Restoring Our Earth to Vibrant Health
by Don Weaver
“Healing the damage of industrial civilization is the task of our generation.” —Leonardo DiCaprio
“Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and esthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” —Aldo Leopold
“Our life on Earth is a fellowship of being, and there can be neither prosperity nor survival for those whose practices continually violate the laws of interdependent life.” —Henry Geiger
You may have already consciously embraced your part in healing and restoring the Earth to a much higher state of health and vibrance but, if not, please consider this your invitation!
This has been my main focus for 30 years while replenishing soils, planting gardens and orchards and teaching about the health of the Biosphere.
While many socio-ecological problems have worsened over these 30 years, it appears that an ever higher percentage of our 6.6 billion population is waking up to the need to transform our ways of living, to truly go“green,” to make peace with the Earth and ourselves, to end the “war onTerra.” This Terra, the beautiful living Earth of which we are an essential part, needs each of us to become conscious contributors to personal/planetary healing. You are needed and invited and welcomed! Here are some views from my perspective as a health-oriented ecologist and organic grower.
We need to swiftly, consciously and wisely become the generous species on Earth. We’ve taken so much from the soils, plants, trees and animals; we have a huge debt that must be paid to restore our own vibrant health and that of the whole interdependent chain of life. Fortunately, we can do this by remineralizing the world’s soils with natural mixtures of rock dust, returning the increased amount of organic matter back to the soil. This will build its fertility and depth while enabling abundant production to meet our needs for pure natural foods, fiber, timber/bamboo, biomass energy (alcohol,bio-diesel, wood, hemp, etc.), as well as beautiful landscapes, parks, and wildlands. (Related note: On 2/08/08, Reuters gave the news ofGeneral Motors’ plan that half of their new cars will be fueled byethanol by 2012; current cars can be converted to run on a bio-fuel,electricity, or both.) By our choosing healthy vegetarian/vegan/raw-foodlifestyles, hundreds of millions of acres now used for animal-based agriculture and drug crops can be converted to organic-mineralized orchards, farms and new forest land. Also, fast-growing tree plantations on remineralized soils can simultaneously build soil fertility and convert CO2 to leaf and wood for alcohol fuel and wood energy. Leaves and residues can be returned to the soil. This can replace the practice of burning carbon stored in the ground as oil, coal, and natural gas, which is wrecking our interglacial climate.
This conversion can eliminate what currently comprises 20% of total CO2 emissions from animal “husbandry,” enabling us to quickly plant the many billions of trees needed to bring CO2 down from about 385 ppm to a stable interglacial level of about 280 ppm. Remineralizing much of the current forest land will greatly reduce the widespread disease, insect and fire epidemics, enabling forests to again grow healthy and strong. This will pull in billions of tons of CO2 through renewed nourishment and vibrance from soil microbes up to treetops. It will reverse soil acidification, allow the soil life-system to hold much more moisture for year-round availability and ameliorate the increasing “tinderbox”conditions in many malnourished forests. Stabilizing CO2 levels and the planetary climate is the sensible approach if we want to save what is left of our forests and nurture the growth of new ones over much of the Earth.
Whether you lean toward the widely accepted “global warming” theory and related evidence, or the “new glacial period” thesis and evidence as put forth by John Hamaker and others, including myself, I think we can all agree on the wisdom of remineralizing and regreening the Earth to reverse the current slide into “climate chaos.” For example, in our recent winter of 2007–2008, there were record cold and crop-destroying snowstorms all the way into southern China, Greece, the Middle East, and Florida as well as north to Alaska, Canada and Greenland, with the highest level of Northern Hemisphere snow cover in at least 52 years.
Along with the understanding that we’ve about reached “Peak Oil,” we need to realize our soil-devouring civilization has already passed “Peak Soil.” Earth is in urgent need of replenishment. Can the human mind and heart awaken and shift from egocentric to ecocentric, from the shortsighted habits of Earth-exploitative materialism to Earth-regenerative compassion, simple eco-living and co-creation of natural abundance and health for all? I have appreciated the inspiration for this awakening provided by many wise philosophers from Thoreau and Emerson to J. Krishnamurti and Eckhart Tolle, and am glad to see Oprah Winfrey’s new initiative. She has invited Tolle to appear on her TV show and is joining with him to teach an online class series based on his latest book, A New Earth. Over 750,000 have signed up at her website so far. As well, Oprah’s new show, “The Big Give,” is sowing the seeds of greater generosity in the human heart.
