Soil is alive. It’s a complex web of macro (that which we can see with our eyes), and micro (those we mostly cannot see) organisms. One tablespoon of soil contains over six billion bacteria and countless other species that contribute to a medium teeming with life. We depend on this life to sustain us. In soil, we grow the plants that provide us with oxygen, food, clothing and shelter. In soil, the water cycle is regulated and water purified. In this soil universe, sometimes disparagingly called “dirt,” live the creatures that decompose all dead organic matter on Earth; turning waste into value. Soil is the meeting place of atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. Like most places where “edges” of different worlds meet, the soil is a dynamic interface. Fertile soil is alive with the biodiversity of a thriving forest; complex ecosystems connecting, growing, living, co-existing, dying.
In many places of the world topsoil, (where most soil life is found), is being lost at an unprecedented rate. Our lives depend on saving, cultivating, and regenerating soil life. Increasing soil fertility has a positive domino effect and the act of making soil more alive holds answers to some of the most vexing environmental challenges that we face today; including water quality, eco-system and human health issues, and global climate change. Continue reading