Kellan and Kory discuss the ways in which our soil is being degraded and the potential consequences of reaching a peak in soil availability.
“Why Soil Is Disappearing from Farms”
Soil loss in Midwest farms
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Kellan and Kory discuss the ways in which our soil is being degraded and the potential consequences of reaching a peak in soil availability.
“Why Soil Is Disappearing from Farms”
Soil loss in Midwest farms
If you would like to listen to the rest of our bonus episodes, consider joining us on Patreon.
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/collapsepod)
Kory: [00:00:00] Kellan, I'm really glad that you came today to join me on the podcast, because I'm going to be honest, you look like crap.
Kellan: [00:00:21] That's okay. I actually get that all the time, but you're right, today I feel especially terrible. And it's actually a result of my second dose of the COVID vaccine. The first time I got the shot, I felt just fine. I didn't even notice, my arm was a little bit sore, but this time it has just been body aches and chills and fatigue. I feel like how my wife described feeling when she actually had COVID.
Kory: [00:00:41] You heard it here first folks. Don't get the COVID vaccine, straight out of Kellan's mouth.
Kellan: [00:00:46] That is not what I said. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated, unless you have irrefutable proof that it's a conspiracy from Bill Gates who's trying to insert a tracker chip in your bloodstream.
Kory: [00:00:57] Dude. It's so crazy to me that people actually think that, I mean obviously, it's a chip that implants ideas in our brain that we're supposed to be buying more Microsoft products.
Kellan: [00:01:04] So that's why I purchased the latest subscription of Microsoft Word.
Kory: [00:01:08] Well, on that note, let's talk about one of the more fascinating subjects. I think this is what comes to most people's mind when they're looking to be enthralled, and the topic is soil. So I'm curious, Kellan, what do you think of when you think of soil? Does it give you goosebumps? Does it bring joy to your heart.
Kellan: [00:01:23] With the way I feel right now, nothing brings joy in my heart. In all honesty, I am intrigued because you made comments about this in the past. You know, I remember on a previous episode you mentioned how much the world's arable land is decreasing. And to be honest, although you have convinced me that collapse is imminent, this is one topic where I'm kind of skeptical and maybe it's just because anytime I travel a significant distance at all I see lots of open space and I feel like that mostly has to be land that we could be growing stuff on. And by the way, I think I said that collapse is imminent. I meant to say inevitable that at some point we're heading in that direction.
Kory: [00:01:57] And I mean, relatively speaking, it is imminent, right? When you look at the history of mankind and how old the earth is, for example, it is pretty imminent. you're obviously not saying it's going to happen tomorrow or next year or this decade.
But I appreciate your honesty on how you feel about, you know, when we talked about arable land and the challenges that we'll be facing regarding food security and that type of thing. When you look at how big the earth is and how much land is not being used by humans, whether that's for current agriculture or for cities and things like that, it can seem like we can just keep growing. There's so much room to, to plant on. There's so much available fields that could be used for agriculture, but I think that that can be deceptive because it takes a lot more than just open space to be able to successfully plant a crop and harvest it.
Kellan: [00:02:40] And maybe that's what I don't have that great of an understanding of, I think if you've got soil and you've got enough water, the likelihood is that you should be able to grow something on it, but maybe you're going to get to like the pH levels and the chemical content of the soil that has to exist. Anyways. I'm not saying that you're wrong. I'm saying that based on my limited knowledge, it seems kind of farfetched.
Kory: Yeah. And we'll get into the details of that as we move into this episode. But I think that what you're describing is a misconception that a lot of people have around farming and agriculture. And I'm not saying that this is what you necessarily think, but I know that a lot of people think that it's just finding a plot of dirt, planting seeds, putting water on it and waiting. And agriculture really is so much more than that. You know, we talked a couple episodes ago about you're trying to keep some fish alive for your kids. And I talked about looking into hydroponics and just how delicate ecosystems are and how you'd have to have just the right balance of a lot of different factors in order for your fish to stay alive or in order for your plants to grow. And so there is a lot of difference between soil and dirt.
