Remineralizing the Soil

From The Journal of Borderland Research, Nov.-Dec 1989


Most of us are aware that the greenhouse effect is rapidly becoming a serious threat to our climate. There is widespread agreement that it is the reason we lost almost one-third of all our grains in 1988, and were not able to produce enough wheat, corn, etc. to feed ourselves. The greenhouse effect is caused partly by human activities-burning fossil fuels, cutting down the rainforests, etc., which put into the atmosphere carbon dioxide and other gases that trap additional heat from the sun, creating a kind of greenhouse. It is also happening because many of the earth's forests are dying from both man-made (pollution, acid rain) and natural causes.

Much of the minerals in the earth's soil have been gradually eroded away since the last ice age. Since minerals (iron, calcium, etc.) are essential nutrients for every form of life, the world's forests have been weakening and dying for hundreds of years. When the glaciers build up during each ice age, they grind up the rocks in their path into a fine dust called "loess." This rock dust is then carried by water and wind to many parts of the earth. Since rocks are made of minerals, this is how the essential minerals are returned to the soil, and the forests become revitalized once again. Experimental studies have shown that remineralizing the soil with finely ground gravel dust triples or quadruples the growth rate of plants! By grinding up mixed gravels (which contain the full spectrum of minerals) into a dust as fine as talcum powder so they can be made use of quickly by the plants, and by spreading this dust by airplane, blower-truck and every conceivable means over most of the world's remaining forests, the forests will become rejuvenated.

We also need to plant vast quantities of new, fast-growing species of trees on remineralized soil. As the revitalized forests thrive and spread, they will consume much of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, reducing the green house effect substantially. This will decrease the threat of a global food emergency which is now threatening us, and give us time to develop ways of conserving energy, much more efficient machines, and nonpolluting energy sources.

Remineralizing agricultural soils will enable us to grow much more food, enough to stockpile to get us through the coming climate crisis. It will also replace all the chemical fertilizers and pesticides which are poisoning the earth, the rivers, the farmers and ourselves. Remineralizing the soil produces plants so well nourished and hardy they can resist most insects all by themselves. They are also better able to withstand climatic extremes, including heat, cold and drought, all the things which now threaten our ability to grow enough food.

Remineralizing most of the forests of the world and planting billions of new trees is obviously a major project, but it is well within our industrial capabilities. It will cost about what the world spends on weapons and military activities every two years. There is evidence that it must be done quickly if we want to maximize our chances of stabilizing the climate before millions more of us starve to death, this time in every region of the earth. We know what to do, and we can afford it. Have we got the will to live? -Reprinted from The Journal of Borderland Research



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