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Trillions of Allies Underground

New-to-Portland author Kristin Ohlson is doing a reading/talk about her book The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet at Powell’s on Burnside on March 27 at 7:30.

The-Soil-Will-Save-UsThe book introduces readers to the ancient partnership between plants and soil microorganisms that created our lush planet, discusses how humans have interfered with that partnership to our peril, and shows how visionaries around the world are healing soil and landscapes.

Much good comes from this healing—more productive farms, more nutritious food, cleaner air and water, and greater resilience in the face of both drought and flood. And then there’s the biggie: we’ve lost 80 billion tons of soil carbon from bad farming and other land practices over thousands of years, a loss intensified by modern industrial agriculture, and much of that carbon is now in our atmosphere. Even if we stopped all fossil fuel emissions today, that legacy load of carbon would continue warming the planet. Ohlson says our great green hope lies in restoring the partnership between plants and soil microorganisms, healing soils, and putting that carbon back in the ground.

“We don’t hear a lot of good news about the environment,” Ohlson says, “but I think this is good news: we have trillions of allies underground and people are finally figuring out how to let them do their job.”

What people are saying about the book:

“This will surely be called an important book. Ohlson conveys her information in the lively manner of writers such as Michel Pollan and Rowan Jacobsen, making complicated ideas easily accessible to the reader, so that we see the ground at our feet not as dead dirt but rather as, in her words, a “coral reef” teeming with life, a ‘massive biological machine’ on which the health of our species depends. We’re lucky to have this account.”—Michael Ruhlman, author of The Soul of a Chef

“On the long list of things we have to do to fight climate change, learning to pay attention to soil again is near the top. It’s not just dirt, it’s not just something that holds plants upright—as this book points out, it’s pretty damned vital.”—Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

“At last, soil has been included in the conversation about food. And you don’t need a degree in soil sciences to see how the web of life below the surface that infuses soil—is soil—is strongly affected by the various webs of life that occur aboveground, for better and worse. . . . This book is eminently readable, well-researched, and important.”—Deborah Madison, author of The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone 

Powell’s on Burnside

March 27

7:30

You can read more by visiting the book’s website and follow Kristin on Twitter @kristinohlson

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