Synopses & Reviews
Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices — and, especially, modern industrial agriculture — have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the worlds soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet. In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope" — a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon — and potentially reverse global warming.As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, Ohlson has long had an appreciation for the soil. A chance conversation with a local chef led her to the crossroads of science, farming, food, and environmentalism and the discovery of the only significant way to remove carbon dioxide from the air — an ecological approach that tends not only to plants and animals but also to the vast population of underground microorganisms that fix carbon in the soil. Ohlson introduces the visionaries — scientists, farmers, ranchers, and landscapers — who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.
"On the long list of things we have to do to fight climate change, learning to pay attention to soil again is near the top. Its not just dirt, its not just something that holds plants upright — as this book points out, its pretty damned vital." Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
"I was barely a dozen pages into The Soil Will Save Us when I felt the ground shifting under my feet — the literal ground, as in the composition of the rich humus of old-growth forests compared to the exhausted, scorched, and ruined ancient fields of global farming — and the psychic ground….This is a remarkable book, which tells — with a light touch and a breezy, readable manner — a story of modern science of the most crucial importance." Melissa Fay Greene, author of Praying for Sheetrock and There Is No Me Without You
"At last, soil has been included in the conversation about food. And you don't need a degree in soil sciences to see how the web of life below the surface that infuses soil — is soil — is strongly affected by the various webs of life that occur aboveground, for better and worse....This book is eminently readable, well-researched, and important." Deborah Madison, author of The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
About the Author
Kristin Ohlson is a writer based in Portland, OR. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Salon, Discover, and elsewhere. Her article about burning coal mines was collected in Best American Science Writing 2011. She is also the author of Stalking the Divine, which won the American Society of Journalists and Authors 2004 Best Nonfiction Book award, and coauthor of New York Times bestseller Kabul Beauty School.