I’ve been watching some Zach Bush videos the past couple of days. Zach talks a lot about soil, healthy microbiomes inside and out, and the holistic effects of glyphosate on the microbiome that sustains healthy life. Glyphosate is essentially an antibiotic that wipes out most of the good bacteria. Those bacteria help to maintain homeostasis in our ecosystems and in our bodies. Homeostasis cannot be maintained in isolation, all species of the system are an integrated whole. We are simply part of a community that includes bacteria, protozoans, fungi, plants and animals. Our own bodies are also such a community. There are more organisms in our personal ecosystem that are not us than all of our own cells. Anything that affects the microbiome of the soil affects the microbiome in our own bodies. As above, so below. Zack is working in regenerative agriculture to begin the process of return to soil health, which in turn, will improve the health of all life on the planet. I have blogged on the problem of glyphosate before at: http://www.drjulieecoethics.com/443771833
I want to focus on Zack’s notion of beauty, love and restoration of our role as cohabitants, even co-creators here on planet earth. Here is my interpretation of this integrated with my thoughts related to the aesthetics of nature, relationship with nature and the idea of thinking in deep earth time.
We are designed to experience the beauty of nature. Our sensory organs, although limited, dominate the way we experience the world. Yet, our language is not sufficient to describe beauty. We don’t/can’t quantify this quality. Perhaps words are too static and restrictive to convey a dynamic and infinite experience. Poetry uses metaphors to say this beauty feels like that beauty, but communicating beauty and the feelings it evokes can be illusive. Beauty is a very personal subjective experience, yet at the same time a universal one felt by nearly all of us. I have blogged on the aesthetics of nature. http://www.drjulieecoethics.com/443190407
Zach states succinctly that beauty is the fabric of the cosmos. The experience of beauty generates love and coherence. All of us recognize beauty and are moved by it. Nature is a great source of beauty. Experiencing the beauty of nature and the love one feels in those moments invokes a reverence of life in general and also reverence for one’s own life in relation to the world. But from a western cultural framework, humans are separate from nature. We have created institutions to replace natural systems (industrial/medical/agricultural) that seem to be at war with viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoans. Instead of cooperating, we are competing. Instead of flowing with the resilience of complex systems, we diminish the health of ecosystems and our own bodies. Instead of resonating with diversity, we reduce it. We lose beauty in monocultures and feedlots. As we lose the beauty, we lose the love. Love is central to relationship and reciprocity with nature. If nature is beauty so are we because we are nature even if we try to put ourselves above natural law.
I have discussed this anthropogenic view and the destruction of natural environments this has wrought. http://www.drjulieecoethics.com/434437245
But then Zack goes into deep earth time to claim that evolution itself is a movement towards beauty. I liked his example of how plants have become more vibrant, more diverse, more robust, and more beautiful over geologic time. During the Mesozoic, Age of Dinosaurs, ferns were a major flora found in fossil records. After the extinction event, angiosperms (flowering plants) became a major flora found across the planet. Flowering plants are more beautiful than ferns. Diverse adaptations, more robust and complex reproduction processes, more colorful, more sensual with scents and textures. And, although there were some very robust and beautiful dinosaurs, their extinction opened environment conditions for mammals becoming a dominate group during the Cenozoic, the present geologic era. Evolution is the narrative of life transforming towards more diversity, more integration, cooperation and communication. And environmental stress is the accelerant for change. Life always emerges from extinction events with more diversity.
Another interesting thing Zach discusses is the importance of viruses as genetic updates which drives evolution forward. Viruses are ways to share genetic information, indeed to share gain of function genes to deal with drastic environmental changes. Zach stated that 50% of the human genome are such virus updates. These virus genetic updates assist resurgence of life after extinction events.
Zach claims that we need to reclaim our integrative relationship with nature, with soils and our food supply. We need to recognize and step back into our role, our niche, our relationship with planet earth. Our current consumer driven, convenience seeking lifestyle has led to degradation of the systems that support life. Our current approaches to health and agriculture and disconnect from the beauties of nature will lead to the demise of our civilization. But, Zach is the eternal optimist. He states that emerging from that stress will hold possibilities of the next step in evolution. The next quantum jump to even more beauty.
http://www.drjulieecoethics.com/431470774 nature connection
http://www.drjulieecoethics.com/442911545 soil as carbon sink