Soil to many people is known only by the derogatory name of “dirt” it’s unclean, it is some “other”, something for humans to be distanced from. If something is dirty to must be cleaned, it is unsafe, unsanitary, unfit for humans. Soil is many things but soil is definitely not “dirt” and this term only serves to exacerbate our disconnection from both soil and the natural world.
Soil is a home, it is a store and it is a teacher. Soil is both the start and the finish. It is capable of giving birth to life and calling life to return to it through death and decay. Everything that is brought to life that is of organic matter whether that be flora or fauna will end up returned to the soil. The life given by the soil is sustained by death, the cycle constantly renews and matter is constantly shifting and changing. Every living thing is in some way dependant on soil, it unites us all it is a living system to be held in the highest regard.
Beneath the ground on which we walk are the soils stores, it cradles and holds water and it locks away carbon. Soil works in relation with other elements such as water to nurture plant life, this plant life works with the elements of the air to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen for other living things to breathe. Where does the plant life send the carbon? down into the soil. This interconnected solution for many of anthropocentric issues surrounding climate breakdown surely should highlight the truly amazing potential of soil. It can filter water to make it safe and clean, and it does all of this selflessly only acting with positive action unto the world which benefits every living thing that depends upon it.
Healthy soil has healthy soil life. Some of these beings are visible to us, some are not. The humble earthworm is a common icon for soil dwelling beasts, but he or she do not live alone. Soil is a home to millions of bacteria, miles and miles of fungal networks and insects too numerous to mention by name. They all live harmoniously enjoying the environment that the soil creates.
Soil does all of these things not for our benefit but for the benefit of the entire natural world, so how does the singular species of human beings interact with soil? Well we are violent towards it, quite frankly we are awful to soil and show it little or no respect. We demand year after year that the soil provide us with food to nourish our bodies without once returning the favour of nourishing the soil. We spray soil with harmful chemicals and pesticides that kill all the beings that call the soil their home. If any survive then we make certain their demise by ploughing the soil. We un do all of the good that the soil has done locking away carbon by re-releasing it into our atmosphere by the act of tilling. The soil is left devoid of life and vulnerable to erosion, loss of soil by water washing it into our rivers and oceans and by wind blowing the loose ploughed top soil away. We care so little about soil that we let it disappear before our very eyes. “Increased Food Production” is the banner under which we operate with such violence. If we abuse soil we can produce more food, we then pass laws regarding food standards that render that increased yield un-saleable and thus construct mountains of spoiled harvest and food waste. If we are to change the way we are to be with soil we must learn from it, not about it in order to exploit it.
On day in meditation a discipline of Buddha asked him “you teach us the lesson of equilibrium and of compassion and of forgiveness but where did you learn these things” Buddha simply took his hand and placed it palm down onto the soil. Soil gives life to all it does not credit check, discriminate, or ask questions it just selflessly gives to all. Even in the face of all the violence we show toward soil, it still nourishes us and provides us with food as well as engineering the planet for our survival. In order to learn equilibrium we must adhere to soil care. We must show the same compassion that we receive. We must stop this greed that causes us to act unjustly towards the natural world.
“Nature provides enough for everybody needs, but not enough for even one persons greed”
As some of you may or may not know (both of which are fine there is no judgement here) we chose the world Kintala for our output as it is a Romani word for balance, especially referring to a spiritual balance. The Romani language is believed to be part ancient Indian dialects, part Sanskrit and to have had some European influence. Kintala is in essence a version of the principle of karma, which is defined in numerous ways by numerous religions but our interpretation is that of rightful action. Put very simply doing the right thing. We care for the soil for which we are guardians in a non-violent way that is beneficial to soil and all that depend on it. We do not plough or till, we do not use any kind of chemicals, and we actually build top soil and soil structure. It is our understanding that by showing the natural world compassion it will treat us compassionately, by caring for the soil we are caring for all who depend up on it and in turn they care for us. This is our equilibrium.