80 percent is from nitrogenous fertilizer and explain why only 20 percent is from the methane, from the poor maligned cattle.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:35:11] And I like cats. Yes, I do, too.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:35:15] And I think they’re much maligned. It’s more about how they’re managed than the animal themselves
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:35:21] and without controversy. But it’ll just take too long. But yeah. But the point is. We need to understand using these microbes can take it directly in addition to via the plants, which can then become bioavailable via digestion of those plant remains and manure remains.
So it’s not a question of just drawing down CO2, but it’s a question of avoiding the use of nitrogen fertilizer. Why? Worst case scenario is that only 10 percent of the water-soluble nitrogen fertilizer goes to plant. Best case scenario is 30 percent goes to the plant. That means either 70 percent or indeed 90 percent goes to the waterways causing eutrophication, increase growth of aquatic plants, sucking out the oxygen, fish death, and dead zones.
But it doesn’t stop where. A component of that which I have to research tonight, of course, it varies, goes directly to the atmosphere as nitrous oxide. As you know, nitrous oxide has a global warming capacity that’s 300 times that of CO2. It doesn’t end there that nitrous oxide degrades the protective ozone layer, but there’s more. For every kilogram of nitrogen fertilizer, you add to the soil, the microbes go into a feeding frenzy, but they’re in the top part of the soil and they it’s only labeled carbon. So it’s actually making carbon dioxide just like the plowing was making carbon dioxide through oxidation and the ratios for every kilogram of nitrogen fertilizer. And there’s tons of the stuff you’re losing your robbing the natural capital of the store by 12 kg of this gold we call soil carbon. Mm-hmm. But adding to greenhouse gases.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:37:30] Yeah, yeah. Look, this is terrific. And you’ve gone through a little bit to get there, but that’s fine. Another one you mention is bad water and very timely as you’re taking a drink yourself. You’re keep hydrated. Christo, keep hydrated,
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:37:51] absolutely.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:37:53] Conscientious about water vapor.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:37:55] You know that people
Is there life on Mars?
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:37:56] are saying, let’s get to Mars. You know, and this question we are asking, is there life on Mars? But that subsumes the question, is there water on Mars? There is no life without being sustained by water. Now. This is another paradigm shift we must make. If I told you, would you want to work with. 15 percent of the greenhouse gas effect greenhouse gas, why would you want to work with a 90 percent effect? Which gas would you work with?
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:38:34] Hmm. Well, go on tell me,
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:38:38] Ron, well, you obviously work with the one that has up to 90 percent of the greenhouse gas effect and happens to be water vapor, water vapor. It’s been the thermostat of the planet. And without water vapor, we would not have existed on planet Earth. Right.
The trouble is the greenhouse gases, the anthropogenic gases is like turning up the gas on a stove with a pot of water with a lid. If you turn up the gas, you can to produce more water vapor. That stands to reason. So the correlation of the Keeling curve, which shows increased CO2, an increase, average atmospheric temperature is 100 percent correlated, no question. But if you go deeper. What that’s doing is creating more heat to evaporate, more water, and 70 percent of the earth’s surface water.
Now, for every given amount of CO2 or anthropogenic gas, water vapor amplifies that heating effect five times. Hmm, interesting. So I did calculations to validate what I’m saying this is important. When you increase that goal that I referred to when you increase the soil carbon by a mere one percent, which is actually a lot.
That increases the water holding capacity of the soil. Assuming you got the microbes making the pores and the earthworms in the roots, making the soil a soil carbon sponge, you increase the water holding capacity by 144 thousand liters per hectare. Mm-hmm.
