Just as food does not really come from a supermarket, fertility does not
come from a fertilizer factory.
Justus Von Liebig made his discovery, over a century ago, that plants
responded to synthetically-prepared chemicals dissolved in water in much the
same way that plants responded to soil. In Liebig's day nothing much was
known about the microbial world of the soil, and the symbiosis of plants and
soil organisms. In this day not all, or even most, is known on these
subjects, and Liebig is partly responsible for this ignorance. Why study the
soil organisms if their role has been made obsolete by chemical fertility,
There is evidence of 570 million years of unbroken continuity on earth of
life in magnificent abundance and complexity, and other evidence showing life
back to about the very first day the conditions were adequate for early life.
For the first two or three billions of years, living was tough, and conditions
did not exist for multicelled life, although colonies of single cells existed
almost from the beginning. At some point life got the hang of this living
thing and true fertility began as the roots of higher evolution. Without
these roots of fertility we wouldn't exist, and even if mere scientific
curiousity were not a sufficient reason to understand these roots, our present
array of mutually-exclusive many optional futures would benefit from informed
Some decisions can never be un-made, so only one choice from many should
be chosen based on solid understanding of the repercussions. The roots of
fertility will not survive some choices. The picture of the refugees fleeing
from "Ecosphere 2" should be forever burned in everyones minds. There is no
place to flee from Ecosphere 1.
The roots of fertility begin on microscopic levels, where weather and
the forces of nature prepare the mineral world for absorption into the living
world. Frost crystals, summer heat, dissolving rain, wind blown grit open
microchannels in the rocks and particles of earth. Cells move into these
spaces and use chemical arsenals to mine minerals of use in propagation and
metabolism. Digestive acids are made to suppliment the acid rains of nature.
Water, the universal solvent, in brownian motion barrages and dipole-magnetic
forces unlock the molecular bonds of the mineral surfaces.
Single cells ingest these raw materials, examine them for usefulness,
than incorporate some and eject others. Small organic compounds are
synthesized which do not exist in nature, and then from these more complex
ones are assembled. When the cell dies, its' contents are released in forms
which decay at faster and slower rates. 500 million years of perpetual
evolution has prepared millions of species of invisibly small size to live in
Life lives off of life. No exceptions are known. How or why it started
has never been proven or even approached convincing proof. But it is known to
an absolute certainty that life today lives off of life of today and
The "primeval soup" of scientific mythology actually exists under your
feet, today and for as far back as we can see. The ingredients change daily
in subtle ways, giving one or another species a niche advantage to suddenly
prosper and expand. When critical supplies are locally depleted these
opportunists die back, giving up their life's work of natural synthesis to the
environment. Whenever populations of any kind swell, their specialized
predators follow. Daisy-chains of molecular ingestion and transformation
occur. This is only part of the roots of fertility.
Higher up the food chain, more specialized predators prey on the
microherd, each and every unique species making unique proteins (which is a
practical definition of a species). Some of these proteins are long lasting,
and pollens, for example, have been found in hundreds of millions of year old
fossil digs. Some portion of raw chemicals get bound up for lengths of time
from minutes to hundreds of millions of years, for better or for worse.
Genetically engineered pollens can exist for as long into the future, for
better or for worse.
Terrestial plants appeared long after these cycles had been established,
and evolved to take advantage of the environment as it was then. They have
continued to evolve, and co-evolve, adapting to change, and bringing change.
The advent of multicelled life brought new requirements. Only the single
celled could fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. Plants have specialized needs
and require services from the microherd. In exchange they provide services to
the microherd. This is more of the roots of fertility, literally.
Using an atom of molybdenum, (which is found in astonishingly low
percentage of only one atom per million of Earth's crust,) a photon of
sunlight is focused with such force as to knock out an atom of carbon from a
carbon-dioxide molecule, as part of an act we call photosynthesis. Carbon is
released for use in plant metabolism, and oxygen is released for the microherd
to breathe. What role the microherd plays in mining and conserving the
molybdenum and delivering it to the plants is unknown at present. Many other
exchanges of services are simultaniously occuring.
Rye has been observed to put out 7,000 miles of feeder rootlets in a
season. The growing tip sloughs off cells at amazing rates, each cell living
for mere seconds, on death releasing its contents into the soil plasma, or
primeval soup for the microherd. The microherd colonizes the tunnels. Some
fungi have also evolved the nitrogen-fixing ability and exchange services with
root tips. These are more roots of fertility. In life the plant roots
extract minerals from depths deeper than the microherd can extend, raising
them up to the sunlight and the plant above. Upon death the plant roots die
off completely, giving up their contents to the microherd. The stems, leaves,
flowers and seeds above eventually return their residues to the earth making
the basis for topsoil.
The microherd is distributed globally. So small that they float on the
slightest breeze, they rain down on all parts of the earth day and night. In
a world of checks and balances, constantly replenishing predator species may
play important and unexplored roles in bio-region ecologies far separated.
There is no point in exaggerating the importance or unimportance of this, when
so little data is known of certainty about the global microherds. There are
unknown millions of species which have never been seen by any human eye even
On local ecologies the result of disturbances are real, visible, and
somewhat known. Chemical assults on the soil have reduced the natural
fertility. While plants cannot tell the difference from nitrogen supplied by
ammonium nitrate, the microherd certainly can tell. They die.
The microherd dies in great numbers, ceasing their contributions of
services to the ecology. They are in large part the digestive system of
earthworms (who have no teeth), which then die off. When the earthworms are
dead, they no longer make their contributions to the ecology. Charles Darwin
studied earthworms for forty years of his life and made dramatic claims for
their contribution to the ecology. There are many people today who call
earthworms of no significance to agricultural fertility, but those are people
who know less than Darwin knew and know less than I am telling you now. These
are more of the roots of fertility.
When 1,080,000,000 acres of US agricultural land is farmed with total
disregard for the roots of fertility, disregard for the microherd, disregard
for earthworms, disregard for the natural evolutionary needs of the plants,
and disregard for ecology, then Ecosphere 1 gets closer to Ecosphere 2 every
day. These are some of the roots of the Sixth Great Global Extinction Event,
where 3 species are being extinguished forever today, and 3 more tomorrow, and
3 more every tomorrow of your life. Isn't it time you learned how the only
habitable planet which you will ever visit was designed to perpetually sustain
life? You won't go to hell if you don't learn: you will bring hell here, and
the sins of the fathers will be visited onto your children for all the
generation to come.
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