History, Soil, Humus of a divided Humanity

We live in a stage in human history that tends to be divided, rather than to generate coexistence and support.

Perhaps the problems we face, and read (willingly or not) in newspapers and textbooks (which are part of our daily life) may be a point in favor of the change we wish to announce.

Nature seems always an abstract concept, able to evoke breathtaking scenery or the shores of tranquil rivers that lull our spirit when the eye it is bewitched. And after a short time, most of us always happens the same process:

we move away from her, and do not do resistance to its branches that tend to wipe out our good intentions surface.

Even agriculture was born as a good practice dedicated to promoting a lifestyle more in touch with the seasons and with the cyclical nature of the soil to be cultivated; It was a practice devoted to respect not only the environment but also the community. Indeed, the latter had to think of a way to ensure food even in times of famine and drought, as well as the shortage of animals to hunt in winter because of their excellent camouflage with the environment and the adverse weather conditions.

Today, agriculture is interested in generating income, sales, advertising to open up new markets thanks to the phenomenon of internationalization of markets. And I speak not only of the biological universe that is making his fortune in a time full of diseases related to heavy organ dysfunction and cells that do not follow the normal rules of play and programmed death.

The deforestation that has no limits and extensive holdings in areas that deserve a respite from the excessive unbalanced irrigation and fertilization are a set of factors that tends to cause the rapid desalination of farmlands.

As many of you know plowing deeper and deeper soil depletes it of valuable organic substances, rather basic, which serve to ensure that the raw material cultivated to grow into a rich humus, and that the aquifer underlying false therein are kept clean and efficient. Look around today without chemical fertilizers and herbicides now no longer moves anything, no leaf intended for human nutrition is spared from this industrial program.

Now to understand a fundamental point is urgent to take a step back and focus on plants that – at times – we seem incidental. The plants were the nurses who nurtured and allowed to grow to the ground for what it is (even if partially) today. So, the ground deserves to be considered a “body” that maintains a symbiosis with plants that do not remove anything from him, even feed his deep, dark mass with a raw sap and rich, thanks to the phenomenon of photosynthesis. Plants create material using light and atmospheric gases in a unique way, not reproducible by technology in our possession.

From the birth of agriculture plants were considered a blessing, because they were the only living organisms to ensure that light and gases would evolve into tangible organic matter, humus, it was real and beneficial material for the health of the arable land.

Humus has the power to:

  1. improve soil structure, making it permeable, soft and porous; suitable for cultivation.
  2. expand the water retention capacity, thanks to its absorbent texture.
  3. make possible the absorption of the organic soil, fundamental for the maintenance of its reserves of nitrogen and sulfur.
  4. increase the availability of micro elements (due to the chemical reaction of chelation) of sparingly soluble nature.
  5. acting as a biological activator of many microbial processes of transformation related to the carbon cycle




Now, some might think the fact that plants need nitrogen for living and satisfy their nutritional needs.

Nitrogen is also the element that feeds the soil, but a plant absorbs from the latter minerals and trace elements which amount to roughly 2.5% of its nutritional needs. Therefore, their tissues are made from what?

The tissues of plants (whether it is of a tree that of a blade of grass) are formed for the 75% water and 25% by dry weight, which is divided – in turn – for a 20% by carbon compounds formed by solar energy that activates the photosynthesis, while the remaining 5% is taken from the soil as minerals and trace elements (2.5%) and nitrogen (2.5%).

The plants are functional to the ground, as long as this keeps poorly oxygenated its humus due to excessive aeration mediated plowing little humble and reverent towards the natural rhythms of his guinea pig.

I end this reflection by borrowing the words of Prof. Donald Worster, a member of the American Academy of Art and Science and luminary in the field of environmental history, taken from his Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains:

“Earth is the word we use when it stays where it is, when it does grow the food we eat, and gives us a place to stay and build, but when it is melted and blown away by the wind we call it Dust”

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