I just finished watching the documentary Dirt! The Movie about the destruction of the earth's living skin... the dirt. It's a wonderful film that takes you all around the world talking about how dirt is a living breathing entity and how it is essential to our lives. Scientists, professors, farmers and others share with you all the different ways that dirt is used and abused. From the traditional earthen homes that are still built today and the important part dirt plays in many cultures to how 1/3 of the earth's soil has been lost in the last one hundred years. I love what one of the farmers said... Sometimes he feels like a father to the soil as he takes care of it. Other times he feels like the soil is his mother as she provides food for him and at times he feels he is in a relationship as they 'care' for each other :)
It's definitely an eye opening view to how agriculture has ravaged the soil over the years with the practice of monoculture planting which leads to massive pest infestations and heavy pesticide use that kills the vital microorganisms in the soil. All this leads to sick soil and the overuse of nitrogen fertilizers which in turn have adverse effects on the surrounding life.
But of course these aren't the only things that are harming the soil that we have left. It also touches on strip mining, desertification and more, but the movie isn't all doom and gloom! There is so much good going on around us as others try to replenish the earth's dirt :)
In Los Angeles an organization called Tree People has a goal to plant one million trees in the city. Schools are tearing up the concrete and blacktop that surrounds their buildings creating green space and student gardens. I thought it was quite interesting as at one point they mentioned that some people were concerned that without all of the concrete play areas at the school, where would the children play?? Have we really become this disconnected with what is below our feet?
Even though we get out in the garden every year using organic methods, compost and recycle what we can I still watched with my children as I thought it was a great way to really get them thinking more about how important it is that we treat mother earth well :)
Even if you think the problem is just to big and there is nothing you can do to fix it, you can! I love this short little animated folktale by Dr. Wangari Maathai below. It tells of a forest fire and a little tiny hummingbird that felt he just had to do something to stop the fire. As the other animals of the forest helplessly looked on they tell the hummingbird that he is just to small to do anything as he takes one drop of water at a time and drops it on the fire. So he turns to them and says "I am doing... the best... that I can". So simple and so smart. Let's all be hummingbirds together and do the best that we can :)