Now. That if you take a liter of water, that liter of water came from one point sixty-one point seventy-six liters of water vapor. Mm-hmm. Now, if you have one thousand four hundred forty-four times, one point seventy-six times the five percent of the land, that I’m assuming that can draw down all the greenhouse gases. Then that comes to. Six thousand three hundred thirty billion liters of water vapor is drawn down by one percent increase in soil carbon. I just want to die, so yeah.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:40:59] Wow. Well, I’m going to check all those figures in a moment. But no your point being that by putting more carbon into the soil, we can put water back into the soil and hold it there, which will help us grow stuff.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:41:16] The saying is water follows carbon. And I add to that as sure as night follows day. Yeah, that’s important. The whole life, the milk for the soul, the soul food web revolves around water, not in a stagnant, compacted soil, which is causing anaerobic, but the soil carbon sponges, sponges are able to hold water but has pores. And the idea that what I say a farmer needs to only focus on cultivating a sense of humus, the task of the farmers to grow humus because it’s the ideal plant nutrient.
Why? Because it creates in a year where it will hold 75 percent of its volume. Is water. The volume of it will be 75 percent of that volume, the water, but it can a one gram of Hemas has a surface area of 750 square meter. I don’t know how many tennis courts that is, but I don’t play tennis a lot. Why? Because you need that interface for the exchange of nutrients, for the exchange of gases, and for the absorption and distribution and retention and regulation of water.
So humus is the gold standard. And there are two processes that I know of in the 12 strategies or two pathways to draw down the greenhouse gases and use them as the resource from sky to soil. One is the bottom make 500 because it increases the humus forming processes and the second is some work that we just found out about throughout biodiversity. And if you can put that at the end, it’s a collaboration of people around the world doing green projects in different fields. And it’s quite amazing. It’s a great collaborative effort.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:43:16] What is it called? Chris?
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:43:21] and it’s called bio diver.city dot City City. CITY it’s a website now that’s not bio diver city biodiver.city. And you’ll see my handsome mug there amongst all the other people I’m working with. So this person is named Peter.
He’s a Zimbabwean farmer and he’s worked out a method I just go through quickly. He goes to the deciduous forest in a landscape with his eight months of drought. And bacterial microbes have great adaptability. Incredible because they multiply so fast they can keep adapting over eons of time. So you take those adapt drought-adapted or rather well, they’ve been through a dry and they’re still surviving. So they’ve got survival mechanisms. And it’s not the top layer.
It’s sort of eating down. You take that and you use a similar to a oxygenating composting process. You grow up those microbes and then what you do is you put the manure layer deep down because you don’t want those nutrients high up where the weeds get them, which, of course, proliferation of weeds beside what I said before. But so the roots have to go deep down to get the nutrients, particularly nitrogen. And it holds onto the nitrogen because deep down and then you get until the soil reaches a critical three percent soil carbon, you need to keep adding organic matter so you get its any carbon, it can be dry straw crop residues, dried leaves, whatever.
You put that down, then you inoculate like a probiotic, that carbon material and the microbes, that’s the dinner and then you cover the soil and once you get there is equal. Levels of production without any fertilizer, in particular nitrogen fertilizer, but interestingly, those microbes are humus forming microbes. And why is humus? Important over and above what I said before because humous is stable carbon, not labor or carbon.
And it will pay for decades, centuries to up to thousands of years, depending on the circumstances. That’s the key to farming, that’s the key to reversing climate change. And the focus of the farm should be on not how much profit he makes, but how much he grows, how accelerates that process. And the profits will flow like the land of milk and honey.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:46:10] I know. I know. This is a thing that a lot of farmers who have talked transition to regenerative agriculture have said. The big aha moment for them really was that they were actually soil farmers. I mean, they may be sheep, cattle, whatever the commodity is that is eventually traded, but ultimately they are soil farmers. And of course, when in the industrial era way of doing things, when it rains, often the water runs off the land, as does the soil, and a lot is lost.
Now, Chris, don’t tell me we’re coming to the end of this discussion because we could go on on any one of these points and do a whole workshop. I know that. But go read the book. Read the book. Well, I know the book is coming out, and I know this episode will well, the book is being launched, but you are recording it. Tell us about that book launch and recording. OK, the book launch takes place
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:47:09] on the Friday at twenty-eight. That’s next Friday. It’s at six-thirty. It’s the Mosman Art Gallery and if anyone wants to email me, I’ll give them my email at the end of the session because it needs to be booked. They’re still in place.
