Do you know how the soil impacts our health? You see, soil plays a vital role in the health of not only plants, but animals, humans, and every living thing on the planet. With the carbon cycle starting and ending in the soil, it is one of our most vital resources. However, it is being depleted at astronomical rates, and in more ways than one.
In fact, in a 2016 White House Report, it was estimated that the soil erosion rate in the United States is at 4.6 tons per acre per year. This accounts for the largest source of soil degradation. Of course, deforestation & other activities also contribute to soil degradation annually, but erosion is the top culprit. This is most often caused by Big Agriculture and their use of chemicals and commercial practices, which also work to reduce the diversity of life within our soils.
So, what will we grow our food in?
With much of this soil degradation occurring over the last 150 years, the rate at which soil is being degraded cannot feasibly be restored in the amount of time that it is being depleted. Therefore, leading to many consequences, including
- food supply
- and water filtration issues,
- as well as exposing us to harmful chemicals and pathogens through modern farming techniques.
While these consequences will not occur overnight, the human population’s mental and physical health will suffer from the issues that arise when our soils are not taken care of, if the suffering has not already begun. And, quite frankly, we likely are already seeing the effects of our lifeless soils.
However, there are methods that can be adopted by all humans on this earth. And, if you’ve been with us for a while, you may already know where we are headed with this one.
These changes can result in a positive outcome for both the world’s soil and the living beings inhabiting Earth to ensure the health of our soil remains in symbiosis with our own health needs.
Food + Water Supply Issues
First and foremost, the degradation of our soils will result in food shortages, as well as water safety issues. Both of which are essential to all life on this planet. With these valuable resources running out of supply, every organism on the planet will have its sympathetic nervous system ramped up into high gear.
Although food and clean water will not run out instantly, the activation of the “fight-or-flight” response will likely become chronic as surpluses deplete across the nation, especially for those with low socioeconomic status. Therefore, leading to health problems prior to food or water ever running out of supply.
Activation of the Nervous System
With the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, the stress response will begin. This leads to the release of cortisol followed by feelings of hunger. An effect that will only further stress the limited food and water supply. As the stress of where to obtain food and water builds, individuals will begin to experience increases in
- blood pressure,
- increases in anxiety and depression,
- as well as addiction and obesity.
The same is true for children and adolescents. Although adults may attempt to shield them from the reality of the food shortage. The news has a way of seeping into all of the ears within a home. So, the shielding may only last for a short period. Sadly, with many already living with food insecurity, the problem will continue to rise until the “survival of the fittest” war begins.
The Degradation of Our Health from Pesticides
However, it is questionable what condition many will be in when the food and water supply cease to provide for our needs. Since the switch to genetically modified crops in the early 2000s, Bayer’s Roundup (glyphosate) has become a staple for American farmers. Even though its widespread use on America’s croplands is proving to:
- decrease root colonization, which is necessary for a healthy harvest,
- bring shifts to beneficial bacteria populations that we need to breakdown cellulose and create organic matter,
- and drastic decreases to the earthworm population within the fields.
Through these negative effects on the soil’s ecosystem, the soil is continuing to become weaker and weaker. Thus, it is less able to provide the food and water that’s demanded from the Earth’s population.
Even more so, Roundup is being proven to cause a number of health problems and diseases within humans. One issue that has been in the news spotlight and courtroom over the last year is that glyphosate causes cancer. Thus far, both plaintiffs have won their cases in front of a jury. While the studies conducted are limited, they are showing that just as the chemical disrupts the soil’s ecosystem, it disrupts the functions within the human body ultimately leading the body to a diseased state.
Moving To An Organic Approach
With modern farming’s use of herbicides, like Roundup, coupled with the impacts of soil degradation on our food and water supply, the physical and psychological effects are well underway for many people. However, by switching from modern farming techniques back to regenerative permaculture practices, we can reverse the degradation of soil and its negative effects on all living things. Due to regenerative farming practices focusing on increasing soil organic matter as well as biological activity in the soil, it has the ability to replenish our soils and so much more.
While modern farming came about to
- save time,
- cut costs,
- and feed the masses,
It left many without employment and now is leaving everyone with diseases and without food or water. Much like health, cutting corners only works for so long. Then, the real work has to begin, which is where we are at now. Either put in the work to properly correct the issue or suffer the consequences of a diseased planet that’s no longer able to sustain life.
Improved Soil, Improved Health
By moving from modern farming techniques to regenerative ones, not only will the health of our soil prosper, but the health of our nation will too. Due to regenerative practices focusing on taking care of all aspects of the ecosystem and not just crop yield, as is common in modern farming, it not only provides the ability to regenerate soil but allows individuals to apply these concepts to all areas of their own lives.
From starting small and slow to always observing prior to interacting, we can easily carry the concepts over into everyday life. For instance, by observing the situation prior to reacting, one is able to respond from the present moment. This is the same as observing the land prior to planting aids in responding to the land’s needs.
By following these principles, individuals can learn to care for the land and themselves. And, with many already negatively impacted from modern farming, learning to rebuild a depleted vessel effectively is a vital tool to have – for farming and for life.
Overall this transition will take a lot of time and effort from a variety of individuals, but the outcome will be a happier and healthier planet living in symbiosis with one another instead of the unbalanced chaos currently being lived in. With more than 100 years of damage to our soils, there’s a long way to go before we see improvements.
Through the process of rebuilding the soil, individuals will find they are not only fixing the land beneath their feet for sustenance, but also healing themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually in the process. Therefore, leaving us with more than just improved soils, but improved souls.