The husband-wife authors discuss their outstanding book, The Hidden Half of Nature on how the microbial world sustains the planet and its life. They describe how a project to restore their backyard soil so they could grow a garden led to an investigation of microbes. They found that healthy soil depends on abundant microbes. The careful restoration of their soil led to a vibrant garden that became the base for an entire ecosystem: from microbes to organisms that thrived in the soil, to birds, bees and butterflies that thrived on those organisms. And that's not all! The revitalized soil produced very high quality vegetables and fruits with no artificial fertilizers. They considered then the relationship between high-quality produce and human health. Microbes in the gut extract the elements that simultaneously nourish us and strengthen the immune system. They also discuss the large scale destruction of the soil by modern agricultural practices, and how restoration of the soil can save the planet and our health.
By Photo by Eric Erbe, digital colorization by Christopher Pooley, both of USDA, ARS, EMU.
BIO: David Montgomery
Professor of Geomorphology, Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington. Dr. Montgomery is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. Dr. Montgomery is also of 3 award-winning popular science books and he has been featured in documentary films, TV and radio programs including NOVA and All Things Considered. For more about his important work please check his website.
BIO: Anne Bikle
Biologist and consultant who works on watershed restoration, environmental planning and public health. She works extensively with community and nonprofit organizations on environmental stewardship