Sunday, 23 August 2015

Changing minds: towards a new perspective on soils, climate change and the environment.

Out of Earth! That was the title of the book by the distinguished professor of soil science which captured how civilizations sprouted from soil. The soil is central to our survival on earth. The soil is important in purifying the air we breathe. Without clean air humans are affected. The biodiversity in the soil plays a significant role in supporting diseases e.g. the population of organisms such as anthrax and salmonella are kept low by soil organisms. Almost every plant and animal depends on nitrogen whose production is dependent on important soil microbes. Without our soils there will be no life on earth. However, “advancement” has bred high level ignorance about the very matter which sustains our life. Out of this ignorance has arisen the arrogance which allows some people to describe the soil as “dirt”. Our society is now breeding a new generation of children that believe that crops are grown in the supermarket since that is the only place they now encounter fresh food.

As though the aforementioned is not enough trouble, development /industrialization is leaving us with less and less land to produce more food than was required decades ago. This means the soils left must be maintained adequately to avert an imminent disaster. Climate change is real and Nature doesn’t care about the notions we hold of its element, but humans care! A future generation of people ignorant about the very processes that support life could be our undoing. Because of this looming possibility, this state of ignorance has become unacceptable, the responsibility of a sustainable environment is on everyone. By making people see in lucid and interactive ways the background reactions and processes sustaining our highly digitized world we could slow down the process of environmental degradation and climate change.