Special Report

The Dirt on Soil

Ecology has become a term that sets people at odds. “Tree huggers” are both despised and celebrated. Some avidly support the new ecological movement of our time and others suspect that various agendas underlie it. What is the appropriate foundation for a relationship between humans and the environment?

Soil and Survival

David Hulme

Abuse of topsoil and soil erosion are growing problems around the world; without healthy soil, we can’t produce healthy food. It’s a global issue, yet the solution is essentially local.

Environmental problems: Soil

The Nature of Soil

David Hulme

Do we understand and appreciate one of our most basic natural resources—the soil that sustains life itself? Vision interviews Deborah Koons Garcia.

Civilization, Soil, and Survival

Civilization, Soil and Survival

David Hulme

We know from the record of history that when civilizations do not respect their topsoil, they fail almost without exception.

End of Agriculture?

David Hulme

We’re losing topsoil at an astonishing rate around the world. Can this lead to the end of agriculture?

Interview with Paul Erlich: And Then What?

And Then What?

Dan Cloer

Paul Ehrlich’s dire predictions of the effect of a burgeoning world population never came to pass. Or maybe, he says, they simply haven’t yet.

Drowning in Excess Nitrogen

Alice Abler

Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers have revolutionized worldwide food production, but after a century, environmentalists are sounding the alarm.

Feeding Our Nitrogen Addiction

Feeding Our Nitrogen Addiction

Alice Abler

Farmers, gardeners and scientific scholars understand that nitrogen is one of the most important plant foods. But are artificial means the answer?

Fritz Haber: Plowshares and Swords

Alice Abler

The prophet Isaiah wrote of a time when instruments of war would be turned into implements for farming. But today, the opposite occurs far too often.