Understanding soil quality: Part 5

November 12th, 2014

Last week we discussed the harmful effects of unhealthy soil and what that could mean to us as human beings. And the findings were quite frightening.

So this week we will discuss our only hope for a healthy world as noted by an eminent French scientist and Nobel Prize winner Dr. Alexis Carrel. He published a book nearly 102 years ago titled Man the Unknown, which discusses that since soil is the basis for all human life, our only hope for a healthy world rests on re-establishing the harmony in the soil.

Dr. Alexis Carrel

Dr. Alexis Carrel

Today soils are tired, overworked, depleted, sick, and poisoned by synthetic chemicals. Hence the quality of food has suffered and so has health. Malnutrition begins with the soil. Buoyant human health depends on wholesome food, and this can only come from fertile and productive soils. Minerals in the soil, said Carrel, control the metabolism of cells in plant, animal, and man. Chiefly destroying the harmony reigning among mineral substances present in small amounts of air, water, food, but most importantly in soil, creates diseases.

If soil is deficient in trace elements, food and water will be equally deficient.

Carrel found that chemical fertilizers can’t restore soil fertility. They do not work on the soil but are enforcedly absorbed by plants, poisoning both plant and soil. Only organic humus makes for life.

Plants are great intermediaries by which the elements in rocks, converted by microorganisms into humus, can be made available to animal and man to be built into flesh, bone, and blood. Chemical fertilizers, on the contrary, can neither add to the humus content of soil nor replace it. They destroy its physical properties, and therefore its life. When chemical fertilizers are put into the soil they dissolve and seek natural combination with minerals already present. New combinations glut or overload the plant causing it to become unbalanced. Others remain in the soil; many in the forms of poisons.

Plants, said Carrel, that are chemically fertilized may look lush, but lush growth produces watery tissues, which become more susceptible to disease; and the protein quality suffers. Chemical fertilizers, said Carrel, by increasing the abundance of crops without repaving all the elements exhausted from the soil, have contributed to changing the nutritive value of our cereals.

Please note as this is our last installment in this particular series, we realize some of these stories began years ago, but we feel they still have a lot of value when looking at soil quality as it affects the circle of life. What other questions do you have regarding soil quality?

Until next time, happy trails!

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