The precious horse poo and its connection to soil quality

“This is my insect hotel.” Basti took me to his garden on the hillside and pointed to a piece of wood that was full of holes.

The sun was scattered from the other side of the hill. Basti stood in the dazzling light, beside him was a vegetable plot he built during this epidemic.


Basti, who graduated from a Business School, just published a book on psychology last month, discussing the complexity and dynamics of the human mind and their embedding in the structures of the environment.

Seems lives in an ivory tower, but Basti has his own grounded understanding of life and nature.

“这是我的虫子旅店。” Basti带我来到山坡上的一块空地,指着一块布满了空洞的木头。

太阳从山坡的另一面散落下来,Basti站立在耀眼的光线下,身边是他在疫情期间搭建的一片花园菜地

这天,我和男朋友一起去他父母在德国乡村的庄园过周末,他的弟弟Basti正在草场上清理马粪

Basti,从欧洲商学院毕业,上个月出版了一本自己的商业心理学专著*,探讨不同性格特征差异和周边环境的适应。

看似生活在遥不可及的金字塔尖,这个二十多岁的年轻人却有着自己对生活极其接地气的理解


每一坨马粪都有自己的价值。”Basti半开玩笑的告诉我。

“Every horse shit has its own value,” Basti told me half-jokingly.

家里有两匹英俊大马,带着它们去马术比赛的时候自然耀武扬威,但平时这些家伙们产生的副产品也是个不可逃避的话题。

As a family with two horses, it is absolutely enjoyable taking them for a horse ride, but the by-products of these guys are also hard to avoid.

Basti把它们从草场上铲起来,将装满马粪的小车推到花园旁边,来堆积给土壤最好的肥料

Basti shoveled them from the pasture and pushed the cart – full of horse shit, to the side of the garden to accumulate the best fertilizer for the soil.

这是他们家的compost园地。而平时的厨余垃圾,比如果核,吃不完的沙拉,也会被收集起来,用来堆积生态肥料。

This is the compost field. And their kitchen waste is also collected for compost.

*compost: 可以理解为堆肥的过程

在中国,除了农村我们有近似的做法,城市里很少有人收集厨余垃圾做compost。大多数都会被直接丢弃进垃圾桶。拥挤的大城市,钢筋水泥之下,似乎也没有compost的必要。

In China, apart from the similar practices in rural areas (which is also hard to spot nowadays), few people in cities collect kitchen waste for compost. Most of the leftovers will be thrown directly into the trash can. It seems that there is no need to compost in our overly crowded concrete city.

我在加拿大居住的社区,大多数人家都有自己的后院,除了树木灌木,还有些用来种蔬菜水果的地方。我们平时做菜产生的“湿垃圾”会被特意分离开,积攒到compost的桶里。而城市里,也有专门的compost垃圾桶供居民放置厨余垃圾。

In the community where I live in Canada, most people have their own backyard. In addition to those trees and shrubs, there are also some places left for growing vegetables and fruits. The wastes we usually produce from cooking will be deliberately separated and put in the bucket of compost. Even in the highly populated area, there are also trash bins for residents to put their food waste.

(我们午餐中的生菜和小番茄,都来自自己家的菜园
The vegetables in our salad are from our garden!)

“我去年把埋了这块树干在这里,堆了很多马粪在上面。” Basti说,抱怨周围的土壤质量因为农牧业的开发而下降。除了堆积生物肥料,他同时不断地测量土壤的酸碱指数,给种在上面的植物一个适合的环境。

“I buried this tree trunk here last year and piled a lot of horse shit there.” Basti was complaining that the surrounding soil quality has declined. Apart from his effort of composting, he also constantly measures the pH value of the soil to provide a suitable environment for the plants.

