The Soil Will Save Us

You know how often we hear the warnings that we have to do (or not do) [xyz] to “save the earth”? Every time I hear that, I think we need to fundamentally shift our perspective about environmental issues. Because the truth is that the earth will go on just fine, with or without humans. The real issue of importance to us is to save humanity, right? When Earth Day rolls around on April 22, I think we should begin calling it Humanity Day instead, to emphasize this perspective.

I don’t mean to trivialize the value of the earth–the earth is everything. But if humans disappear from the planet this very day…or even if we slowly die off over a period of years from some catastrophic event (let’s say, a pandemic), the earth will survive. In fact, the earth will be healthier without us. I just watched David Attenborough’s new film, A Life on Our Planet, in which he walks through the town near Chernobyl* to show us how quickly plants and animals have retaken the city since people left it in 1986 when the nuclear power plant melted down. (Watch the movie trailer here.)

But as long as we’re here, I believe it would be immoral of our species if we didn’t at least try to change the behaviors that contribute to the degradation of the planet that sustains our lives. Many of these behaviors are deeply-ingrained in various cultures around the world though, and there are significant institutional and political forces that make change difficult. I get that. But for the species that likes to call itself the smartest of all, with dominion over all…well, we ought to be able to do this stuff. It’s frustrating to watch humanity sometimes!

These days, as we continue living under pandemic restrictions and worrying about the latest turmoil surrounding our upcoming election, I’m finding it hard to write much. I alternate between too much media consumption or total avoidance. And either way, I can’t focus. I was planning to experiment with writing shorter & more frequent posts, but I can already see that I’m having trouble with that. I just can’t seem to stop once I get going, LOL.

Kiss The Ground by Maggie Eileen
โ€œWhich model do you want your food to be produced from? The answer is pretty simple to me.โ€ โ€“ Gabe Brown, in Kiss the Ground

But today I happened upon a new documentary on Netflix, and I was surprised to find that I felt hopeful when I watched it. Hope has been in short supply for me lately, and I got emotional as I experienced this strange feeling today. The film is called Kiss the Ground, and it’s about the importance of healthy soil and how farming practices can be altered to make radical improvements in our soil. They argue that “regenerative farming” could perhaps be key to saving our species. And it makes a lot of sense. We’re so used to hearing talk of improving the air and water, but how often do we hear about the soil? (Watch the film trailer here.)

So that’s all I wanted to share today. I bet some of you would find these films interesting and maybe even uplifting, as I did. Be well and safe, my friends.

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*You can actually use Google Street View to “walk” around the deserted city of Pripyat to see what it looks like now, 34 years later after the Chernobyl explosion. When you get to that page on Google maps, click on the little man in the bottom corner and drag him onto any street that shows up in blue, and you’ll instantly be standing on that street. It’s way cool. Who says we can’t travel during the pandemic? ๐Ÿ˜‰