Today, it’s looking more like Christmas than almost-April. We’ve received quite a bit of snow in the last few days and it’s making me long for spring more than ever. In honor of that first real spring day that’s sure to come (eventually), let’s talk about what is sitting quietly beneath all that pretty white stuff…
Last week I watched the documentary Dirt: The Movie, based on the book by William Bryant Logan. It’s a fabulous compilation of scientists, farmers, and thinkers all coming together and talking about the unassuming, unsung element that is below our feet.
If you think dirt is a boring subject, you’ll be surprised at just how quickly you’ll be drawn into this documentary. You’ll meet a wine expert who actually tastes the soils of the vineyards he visits; you’ll be introduced to physicist/activist/farmer Vandana Shiva, who works to save seeds in India; you’ll hear from a man who runs a horticulture job-training program for inmates at NYC Riker’s Island prison. You’ll also meet a contracting company who uses mud for their building projects, and you’ll see mycologist Paul Stamets’ tromping around in the forest.
Harvard professor Peter Girguis says,
“What we often call dirt, you know, the stuff you are trying to wash off our car or wash off our driveways, are really these soils and sediments that are vital to keeping our biosphere healthy, which is all about keeping the plants and animals and ourselves alive. Soils and sediments are really more like a living skin on the earth, and they are the stewards of our planet.”
If you’re looking for an meaningful and easy-to-understand way to learn more about soil and its interconnectedness with our lives, I highly recommend watching Dirt.