Wednesday, February 04, 2004

More from Hans Jenny

“Soil contains over a thousand different species of lower animals, the earthworms, pill bugs, nematodes, millipedes, termites, ants, springtails, and amoebas, not to mention the millions of molds and bacteria…If all the elephants in Africa were shot, we would barely notice it, but if the nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil, or the nitrifiers, were eliminated, most of us would not survive for long because the soil could no longer support us. I can't help thinking of the claim that healthy soils make healthy people, and as an extension, I am intrigued by the thought that good soils make good people, but that notion seems untenable. Well, not wholly so. Working in the garden with spade and hoe soothes the minds of many people....

Observing soils, studying them, and reflecting on them induces respect, if not wonder. All of us relate to soil unconsciously in our daily nourishments that make us participants in the continuous flow of nutrient atoms that originate in the soil.”

What a visionary, eh? The Whole Earth article in which he was interviewed pointed out that “No one has ever proposed an Endangered Soils Act for those soils most in danger of losing their top-soil horizons.”

Hans Jenny died in 1992.Tomorrow I’ll get back to that European settler, the nightcrawler.

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