What do obesity, algal blooms, extreme weather, wildfires, and species extinctions have in common? Soil degradation, and more broadly, the degradation of natural areas locally and across the planet. Human health crises, suffocating lakes and streams, the precipitous drop in insect and mammal life since 1970 recently reported by the World Wildlife Fund, and wildly fluctuating weather patterns have all been linked to soil depletion—and the resulting disruption of carbon and water cycles. These cycles are integral to promoting and maintaining planetary homeostasis.
These systemic linkages also provide a cause for hope in the face of our converging crises. Healthy soils teem with microbial life and host mycorrhizal networks that help to sequester carbon and retain water. New understandings about how we can partner with nature to repair soils are sparking regenerative projects and research across the planet. It is our passion for soil regeneration that led us to buy Agraria in 2017, and it continues to provide impetus for the spate of new programs you’ll read about below.
Soil is a lever for change that it is available at all scales, from households to farms to communities—a true community solution!
We found a confirmation of—and an eloquent plea for—an ecosystems focus in Charles Eisenstein’s Climate: A New Story, published a few months ago. Many of you heard Charles at our 2017 Economics of Happiness Conference. His new book’s main focus is to reorient the climate conversation from global warming to weather anomalies, and to reorient our understanding of the cause of weather anomalies from fossil fuel emissions to our degradation of planetary ecosystems. He argues that this degradation contributes at least half of current and historic greenhouse gas emissions, and that repair of soil and ecosystems is the most vital work that we can be doing to restore biodiversity and repair water and carbon cycles.
A sample quote: Whether we are looking through the lens of carbon or water, from the living systems perspective we see that climate health depends on the health of local ecosystems everywhere. The health of local ecosystems, in turn, depends on the health of the water cycle, and the health of the water cycle depends on the soil and the forests.
Thanks so much to everyone who donated on Giving Tuesday! If you missed out, we will be happy to ship you a copy of Charles’ Climate, a NewStory, for your $100+ contribution to our annual fund.