So before we get into all of that, I think it's important to kind of lay out plainly what the danger is that we're currently in and how this relates to collapse. I found an interesting stat that basically said more food will have to be produced in the next 50 years than has been produced in the last 10,000 years combined. That goes back to our discussions about exponential growth. It's just crazy to think that we're at a population and we're growing at a rate, we're talking about that much food. And in the past, we've talked about how by 2050, so just less than 30 years from now, we're going to have to double the amount of food that we're currently producing in order to feed everybody.
But currently the yields that we're getting per acre are decreasing, not increasing. So the same plot of land is producing less food than it was producing in the past. Studies have shown that 30% or more of all the available top soil in the world has been lost. So we've degraded or lost almost a third of all the top soil that's available to us.
Kellan: I'm not sure I understand that. Like where does it all go?
Kory: [00:04:36] Yeah, we'll get into the specifics about what happens to that soil here in just a second. But one more point I want to quickly make is that it's estimated that topsoil could be depleted completely within 60 years. So we're not talking about when we're going to hit peak topsoil. We're talking about the complete depletion of top soil. So when we talked about peak oil at the beginning of this podcast, we mentioned how there could be 70, 90, a hundred years of oil left, but that we'll reach a peak in production of that oil long before that. The same is true of soil. At the current rate at which we are using up soil or degrading that soil it'll last for 60 years, but we will, of course hit a peak in which we're using the maximum amount of soil that we can at any one time in order to produce food.
Kellan: [00:05:17] So maybe I'll get into this, but when you say that the top soil is being lost, it's not like it just vanishes from the planet. Are you saying that the soil turns into just dirt, like you said, there's a difference between soil and dirt.
Kory: [00:05:27] Yep. That's exactly it. So dirt is inorganic matter. If you pick up dirt, it will fly away in the wind. It's basically just a dry sort of non-living matter. Soil on the other hand is dirt that has nutrients. It has organic matter. It has microorganisms in it. As a matter of fact, in every handful of soil, there are more organisms than people who have ever lived on earth. That's from the worms that you can see all the way down to the micro organisms that you can't.
And all of the top soil that we have now has been built up over tens or hundreds of thousands of years. It's a non-renewable resource. It's one that can't be generated in a timescale that makes sense to humans. In fact, it can take anywhere from a century up to a millennium just to create a single millimeter top soil.
So to go back to what you were saying before, you know, a lot of that land that you're seeing has either already been degraded, it was once arable land , or the conditions aren't such that you can grow there. And there is a possibility that it, it is arable land that's not currently being utilized. That is certainly possible and going to be true in some cases, but the vast majority of top soil that's not currently being used is located in places where it doesn't make sense to grow.
And we mentioned this when we talked about modern agriculture, that land is found along rivers up high in mountains, far away from population centers, where in order to prepare that place for growth, number one costs a ton of money making that food uneconomical, but secondly, it's where we currently have forests. You know, it's the Amazon, the Amazon is all arable land. It's also covered in trees. so in order to convert that land to something we can grow on is to destroy that land.
So before we get into how that soil is being destroyed, let's take just a second and talk quickly about what that soil is good for and why it's necessary for plants. So plants breathe in carbon dioxide. I think we all know that and they use that to grow. So naturally plants are great because they're a carbon sink. They pull carbon in. 40% of all the carbon that a plant intakes is sent to the roots. And from the roots, it gets into the soil.
And that carbon then in turn feeds the microorganisms that keep that soil alive. So then those microorganisms by consuming the carbon, they create nutrients and those nutrients are what the plants use to grow.
So that being said, healthy soil is actually a huge carbon sink. There's actually three times as much carbon dioxide in the soil, as there is currently the atmosphere. All right, so now to your question, where's the top soil going? How are we degrading it so fast? So there's a few different ways. The big one, the main one is through erosion and erosion is basically just the process of turning topsoil into dirt. And there's a number of things that can cause it. So water runoff, wind overgrazing are all examples of it. One of the most rapid ways to degrade soil quality is to till it. And I don't think most people know that it's just normal, that you till the soil. You see big tillers out in fields, but you also see people just tilling their gardens. Farmers till in order to prepare fields by loosening the soil so they can add new fertilizers, tear up weeds, help get seed into the soil. It expedites the planting process and it's the easiest and the cheapest. The problem is when you till it disrupts and kills those natural microbes in the soil. When you, till it dries it out, that allows it to blow away in the wind. It makes it harder for it to absorb water. It introduces those microbes to the air and it allows more soil to be carried away by water.