Tom Keneally, the prolific, well, world-renowned writer, is my mentor. And he said in a glowing endorsement that this book is as important as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, but it’s timely to help people gain a sense of hope. To allay the anxiety and to empower people to realize that what they eat makes a difference. I summit this way. Go organic. It won’t cost the earth. Taste the difference, feel the difference, and make a difference. That’s the premise of the book. And it not only serves one’s own health. But the health of the soil, the plants, the animals, the people, the planet,
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:48:23] Christo, what a note to finish on. And thank you so much for joining us today. And we will have links to that. And if people can’t make it, they’ve certainly I know you’ve also recording the event as well, but thank you so much for today, and thank you for sharing your wisdom.
Dr Chris Miliotis [00:48:38] Well, thanks for your efforts and for inviting me yet again. I do enjoy it and we need to spread the good word. All right. But thank you.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:48:47] Yeah, well, there was a lot to absorb there, and that is a pun intended. You know, the idea of taking carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it in the soil as we decarbonize our economy, we carbonized the land is such an important concept. It’s why I feel so passionate about regenerative agriculture, and it’s why it’s been such a focus of this podcast. And for those of us that are living in the city and feeling that this is a bit remote or distant, it’s not something you need to get involved with.
I disagree. I mean, as we mentioned in this podcast and when I discussed it with Krista in the beginning, we get to vote each and every day by the money we spend, how we spend our money and money definitely talks and we can drive change. That’s really an important one.
I love the discussion about intermittent fasting. It’s definitely something I’m feeling more passionate about and I find actually really easy to do. I would encourage you to explore that by yourself. In my own case, I do. Most of my I do eat between the hours of one o’clock and six o’clock. Usually, I’m not religious about that. If I end up having breakfast, I’ll sometimes have lunch and dinner. And occasionally once a week, once every two weeks, I will do a twenty-four-hour fast, which is again remarkably simple. But the anti-inflammatory effects, the autophagy effects of fasting where autophagy means cleaning up of dead or dying fish or defective cells in our body, it’s a great opportunity for the body to tidy things up without having to deal with the constant bombardment of food. So I think that’s an important one.
Christo was also talking about Donelan and the effect on intestinal permeability now intestinal permeability. As he said, the cells in the gut have tight junctions and not just glyphosate, but other things can also cause gluten is an example. Gluten can also cause a loosening of production of zone, which then causes the tight junctions in the gut to loosen and allow undigested proteins to enter the bloodstream. And the body mounts an immune response. And depending on your genetic predisposition, that immune response will manifest itself in various ways.
For example, there are almost 100 autoimmune conditions and that’s the body actually attacking itself. And if your genetic predisposition is for joints to be the problem, then you will end up with rheumatic fever. If your genetic predisposition is skin, you might end up with psoriasis. If it was the weak link in your genes with nerves, you might end up with multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. And if you’re to your weak link was the gut, you might have irritable bowel Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, colitis.
So this is all about intestinal permeability. And again, the concept of what healthy soils are actually constituting because, in a T space, it’s sobering to realize that within a teaspoon of a healthy soil, there are a billion microbes. And with this within a square and with a square meter cubic meter of healthy soils, there is twenty-seven thousand kilometers of hifi.
These are the fine threads that come with the mycorrhizal fungi. So healthy soils are critical to healthy plants and healthy plants and healthy food, healthy animals and healthy people, healthy planet, all connected. So there’s a lot in this episode and I will have links to Christo’s website. And if you do miss this book launch, he is recording it and it will be available. And I’m sure it will be a very entertaining thing. And of course, read the book, A Diet for a Cool Planet.
All proceeds for the book go into a research project that he is trying to get up and running into regenerative agriculture and looking at a deficient in fact, a drought-affected. A plot of land and using regenerative agriculture principles to regenerate that land. Look, I hope you enjoyed that episode. I hope this finds you well until next time. This is Dr Ron Ehrlich be well.
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