Book Review on “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations”

Did you know that the earth needs 500 years to produce 1 inch of topsoil? David Montgomery, a geologist and professor at The University of Washington, posits that soil is the most overlooked and crucial material on earth. He presents a cultural history of soil degradation and how soil exhaustion has shaped the course of human societies.  The book, republished in 2012 with a new preface,  is very readable and contains low tech suggestions to sustain soil fertility and counteract some of the negative aspects of industrial farming.

Suggestions for further information

  • Diamond, Jared, 2005. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive. New York, Viking Press (also printed under “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”)
  • Montgomery, David R. Growing a Revolution. New York, W.W. Norton and Co, 2017
  • Montgomery, David R.The Hidden Half of Nature – The Microbial Roots of Life and Health. New York, W.W. Norton and Co., 2016
  • Youtube – Dave Montgomery – Dirt the Erosion of Civilizations – Webcast sponsored by the Irving K Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia

Submitted by Leslye Glover