Findings released at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit confirm that mineral depletion of our global topsoil reserve is critical. At the time, U.S. and Canadian agricultural soils had lost 85% of their mineral content. Asian and South American soils were down 76% while throughout Africa, Europe and Australia, soils were depleted by 74%, 72% and 55% respectively (Marler and Walling, 2006).
In March 2006, the United Nations recognized a new kind of malnutrition – multiple micronutrient depletion. According to Catherine Bertini, Chair of the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition, the overweight are just as malnourished as the starving. In essence, it is not the quantity of food that is at issue – it is the quality (Thomas, 2007).
Soil erosion is considered one of the most serious environmental and public health problems facing human society. The loss of soil from land surfaces is widespread globally and is adversely affecting the productivity of all natural ecosystems, which includes agriculture, forests, water availability, energy and loss of biodiversity (Lal and Stewart 1990, Pimentel 1993, Pimentel et al 1995, Pimentel and Kounang 1998). Overall, soil is being lost from land areas 10 – 40 times faster than the rate of soil renewal, which threatens human food security and the environment generally. As a result it is suggested that the bio-diversity of plants, animals and microbes in the soil is being damaged, which in turn affects the nutrient profile (Pimentel et al 1995).
Added to the diminishing quality of the soil, which in turn is reflected in the inconsistency of minerals and vitamins found in our fruits and vegetables, there is also the contentious debate around ‘acid rain’, which, it is claimed, is altering the pH in the soil. Some researchers and health professionals suggest that this has dire consequences for health given that the pH of the body is considered the regulatory authority that controls most cellular processes. The pH balance of the human bloodstream is recognized by medical physiology texts as one of the most important biochemical balances in all of human body chemistry (Somoncini, 2007 and Sircus, 2010).
This set of facts relating to the erosion and damage of the soil, is a single strand in the vast web of consequences we are all facing, as the planet struggles to find balance and harmony in the face of our arrogance, ignorance and neglect. We surely cannot expect to continue on our current course without condemning ourselves to further disease, famine, pollution, natural disasters and even more conflict. It’s time for change and change begins with you and me.
This short film (What’s Possible) was presented to world leaders at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York. It shows that climate change is indeed solvable and that we do actually have the technology to harness nature in sustainable ways for a more clean, prosperous energy future, but only if we act now. The real question is do we have the desire and the political will to steer a much better course?
Take four minutes now to see if it inspires you…
A week after the short film ‘What’s Possible’ opened the U.N. Climate Summit – Lyn Lear and director Louie Schwartzberg produced a five minute sequel that expands on their vision for climate change solutions…
Also see: The Planet walker