The Soil Solution Film Preview

Uploaded by SustainableWorld on 01.02.2011

if someone just walked up to the soil and said oh that's just some dirt
it would be like looking at the ocean and saying oh look at that big
bucket of water
soil is a super organism
meaning that uh... it's alive
it's teeming with life teeming with diversity much similar to our own bodies
know i mean your own body seventy percent of the cells of your body are
actually bacteria
theoretically we're more bacteria than we are even human
worldwatch calls soil the quiet crisis of the twenty first century
so we are
uh... unbeknownst to the vast majority of people
seriously eroding not only losing soil to erosion that's the most
visible thing but we're actually losing organic matter or killing organic matter
in the soil
and for people who don't know,
just imagine that you're a microorganism or an earthworm living in the soil and
someone dumps millions of pounds
of either fertilizer which
intuitively might not seem like a bad thing meaning it several chemicals
dumps you know intense concentrations of these three chemicals on your and then pours
herbicides and pesticides on which our biocides, they are designed to kill things
anybody hear that think we're gonna end up with more ganic matter in the soil
so we're killing organic matter in the soil and we're losing it due to mechanical
losses, soil erosion
and ummm
most of the consensus reports are losing about a half a percent a year globally
so this is not an insignificant thing
as soon as you start killing the organisms with these inorganic fertilizers with
these salts
with these toxic chemicals you just go downhill faster. You destroy more and more
of the biology
more and more quickly
until you're really in a system that
you have no choice
but to use those inorganic fertilizers you have to and you start to see effects on
water quality
because all of those inorganic fertilizers are highly leachable
we start seeing rivers and lakes and streams having horrible problems and we
have no good water to drink
or it starts costing an incredible amount of money to buy the drinking water that
tastes ok
so it's having far reaching consequences in our whole society human health is
definitely very much involved. Well animal health is involved if the plants
that you're eating
don't contain the nutrients to keep your animals healthy
to keep you healthy
our health is suffering
so can we reverse all of this process how do you
make those organisms and get them back into the soil and it's fairly
simple we go back to what was described in the roman empire
and we make a really good compost that's got all these organisms in it
our early results show that the very thin layer of compost which i spread with that machine
compost spreader
improved biomass and and that all these benefits there's no downside to it so
now i'm very excited about making my own compost
these wood chips were all from triming the roads coming in. So i'd chip
the woody debris from road maintenance
cow manure
right now we're importing it, but over time if we develop our dairy idea
thsi is a great place to take cow manure or wood chips and then all the
weeds that we harvest, and the coyote bush things like that that are rich
in nitrogen
and combine them
and create compost which is a soil amendment
which we can then put it back out on the landscape
up until now the the
sad truth is i actually used to take the weed seeds
to the dump and i would call the dump and say that I have a noxious weed load and
then they would dig a pit and then we would bury them
this is a much better solution in terms of taking nutrients that i grew on my
and putting them back into the system so now we're talking about new nutrient management
rather than externalizing a
and burning fossil fuels doing it
by being good stewards of the land
increasing our organic matter in our soil
we're producing more food we're producing more grass and we're sequestering carbon
at the same time
so this is fava beans
and what I'm showing is
see all these little nodgels
this one in particular right here
I smash that, and all the pink stuff
and stuff
these are nitrogen fixing nodgels, meaning that they are
fixing atmospheric nitrogen
and making it
plant available nitrogen
so all those little nodules
working to pull atmospheres nitrogen
and make it plant available
so this is what we want to see this is why you
want to plant a cover crop and fava beans are known as one of the successful cover crop species
carbon on and in the soil is the key to water.
If we're interested in water we have to be interested in carbon
and soil carbon is in effect the keystone of all of our ecosystem services that come
from land from terrestrial
our terrestrial biosphere
so that is why the life in the soil is so important and why mulch is so key
because mulch isn't just holding moisture
it's also sequestering carbon
and and
helping plants convert co2 into humus
and um and also creating the conditions for all kinds of teeming
communities of microorganisms that maintain stability
it's key, and once you learn this stuff you never wants to spray that stuff on the land again
I love that expression the universe beneath our feet
and it just brings to mind
looking up into the night sky and seeing countless stars
and there's a whole world out there
that's just unimaginably big
so to
are the microbes in the soil food web
beneath our feet
everywhere we walk
on soil
in every teaspoon
are billions of interacting and inter relating microbes and they are the
source and creation of fertility in soil
they are what allow plants to grow
so clearly
if there was no soil food web
in my mind we would not have plants
if we had no plants
that wouldn't just knock out the vegetarians in the world it would knock out all of us
including the cows and the pigs and the goats and the chickens too
every person has to realize that the way they're living is either
taking something out
or taking less out or actually putting something back so whether it be
promoting soil fertility by eating organic food or just a little composting
yourself at home or growing a little something all these little things
i think it does relate to each person you know and ultimately
if you go all the way to climate change
and the issue of carbon sequestration in the soil
which i think there's an amazing next chapter in people's awareness of the
you can see that anything you do that increases soil fertility is actually a
small piece of reversing climate change and i think there is general uh... hope
that um if enough of the world moves in an organic direction and we begin
adding more organic matter the soil
it actually could make a measurable
difference in the trajectory of climate change which is a big thing to say
but it's also a real beautiful prospect
i think i think right now the opportunity to learn are
manifold there everywhere
there are opportunities everywhere you know thirty years ago it wasn't so
easy to find a place to learn this stuff
but today
there are agro agriculture forestry departments in almost every
every ag or were forestry school
there are permaculture institutes all over the planet
there's organic farming
happening everywhere
virtually every country has an organic farming movement
so the opportunities are significant
community gardens everywhere, farmers markets everywhere
many many many opportunities to engage
anywhere there's a piece of ground
any where there is a piece of ground
you have the potential to engage in this process, so go for it!