You know, the other day I was driving home from the grocery store and we had a big wind storm out here and we live next to some large fields and the farmer had just tilled that day and the wind kicked up just this massively insane amount of dust. I mean, I was driving through it, I couldn't see more than like five feet ahead of me. When I was a little further away from the dust cloud I could see that it probably went something like a hundred, 150 feet in the air and it probably traveled well over a couple miles. And it hit me so hard because I was doing research for this episode at the time. And I was sort of just watching it happen right before my eyes. And I, I wonder does the farmer know or care, but it's the way that things are done now because it's, it's just the way their agricultural system works. It's the cheapest, it's the quickest, it's the most efficient way that we know or the most farmers know to get a high yield.
Kellan: [00:09:28] All right. You kind of make it sound like tilling is a new thing that it's only in modern agriculture that it's ever been done. But I think of how farmers operated, even back before these big machines, you know, and they might put a wedge behind some oxen and plow rows in their field. Is that different?
Kory: [00:09:45] Yeah, good question. I think the answer is no. Uh, the process is the same. What is different is the sheer amount and scale and scope at which we're doing it? You know, I bring up again that stat we talked about earlier: in the next 50 years we'll be growing and producing more food that has been produced in the last 10,000. and so, yeah, you know, an oxen pulling a wedge through the dirt, it was still having the same effect on the top soil, but it was being done, much less often on a much smaller scale. Whereas now, you know, it's filling the world, we've got all these massive tractors, we've grown with the efficiency that we can do it and we're really pushing the soil to give us as much as it possibly can. We're not allowing it time to regenerate. We're not allowing the microorganisms time to replenish.
And beyond that, we are actively doing more things that are harming it. So once we've started down the cycle of killing off those microorganisms, started to degrade the soil. Well, now we're starting to add things to it, to make up for that. you know, we use a ton of chemicals in modern agriculture, pesticides, herbicides. They're used to kill off insects and weeds and they're made more necessary because we weakened the condition in which those plants are growing. And also because we've done other processes like GMOs that are taking energy away from the natural ability of those plants to fight off pests and to fight off weeds and to focus that energy and growing bigger fruit or bigger harvest.
And so now we're making up for it through these chemicals. But what those chemicals do is in turn kill more microbes, just like they kill the pests, they do more damage to the soil, they kill more microbes. Basically it's a feedback loop of destroying the soil in order to keep a higher yield, and because of that, we're doing more to destroy the soil.
And so because of that, we now use synthetic fertilizers like ammonium nitrate, and phosphates. And without them, we really wouldn't be able to keep up the growing at the rate at which we need to, in order to feed everybody. You know, we talked in the past about the Haber-Bosch process, which came about in the 1930s. It's basically a process by which ammonia can be synthesized from nitrogen in the atmosphere.
If that process of being able to create synthetic fertilizer at scale had not been discovered, there is simply no way that our population could have exploded to what it is today.
We talked in the past episode about meat in modern agriculture and how more than 50% of all the grains that are grown in the U S goes to livestock so that humans can then eat the livestock. It's a huge waste. And thanks to the Haber-Bosch process, we've grown to this insanely huge population size consuming in that way, which is completely unsustainable.
Kellan: [00:12:08] When you talk about chemicals and fertilizers? All the pesticides, all that. This is kind of a tangent, but I have a son who has some severe allergies. In fact, he's got tons of food allergies. Some of them are worse than others. And I don't know how true this is, but I know a lot of people point back to all of the chemicals that are used in the agricultural process and also the way that food is processed once it's harvested. And my understanding is that food allergies have spiked. and maybe we'll talk about that in a future episode, but it is crazy to think at a time when we're moving toward food scarcity, there is a growing portion of the population that can't handle some of that food. And in some cases like with my son, a fair share of it. You know, what could it be more, I guess, apocalyptic than the food that we're supposed to consume to sustain us becoming poisonous to us.
