A Dirty Hangover
By Saskia Salak from Posty
Desperate for nutrients.
It's estimated $8 billion is lost globally as a result of compromised soil, diminished harvests and increased water requirements.
No, this isn’t a reference to the aftermath of one of your Wine Wednesdays or Thirsty Thursdays, though, if we’re being honest, you may need to cut back on those 16-bottle Groupons. Yes, we’re in a pandemic. Yes, it is a good deal. But when you're ordering two a month, the courier drivers start to talk. However, today we’re discussing something a little more pressing than your next beverage —soil degradation.
While topsoil may have a tough time competing for a front-page slot with Kim and Kayne’s marital status, it happens to be in an equally dire and toxic predicament. Topsoil is the level of dirt closest to the crop which provides plants with essential nutrients. Given its exposure to the elements, topsoil is most at risk of erosion. While the process does occur naturally, the extreme weather and catastrophic floods associated with global warming have severely exacerbated the issue. Not to mention, the chemical fertilizers used in mainstream agriculture making matters worse. The chemical cocktail in these treatments kills natural microbes in the ground which are essential for healthy plants and weakens and destroys the natural binding agents that hold soil together.
Not convinced? As the soil becomes more damaged, crop output decreases and can eventually cease all together. In fact, some studies suggest that topsoil levels have become so depleted we may have as little as 60 harvests left. Now, if you’ve already had your mid-life crisis, you might be thinking you’re in the clear but the economic consequences of erosion are shocking.
While the future may seem bleak, do not despair. There are still big box discounts from your favorite vineyards and emerging soil solutions are on the rise. Regenerative agriculture offers a new approach to farming, leveraging soil safe practices to give Mama Earth the detox she so desperately needs. Regenerative agriculture advocates for a series of restorative techniques including, our personal favourite, composting.
Composting not only reduces the amount of waste and methane emissions from landfill, but it actively restores nutrients and microbes in the soil while sequestering harmful carbon from the atmosphere. Healthy soil has the potential to absorb 5% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, more recent studies have found that applying compost to topsoil increases carbon retention. This method, dubbed 'Carbon Farming', has become increasing popular in California where researchers discovered applying compost to 5% of the state’s grazing land could offset 80% of the area’s agricultural emissions. If that wasn’t enough, compost increases resilience to floods and droughts, keeping soil particles stuck together while reducing the need for chemical fertilizer. If we’re sticking to the drinking metaphor, it’s the Pedialyte your body is currently calling out for.
Your leftovers and scraps have no place in the trash but are called in to save the day. With a plethora of individual and commercial resources there’s no reason you can’t have your cake and compost it too. It’s even rumored that sustainably sourced wine leaves you with less of a hangover. With that in mind, it’s time to set aside those toxic behaviors we’ve all gotten a bit too comfortable with and start making some healthier choices – even if it means getting a little dirty.