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What the Documentary Kiss the Ground Can Teach Us About Herbicides

Author
Jordana Neeman
December 16, 2020

Glyphosate, the main chemical found in the herbicide Roundup has been known for years to be hazardous to both people and the environment yet it is still widely used today in both agriculture development and personal gardening.

The many lawsuits against bayer (the manufacturers of roundup) detailing cancer illness after years of exposure to roundup  have brought to light the harmful effects that glyphosate can have on people. Now the new Netflix documentary, “Kiss the ground" is discussing the harmful effect that glyphosate has on the environment.

healthy soil agriculture

It All Starts With The Soil

Although discussing the harmful effects the chemical glyphosate can have is not new,  what the documentary does beautifully is explain how this chemical and using any kind of herbicide or pesticide is just one piece of the puzzle to soil health. Soil health is actually the heart of the documentary, and how healthy soil truly has a profound impact on our environment.  Unfortunately today we have more land with unhealthy soil than healthy soil. 

Healthy Soil, according to kiss the ground, is soil free from herbicides and tilling. It is packed with billions of  microbes, (including, bacteria , fungi etc) and most importantly carbon.  Healthy soil will hold carbon it takes from trees and plants (which they take from the atmosphere).

Healthy soil is actually an ecosystem in itself. It is a beautiful life form in and of itself and it can host and create healthy plant life and can even add to the health of the animals who eat plants, grass and vegetation that grow from healthy soil. Plants and soil microbes have a special harmonious relationship where organic material in the soil is digested by plants and turn into nutrients in them.

The Problem of Modern Agriculture

All of the soil that uses heavy chemical pesticides or herbicides, like Roundup, is devoid of all the healthy microorganisms it needs along with carbon. It kills all the important healthy microbes in the soil and can even kill microbes in our body when we eat plants grown from this kind of soil.

What the film also teaches us is that it is not the use of herbicides alone that is causing problems. The way modern agriculture is set up today, with the heavy use of tilling and herbicides, that is the combination that is contributing to soil erosion. Agriculture production today has a heavy reliance on chemicals and tills. This system is not designed for the betterment of the soil, it is instead ruining the soil and creating erosion. Large scale crop production in America today has so much bare land exposed at one time, this can overheat the environment,  disrupt the water cycle and create soil degradation.

As soil degrades it requires greater use of pesticides (herbicides, chemicals) to maintain productivity. Unfortunately this destructive cycle is happening on large amounts of American farmland today and other land throughout the world. In addition more “virgin” land is being converted to land for food and livestock feed production.

Regenerative

A New Hope With Regenerative Agriculture

The message and hope of this film is a further push towards more regenerative agriculture. It does exist today in many places in the world and it sees great success but more is needed to make a large impact on the environment.

The practices and methods that are placed under the term Regenerative farming include:

  • No Till agriculture (farmers do not plow soil but instead drill seeds into the soil)
  • The use of cover crops (plants are grown to cover the soil after a farmer’s main harvest crop)
  • Rotating crops with livestock grazing
  • No fertilizer or pesticides or greatly reduced amounts of them.

The argument is that we as humans have put in approximately 1,000 billions tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere and we need to start taking it out to help the environment.  Regenerative agriculture allows us the opportunity to take out carbon from the atmosphere and give to the earth soil (where much of it originated) so we can start to have a more equal balance of how much we put it in and take out.

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We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.

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