Kory: [00:12:55] Yeah. And there is so much to that comment. And like you said, we will definitely do an episode on that later. When it comes to food allergies, when it comes to cancer rates have increased dramatically, and then when it comes to things like microplastics and the effect that microplastics are having on human development, and those are all introduced into our food through agriculture.
And most people, you know, myself growing up, I would hear about GMOs and organic and all the organic meant to me growing up was that it cost more. To me it tasted the same, I didn't care where it came from, you know, that sort of attitude. And I think most people, there are so many people who have that sort of ignorance and not realizing that not only is it less healthy, but it is also extremely damaging to the planet.
So I'll mention a couple of other ways that we're destroying the soil. So one is compaction. So as soil starts to decrease in quality, it becomes way more susceptible to compaction, which is basically driving the air out of the soil and causing it to become more dense, which makes growing conditions way worse. The microbes can't survive, less nutrients and so on. And that can be caused by vehicles, especially like tractors or combines driving over the surface too much. You know, livestock can cause it by consistently grazing in one area for too long and also too much water can cause it.
The last thing that we'll mention here is salinization. So that's obviously the introduction of salt into soil, which basically just leaves plants unable to absorb water. So that can take place from improper irrigation practices, is the most common. Rising water bed levels can raise salt to the surface and also seawater intrusion. So as climate change continues, as sea levels rise that water can make its way up deltas and rivers and into local soil beds.
What's crazy is entire civilizations in the past have failed due to excess soil salinity. So just this one problem has brought entire societies to their knees. There isn't conclusive data, really for how much land has been lost to salt, but some studies show that it's about 10% of all arable land may be unproductive at this point already because of salinization and up to 25 to 30% of irrigated land has been left unplantable from an excess of salt.
Kellan: [00:15:00] Okay. So let me see if I can summarize what you've shared with me so far. Soil is different than dirt. You can't grow stuff in dirt. In order to really grow food, it has to be in soil because of all the microbes. You mentioned, tilling and erosion and chemicals and salinization and all these ways in which we are degrading the quality of our soil.
I think the most alarming statement you've made is that 60 years from now, we could be completely out of soil. One question that comes to mind for me, we talked about that fertilizers aren't good, but regardless, can we just keep adding more fertilizer to the soil kind of endlessly? And I also wonder, you know, we've briefly mentioned like hydroponics in the past and that there's ways that you can essentially grow food and a tank of water if you treat it the right way.
So I guess I wonder is soil even always necessary?
Kory: [00:15:49] Yeah. Great question. So when it comes to things like hydroponics, ya know vertical indoor farming I think those things are helpful, but when you consider the sheer amount, the scope and scale of the food that we need to produce in order to feed 8 billion people, you know, when you look out over the agricultural fields and you see how much land is being used to grow food for human consumption, to think about doing all of that hydroponically and growing it at the rate that we're gonna have to grow over the next several decades. There's just no way. And then to your other point about fertilizer, we were going to get to that here in a little bit, but I think we can jump there now because it's a great question. One of the most important nutrients in fertilizers is phosphorus and natural phosphates are depleting in soils rapidly. And they're having to be supplemented via mining it out of the earth and putting it into those fertilizers. And so what's being mined right now is a non-renewable resource. And it's one that we're depleting very quickly. Estimates are that it could be completely depleted in as little as 50 years. So we have less phosphorus than we have soil and it's documented and expected that we're going to hit peak phosphorus around 2030. So we're talking about less than 10 years now, before they're projected that we'll basically hit peak fertilizer.
Kellan: [00:16:56] Okay. It is alarming. That we're running out of phosphorus. That sounds scary cause it's needed in fertilizer. But you previously mentioned the Haber Bosch process which turns nitrogen into ammonia, right? so do we need both, like if we run out of phosphorous, can we just convert nitrogen into ammonia as a substitute?
