This is about how WE are all in it together. How every action leads to reaction. It’s about balance and responsibility. And grounding.
On a physical level – if we break down human needs – food, sleep and shelter are at the top of the list. Take care of those needs, add some love, hard work and fun, and life is good. In the West we place a great deal of value on shelter, and food is pretty important, but we may take sleep for granted.
While we go about our days fulfilling our needs we’re reminded of the needs of homeless people in our community or starving children in Fallujah, and the ominous climate change that will undoubtedly slash a new path for future generations (whatever that looks like). And we go, “What in the world can I do about all this!?”
We look to the stars for advice, pray to the gods above, and may even take part in solutions first-hand. But what I’m asking you to do is quite unconventional: get down and dirty. Go outside, find some dirt, sand, or grass, and take off your shoes and socks.
What you are doing is called earthing, or grounding. It feels good. You are literally connecting to the Earth (a very big thing) without the barrier of man-made, synthetic, energy-blocking materials holding you at a distance. You’re experiencing the benefits of contact with a vast supply of free electrons that have been found to reduce pain and improve sleep!
Picture the dirt below you under a microscope, teaming with life! One scoop of dirt contains as many microorganisms as there are people on the planet. So, there you are touching millions of life forms with your bare skin. Now picture the web of life that flows beyond you, through the soil, roots, and water, and you are connected energetically and physically to the rest of the planet. Nice. Now is also a good time to deepen your spiritual connection and pray, commune with Nature, or simply worship the dirt we all walk on.
Why is dirt so important here? It is earth, which is exactly everything to us. Our planet is called Earth. We grow our food in earth. We build our houses from trees grown in earth. Our water is filtered through earth, and protected by earth. We are Earthlings.
Affecting climate change is about sequestering more carbon than we are losing, keeping it in the earth. We hear about the problems causing high levels of carbon loss, like deforestation and extracting and burning fossil fuels. When you dump a load of pesticide on a crop, it kills the beneficial microbes in the soil. Do that season after season, scraping and tilling in between, and the poor soil struggles to bear any life at all, holds less moisture and erodes. So synthetic fertilizers are added to replace nutrients that could have been there all along if the land had been managed organically.
We shouldn’t be eating food, clothing our bodies, or outfitting our homes with goods grown in dead soil. And petrochemical-based plastics are obviously not the answer for a healthy future. Let’s start conversations about solutions.
How do we build healthy soil to sequester carbon while doing our daily life? Learn about permaculture and spread the word. Think about it like this: permanent + culture = permaculture. It’s a design for living, really. A permaculture perspective is to study the elements in nature and use the power and cycles of sun, weather, and biology to benefit life, not damage it. Permaculture principles can be used on a small scale – at your home – or on a massive scale, the way Nature intended and already manages life on Earth by itself.
A “food forest” is a good example of permaculture principles used to grow food while building living soil that regenerates itself, and the air we breathe in return. We’re quickly moving beyond the need for global sustainable agriculture because of the spike in greenhouse-gas levels. To sustain current levels is not enough. What we need now is regenerative agriculture, in which we build healthy soil everywhere we grow by keeping deadly chemicals out and using Earth’s biology first, sequestering carbon in the earth faster than we can burn it up.
No matter how you look at it, Earth is quite awe-inspiring. She will outlast humans in a blink. We need to learn how to support and respect her great power while caring for ourselves.