The soil is being destroyed at unprecedented rates by overconsumption, big business, development, deforestation, monoculture, pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide usage, genetically modified foods, groundwater contamination, reliance on fossil fuels, and unsustainable extraction of all of our natural resources. All of these problems are symptoms of a deeper root cause: our massive disconnect from the earth. The soil is the direct source of a significant amount of nutrients. We need the soil as much as we need the air, but yet only a small percentage of people who care about these issues actually take action to amend them. According to a survey conducted in 2013 by the Pew Research Center, 52% of Americans named protecting the environment a top priority for Congress, whereas 86% named strengthening the nation’s economy as a top priority. Perhaps it’s for those 86% that this quote was written: “Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”- Cree Indian Prophecy
In a time when the value of profit is placed over people, we need to rise up in reciprocity and partner with our friends and family in symbiotic relationships
In a world of mountaintop removal and islands of plastic floating out in the middle of the deep vast ocean.
Now is the time to rise and take radical action.
We see the need for radical change now more than ever as basic rights are being stripped away.We see the need for change as indigenous land rights are decimated, as water protectors are tear gassed during peaceful prayer and silent protest.
We see the need for change as children are starving in a world where a exorbitant amount of food is wasted each day- crushed in garbage compactors, sent to landfills and rotting in dumpsters.
We see the need for change when gun violence kills innocent people way too often.
We see the need for change when green spaces and community gardens are bulldozed to create condos and high rises, changing neighborhood demographics, decreasing diversity and causing a clear and defined separation within communities
We see the need for change when children can recognize more logos than they can wild plants and trees in their own neighborhoods.
We see the need for change when children spend less than 30 minutes of time outside per day. We see the need for change when obesity affects millions of households in the US and Canada alone
Anyone who has ever grown their own food or watched documentaries about food knows that this monoculture-based society is not only unsustainable, but is actually causing irreversible damage to the earth every day. Despite this, we continue to support these practices, albeit sometimes unintentionally and out of convenience, whether buying prepared meals wrapped in unnecessary packaging or simply buying conventionally grown vegetables at the grocery store. Corn and soy are the crops with the most devastating contribution to monoculture. Unfortunately corn, soy, and wheat are found in a major percentage of processed foods, especially in the United States.
Of course there are many practices that cause often times irreversible soil degradation: fracking, oil drilling, mining, strip mining, deforestation and clear cutting. Our reliance on fossil fuels is not helping. The simple acts of buying gasoline or using nonrenewable paper, unbeknownst to many are also contributing to environmental degradation. With the ever-rising concerns which plague the earth with threats of natural disaster, deforestation, soil degradation, air and water pollution, the overuse of non-renewable resources, we see the the absolute need to make changes globally. The delicate dance of mind over matter fades at the notion that now is the time for action. We must rectify the soil and water quality for that of our future generations and from the ashes of mankind’s wrongdoing. There is one planet with finite resources and we have already surpassed her occupancy limit.
Access to environmentally friendly everyday products such as paper goods is very limited and often more expensive, making it impossible for those of us on a tight budget to choose to support the companies making a difference. And then there is air and water pollution. It is very hard to witness giant smokestacks lined up along major rivers that were clean and clear less than a century ago. I heard someone say over a decade ago that all of the oceans, rivers and streams are polluted beyond restoration. This news was devastating. How could humans, in less than 100 years destroy the water supply around the world? How can we as a human race do our part to change the gloomy future of this planet? When an individual starts to brainstorm solutions, they seem practical and attainable considering the technology that is available.
For instance: What if actors, musicians and public figures started buying up plots of land and transforming them into Land Trusts, botanical sanctuaries and wildlife preserves?
What if big companies, factories and corporations simply stopped producing anything made from nonrenewable resources and instead produced these same items (made from renewable resources such as agricultural waste, hemp and bamboo) and transitioned into powering their factories with renewable energy? Think of the positive impact that would make. Or on a larger scale- what if all the energy giants trained their current employees to operate energy plants using solar and wind power? What if all of the coal fired power plants, nuclear power plants simply just converted to renewable energy plants. What if car companies were required by law to stop making gas powered cars and instead only made either hybrid or solar electric cars? The technology is available.
There are many solutions to these problems. However, each set of solutions has its own set of problems and ramifications. So where does that leave us? Well, its simple- we just need to use less. Such a simple yet profound concept which is attainable with a little grunt work. To be an example to friends and family members in our own communities and to share our stories big or small will send out ripples within our regions. There are plenty of singular solutions one could implement as well. These singular solutions almost always have direct impact on other solutions as well.
The solution that I have adopted is food: how it can help heal our bodies, and how it can help heal the earth. Food is the basic necessity for survival. If everyone in the world knew how to grow their own food, that would reduce our reliance on large scale industrialized agrarian dependency there for reducing the need for fossil fuels, chemical applications, and so much more. Food throughout communities would then become localized.
What if we empowered each other to plant the way for generations to come? What if we were able to bridge the gap between culture and cultivating—more specifically between cultural diversity and biodiversity by simply having conversations with others? What if we were excited to hear and share stories of symbiotic relationships between people and people, plants and people, plants and the earth: excited enough to make a difference in our own community? By illuminating the notion that real food (grown from the earth) is the point at which all of these relationships intersect, we then begin to wrap our minds around the earth as a living, breathing holistic system that is in constant symbiosis as our home. Since the first humans walked upon the earth, food has been a necessity for survival. The evolution of the importance of food to humans is remarkable. Food has sculpted civilizations. Food has been used to heal our bodies. Food defines us culturally. Food gives us pleasure. Food maps out the course of our everyday lives. Food can change the future of the earth.
Let us paint a beautiful oasis of food and abundance through backyard gardens, community gardens, sustainable farms, and permaculture villages which purify our air, improve our water quality, give nutrients to the soil, provide food to families, and create habitats for pollinators. People from all walks of life are already uniting to form a global transition into an abundant, healthy, regenerative world, and need a way to bring their dreams of this incredible future to fruition. The practical solutions lie in seeds of change, in gardens of gratitude in neighborhoods where hope is alive, in communities where equality is key and diversity is the norm, in cities and towns where green spaces are plenty and the streets are kept clean, where children can ride their bikes, and mothers can go for walks with their babies. These cities and towns exist with one thing in common- they are thriving in food culture created around community gardens, urban farms, green spaces and farmers markets. These places are rich in diversity and biodiversity. They are inhabited by individuals who are compassionate and concerned. The world is home to over seven billion individuals. Every action counts.