Kory: [00:17:14] Good question and the answer is no. So phosphorus is added to ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Phosphorus is 100% necessary for all life. Plants, humans cannot survive without phosphorus and while phosphorus is not contained in all fertilizers. It would be necessary in fertilizers in which the soil does not have the necessary amount of phosphorus in it. Without having an ammonium nitrate, phosphate fertilizer, the plant isn't going to grow and it's not going to do any good to humans.
Kellan: [00:17:42] Maybe that is the scariest thing that you've said so far. Is that running out of phosphorus. You said it's necessary for life. If there's not phosphorous life can't exist. But most nutrients, like if I consume some food that provides me with phosphorus and then I digest it, doesn't my waste, end up putting that phosphorus back into the earth, or even if I die and get buried in the ground. Like the phosphorus doesn't just vanish or cease to exist.
Kory: [00:18:06] Yeah. So there is a certain amount of phosphorus that does remain in human waste, for example. And that's why a lot of people compost, right? Not just for phosphorous, but for other elements that come from waste or food scraps that can be then used to turn dirt into soil that can be used for planting. So that is definitely something that is being done. But I actually saw this number that said that humans excrete about 3.3 million tons of phosphorus annually. But the amount that we mined from the earth is between 80 and 85 million tons annually. So we're talking, you know, we're mining almost 30 times the amount that humans excrete. And it's kind of a gross thing to talk about. And most people probably don't know, but like most potting soils and things like that do contain human sewage in it.
So that's not a new thing for human waste to go back into composting soils. It's just certainly not enough to be sustainable. And by the way, while we're on the topic of phosphorus, I think it'd be good to discuss a little bit, at least, the negative impact that phosphorous fertilizers have on the environment. So a couple episodes go when we talked about dying oceans, we talked about dead zones from runoff from agriculture and phosphorus is one of the huge causes of algal blooms and dead zones in the ocean. And the same goes with domestic sewage human waste. That makes its way to the ocean. The phosphorous therein can cause dead zones.
So while I think it's pretty obvious why this is so bad, there might be a few things that maybe haven't come to your mind that we haven't discussed yet for why degrading our soil is a problem. So anytime this happens, when you turn soil to dirt, it results in desertification which is turning fertile land into desert and it's super destructive.
So get this number: right now every year, it's estimated that around 40 million people are displaced due to desertification. And that by 2050 1 billion people will have been displaced. that is an insane number of people forced out of their homes and their ways of living because our land is no longer arable and all that on top of the fact that they have less food to eat. We've talked about migrant crises in the past, and this is going to be a huge cause for that in the future.
So in that way, desertification causes problems on a local scale. But beyond that, when we kill those microorganisms and rip nutrients from the soil, it dries that soil out and that land becomes barren. So it's noted that barren land cools way down at nighttime and it heats way up during the day. You can compare it to ground that's covered in foliage and the temperature difference is extremely noticeable and that's due to the albedo effect. So the albedo effect like we've talked about in the past is the reflective surface of something can cause the temperature to fluctuate. So when you start to convert arable land with crop cover into this barren, dry dirt, it starts to heat up the environment around it.
And what's interesting is that when those areas start to heat up, it actually starts to repel rain clouds. So it starts as vicious cycle of heating up more, which causes it to dry out more, which causes it to heat up more. 40% of rainfall comes from small water cycles that are inland and the rest comes from the ocean.
So if we're decrea sing the amount of water in an area through desertification, it's going to in turn, receive less water from rainfall, just because there's simply less water for the atmosphere to soak up into the clouds. And for those rain clouds that do come by, they're starting to get increasingly pushed away due to the increased heat.
So in that way, desertification can actually have an effect on larger climates and especially on global warming, which as we know, then causes all these other feedback loops of affecting the crops in surrounding areas even if those crops are currently arable land. So it's just another tipping point of feedback loops that continually makes our yields worse and worse and degrades the arable land even more.
