Years of evolution have created the earth's dirt. It's the stuff that recycles our water, gives us food and provides the foundation for shelter. Recent discoveries show that the vitality of the Earth's dirt is endangered as a result of destructive agricultural methods, mining practices, pollution and urban development.
Bill Benesen and Gene Rosow - inspired by William Bryant Logan's acclaimed book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth - set out to make a documentary about dirt. The result is a film that combines science and humor as it digs into the history and current state of the living organic matter that sustains us. Independent Lens "Dirt! The Movie" airs on KUED Tuesday, April 20 at 11:00 p.m.
Narrated by actress, author, and social activist, Jamie Lee Curtis, the filmmakers travel to more than 20 locations around the world. The film examines the "living" part of dirt and the billions of organisms sustained in a small handful. The story of dirt includes renowned scientists and global visionaries who offer new discoveries and practical solutions to preserving and repairing the Earth's dirt.
The documentary uncovers the problems facing dirt and searches for the answers. Interviewed are an eclectic group of dirt lovers ranging from farmers, biologists, Rikers Island convicts and Nobel Laureates.
"This film is not about environmental disasters - it's about environmental potential," says Benesen "There are a variety of solutions to the problems we face. There's a lot of hope for the future, if we come back into balance with dirt."
The journey leads to farmers and agronomists who rediscover sustainable agriculture, researchers who find ways to generate electricity from soils and sediments, inmates who find skills and peace in a prison horticulture program, and children who learn of soil fertility and the joy of gardening from their schoolyard.
Wangari Maathai plants a tree
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