Netflex上最近很火的一个纪录片叫做 Kiss the Ground。土壤,或许是我们解决环境问题最有效的答案。纪录片中说到,实际上,真正的解决方案就在我们脚下,和泥巴一样古老。(“Kiss the Ground | Netflix”, 2020)

A recent documentary on Netflix is called Kiss the Ground. Soil – may be the ultimate answer to our environmental problems. The documentary said, “In fact, the solution I am talking about is right under our feet, and it is as old as dirt.”(“Kiss the Ground | Netflix”, 2020)

*Kiss the ground: 中文译名 亲吻地面。B站上有搬运素材。

大量增加的人口,产生了无数张嘴。

The massive increase in population has come with a lot of empty stomachs.

为了喂饱我们,大规模的农业在土地上运转。

To feed us, large-scale agriculture operates on limited land.

然而,农业的规模化和单一种植,却可能导致土壤的退化。

However, this massive agriculture may lead to soil degradation.

在联合国2000年的一次会议上提到,土壤是一个经常被忽视的问题,土壤的退化成了沉默的灾难 (““Down to earth”: Soil degradation and sustainable development in Europe. A challenge for the 21st century”, 2000)

At a UN conference in 2000, it was mentioned that “Soil is a forgotten issue and soil degradation is a silent disaster”(““Down to earth”: Soil degradation and sustainable development in Europe. A challenge for the 21st century”, 2000)

土壤,提供着最基础的服务给大自然,给人类社会。

Soil, which provides the most basic services to nature and human society.

TIME杂志的一篇文章中,作者提到“…(soil) stores four times carbon than atmosphere and controls the transfer of greenhouse gases between the land and the atmosphere ”, 土壤中存储着大气层四倍的碳,并且管控着大地和大气中的温室气体交换。对土地的破坏性开发导致了1200公吨的碳被排放到大气层中。(Berhe, 2020)

In an article in TIME magazine, the author mentioned that “…(soil) stores four times carbon than the atmosphere and controls the transfer of greenhouse gases between the land and the atmosphere”, and excessive abuse of soil leads to the loss of 120 million metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere.

正如纪录片中所说,植物从大自然中获取阳光,从大气层中捕获二氧化碳,然后转化成能量,其中四成的能量都被输送到它们的脚下。土壤层中除了有茂密的根系,还有大量的微生物,虫子和小动物。

As stated in the documentary Kiss the Ground, “Plants use sunlight as energy and they pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. They turn it into a carbon fuel. 40% of that carbon fuel, they send down to their roots. They are leaking.” In addition to the dense root system in the soil layer, there are also a large number of microorganisms, bugs, and small animals.

“我的虫子旅店目前还没有住户。”Basti自嘲,“不过我给他们提供了最好的条件 – 地下,阴暗而潮湿。”

这截枯木上是他亲手打上去的洞,旁边种了玫瑰.

希望明年来度假的虫子们可以给个好评吧。

“My insect hotel currently has no occupants.” Basti laughed, “but I will provide them with the best service – underground, dark and moistured.”

This masterpiece of wood has his hand-drilled holes, and there are plenty of roses planted next to it. 

I hope the next year’s visitors will leave a good review of their stay.

The connection between land use, soil degradation, and ongoing climate crises is leading us to this question – “How can we achieve regenerative farming?”

Basti shows us a great example.


References

“Down to earth”: Soil degradation and sustainable development in Europe. A challenge for the 21st century. (2000). In United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification Fourth Conference of the Parties (p. 2). Bonn.

Berhe, A. (2020). We must be antiracist in our fight against climate change. TIME, (June 20 / July 27), 33-35.

Kiss the Ground | Netflix. (2020). Retrieved 3 November 2020, from https://www.netflix.com/watch/81321999?trackId=13752289&tctx=0%2C1%2C2f3030e62ad990b56ae58450c28d7ae6fd94cd28%3A3be195bd4dceafe363f27cf97e97d20a8110faf0%2C2f3030e62ad990b56ae58450c28d7ae6fd94cd28%3A3be195bd4dceafe363f27cf97e97d20a8110faf0%2Cunknown%2C

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