Originally published October 23 2008
Why We Need Action on Soil Depletion
by Lynn Berry
(NaturalNews) Soil scientists have known for many years about the decline in soil fertility. To address the problem, farmers, agricultural companies and governments have advocated a number of solutions which, however, have not ensured that our food is more nutritious.
Farming is big business and the aim to is give people cheaper food and make profits. This has meant that crops are genetically modified to ensure resistance against disease and to grow faster; that pesticides and herbicides are used to control pests; that ammonium-based fertilizers are applied to try to improve the soil.
This business has created an entirely unnatural ecosystem, where the soil has become barren and devoid of micro-organisms that are needed to create organic mineral complexes. The trace minerals have been used up and there is no immediate way to restore the micro-organisms.
The minerals from the soil contribute to producing nutrient rich food (including minerals). These nutrients are absorbed by us when we consume food. Like it or not we are connected to the soil. If it's depleted, then so are we. Unhealthy, barren soil does not produce food that is abundant in nutrients. For example, between 1951 and 1999 Vitamin A was completely lost in onions and potatoes.(1)
Soil that is depleted is unable to help nutrient deficient plants overcome attacks from pests and fungus. This means more pesticides are used. Synthetic (inorganic) fertilizers have little benefit since they create insoluble mineral complexes which are difficult for plants to absorb. Dr Richard Drucker (of Drucker Labs) reports that healthy nutrient-rich crops need 70 trace minerals, but that farming is only replacing 3-5 of these.(2)
Government authorities have been aware of the problem for 70 years. In 1936 it admitted that almost all soils in the US were depleted of minerals, and this was reiterated again in 1992 at the Earth Summit.(3) What does that have to say about progress?
Another reason why soils are depleted is acid rain. The University of Maine published a study in the December 2003 issue of the Soil Science Society of America Journal which confirms that acid rain depletes nutrients from the soil. Authorities have long ignored scientists' reports that acid rain depletes the soil of nutrients needed for growing trees.(4)
Can we then get minerals from other sources? Drucker believes that the best inorganic trace minerals from coral, colloidal or ionic have very large and insoluble molecules that are difficult to absorb at cellular level. Further, once they are absorbed, they accumulate in the body and are stored in fatty tissues. Over time, these substances become toxic leading to possible disease. Given this problem, we can assume that it will be difficult to get minerals from other sources. He does suggest that we need high quality supplements until a solution is found.(2)
Organic minerals have very small molecules which are easily absorbed through the cells. The minerals work as activators in the body as they are required to set off chemical reactions. For example, magnesium is an activator for over 300 enzymes and is important for the energy system of the body.
Dr Linus Pauling is famous for saying that every disease, sickness and ailment is related to mineral deficiency. The reason is that minerals are required for every cell in our body to function.
If minerals are lacking in our food, vitamins are of no use because vitamins (and enzymes) need minerals for them to work in our bodies. This means that vitamin supplements would be of no use unless we also have adequate minerals.
Our focus on progress in the name of money is having significant impacts on our health. Money was the very reason why authorities did not over the 70 years insist on sustainable farming practices, and why producers of pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers held sway. So some people have benefited financially, but what use is money if it cannot buy us food that will sustain us and keep us healthy in the long term?
About the authorLynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at www.lynn-berry.com.
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