How a Tomato Salad Can Prevent Floods and Wildfires

Flood water after Dorset river bursts its banks

Drowning is the third biggest killer in the world next to disease and malnutrition.

"It's not about resilience, in the face of disaster - after it's happened... It’s about prevention.

Then its not about prevention; stopping disasters before they occur, its about optimising...

And ultimately what is optimising?

Optimising is maximizing options; in the case of preventing disasters it means creating the environment in which disaster is least likely to happen.
Optimising comes down to behavioural change at the micro level..."
If you want big results you first have to have small results.

Small battles won can then become giant victories.

Here is a problem - erosion caused by deforestation... 

What micro-actions would lead to maximum reforestation? You might answer planting trees but that's not the only action required for reforestation.

The action is to generate the need and the motivation; the keen awareness at an acute level that makes a billion people plant a tree and subsequently care for that tree, have an understanding of trees and their importance and pass on that understanding until the tree becomes a sprawling forest.

What creates that need? Is it connecting the dots? For people to understand that flooding is related to poor watershed management; the ignorance that tarmac and cement are poor drainage options as they speed up water rather than slow it down... The understanding that trees and vegetation hold water and create soil structure requires an insight into nature which is limited, as most people spend very little of their time in a natural environment.

Wild fires are also a result of poor watershed management.
Where water has been stolen from hills by roads that channel it away rather than keeping it in the land via the use of swales and mulch... (ditches and water retaining compost)

So the micro-actions are those that educate and demonstrate these connections; and show the 'need' for alternative road drainage, for swales, for slowed down wetlands and for planting trees.

Death by drowning in flood water,  wildfires and landslides demonstrates the need for preventing them by  optimising a watershed. Throughthe micro-actions of alternative road drainage; the placing of swale ditches on contour and the planting of trees with extensive root structures enabling the processes that create wetter micro climates. Choosing Redwood Cedars over pines with their ability to withstand wildfires and keep their root systems, rather than start incendiary fires and lead to landslides unfolded in Montecito.

Fire breaks are standard and therefore integrating brushwood composting where undergrowth is frequently removed (as is practised in France,) incidentally this brushwood can be repurposed as compost, as thermal water heating, and for biogas using the Jean Pain method.

So the strategy to deal with erosion and deforestation isn't only education about microclimates and soil structure, how lives can be saved with swales and compost, it's about how individuals changing their daily behaviour to include a bit of brushwood collection, composting, planting trees and swale digging would have extensive mitigating effects on flooding and wildfires...

It's showing them the value of walking in the countryside, clearing pathways like the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) do in the UK or how you can heat your home or building, or run your car with biogas from the composted brushwood, and have free hot water... and have amazingly large homegrown tomatoes grown from this incredible compost.

How you can make  a tomato salad and prevent wildfires and flooding at the same time....


Biography -

 Lou Brookes is qualified as a survival and adventure sports instructor (like a female Bear Grylls without the frog gazpacho.) She has worked as a Hostile Environment Awareness Training Instructor. She was European Co-chair for the Alliance for Middle East Peace. Personally she enjoys walking, her last big trip was filming a circumnavigation around Iceland in November. She has enjoyed a number of years working in Organic Vegetable Box schemes.


To contact Louise write to 




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