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Premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in the US and then on Netflix, the widely acclaimed documentary explains how soil may be the key to fighting climate change.
Ian Somerhalder, Gisele Bündchen, Woody Harrelson, Patricia Arquette … the list of actors would have been perfect for the casting of an American blockbuster. But instead, all these stars are in an environmental documentary. “Kiss the ground”, filmed in 2019 by director couple Josh and Rebecca Tickellfor the American association of the same name, aims to show that regenerative agriculture has the power to stop climate change once and for all.
The 1 hour and 20 minute documentary, with its frenetic pace and effective, hard-hitting soundtrack, its polished shots and almost poetic special effects, begins with a statement in the form of an indictment: since the end of the Second World War, the human race has poisoned its soils to the point of literally turning them to dust. The culprits? Over-ploughing, the excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers, industrialisation and the massive specialisation of agriculture. As a result, soil is less and less fertile despite all the technological advances and scientific efforts.
Loss of arable land by 2080
Today in the US, it takes three times as much fertiliser to grow a tonne of maize as in 1960. And the clock is ticking. If nothing is done, arable land will have completely disappeared from the Earth’s surface within 60 years. However, there are effective, quick and cheap solutions to restore degraded land and facilitate carbon capture, which is essential for all forms of life.
All these means together form what is commonly called “regenerative agriculture”. With stunning footage from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the film shows clearly how soil is the missing piece of the climate puzzle. By regenerating soil, i.e. making it fertile again, we could restore balance to the climate, replenish water supplies, maintain endangered species and better feed the entire human race.
Virtuous practices from around the world
To achieve this objective, “Kiss the ground” explores practices to be implemented by farmers: a return to no-till systems, crop diversification, free and planned grazing of livestock on grasslands, permaculture, vegetation cover on uncultivated land, etc. The film also discusses best practices for citizens, such as composting, eating ethically produced food or selective sorting. From San Francisco to China, from Zimbabwe to North Dakota, the documentary shares a host of examples and demonstrates their effectiveness through educational animations.
Combining all these practices would allow soils to capture most of the carbon in the atmosphere and thus stop global warming and even reverse some of its effects. After watching Kiss the Ground, you may want to do precisely that – knowing that the saviour of us all is right there beneath our feet.