I have spent much of my life so far focused on Results. If I want to plant a tree, I want to plant it now. In the past I was happy spending lots of money bringing in big machinery like tractors and graders to get instant results that then take even more money to maintain the projects long term. It was a very costly and an extremely ineffective way to heal land destruction.
Over the past few years I have had the privilege of seeing how Jesus looks after his land and shares his thoughts on how to make loving eco systems and help with environmental recovery. There is a talk on the Divine Truth website that covers a lot of this information in detail called ‘Creating Loving Eco Systems‘ and can be found at the links you will find at the bottom of this post*.
The information below is based upon my personal experience with what has been shared and shown to me over this time.
When I observe Jesus caring for the environment his main concern is working out how God cares for the environment and then replicating that any way he can. This means things take time and that there is a natural order of how to heal land.
The modern way to make soil fertile is to add fertilisers and use heavy machinery to aerate and break down soil compaction. Gods Way I’m learning is very different
Gods Way is all about holding water/moisture in the soil and creating fertility through the intelligence in the soil. The intelligence is living creatures, organisms and seeds that live in the eco system. By looking after the seeds and feeding the creatures and organisms real recovery can then begin. Fungi, earthworms and ants are all examples of intelligence we want to grow and encourage in the eco system.
The first step should be to protect the soil and allow seeds to grow. This starts with removing grazing animals that constantly eat the shoots and leaves of seeds that germinate. Each seed has inbuilt intelligence and will only grow when the environment is suited to it’s germination. The more seeds germinate and are constantly eaten by animals the less seeds the soil has for the next cycle.
Think about this process happening for 100’s of years and you can start to see how serious this problem becomes. The soil gets no new seeds and all the seeds that do germinate get eaten. Gods Way of looking after soil is no longer working effectively. No seeds and less and less plant life creates a drier environment which eventually becomes a man made desert. The living creatures and organisms that thrived in the environment are no longer able to exist.
When the grazing animals are removed first generation seeds can start to germinate. These plants are mostly seen as weeds. They have the toughest job to do. They can grow in little fertility, need less water and sometimes have a tap root to help open up compaction. In some cases they are also not very attractive to animals and are spikey or prickly. This is often the only way they can survive. Ideally they are legume plants that release nitrogen into the soil. Australian wattles are a good example of first generation plants also known as ‘pioneer plants’ that start the healing process to rebuilding soil fertility.
So how do we create an environment that supports the living creatures and organisms essential to making a sustainable eco-system?
Firstly we need to provide the Food, Water and Shelter (a home) that all life needs. This becomes the focus. In some cases we need to re introduce the intelligence as well. Earthworms are a great example of intelligence we can re introduce into the system once we have the necessary food available.
Food swales and trenches are one way we can create a home that can feed the intelligence that makes the soil.
Swales are a man made bank built on a contour. The idea is for the swale to collect and hold water. With a food swale* we take this one step further and fill the water collection side of the bank with organic matter and hence the name “Food Swale”. The organic matter becomes the food feeding the system. The organic matter used can be anything from waste food scraps to hay and newspaper or bales of cardboard. This organic material becomes a sponge that releases moisture and nutrients out slowly. It’s a fertility bank full of life. When it rains we are now collecting all the water we possibly can and keeping it in the landscape as long as possible. The landscape is now becoming hydrated for longer periods of time.
The organic matter we bring into the system we want to break down slowly through decomposition rather than composting. Decomposition is Gods Way, a slow release over time that supports the whole of the eco system and takes time. When we compost we create heat, which kills life in the organic matter and breaks down fast. Composting has no intelligence. Decomposition is full of intelligence. With decomposition creatures have a home and food.
A Trench is similar to a food swale expect this time everything is below ground rather than on the top. A Trench is an underground hole that is built on contour. The trench is then filled with organic matter just like the food swale. Its size can vary depending on how much organic matter you have available. You can build these trenches quite deep so they are like an underground water reservoir full of life on top. The benefit of the trench is that it can hold more matter and water than a swale.
The aim for both food swale’s and trenches is to create life in the system. The more we feed the intelligence the more the intelligence feeds the soil.
One of the first noticeable changes is the amount of flying insects and ants that appear. As more abundance is created bigger creatures and birds start arriving and feasting on all the tasty food now in the eco system.
It is also amazing how long water/moisture stays in the system once it is no longer been lost through evaporation and is been collected and stored when ever it rains rather than flowing off the landscape.
One way you can experiment at home is by digging a pit in your backyard and filling it up with your kitchen scraps and any other organic matter you have around the house. Cover the green waste with a layer of dry organic matter like sugar cane mulch or shredded up newspaper to help with the smell. See what happens and then maybe in a year or so plant a seed on top of the pit. You will be amazed at all the life that turns up and the beautiful soil it then creates.
- Food Swale- A name I made up