Health-and-Ecology Education Are Key
The signs are hopeful that in time, Oprah and all of us can realize that “A New Earth” is possible through our heartfelt understanding, vision and actions. The alternative—a dying Earth—is simply unacceptable. A working knowledge of the basics of health and ecology is the key to discernment when it comes to the teachings of our current educational system on these subjects, as well as in detaching from brainwashing about Earth-detrimental products and “lifestyles” touted by most media and the 36-billion-dollar advertising industry in the U.S. Ongoing self-education throughout life seems the wise course. John Robbins’ excellent new book, Healthy at 100, contains information on the wisdom of other cultures, including some of the healthiest and longest-lived. As John writes: Depending on what we choose to affirm and cultivate within ourselves and our children, we can collectively turn this planet into a hell or a heaven. Whether we like it or not, and whether we accept it or not, our choices make an enormous difference. How we treat ourselves and each other always matters.
This is why I believe that the world’s healthiest and most long-lived peoples offer us a vision of hope for our time. In Okinawa, Abkhasia, Vilcabamba and Hunza, there is a deep sense of human connection and social integrity. People continually help one another and believe in one another. There are always ways for people to make amends for mistakes and be forgiven, so people are almost never discarded or rejected. Wealth is shared rather than hoarded. As one Abkhasian proverb puts it, ‘I am whole because you are whole.’
John next quotes Dr. Allen Banik, author of Hunza Land: In Hunza, I seemed to be in another world, a world of friendliness and good nature. Covetousness, envy and jealousy were nonexistent; no police force was needed to keep order; unlocked doors were not a temptation. People of these cultures eat a mostly raw and mostly plant-food organic diet, as well as lead an outdoors active life close to the land for the young and long-time young alike.
John describes the Hunza model of soil replenishment in depth, here quoting J.I. Rodale’s The Healthy Hunzas: The magnificent health of the Hunzans is due to…the way in which their food is raised…I am sure that the powdered rock dust which flows onto the Hunzan land is a significant factor in the outstanding results obtained by the Hunzans.
Since people of all of the cultures studied in Healthy at 100 have eaten whole, mineralized, organic food throughout their lives, they’ve been virtually untouched by cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity,etc. In contrast, there are “12 million new cases of malignancy worldwide in 2007,” with almost 8 million dying from their cancer and/or their medical “treatments” (HealthDay.com, 12/17/07), while the incidence of obesity in the U.S. has increased from 13 to 32 percent since the 1960s (Acres USA, Sept. 2007). Both junk food addiction and hidden hunger for nutrients lacking in soils and foods are primary causes of obesity, along with sedentary lifestyles, of course. We have less energy to exercise, to garden, or even to think rationally when we are malnourished, so look out for this “vicious cycle.” Let us also avoid seeking to fill our needs for emotional and spiritual nourishmentwith food. Consider how love for self and others can be the inspirational foundation to bring about a full restoration of human and planetary health.
Organiculture Can Restore “Earth Health” Fruition, a farm on Maui, is another model of the health-oriented agriculture of the future, thriving on 11 acres of previously neglected pastureland. Former San Franciscans Stephan Reeve and his mom, Dorli, have co-created an Edenic garden and orchard a la the Hunzans with generous soil remineralization, mulching and composting. Fruition produces a growing abundance of mineralized avocados, mangos, papayas, lychees, jakfruit, sapotes, tangelos, rambutans and many others, probably exceeding the variety grown in Hunza. Continued generous remineralization and compost return should soon allow Fruition to match the quality of the Hunzan “Shangri-La.” Why don’t we all strive for such high standards of soil fertility, food quality, health and active longevity? While I’m fortunate to have some mineralized fruits and veggies year-round from my gardens here in California, my two weeks working at Fruition this past January was extra-nourishing and rejuvenating to body and spirit. Along with eating a variety of fresh, ripe, mineralized produce, renewing great friendships and swimming often, my rock dusting of a new grove of rollinia trees was a highlight, as I love to help young trees grow to healthful fruition. Not only are rollinia trees very beautiful and fast-growing, the rollinia fruit has joined my favorite five fruits of the world, along with sapote, durian, atemoya, apricot…and perhaps tied with nectarines, cherries, peaches, persimmons, pineapple…
The marvelous fact is that when we grow foods in remineralized and organic matter-enriched soils (animal manures and slaughterhouseby-products are not needed, thankfully), the development of the flavor and of all the health-promoting compounds can, if you are truly hungry, make each food a favorite at the time of eating! The more we intelligently give to Nature, the more Nature gives back, often a hundredfold or more!
The fruits and vegetables grown by remineralizing farmer Bob Cannard, chosen by Alice Waters to supply the produce for Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, and by Rick and Kristi Knoll at Tairwa Farm in Brentwood, California, also come in for high praise. (Many appreciative customers agree with the Knolls’ own assessment of their farm and food as “beyond organic.”) Now with Cal-Organic, California’s largest organic farm, adding at least 3000 tons of Summa Minerals rock dust to their increasingly remineralized acreage, it is clear that mineralized-organic can succeed from the smallest garden to the largest farm, and beyond. The need for global Earth Regeneration work can eliminate unemployment and make crime as scarce as it is in the well-nourished, engaged-with-Nature cultures. The real crime is our neglect of healthy human development, such that over 2.2 million are now imprisoned in the U.S.
