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THE EROSION OF CIVILIZATION


Food Chain Radio Show Host Michael Olson #928• July 22, 2013 • Sat 9AM Pacific

Professor David Montgomery, author of Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations


Why is civilization losing its soil?


“A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”  Franklin D. Roosevelt

Soil is like money in the bank.  We can spend our soil as we please, but only to the extent the soil we spend is replaced.  If we spend all the soil without replacing it, we will bankrupt our civilization.
The elemental economy of soil is etched into the history of civilizations come and gone, from the Golden Triangle of Mesopotamia to the hillsides of classical Greece, from the terrapretta of the Amazon basin to the alluvial plain of the Nile Delta.  Where soil is rich, civilization is florescent; where soil is spent, civilization is senescent.

In terms of arable soil, the United States is the richest land on earth. Thus, in a very short period of time, its people blossomed into one of the earth’s wealthiest civilizations.  But in fact, the U.S. is spending soil faster than it is being replaced.  Though this loss is hard for you and I to see on a daily basis, it is being pointed to with concern by geomorphologist Professor David Montgomery, who leads us to ask…

Why is civilization losing its soil?