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Tuesday, June 16, 2015


I recently read Cows Save the Planet by Judith Schwartz (2013).  

In this book JS discusses a lot more than how cows positively impact the planet.  She thoroughly examines both the politics and the practices that underly sustainable living.  Actually, the book is more about how we restore and regenerate soil to a healthy state than it is about cows.  

Here are my biggest takeaways:

  • When (IF) money ever reaches a state of meaninglessness, healthy soil will be the premium currency; only from it springs the life that gives us life.
  • We must "give back" to the soil what we take from it, for when we erode/degrade it, we erode/degrade our social fabric.
  • Soil IS the critical hub of the carbon cycle.
  • Future wars will be fought over water, not oil.
  • Key mineral nutrients in our crops have declined 50-100% in the last century.
  • One teaspoon of healthy soil contains more living bacteria than there are people on the planet (6 billion+). Wow.
  • "Regenerating" is a better goal than "sustaining," since we've allowed much of our soil to reach a severely degraded state already.
  • Healthy soil = healthy plants/animals/water = healthy us.  

My favorite sentence:
"I’ll leave you with Kurt Vonnegut’s iconic comment: 'We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.'” (p. 204)

Enlightening.  It'll change your worldview (maybe a little, maybe a LOT).

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