The Gaia concept, that all life on the planet is just part of a single living organism called Mother Earth went about as far as a lead zeppelin. To actually accept this as fact and behave appropriately would have crashed too many of the pet projects of those who hold the economic cards. Humans often forget that the largest organism on the planet is a fungus that covers most of North America. We forget that whales are sentient, that our opposable thumb does not separate us significantly from other creatures and many of us have not yet heard that even on the unhealthy soils of today, the ones considered "healthy" are home to enough microbes per acre that in total they add up the the same amount of biomass that is tied up in a cow and her young calf. Truly healthy soil has become a thing of the past. Before the crushing assault of petrochemical agriculture, there may have been ten times, perhaps even one hundred or even a thousand times that much life in the soils. There is no way to turn back the clocks and find out what the planet was like before we started ransacking nature.
There is a rebirth of hope that is taking place among people who are aware of these facts. Massive amounts of money are flowing away from fossil fuel corporations but the largest investors don't have any idea what the next big thing will be. Here at ECO-Tours, we know what it needs to be, but there is no great money to be made at it. What will result from the next big thing, if it occurs at all, will be a transformation to sustainability in which rebuilding soil health becomes a top priority. There are a few tentative steps in the right direction, but by and large, the people with the largest influence over soil health have not yet heard the truth about the land they live on. There has not been a single well in the entire state of Iowa that has not tested positive for nitrates. This fertilizer made for the water table so many years ago and in such quantities that now, there is virtually no way to clean up the mess that has been made by farmers whose soil is as mistreated now as it was during the ten years of the Dust Bowl. Soils that had taken tens of thousands of years to develop blew away in only a decade, primarily because of mechanized agriculture and opening up the great central plains to wind erosion. The reason I make a distinction between dirt and soil is because soils have structural components, ie roots and fungal hyphae that hold the tiny pieces and particles together. many organisms who inhabit healthy soil leave glue-like substances which also hold particles together. The whole becomes stronger as a function of all the parts working together in synergy. Hope is growing as more and more people are beginning to understand that there is a qualitative difference between honoring the soil and exploiting it. Holding on to a fabric of life and healing it, rather than rending it asunder.
I have written about Buckminster Fuller before. His term for design that emulates natural phenomena, utilizing resources elegantly, efficiently meeting needs conservatively and without throughput or waste, he called dymaxion. A hybrid word made up of dynamic, maximum and action. His term is a verb on purpose, steady state or "finished" objects become nouns and for this dynamic system to function as efficiently as possible, with as little waste as possible and to remain dynamic requires growth, change and adaptation, just like any species, our ability to create needs to adapt to changing conditions. The soil organisms show us that holding on is a trait worth understanding.
without billions of organisms per handful, the intact soils that support life on the planet become dirt, devoid of life and unable to support life. Dymaxion design, translated to soil health demands that we reconsider the viability of organisms in community. How to "cultivate" the 85% of all bacteria that are either helpful to humans or at least benign. When we design for aeration, again an active state, we can use the exponential growth of microbes to our advantage.
Many of these design principles are recognized. We are able to "see" things today, through windows to the world, study of advanced physics and fractile geometry that are leading us in important new directions, and expanding our horizons. Transformation, in many ways is requisite to life. Principles of fractile design, physics continues to teeter on the edge of admitting that the divine has always been best represented by "the cauldron", feminine, or generative womb, dymaxion design principles get their dynamism from creative force, translating itself into physical form. It can be difficult to use words to translate relationships that are better left to mathematical probability with authentic language that conveys the true meaning of terms like infinite and/or unimaginable. We can have only proximal knowledge of the tiniest fractions of any whole you attempt to recognize or describe, it is like being Dr. Seuss' proverbial dust speck.
I have been on this planet for over fifty years and have seen plenty of examples of poor management practices. I am sure that everyone has seen them, but if we are seeing with an untrained eye, the results of poor agricultural practices may be invisible to our consciousness. This is the time of year to see the soils clearly. Most have been harvested off, tilled (to be ready for Spring planting) and lying open for casual inspection. In my area, the tops of all the hills and rises have been blown away and resemble rubble piles.
Tenacity is what has allowed me to continue researching those who would poison our water, contaminate the air and defile the soil just to make a buck. Even after being morally injured and outraged, I did not turn my head. Even when I learned that everything we had tried thus far, to reign in this ignorant behavior had not been enough, I still did not turn my head away. Instead, I looked harder for any chinks in the armor of our opponent. It is interesting what I have found.