I’d like to write about Albrecht’s book but my thoughts are so cloudy this morning—we’ll see how it goes. I haven’t read all of his book, but what I’ve read has been almost earth-shattering for me.
Forgive me if I get some facts wrong here—I haven’t internalized the information yet so I could easily garble it.
He explained of course how mineralized soils led to plants with high mineral and protein content and likewise how low-mineral soils led to plants high in starches and sugars. He also explained how soils age and that when temperature and humidity increase, aging happens much faster. In areas with high rainfall, such as the northeast US, soils age rapidly.
In his first few chapters he included these really fascinating maps of the US. Obviously the most fertile (and mineralized) part of the country is what we call the nation’s breadbasket. The most infertile section is the humid southeast. One thing I had never realized is that forests spring up on old, depleted soils. That should have been obvious—trees are all cellulose. And the lushness of Pennsylvania is really all about plants being all about carbohydrates rather than proteins and minerals.
The subdued nature of life here on the plains is actually healthier. Mineralized plants grow much smaller, but concentrate much greater nutrition. The conservative way life expresses itself here is a sign of health.
Fodders grown in the east are only good at fattening cattle—not for raising healthy cattle.
On a hunch I looked online to see if I could find a map which shows the distribution of diabetes in the US. I was shocked when I found one—it totally matches Albrecht’s maps! I wasn’t sure I would find such a close correspondence, since our diets aren’t very local anymore. Maybe it’s a total coincidence, but I don’t think so. Maybe it’s what’s in the water (or not I the water) rather than the food that makes a difference. Most water is local—even soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi are bottled regionally. Maybe there are enough regional foods—dairy and produce perhaps—to allow the soils to express themselves through the people. It’s shocking and fascinating and brings me right back to—what else—environmental determinism!
We are expressions of the land—and only as healthy as the land itself. That Hamaker fellow I quoted the other day believed that the glaciers were responsible for mineralizing much of the land (by crushing and distributing rocks over vast distances) and that because we are so far into an interglacial period we’ve largely depleted our supply of minerals.
There would then be a cycle of health and disease on earth, it would seem, that would correspond with glacial advances and retreats. We are currently in a dying or disease part of the cycle.
The implications of everything Albrecht wrote seem enormous. It will take me awhile to trace the paths of all of them.
One thing I’m wondering about is the Fertile Crescent and the advent of agriculture. When those first grains were cultivated, the land there must have been highly mineralized. Those would have been very high protein, mineral-rich crops. Healthy humans grew out of that soil and civilization grew from it too. But eventually the land was depleted (actually salinized is what I’ve heard). Then what happened—marauding, pillaging, conquering. Everyone fighting for resources. Haven’t we simply been fighting for protein and minerals? And haven’t people with the most protein and minerals been the most dominant cultures? It’s Jared Diamond all over again. The tropics are all carbonaceous—cellulose and starches. They have starchy root crops, woody nut crops, no grass crops (except sugar cane?).
For cultures to be strong enough to maraud and conquer they needed protein-rich food. Is this true? Or were they marauding and conquering because their own supply of protein was dwindling and they were trying to find more?
It’s clear to me that in order to have healthy humans we need to have healthy soils. If we all were eating healthy, mineralized foods I’m convinced the true potential of our species could unfold.
More and more I’ve been thinking lately that I might not want to move back to Pennsylvania after all. This new part of the equation—the health of the soil—adds another factor to my considerations.
Appalachia is artsy and creative—very expressive in other words—like the rampant growth of foliage there. All sky energy.
Colorado is understated in its expression. It’s aging very slowly because it’s so arid, so there’s not as much going on here. The soils are more mineralized—there’s more earth energy here.
Where would the ideal blending of earth and sky be found? It seems it might be somewhere a little wetter than here—where soils age faster and there’s more going on—but somewhere drier than Pennsylvania. Probably it would be smack dab in the middle of one of Albrecht’s maps.
Of course if I’m growing all of my food and doing so in re-mineralized soils, I could do that anywhere. But simply because I would be getting a healthy balance of earth and sky isn’t enough. The whole culture surrounding me matters, so I would want that to be healthy too.
And I wonder, if I found a place that perfectly balanced earth and sky energy, would that also be a place where new paradigms wanted to be birthed?
(Ooh—the outside temperature right now is -3.3. When I though it said 10 above earlier, it must have actually said -10.)