The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet

The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet

by Kristin Ohlson


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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 world's 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781609615543
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 03/18/2014
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 250,842
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

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.

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Excerpted from "The Soil Will Save Us"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Kristin Ohlson.
Excerpted by permission of Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

Chapter 1 Where Did All the Carbon Go? 1

Chapter 2 The Marriage of Light and Dark 23

Chapter 3 Send In the Cows 48

Chapter 4 Letting Nature Do Its Job 78

Chapter 5 Cashing In on Carbon 113

Chapter 6 Why Don't We Know This Stuff? 151

Chapter 7 New Bedfellows 188

Chapter 8 Heroes of the Underground 218

Acknowledgments 235

References 238

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The Soil Will Save Us!: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Iowan More than 1 year ago
I have been so depressed about the environment and our food, but this book offers some hope. It seems to be well-researched and is very readable. A fascinating book!!!
A_Sloan More than 1 year ago
Heal the Soil to Reverse Global Warming I haven't met a soil scientist that I didn't like. They are always quirky, hopeful, and passionate about what they study. It's probably that childlike connection to playing in the dirt... and the realization that is plays such a significant role in life. Although Ohlson is not a soil scientist, she is not stranger to digging deep into topics. I knew that this would be a good book to read when I picked it up, and as I read on, my conviction was supported. It is a quick read that will reach a mainstream audience, beyond those familiar with Ruth Stout (Gardening Without Work) and William Bryant Logan (Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth). If you are looking to learn about "new" carbon sequestering techniques, this book is a great introduction to composting, cover crops, no-till farming, and other very modern agro-ecological science. You'll be fascinated to learn how Gabe Brown of North Dakota (who I saw present at the 2012 Quivira Conference!) created 4-feet deep topsoil over his land by going back to the basics! This is a great book - read and pass along!