Two of our greatest assets, water and soil, are taken for granted.
The majority of Westernized human beings have forgotten about their deep connection and dependency on the earth for survival. We are not talking about some altruistic concept such as ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we all cared and nurtured the earth?’ We are talking survival!
Our technologically advanced society knows how to create incredible machinery but we have lost our way when it comes to the foundation of life, the soil and water. Unlike earlier civilizations as diverse as the Chinese, Greeks and Mayans, who used natural patterns to understand the best way for vegetation to grow,(and at the same time replenished the earth by not planting their crops in rows and using raised bed techniques) most home gardeners rarely are familiar with these concepts, let alone practice them. Or how about the Greeks who observed that in landslide areas where the soil was loose, plant life thrived because moisture, nutrients, air and warmth were allowed to permeate the soil? The French in the 19th century discovered that by raising their beds just a few inches (raised bed techniques) their crops did not freeze.
All of these patterns were discovered because human beings observed and analyzed the land and the climatic conditions in which they lived. For most home owners and weekend gardeners, taking time to observe and analyze their property would at best be a novel concept.
Think about it: organic or sustainable gardening is really quite simple. Compare it to Eastern medicine which is based on maintaining the health and equilibrium of an individual by observing and analyzing her or his needs. Only when some physical or emotional element is out of balance is there any sort of intervention. Organic gardening is no different. By maintaining the health of our soil and water, we are securing a healthy planet for our children and grandchildren. Sustainable gardening’s goal is to produce all the food we need without depleting our environment. It is not a novelty, it’s a necessity.
Statistics back the rationale as to why we need to implement sustainable gardening wholeheartedly.
*For every pound of food produced in the U.S. by mechanized commercial agriculture, 6 pounds of soil are lost forever due to wind and erosion.
*For every pound of food produced, chemical farming methods have destroyed one third of the usable top soil base.
*The World Health Organization estimates that in developing countries over 60% of those living in rural areas and 25% of those living in urban areas have no access to safe drinking water.
*Because of urbanization approximately 2000 acres of agricultural land every day is developed and is covered with concrete or asphalt. This translates into a loss of agricultural land of 630,000 acres per year.
I don’t want to stand on a soapbox and preach to others about how to live their lives. But it seems to me when we can take some simple and common sense measures to replenish the soil and our water sources so that the human race and all other living beings will have the chance to survive for generations to come, we would be foolhardy not to do so.
And if we are in fact becoming aware of the environmental crisis, then each of us needs to take responsibility for how we live, in and out of the garden.
YOU CAN MAKE SMALL CHANGES WITH SIGNIFICANT RESULTS. Two things you can do that will make a difference:
Stop using all chemicals on lawns and all plants: including trees and bushes. This includes fertilizer, unless it is natural, organic and/or slow release (such as corn gluten).
Minimize amount of water used in lawn maintenance. This translates into NOT WATERING your lawn unless you have newly seeded areas.
If you follow these two steps, you really can make a difference, along with all of the other citizens of the world, in the outcome of the survival of all living things and our planet. It’s that simple!