The plough gave us humans the ability to settle on land and prosper. Humans no longer had to depend for their food supply on the probable outcomes of a hunt or the gathering of sufficient roots and seeds. The plough, as the main tool in the farming of land, signaled the global change from foraging communities to agricultural societies which now exist on every continent (with the exception on Antarctica). With the appearance of the plough, humans could work the land and feed their ever growing communities -it is the one tool that marked the beginning of civilisation which includes the beginnings of military and slavery. Although early ploughs, such as the Egyptian plough, were simple wooden sticks that scratched and scored the topsoil with the help of domesticated oxen, the farming activities pursued with it ensured survival, yet required the protection of food surplus, and continual efforts to dominate nature.
Indeed, the plough is the tool of the oldest industry in the world which began approximately 10000 years ago. Today the industry of farming has sophisticated machinery that only the wealthiest nations own, generating the largest margin of profit in agricultural produce. As with all industries, money is the central element that will determine who produces and eats agricultural goods; who can sell them and make a profit; and who can throw it out and let it rot for the sake of price regulation.
So, if god is the creator of all things, then god also created the plough – but what was god “thinking” when he created the plough? To see where I am heading with this, let’s just for a moment consider that a plough works the topsoil of the earth. Wikipedia tells us that “topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top 2 inches (5.1 cm) to 8 inches (20 cm). It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the earth’s biological soil activity occurs”. Topsoil is the basis for biological life, it is where biological life begins – some basic facts will make this clear. Consider this: 1 tablespoon of soil contains one Million different living organisms. A square meter of soil contains 1000 different species of animals. These beings form a complex ecosystem together with plants that grow in the soil, they function together in intricate cycles of degradation and growth.
What grows naturally through this synergy is perennial polyculture, which is a term that denotes multiple plants that live for a long time. They form the soil-plant matrix through their complicated root system that holds the soil physically in place and without them, the soil is unprotected and washes away. Perennial polyculture is the blueprint for the various incarnations of landscapes that exist on earth – so for example forest, savannah, wetland, tundra and prairie. Perennial polycultures are responsible for producing the oxygen-rich atmosphere which envelops our planet and makes animal life possible.
By contrast annuals, the plants that are used in farming, only grow for one or two seasons – just long enough to produce a big seed. Lierre Keith uses the following analogy to explain the function of annuals. When you cut your skin you place a band-aid over the cut. You are responding to an emergency to help keep the skin together until the skin knits back and seals up again. Similarly, wounds happen to nature through fires, earthquakes, tornados and so forth. Annuals (originally grasses and now grains) whose seeds lie dormant in the soil spring to life when such an emergency occurs and the topsoil is bare, missing the complex perennial root system. Annuals will start to grow pumping all their energy into the production of a big seed which is their only strategy for reproduction. These plants only last for one or two seasons, just long enough until the perennial plants have closed up the area and reinstated their complex root system in which annuals cannot exist. The annuals’ seeds however are of interest to humans because their seeds are big enough to eat, which is why we farm annual monocrops and destroy the delicate equilibrium between the topsoil and perennial polyculture. Keith likens this to a form of “biotic cleansing”.
When we took up agriculture we started to clear away the protective perennial polycultures and expose the soil to the baking sun, the flushing rains and the sweeping winds. What happens is that the bare soil no longer is protected and the once thriving organisms die off, and eventually the soil disintegrates into salt and dust. The act of farming eats entire ecosystems! No agricultural food can be called sustainable yet environmentalists promote it as a way of saving the planet. Agriculture is the single most destructive activity we have done to the planet (besides the burning of fossil fuels). One season of annual monocrops blow through 2000 years of topsoil.
Agriculture is what makes civilisation possible. Since humans lived in agricultural societies they have followed the same pattern of steady demise that the earth is experiencing through the destruction of perennial polycultures. Civilisation, or life in cities, has brought our existence into the context in which we exist today: a climate that changes through a destabilised carbon sync, modern forms of slavery, mass murder through wars, and an ever growing number of those who exist on the brink of starvation. Again, what was god “thinking” when he gave us the plough? For answers to this question check out http://www.desteni.co.za. Here we provide answers that will bring about the radical change that is needed to no longer rely on a “god-created” reality. Self-responsibility is the way forward and we have the tools to get there, the DesteniIProcess.
For details on the DesteniIprocess, click here: http://www.desteniiprocess.com/
We realise that change has to be internal as well as external – the external change encompasses an economic system where we stop over production and poverty through equal money. An equal money system forms the basis from which we can learn to deploy new methods of food production, to grow back perennial polycultures and heal the wounds we have inflicted on the earth that feeds us.
For more information, click here: http://equalmoney.org/
We are in the process of creating a comprehensive publication on Equal Money where many of your burning questions are answered- we will notify those interested when our book is completed – if you wish to sign up you can do so by clicking on the link below:
“The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith,
“Against the Grain” by Richard Manning
“Plows, Plagues and Petroleum” by William Ruddiman.