Friday, February 20, 2015

So What? It's Just Dirt!

The earth’s soil is home to a host of essential organisms, living and nonliving, and provides the foundation for our daily needs.  Soil forms when rocks break down into smaller bit and pieces due to weather and other forces.  Moss and lichen aid in the formation of soil by breaking down the rocks they grow on.  Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are vital for soil nutrition, and these minerals are naturally seen in healthy soil.   
“An acre of healthy topsoil can contain 900 pounds of earthworms, 2,400 pounds of fungi, 1,500 pounds of bacteria, 133 pounds of protozoa, and 890 pounds of arthropods and algae.”

So what happens to our soil when we engage in agricultural activities?  The natural biological and chemical balances of the environment sustains itself through a process that release and receives a balanced amount of nutrients.  When we grow our industrial sized crops, we deplete the soil of its nutrients, which is why we turn to artificial nutrients, fertilizers.  Fertilizers act as amazing imitators, but when too much is used, it can cause runoff into nearby water supplies.  This could be solved if we grew less crops, however with the exponential increase in the human population, this is not feasible.  Let’s all keep in mind how much food we consume and waste, our soil needs it!

 Science and Sustainability 1st Edition Student Textbook (purchase from

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