When it comes to climate change, we already mentioned that soil holds an immense amount of carbon dioxide. So degrading that, tilling it up, basically puts moisture and carbon dioxide into the air thus increasing our emissions, heating up the earth even faster.
Kellan: [00:21:48] As he described all that. It makes me think of the images I've seen and then the photographs taken by the Mars Rover. And obviously that's very extreme. I don't think you're stating that we're going to end up like the surface of Mars, but to think the heat will keep getting turned up. We'll have all this dry dirt that's no longer soil. Is there anything we can do? Or is there anything that is being done?
Kory: [00:22:09] Yeah. You know, there was a documentary that recently came out kind of hosted or narrated by Woody Harrelson called "Kiss the Ground". You can find it on Netflix and it does a pretty good job at presenting the issue and then it also goes into what can be done to fix it. But the short answer is we're basically just doing agriculture wrong. There are a lot of things and a lot of ways that agriculture could be done that would allow for it to be much more sustainable than it is. You know, one example is regenerative agriculture. There's things like permaculture. There's no-till farming practices. And there's actually studies that show that doing those things. Provide a higher yield, use less water and cost less. So they're way more effective, but it's just simply not being done.
Kellan: [00:22:48] That part is mind boggling. If it's higher yield, it's more sustainable, it's less expensive. Why isn't that the way that we're doing agriculture? And I guess on top of that question, I think the first time I ever even heard that we're running out of arable land was when you said it in a previous episode, if we're going to run out of our top soil in 60 years, we're going to run out of the phosphorous. We need. In 50 years. And even in the shorter term, there's going to be all this displacement and all the other negative effects. You talked about like, why haven't I heard about this before? Why isn't it being talked about?
Kory: [00:23:20] So those are two really good questions. And I think we'll, we'll separate them into two. So the first, if regenerative agriculture and these practices are more efficient, why aren't they being done? And I think part of it is that it's just a lack of education. This is how farming has been done for a long time. You know, this is a lot easier of a way to do it. It's quicker. I think the biggest thing is that while it can provide bigger yields now, and it can cost less now it hasn't always been that way. When agriculture first started, you didn't need all the chemicals, you didn't need all the fertilizers. You didn't need all this extra stuff that you're having to pay for now because the soil was still being well taken care of.
And so as we got more and more ingrained in doing agriculture the way that we're currently doing it, the old way of doing it, the way that was sustainable was forgotten. It was never used. And so we just kind of slowly got used to doing agriculture the way we do now, slowly adding more and more additives, chemicals, fertilizers, processes, and therefore costs. And there just, hasn't been a big enough paradigm shift to revert back to a better way of doing it. And that's what this entire documentary "Kiss the Ground" is all about is how can we get that paradigm shift and help farmers see that there's actually economic reasons to do this. And there are people that go around teaching this, in the documentary, this guy that goes around and does seminars and he sits down with the farmers and talks about it. And most of them are like rolling their eyes in the back of their head. And, you know, it's not the way that my great granddaddy taught me to do it.
And that leads to sort of the next question that you had, which is why is everyone not talking about this? And I think it's for the same reason that people aren't talking about peak oil, that they're not talking about energy depletion, that half the country doesn't believe in climate change. I think it's apathy. It's people not caring because it is dark. It is scary. And just like everything else we've talked about in the podcast, people just don't want to hear it. You know, if you told your family member that we're going to have serious food insecurity issues in the next three to five decades, they're probably going to have the same reaction that my family members had when I said we're going to run out of fish by mid century.
It's a moment of like, Oh, that's so crazy in the back of their head thinking, I don't really believe you. And even if I did, that's just too sad to think or talk about.
Kellan: [00:25:26] Yeah. And maybe some of it comes back to all the conflicting information that's out there, which we've mentioned that in the past, when you say we're going to run out of fish by mid century, I can't help, but think is that even remotely accurate? Right. I know that on these topics, we do our research. We do the best we can, but the science is always changing. There's different agendas. There's misinformation and disinformation and so as I hear you say that it makes me think it's probably less, that people are scared and it's dark and scary, so they don't want to talk about it. And probably more that they just don't believe it. you layer on top of that, the fact that, you know, 30 years from now, 20 years from now, even 10 years from now, for most people, that just seems so far away. I think most people aren't even thinking about next week.
