Soil is one of the most precious resources on Earth. A living, breathing ecosystem of microorganisms.
Nearly 7.8 billion humans rely on soil for food security and untold numbers of delicate environmental systems depend on it to thrive.
Soil, this amazing foundation, is the ‘skin of the earth’ and is a form of life that is being stripped away by unsustainable agricultural practices. Our soil is eroding in a way that endangers every living thing that relies on it.
The difference between soil and dirt
Did you know soil and dirt are not the same thing?
Made up of organic matter, clay, and silt, soil is teeming with mico-organisms, minerals and nutrients that support plant, human, and animal life on the earth.
Dirt is what soil becomes when it is degraded and stripped of its nutrients and living microorganisms.
Soil is living, dynamic and essential to global food sovereignty. It should be respected as a vital environmental element and preserved in the way we approach water, rainforest, and other important environmental conservation.
Failing to do so could result in an environmental disaster even greater than the Dust Bowl that devastated parts of the US in the 1930s.
Agricultural mismanagement that led to soil degradation played a key role in the Dust Bowl catastrophe. The land was overworked and soil lost its nutrients, organic matter, and ability to withstand erosion. With its life stripped away it simply became dirt which was literally swept away across the country during massive dust storms - leaving farming areas barren wastelands.
Nutrient rich soil means nutrient rich food
It makes sense that healthy, nutrient dense soil in turn produces nutrient rich food.
Plants derive their nutrients from the soil and we derive our nutrients from plants. Depleted soil leaves plants, and ultimately human and animal life that eat plants, lacking in vital nutrients.
The role of soil organic carbon (SOC)
Carbon is an essential component of thriving, nutrient rich soil. It helps soil retain water, structure and the fertility of its organic matter. It’s carbon that plays a vital role in giving soil stability it needs to withstand weathering and erosion.
How soil is becoming degraded over time
Unsustainable agricultural practices have a direct impact on soil degradation.
Agricultural changes during colonial expansion played a central role in the decline of soil’s biodiversity faster than any time in history.
Colonization resulted in Indigenous communities, who successfully cultivated the earth for thousands of years, being marginalized and excluded from the management of their own land.
Traditional and cultural knowledge systems were ignored and new practices - focused on rapid output and financial gains - involved chemicals, mining, and soil nutrient depletion without replenishment.
The cost of these modern agricultural methods is staggering.
Pesticides and heavy metals have led to widespread soil contamination. Heavy machines have left the soil compacted and struggling to hold the water it needs to maintain precious ecosystems. Tilling has led to erosion on a global scale.
Ignoring traditional land management methods in favor of short-sighted practices for short-term gains has placed the future of essential ecosystems and natural food security in a devastatingly dire state.
Addressing the soil crisis: a return to Indigenous land management practices
We must be led by the land-management practices of Indigenous communities for soil restoration. It is vital that the knowledge of those who have a deep connection and understanding of the land be at the centre of agriculture systems on a global scale.
A landmark report published in 2019 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) showed that land under the stewardship of Indigenous people and local communities (those with historic ties to the land) experienced far less ecological decline.
It’s clear increasing the involvement of Indigenous people and their land management knowledge, innovations and practices is essential in our restorative sustainability journey.
Healthy soils benefit all of us
Healthy, flourishing soil supports the function of countless natural environmental systems - from nutrient cycling to pest and disease management. The quality of soil is inseparable from the quality of the plants that grow in it and the nutrients that end up in our bodies. Soil security equals food security.
Soil Rich Minerals
Soil is abundant with minerals that play a key role in our health - including our skin health.
Plants take their minerals from the soil. When soil is rich and healthy with minerals, it passes this abundance of minerals onto the plants growing in it. Conversely, soil degradation leaves plants short on vital minerals.
Let’s take a look at just a few key minerals that benefit our bodies and skin.
Selenium is nutritionally essential for humans. A potent antioxidant that aids in preventing cell damage caused by free radicals and reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress leads not only to premature signs of skin aging but also plays an important role in thyroid health of our immune system.
This vital mineral plays a key role in defending and rejuvenating skin. Zinc helps neutralize free radical activity to combat oxidative stress and is essential for the healthy formation of collagen and keratin. It promotes cell production, speeds up wound healing, and offers anti-inflammatory benefits style.
Silica is a trace element that has a tremendous role in skin health. It promotes collagen production and the resilience, flexibility, and strength of connective tissue. It also accelerates wound repair and is the 3rd most abundant trace element found in the body.
The mass of Earth’s crust is 59 percent silica and it is found in clay, granite, and sandstone.
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane or dimethyl sulfone)
MSM isn’t a mineral but a naturally occurring sulfur from rock minerals that can encourage softer, smoother, and more supple skin resulting from its use. MSM is contained in Klur Skin Soil.
Soil Health is Skin Health
Achieving true skin health is a holistic endeavor. Topical skin care is only part of the puzzle. We must also restore skin health from the inside with a healthy diet and eating soil rich plants to nourish the skin.
Plants can indicate the presence of healthy, rich soil - mushrooms and herbs are 2 such “soil indicators”.
The following mushrooms can offer benefits to the skin as sources of Beta Glucan and all-important Vitamin D:
Beta Glucan is a natural humectant ingredient that attracts moisture to the outer layer of skin. Vitamin D offers protective benefits against UV damage and helps in cellular growth and repair. Mushrooms are a way to keep your Vitamin D levels topped up from the inside to supplement Vitamin D received from sun exposure.
Revered by Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine practitioners, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) is a powerful herb delivering many benefits for skin, including collagen support and anti-inflammatory properties.
A powerful herb in Ayurvedic treatments, ashwagandha possesses an abundance of amino acids, antioxidants, and iron that work together to promote skin health. It can aid in the production of elastin, collagen, and hyaluronan for hydration.
This common flowering ‘weed’ may trouble gardeners but it has wonderful benefits for the skin and overall health! It contains iron, zinc, calcium, silicon and Vitamins E, B,C, and K plus amino acids and fatty acids. The flowers, stems, leaves and roots, can all be eaten but the roots are richest in active ingredients. Dandelion resiliency demonstrates how powerful it is.
Rich in natural silica, bamboo offers collagen stimulating benefits for firmer skin and methanol, a powerful anti-inflammatory found naturally in the sap promotes skin healing.
Did you know rosehip has been referred to as “the skin vitamin”? A powerhouse of antioxidants - especially Vitamin A - and fatty acids collectively work to boost skin regeneration and improve moisture to keep skin firm and supple.
The practice of Earthing - Feet to the ground
The practice of Earthing, simply put, it’s feeling the ground with bare feet to put our skin in direct contact with the electrons of the earth’s surface.
It’s a surprisingly powerful form of self-care (I’m enamored with its simplicity!) and one with benefits backed by scientific evidence.
The benefits of Earthing supported by science include:
Reduced chronic pain responses
Lower glucose levels
Overall improvement in feelings of well being
Wearing shoes and foot protection all day long (often synthetic materials) usually separates us from this type of natural contact. While footwear provides immense support and protection, if we’ve always got something on our feet we’re disconnected from a unique and necessary recharging of the body through the connection of earth's magnetic fields.
So, take off your shoes, put your bare feet on the ground and soak up the benefits of this direct connection with our incredible Earth.
"To touch the earth is to have harmony with nature." – Oglala Sioux
Copyright 2021 Klur Botanics LLC