Thursday, September 30, 2010


In honour of David Suzuki, I've decided to do a little "Four Elements" eco-impact. As a pagan, this paradigm just makes sense. Considering all four elements plus spirit is essential as part of our practice as yogi(ni)s. As biological beings we are inseparable from our planet and it's elements.

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

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.
According to David Suzuki, each year an estimated 24 billion tons of topsoil is lost on our planet, in large part because of agricultural practices and desertification (The Legacy, 2010). Modern agricultural farming has allowed us to increase in our food productivity, but with the direct result in soil erosion, loss and decreased richness. Modern farming methods now deplete topsoil about 30 times faster than it can be replaced (David Pimentel as quoted in A Sacred Balance 2007).

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


  1. YAY! I'm loving this idea. Can't wait to see the rest. Great tips here, too. I'm obsessed with soil and all the life in it. It is truly miraculous.

  2. Captain Planet, he's our hero
    Gonna bring pollution down to zero!

    Go Captain Planet! :-)


  3. amazing post. i was just reading about the topsoil in one of the many books I've devoured lately.. can't remember which one. possibly the butcher and the vegetarian?

  4. awesome...i have conversations with the bugs and worms when i'm digging in the garden :) speaking of FSC certified wood - i hope readers know that you can get it for equal price of non-FSC. i built my deck with local FSC cedar this year and LOVVVVE it :)

  5. I'd like to read some Suzuki. Could you recommend his best work to start with?

    Bob W.

  6. teehee- what a fantastic and cheesy children's cartoon.

    yes! FSC wood is so much more affordable than ever now- which really leaves no reason why we can't take that step. :)

    @Bob: Dr. Suzuki has a ton of books over his lifetime, so it can seem a bit overwhelming.
    I've read "A Sacred Balance" which was a more spiritual look at the environment, while still keeping a TON of scientific info. very educational. it was a bit too "Christian" centric for myself, but definitely worth it as a different look on our planet.

    I really have heard fabulous things about his movie- "Force of Nature" and I think it may be a fantastic place to start really. Should be coming out in theatres in November (in Canada, probably not too far afterwards). The book is just so much smaller (The Legacy).

    Hope that gives you a few ideas :)

  7. Great post. Enjoyed reading. Thanks!!!!!!!


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