There is a certain resource that we all take for granted, that is pivotal in sustaining life on earth but is constantly used, abused and destroyed – yes, we are talking about soil. This under-appreciated, valuable source of fertility has finally been recognised in the eye-opening documentary ‘Dirt!’, directed by Bill Benenson, Gene Rosow and Eleonore Dailly. The film depicts the tumultuous life-cycle of soil, from its wonderful beginnings as the basis of life to its sad degradation due to industrialisation, chemical farming, desertification and other modern practices. Unbelievably, one-third of earth’s top soil has already been lost… Frightening.
Our lives have always been inextricably linked to the soil beneath our feet. Dirt! delves into this complicated and destructive relationship, showing how our mismanagement of soil has led to famine, drought, conflict, flood and contributed to climate change. The moral of the film however, is not meant to be completely negative. By sharing stories of experts in the field, Dirt! is aiming to change the relationship we have with soil in order to return it to its former glory. It lays out a number of steps we can take to reinvigorate this precious resource, including re-planting trees and forests, protecting seed varieties to preserve biodiversity, increasing organic farming and bringing more greenery to urban areas. It is entirely possible to build a mutually beneficial relationship with the soil and there is much hope for the future if we understand what needs to be done to protect it.