Clouds of dust, parched lands, deep, rich and loamy soil were all part of the movie Dirt. Jamie Lee Curtis narrates the film like a robotic sales call and there are some very silly animations, but there are important lessons. Quotes like, “Dirt might be more alive than we are, and dirt is the skin of the earth,” are examples of powerful yet simple statements. You won’t feel like grabbing a spade and planting a tree by the end of the film, but the movie does do a credible job of reacquainting city dwellers with the importance of their purchases at the grocery store and the meaningful small differences in our everyday lives that affect greater change.
The most interesting part of the film comes in the latter half, when Wes Jackson of The Land Institute begins to talk about soil erosion. He guides viewers towards a soil pit giving you a cut-away profile of layers of dirt including a diverse and extensive root system. He goes on to say dirt is the layer of skin over the Earth’s rocky crust, the deeper the soil, the richer the biodiversity of plants, which in turn supports a greater degree of biodiversity in the soil. It’s easy to see the connection between soil quality and the quality of food we eat.
Taking areas of disused or unusable land from concrete parking lots to dry parched plains in Africa and turning them into gardens supplying food to communities was an impressive highlight. The hopeful conclusion of the movie touches on many positive points like green roofs, storm water management, composting, and the pure mental benefits of digging, planting and changing communities from within by getting your hands in the earth.
See the movie at www.dirtthemovie.org