Let me get dirty with you.

Let me get dirty with you.

Give me a moment while I spread myself on the ground, face-down, with my arms outstretched. If this was winter, I would be face-up, spreading my arms and legs out to make snow angels.

But be an angel and work with me on this as I scratch my fingers through the soil.

OK, I know that we live on the Canadian shield in this wonderful sometimes-rocky part of Georgian Bay, but there are many farms in our area; producers of everything from sheep to beef and corn to maple syrup.

Farmers are such an important thing to us. Seldom getting enough credit for what they do until you go to a fall fair such as the Great Northern Exhibition in Clearview Township, near Collingwood, Ontario and have your eyes opened.

But I digress. The image of me, face-down on the ground, should still be in your mind and I want you to get your hand dirty. Reach down and use your finger, or your hand, to scratch out an outline in the soil (or is it dirt?) all around and close to my body.

Done! Now, I'll roll away and stand up while you stare at that outline of my body. Inside that space, where my body was, there is either something growing, or there isn't. Inside that outlined space, something can grow, or it can't. Now imagine that outlined space turning into a movie screen in front of your eyes.

I have been painting a picture in your mind in order to introduce “Kiss The Ground”, an incredible documentary. That's why we need a movie screen, or your television screen along with your subscription to Netflix. Or, there are other ways that you must see “Kiss The Ground”.

Notice that I said must.

Never before in the history of education has so much very important information been brought to life in such a short time. There are many lessons in this documentary, produced by Rebecca and Josh Tickell of Big Picture Ranch in California and if you care the tiniest bit about the health of our – your – planet, these lessons are an imperative.

You must do more than watch this film. You must act upon it in some way because our – your – survival depends on it. This documentary clearly explains how we can battle climate change.

I spent one hour, twenty-four minutes watching “Kiss The Ground” earlier this evening. That amount of time out of your day, or evening, might be a turning point in your thinking about soil and dirt, what we eat, how it is produced and where it comes from. We can't live without food. We can't survive if our planet is dying from climate change.

Interestingly, as you watch “Kiss The Ground” you will understand that this movie is not about religion, nor is it about politics, it is about soil and dirt and growing things, or not growing things. Most-importantly it is about saving our soil, along with our planet through some straightforward practices.

I learned some new words and definitions as I watched this documentary which is narrated by famous actor/activist Woody Harrelson. Regeneration. Biosequestration. I learned that modern technology is amazing in that, thanks to NASA, our world can be looked at and photographed in ways never previously possible. Thanks to modern technology, “Kiss The Ground” was produced, promoted and is being released to the public in a number of ways.

It seems like just yesterday I was typing on a Tandy TRS-80 tablet, mourning the death of my typewriter and thinking I was in Communication Heaven. Today I can be in contact with people around the world in just seconds and thanks to social media and modern technology the world is learning quickly about “Kiss The Ground”. A movement is gathering steam.

I have not felt so moved about a particular topic, since I took part in “Foodstock” helping to oppose a mega-quarry which was planned for valuable farmland south of Collingwood. The quarry got stopped thanks to thousands of people, many of whom might have thought they alone could not make a difference. The truth is that if people get together they can make a postive difference!

I have not felt so moved about a particular topic, since I listened to Sarah Harmer, a brilliant, Canadian singer-composer, performing the “Escarpment Blues” in about 2005-2006 after she hiked our precious Niagara Escarpment and produced “I'm A Mountain”.

When they mentioned the book “Drawdown” in “Kiss The Ground” it made me think of Brent Preston's book “The Farm” which is something else you should read if you want to know more about the challenges farmers face.

I think it is a little unfair of me not to mention all the many hard-working, agriculture-associated professionals who are interviewed in “Kiss The Ground”. But in the interests of brevity, I shall be unfair and mention two.

Ray Archuleta is a conservation agronomist. Gabe Brown doesn't call himself a farmer, although he has tackled that in his day-job. Now, Gabe is a regenerative rancher. He'll bet his farm on it!

I predict that if you take the time – one hour, 24 minutes – from your busy schedule to watch “Kiss The Ground” you will not feel it was wasted time. You might be moved to join me and encourage educationists everywhere to make “Kiss The Ground” compulsory viewing in classrooms around the world. Everybody should be clicking on www.kissthegroundmovie.com.

You might consider this premature, but I shall write it anyway. If I had a vote for a Nobel Peace Prize, I would be ticking a box for “Kiss The Ground”. Because if the health of our world improves, there is a better chance for peace everywhere. Rich, or poor, you can have a hand in improving the health of our world.

If nothing else, the fact that millions of people are being displaced because their soil has died, should alarm you. It alarms me that there is a new type of refugee in our world – entire families displaced – and it has nothing to do with religion, or politics. It has to do with soil dying. They have an official name for it (watch the movie), but I call it as I see it.

Looking ahead a few things should happen.

One. “Kiss The Ground” must be translated into many languages and viewed throughout the nest we call our planet; all around the world.

Two. Fall fair organizers across North America – just for starters – should sponsor the presentation of “Kiss The Ground” in their respective communities. What a great way to reach thousands, if not millions, of urban-and-rural people in a hurry. Watch this film and I think you will agree that there is no time to waste in getting this movie to everybody.

Three. Reach down into that imaginary, outlined space again. Is that dirt, or is that soil? You will learn the difference when you watch “Kiss The Ground”. You must learn the difference and take action in some way. Otherwise, future generations could be doomed. And I'm sure you don't want that!

Editor's note: George Czerny-Holownia (“just call me George”) is a Collingwood, Ont.-based retiree and author of the book “Kiss The Ground You Walk On, Canada!” which has nothing to do with “Kiss The Ground”, the movie, except that a year and a half ago he mentioned the “Kiss The Ground” organization in California in his book on Page 149.



17 Oct 2020

By George Czerny-Holownia