The fact that crime, war and ecological destruction are virtually unknown in cultures such as Hunza that Robbins writes of in Healthy at 100, tells us that these are extremely unnatural practices; their existence in our own culture is telling us we must heal ourselves at every level of being, in every inter-relationship and “from soil to psyche.”
Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of spending 5 billion dollars or more per week on warfare, we would use it to fund all the crucially needed Earth Regeneration projects? Is anything more important? A new and vibrant Earth calls us forward. Now is the time to exercise our “response-abilities” and to express our love and thanks for the gift of life!
I’ll conclude with a partial list of positive steps we can each consider taking, if right for us; then a few websites promoting soil remineralization, eco-agriculture, tree and orchard planting, healthful living and deeper understanding of our eco-climatic crisis and opportunity. It is my hope that you will joyfully discover your own vital role in restoring vibrance to your health and that of your larger body, the living Earth!
Positive Steps to Consider
1. Start a garden/orchard/farm/Earth Regeneration Center to provide food, beauty, and inspiration to yourself and others. Buy seeds and trees from independent and organic growers whenever possible as there is a major corporate push to take over, hybridize, chemicalize, and genetically modify agriculture and the food supply. Save seeds and propagate plants yourself, as well. Start a plant and tree nursery.
2. Remineralize the soil, make compost, feed the microbes and earthworms to restore the foundation of health and life.
3. Buy only organically grown foods and other natural products; try eating mostly or only plant foods and mostly or only fresh/raw/ripefoods; share the good news about soil mineralization and organic growing practices with farmers and as many people as you can.
4. Simplify every aspect of life to promote health for people and planet; work together with those supporting global health; withdraw your support from those people and companies whose practices are harmful to the ecosystem and encourage them to go constructively green.
5. Become knowledgeable about your own region as well as about the world in general so you may better influence local and global politics and consciousness through writing, speaking and leading new positive initiatives. Community gardens/orchards, tree nurseries and tree planting projects are needed almost everywhere, as are more Community Supported Agriculture enterprises, natural food potlucks and healthy living education centers and events.
6. Explore co-housing and cooperative community and eco-village options for you and loved ones, and/or retrofit your current residencefor increased solar power, food growing and green living. Study Permaculture principles to see how they apply to your living and growing environment.
7. Help schools start organic, mineralized gardens and orchards—the “Edible Schoolyards” founded by Alice Waters in Berkeley, Californiaare an example to build upon. Share Nature’s beauty and miracles with children to prevent further spread of “Nature Deficit Disorder.”
8. Add to this list according to your nature and inner inspiration, and try out the advice to “be the most positive person you know.” Conclude with a partial list of positive steps we can each consider taking, if right for us; then a few websites promoting soil remineralization, eco-agriculture, tree and orchard planting, healthful living and deeper understanding of our eco-climatic crisis and opportunity. It is my hope that you will joyfully discover your own vital role in restoring vibrance to your health and that of your larger body, the living Earth!
Remineralize the Earth: www.remineralize.org
Soil and Health Library: www.soilandhealth.org
General Eco-Agriculture: www.acresusa.com
Sudden Oak Life: www.suddenoaklife.org
Trees for Life: www.treesforlife.org
Friends of the Trees: www.friendsofthetrees.net
Fruit Tree Planting Foundation:www.ftpf.org
Men of the Trees Australia: www.menofthetrees.com.au
School gardens/ecology center: www.oaec.org
Fruit-nut trees & plants: www.permacultureactivist.net
Organic seeds: www.vegparadise.com/heirloom.html
Organic seeds/resources: www.tilth.org
Natural Hygiene/raw food: www.rawfoodexplained.com
Whole Systems Education:www.wholenessbook.com
More “inconvenient” climate info: www.iceagenow.com
John Robbins’ Healthy at 100: www.healthyat100.org
Alcohol fuel/permaculture: www.alcoholcanbeagas.com
Biodiesel resources: www.biodieselamerica.org
Don Weaver is co-author with John Hamaker of The Survival of Civilization, author of To Love And Regenerate The Earth, and a regular contributor to Living Nutrition/Vibrance magazine.Both books are free to download in the Agriculture section of the Soiland Health Library: www.soilandhealth.org and at Don’s newwebsite-in-progress: www.RegeneratingEarth.com. He also assists thenon-profit Remineralize the Earth, Inc. and helps people start organicgardens, orchards and Earth Regeneration Centers. Don gardens on theSan Francisco Peninsula and celebrates his 31st year of health on a100% raw vegan diet in April 2008. He welcomes feedback on his writingsand ideas for cooperative projects to nourish personal-and-planetaryhealth (email@example.com or Don Weaver, POB 620478, Woodside CA94062).