Where would we be without dirt–well gosh we wouldn’t be. Mud is matrix of life, it grows our food, it can build our homes. Man and microbes share paragraphs of the same DNA..ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we are dirt.
Creation myths from around the world have Man being made from the earth. Adam means dirt or clay. The ground is what you experience when you drink wine, and a glass of water is really dinosaur poo.
My grandma used to say that to be healthy you need to eat a peck of dirt before you die, but now we are destroying the nutrients in the ground, polluting it and stripping it away by over paving, industrialized monocultures crops, over using nitrogenated fertilizers, strip mining, logging, wars…Oh Mother Earth, what have we done to your rich skin? One third of world’s top soil has disappeared and with that deserts grow and algae blooms. And its place 100 million trees are turned in 20 billion mail order catalogs.
When humans arrived 2 million years ago, everything changed for dirt. And from that moment on, the fate of dirt and humans has been intimately linked.
And as the soil disappears, life disappeared. In India over the last decade over 200,000 farmers have killed themselves–many by drinking the pesticide they can no longer afford to buy in order to grow the industrialized crops required by the marketplace.
Dirt! The Movie makes the strong point that there is a clear link between human degradation and environmental degradation. Floods, drought, climate change and war are related to how we treat dirt. Lack of arable land is at the root of conflicts in the Sudan and foot riots in Haiti, the roots of starving children in our inner cities and in refugee camps.
We need to build an agriculture as sustainable as the ecosystems we have destroyed. But how? If all of Ethiopia turned to sustainable, biodiverse agriculture, the nation could feed the entire African continent. In area of the United States farmers are working towards that goal as well. Community gardens, planting native plants in our gardens, “green roof” gardens on top of urban buildings, composting: All of these can help our dirt.
Dirt gives kids hope as they grow gardens and plant trees; working in gardens helps prisoners find rehabilitation. Dirt heals our souls, nourishes our bodies. Support dirt. Get dirty in the dirt!