Soil Erosion as a Threat to Human Civilizations

Soil Erosion as a Threat to Human Civilizations

Our relationship with dirt doesn't care to preserve its lifespan.
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Out of the environmental issues that are at the forefront of the news today, soil erosion is not one of them. It is not a concern worthy of the front pages of the newspaper today, or so I thought. I would argue that soil erosion is a significant problem today, along with problems associated with using natural resources and associated with climate change. In the United States and in other parts of the world, soil erosion is happening at a faster rate than soil formation, resulting in a net loss of soil. Because soil is the foundation for civilizations, for both building on and sustaining agriculture, loss of soil is a danger to society.

In Dirt by David Montgomery, he talks about the present rates of soil erosion and the future in our current economic system. He theorizes that it would only take a century to lose the country’s remaining topsoil at the current rates. Not only does this look dangerous for the future, but it is largely ignored. He believes that the economic and political systems we have are destroying the soil because it is used up without a second thought. More effort needs to be put into soil mitigation techniques if anything is to change. For agriculture to survive, soil has to survive.

The Dust Bowl in the Midwest in the 1930’s is a perfect example of the way the economy and politics worsens the seriousness of soil erosion. With World War One, economic incentives were put in place to get people to move to Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska where everyone took the newer, faster plow and plowed the entire region to grow wheat. Farming was easy, and it was incentivized. The demand for wheat during the war and the ease of growing it destroyed the soil rapidly, and when the war ended, these trends continued. After the financial collapse of farm products, the already-disturbed soil influenced larger dust storms. Ignoring what they were doing to the native prairies is what caused the Dust Bowl.

Soil erosion is a major environmental problem because it can cause future damage like it did in the Dust Bowl. It is also connected to bigger problems like climate change. For instance, the decline in the number of bees is damaging our agricultural system, and the presence of good soil is necessary along with the bees, for the future of agriculture and thus the future of our society. Without bees, humans may be able to invent new ways to pollinate plants, but without soil, it will become impossible to grow anything. This is connected to climate change specifically because the changing climate is contributing to the decline in bees, but also because the changing climate is changing the animals and vegetation that can survive in certain areas. Desertification is creating sands that are useless for farming. As the global average temperature increases, the weather of these agricultural regions is changing. This could mean less rain and hotter days, both of which could result in further soil erosion.

In addition, the changing climate and changing soils are strained because of the increasing global population. As the population increases, agriculture has to accommodate for the change, in many cases that means agriculture has to expand to new lands. Farming on hillslopes and in new areas expands the scope of soil erosion to unhealthy quantities. Soil erosion is just as important of a problem as climate change, because the survival of human civilization depends on it.

Cover Image Credit: IAC Publishing Labs

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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11 Things You See On A Midwest Campus When it Hits 50 Degrees

ANYTHING to switch up the snow boots, parkas, and seasonal depression

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All those jokes about people in Michigan and other cold places breaking out bikinis and shorts when it surpasses 45 degrees-well they're pretty accurate. One lap around a campus in the midwest will expose you to all of the different stereotypical behaviors of students who suffered through the polar freaking vortex or cyclone or black hole or whatever it was called.

50 degrees on a campus like mine? That calls for windows down, exposed shoulders that would've warranted a dress-coding in middle school, and energy that would make you think there was a full moon during the day.

1. Birkenstocks

Maybe it's just me, but the moment I can throw my boots in the back of the closet and make the transition from moccasins to Birks, I do it ASAP! My red, squishy Birkenstocks have been with me through years of puddles, vacations, and walks to class. As soon as you can wear them, with or without socks, it is truly a liberating feeling like no other.

2. SO many calves

Running shorts, basketball shorts, and Soffees, oh my! The leggings and sweats we've been rotating for the past three months can FINALLY be put in a drawer for the day and the legs can finally be shaved!

3. Sunnies

Yes, I know the sun still shines in the winter. But there's nothing like completing a Spring outfit with a chic new pair of shades. Whether you're driving, walking, or wearing them during class, I guarantee you look more badass.

4. Skateboards

The kid zooming by you on a penny board is quite a mystery. You heard about three seconds of the song he's blasting through his headphones around his neck, and you only saw a portion of his face without facial hair.

5. Girls blasting country music

The Jeep Wrangler speeding by is sure to have at least seven girls squished in listening to Sam Hunt with the windows all the way down. They're not going to class-just going for a joy ride.

6. Frat boys in lawn chairs

The houses with Greek letters are sure to be preceded by an army of shirtless guys drinking Coors and lounging in lawn chairs while whistling to any female passer-by just to confirm their sexuality.

7. Iced coffees galore

The Starbucks line will be out the door. The amount of iced caramel macchiatos will be at an all-time high, but hopefully, that means the amount of straws will be at an all-time low. :)

8. People walking FOR FUN

Vitamin D does wonders for the mood. Grab some friends and waddle over to get ice cream.

9. Colors other than black

Yellow? Pink? Red?! You haven't been able to show off your colorful wardrobe under all of those black parkas! Break out your brightest outfit t celebrate the season change!

10. A looooooooooong line at the bar

There's no excuse not to go out anymore. And you bet your ass you'll see jean skirts and tank tops that aren't suede for once this year.

11. Those three kids from California still in gloves and hats

They're just not on the same page yet. They'll have their moment if it hits 70.

Spring has sprung ladies and gents! Keep a look out for all of the eager beavers like me that just can not WAIT to break out the summer wardrobe, summer playlist, and summer snacks! Ice cream, Slurpees, and iced coffees are back on the menu and hot chocolate is out!

Some of these things may seem a little dramatic, but I assure you, you'll be able to check off at least five of these in one day if you explore a midwest campus in March.

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