"The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it."
Time to Step Up
To celebrate the 53rd annual Earth Day, get your hands dirty, and invest in the soil! Soil is the silent and humble workhorse that sustains all Life on Earth. From food production to plant growth to sourcing essential products, these systems and resources only exist if our soil ecosystems continue to function. And despite how abundant soil appears, it is a finite resource susceptible to degradation, contamination, and depletion - primarily due to modern agricultural practices and the collateral damage caused by our highly industrialized way of life. We have become disassociated from the Natural World – we simply don't think we're part of it. Call it blissful ignorance or blatant disregard – name it what you like – but you and I are part of Earth's fragile biosphere: we must take care of it. Each of us has a role to play; we must become stewards of the soil.
Where it started...
Credited as the birth of the modern environmental movement, Earth Day was started on April 22nd, 1970, to inspire millions worldwide to mobilize in defence of our environment and natural resources. The first Earth Day was a resounding success, receiving broad support across the political spectrum in the United States, which led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passing of the Clean Air Act.
This year's Earth Day theme is "Invest in Our Planet," What better way to invest in Earth than by investing in Earth? The foundation of our food systems supports all of human society; without these systems, all human life collapses. Therefore, investing in the soil is an investment in the food systems and the long-term sustainability and continuation of human life.
So how exactly can we invest in our soil? Here are a few strategies and practices to support this life-sustaining ecosystem:
Use Soil Covers:
Minimize or eliminate harmful chemicals:
Over the last half century, the excessive use of synthetic fertilizers and other agrichemicals in highly mechanized industrial-scale farming has led to diminishing returns. Why? Because this way of farming destroys the soil. Once lush and productive land is turned into a desert under the wheels of ever bigger and bigger machines – now fully satellite operated - not a farmer to be seen for miles. The soil and its living microbiome are collateral damage in this equation, creating watershed and air pollution. Applying more synthetic nitrogen and phosphorus than the plants can absorb leads to the release of greenhouse gases and further exacerbates climate change. Learn more about how we got here and the harmful effects chemicals have on the soil (and on us): Drug Addicted Plants: Are you an enabler? Root Rescue Transplanter is a scientifically proven way to support plants and put life back in the soil. Employ the power of mycorrhizal fungi; Root Rescue Transplanter is a healthier and smarter technology. Break the cycle of the continued use of chemical fertilizers; invest in our soil's long-term health and sustainability by switching to Nature's way of feeding plants and protecting soils.
Reduce soil disturbance:
Using planting strategies such as no-till gardening, you can reduce soil disturbances and protect the living organisms that keep soil healthy and productive. Tilling soil creates problems such as releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, reducing water retention, causing soil erosion, and killing essential soil microbes. Using no-till techniques can ensure the continuation of healthy soil life cycles. Refer to our previous blog, "Create A Sustainable No-Till Garden This Spring," for tips on starting your own no-till garden.
Utilize crop rotations:
In the same way that a narrow diet for humans would create poor gut health for a human microbiome, monocropping year after year in the same soil creates a poor microbiome for soil. By rotating crops, the soil is not depleted of the same nutrients yearly, leading to healthier soil and more robust plants resistant to pests and disease - providing greater yields. Monoculture (planting just one plant species over a large area) is never a good idea for soil health and productivity; this also holds true with your lawn. Consider adding White Clover to your lawn; these tough, short little plants fix nitrogen from the air and provide it to the roots of their neighbours (nitrogen-hungry turf grasses). And they also have lovely white flowers with lots of nectar for bees and other pollinators.
More trees please
And, of course, one of the simplest and best ways to invest in the earth is to plant a tree! Trees help reduce soil erosion and nutrient runoff and are a great way to support healthy soil. Through EARTHDAY.ORG's Canopy Project, tens of millions of trees have been planted worldwide in places in dire need of reforestation.
Take action on Climate Change
Trees for Life, a national charity that helps to green communities and honour local heroes by planting trees, has partnered with Root Rescue in celebration of Earth Day so that for the month of April, everyone who donates $50 to Trees for Life will receive a 4.5-gram package of Root Rescue Transplanter. And if you donate $500 or more, your name will be entered into a draw to win one of two gift bags valued at $150 each, including a 180-gram package of Root Rescue Transplanter – enough product to start your own community garden or tree planting!
So this Earth Day, get dirty and invest in earth!
Live and let live.
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