A Q & A with Ronald Amundson
I recently had the privilege of interviewing soil scientist Ronald Amundson for Aeon magazine. Here’s a sample below. You can read the whole thing at this link.
“Ronald Amundson is professor of environmental science at the University of California, Berkeley, and dirt is his life’s work. He grew up on a farm in South Dakota and credits a great high‑school teacher for inspiring him to look at the more ‘intellectual aspects of soil’. Since then, Amundson has gone on to study the desert-like soils on Mars as well as the life-supporting soils on Earth. He was recently the lead author on a paper about the state of the world’s soils. (Spoiler alert: it’s not good.) Aeon asked Amundson how we can address the current problems with our soil – or whether we should start looking at the desolate surface of Mars as our future.
Why should we be so worried about the state of our planet’s soil?
Amundson: We had 10,000 years when we could make mistakes that would ruin the soil, cause erosion or ecological degradation, and people could move on to new places. Now we’ve essentially filled up the globe. We’ve exploited about all of the soils left that are applicable to agriculture. So we are at a point where we can’t make mistakes any more.”