So I know I asked the question, but hearing you describe some of that sparked those thoughts. And I guess if all this information that we're receiving as we're doing research and that you're sharing with me is truly accurate then it feels like we're fighting an uphill battle, even just trying to educate the population.
Kory: [00:26:22] Yeah, I think that's exactly it. It's, it's an education problem. On the one hand, like you said, we've got this issue of not being able to rely on a hundred percent accurate information. We don't know how correct scientists are in their predictions. And we've talked about in the past, how, because of scientific reticence climate scientists, ecologists biologists you know, they don't want to make predictions about the future because there's no great degree of certainty with which they can give those answers. When it comes to how long there will be fish in the ocean. Well, number one, those things can change because human action can change. We can stop fishing, we can turn to more sustainable practices. Right. But since those articles have come out saying 2048, there have been others saying we refute the claims made here because of this and that. And so, yeah. It is really impossible to be able to say, and all we can really go off of is the best educated guesses from the best minds out there.
And then also, as I said before, in this podcast, doing the research ourselves as much as we can and coming to our own conclusions. One of the biggest challenges we face in this realm when it comes to the question of why doesn't everybody know about this, is that, like you said, they don't believe you. And secondly, it is a really hard thing to explain to people, you know, we just spent what, half an hour talking about soil and dirt, and who's going to sit down and just listen to you blab on about that, if you wanted to talk about it. You could tell someone, Hey, did you know that like we're gonna run out of arable land to grow food? Sometime this century. Yeah. And they might be like, yeah. Okay. And in the back of their mind, they're like, no, I don't believe you. And you're not going to be able to like, do you have a half an hour? Let me explain to you why. Right. And then just go into the spiel about soil versus dirt and microbes and all this stuff. Like the average person does not want to give time for that.
And it's the same thing with almost everything collapsed related, Fiat currency, energy and oil, and the inefficiencies of solar panels and all this stuff. It just bores people to death. And it sucks because the outcome of it is so tragic. You know, we go from talking about soil and dirt to that equaling billions of people being food insecure or starving, because at some point there will inevitably be peak food production.
Kellan: [00:28:24] There's something you said there, it takes me back to our conversation with John Michael Greer know, he talked about how he feels that in order to create awareness, you have to kind of spark people's imagination. So he's a big believer in, you know, fictional stories. get people thinking about this and imagining it. And maybe part of the problem for those of us that are aware is that we haven't found creative ways to make it entertaining. Not that we should have to, but I can see where if you got the opportunity to either read an academic paper on a subject or go watch an entertaining movie, human nature is that you're going to do the latter. You know, I remember when we talked about wealth disparity and the widening gap between the classes that we made a comment here or there about like the Hunger Games and although that's a totally fictional world, I think that caused a lot of people to open their eyes and see that we do live in a world where there's a stark contrast between the impoverished and those that are living. A life of overabundance and luxury.
Kory: [00:29:18] Yeah. There's definitely a difference between reading an essay in a scientific journal or listening to, you know, a lecture by Sid Smith on dissipative structures, for example, and reading something fascinating, like a novel that allows you to see the world in a different way. And they're all important, but not everybody is geared to learn in each of those ways. And I like to think, and this is the reason that we created the podcast is that we're somewhere in the middle. We're trying to plainly explain a principle without getting too intellectual because we're not intellectuals, but still trying to keep it light and fun and allow that learning process to continue.
And you know, that's our whole goal. And our mission is to create a resource for people who are wanting to learn about collapse, to be able to do it in a hopefully engaging and simple way and Kellan and I hope that you're enjoying the podcast. We hope that you're finding new ways to be able to introduce it to people who you think might be interested in hearing about it.
And if that is the case, if you appreciate what we're doing, please continue listening. We always mention we really appreciate the reviews that are left for us, wherever you listen, and the support through Patreon makes a huge difference for us as we take the time and energy that we do to make the content available. Thanks for listening. And we'll talk again next week.