The claim that the Green Revolution or genetic engineering feeds the world is false. Intrinsic to these technologies are monocultures based on chemical inputs, a recipe for killing the life of the soil.
We are made up of the same five elements — earth, water, fire, air and space — that constitute the Universe. We are the soil. We are the earth. What we do to the soil, we do to ourselves. And it is no accident that the words “humus” and “humans” have the same roots.
This ecological truth is forgotten in the dominant paradigm because it is based on eco-apartheid, the false idea that we are separate and independent of the earth and also because it defines soil as dead matter. If soil is dead to begin with, human action cannot destroy its life. It can only “improve” the soil with chemical fertilisers. And if we are the masters and conquerors of the soil, we determine the fate of the soil. Soil cannot determine our fate.
History, however, is witness to the fact that the fate of societies and civilisations is intimately connected to how we treat the soil — do we relate to the soil through the Law of Return or through the Law of Exploitation and Extraction.
The Law of Return — of giving back — has ensured that societies create and maintain fertile soil and can be supported by living soil over thousands of years. The Law of Exploitation — of taking without giving back — has led to the collapse of civilisations.
Contemporary societies across the world stand on the verge of collapse as soils are eroded, degraded, poisoned, buried under concrete and deprived of life. Industrial agriculture, based on a mechanistic paradigm and use of fossil fuels has created ignorance and blindness to the living processes that create a living soil. Instead of focusing on the Soil Food Web, it has been obsessed with external inputs of chemical fertilisers — what Sir Albert Howard called the NPK mentality. Biology and life have been replaced with chemistry.
External inputs and mechanisation are imperative for monocultures. By exposing the soil to wind, sun and rain, monocultures expose the soil to erosion by wind and water.