The Ground Under Our Feet
Today we’re going to talk about dirt. That’s right, plain old garden soil. Why and what led to this topic and what does it have to do with environmental concerns?
What led to this topic is the World Economic Forum’s “What if…” series of blog posts featured in 2012. Experts answered such questions as “What if there were a large-scale Internet failure”, “What if a deadly new virus jumped from animals to humans” and the one we will consider today, “What if soil runs out”.
These scenarios are all situations that mankind has a chance to do something about so they won’t happen. They’re all devastating, though, and most of them are dramatic. Running out of soil sounds considerably less so, rather humdrum, not likely to make tomorrow’s front page.
In fact soil is a microcosm of life on the earth and environmental concern. It is connected to concerns about water, food production, global warming, health and security. It is, as quoted in the March 23, 2013 issue of Science News
, “…the diverse but integrated community of living and inanimate things that make up the ground beneath our feet”. At the same time, it is far more graspable in the mind than most environmental concerns, like global warming or energy use. You are probably in the presence of a houseplant anchored in soil right now.