The Dirt on Dirt: Why it Should Matter to You
Published Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014
Soil shapes almost every facet of our lives. From the air we breathe through photosynthesis, to the water we drink through purification, soil is the key element that brings the natural world together and its systems to optimal performance.
Maybe you’re wondering, what is it about soil that has this guy so uppity? Is it really all that important? Maybe I’m a little odd… Odd as I may be, soil science is no laughing matter. I found the dirt under my fingernails brought me closer to the Earth and strengthened my connection with other people. Maybe through reading this post you will see how important soil is in your life and how it affects you every day.
“Most of our food comes directly or indirectly from plants anchored in or nourished by soil.”*
We are often unaware of the bustling activity going on only inches below ground. There are millions of organisms moving around and creating nutritious conditions for things to grow. Unfortunately, large scale human endeavors like industrial agriculture and paving over arable land can deteriorate and degrade the very soil that supports our lives and our bellies.
“Much of the water we drink and use has been filtered and purified by soil.”*
Whether we notice it or not, we become intimate with soil throughout our day when we drink a glass of water. The soil treats your water and fashions it drinkable: It neutralizes pH in water, filters out solids, and biologically treats it, too. Next time you take refuge in a drink of water, think about the soil that made it drinkable, and how without it, your life would be very different, if not impossible.
“Soils process and recycle nutrients including carbon [and sunlight] so that living things can use them over and over again.”*
Recycling is exemplified by the beautifully simple and efficient process of photosynthesis (for a very…memorable song about the process, check this out). Soil creates starches out of carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight which serve as food for the growing plant. Photosynthesis is at the epicenter of the water cycle and soil is a key component in the process. It is an outstanding example of how the ground we stand on works in conjunction with the natural world to create a simple yet profound process integral to our planet’s functionality
So, have I convinced you yet how COOL soil is? Stay tuned for more in “The Dirt on Dirt” Series.
– Written by Dylan Jarrell