Remember Captain Planet? I feel like raising my fist in the air and shouting "EARTH"!!!
Earth, soil, dirt... life. When we think of earth, we typically think of dirt, something inert and non-essential. It's not like we go around waxing poetic about mud and earth worms. What we've forgotten in our uber clean, anti-bacterial, dirt-fearing culture, is that all earth-bound life forms get their nourishment directly or indirectly from soil. The food that we eat requires soil (for the most part). Every single one of our cells in our bodies require "sugars" and enzymes to keep their little selves moving and our brains thinking. Our source...food.
The soil we depend on to grow our food is in what is called "topsoil" and is an extremely thin part of what makes up our planet. David Suzuki reports that if we shrunk our planet to the size of a baseball, topsoil would be the size of an atom. Such a relatively thin layer of substance contains an extremely complex and bio-diverse profile. Each cubic centimetre moves with billions of microorganisms. "...the soil produces life because it is itself alive" (A Sacred Balance, 2007). Earth is our source of nourishment, a home for essential bacterial lifeforms and is a main filter for our water systems.
Topsoil has taken millions of years to create and we are destroying it within a few generations.
Despite our use of pesticides and monocrop farming to increase productivity of food, we still lose a third of crops to weeds and pests, which is a rate on par with crop loss before the chemical pesticide "revolution" (David Suzuki Foundation). 30 registered pesticides in Canada are known to kill wild birds, fish or important insects, and every bite means a dozen or more chemical combos being absorbed into the very cells of our bodies. Bioaccumulation of chemicals; a higher concentration in top predators of chemicals; has been shown for scary chemicals like DDT and other currently banned pesticides.
So how do we protect the foundation of life, our earth? We need to remember it's there, bring our awareness to just how alive and essential our soil is to life on our planet.
I invite you, yogi(ni)s and non-yogi(ni)s alike to practice a short sequence or moment of mindfulness with our earth. For the next few weeks take an extra moment during your practice to visualize and consider the connection between your toes. Poses like "tadasana" or mountain pose are excellent to focus your mind while all strong standing postures allow us to feel the energy spiraling up through our earth into our bones, muscles and life.
Choose certified organic foods whenever possible, either by budget or availability. The best certified organic food sources come close to home and are local by the province or state. Certified organic foods are grown using safe pest-control methods and products, which means little to no chemical absorption in our soil. Certification is rigid and requires years of commitment and soil prepping and is taken seriously by the industry.
Growing your own food, even if that means a starting with a small urban food containers on your balcony, will not only provide food that you control the soil's health, but forge a connection between yourself and Earth.
Support sustainable forestry by purchasing post-consumer recycled paper, forest stewardship council certified wood products and voice your concerns about clear cutting.
Compost your food, contributing to nourished soil. A common misconception is that food breaks down in the landfill. In reality, organic matter can stay the same for decades when in a plastic bag with minimal to no oxygen to allow food to break down.
Decrease your carbon footprint. The carbon emissions released in the air don't simply float away. The soil isn't separated from the air by an invisible force-field. A really concrete example, while living in Montreal our floors were coated each week in a layer of black carbon tar from the trucks and cars driving past (on Papineau street).
"The Power is YOURS! Go Planet!" :)
article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com