Soil – the incredible story of what keeps the earth, and us, healthy by Matthew Evans (Murdoch Books, 2021)
This is definitely one of those must read books for anyone who likes to eat, cares about their health, the state of the world, and climate change. It contains important information on a topic that is still in it’s infancy in terms of scientific study but around which the continuation of life on planet earth revolves. All life comes from soil and the quality of the soil determines the quality of life. Good soil is very diverse and contains billions of organisms that care for the plants growing in it. Plants grown in rich living soil are nutrient dense, but plants grown in barren dead dirt and force fed with fertiliser are nutrient poor and eventually damage the health of all who eat from them.
Modern broad scale farming that uses pesticides and fertilisers on farms growing thousands of acres of the same crop is rapidly destroying the top soil and turning previously rich soils into barren wastelands. With 40% of agricultural land now abandoned because it is no longer fertile, and the earth’s population continuing to grow, this way of farming has to stop or we will eventually run out of land that is usable for our crops and food. Crops grown without diversity translate to lack of diversity in the gut of the creatures and humans eating them, and the whole eco system becomes less and less healthy.
Matthew Evans is clearly passionate about growing good healthy food and has researched the topic of soil very thoroughly. While it certainly is a complex subject he does a good job of making the information understandable and accessible for those of us who do not have a degree in micro-biology. He further explains how the soil was made to store carbon and how the proper treatment of soil is an essential component of the how we deal with climate change. Surely it is time that we stopped fighting against nature’s amazing eco-systems and started working with nature for the sake of the health of all the earth’s creatures and this planet that is our home.
*the Author is a Metung resident