Amazing BBC video, showing a great sense of humor on 31:44 where we are taught that “there’s no way you are going through all the effort of creating something very geometrical if you don’t have a religious reason for it”. The film is about how a sophisticated human society could overcome a harsh environment and flourish in a land thought to be uninhabitable. It seems like we can’t understand the diversity without taking into account the human factors.
If there ever were a place on earth we’d expect to be pristine, it’s the Amazon. Covering an area of the size of Australia, the region is a world icon of biodiversity. And more than this, the Amazon’s complex ecosystem has a global impact. Which is why the eyes of the world are fixed on the environmental war between developers and conservationists.
But new discoveries are challenging the basic beliefs of both sides in this battle. In 1986 the brazilian geographer Alceu Razi spotted structures currently known as geoglyphs while flying over the region. They show that for more than a millennium people were dramatically shaping an area previously thought to be virgin rainforest.
The ancient communities were not passive survivors at the mercy of the Amazon environment, but were deliberately reshaping the land and managing the wildlife in ways that allowed them to develop complex cultures.
Another outstanding discovery in the 1980’s: a soil of almost miraculous fertility, known as ‘terra preta’ or ‘dark earth’. Crop yields produced in dark earth are so good that it is now widely regarded as the most fertile soil in the world. Terra preta soils don’t lose their nutrients. They are very stable for over hundreds of years. The most remarkable about this miracle soil is, that ancient people didn’t just use the terra preta. They created it. In the southern Amazon people like the Kuikuro tribe are still creating dark earth today.
“So this dark earth is produced naturally. Our organic waste is always put at the back of the village, behind the houses. After three years the soil is blackened. When you plant things there, they grow well.”
Mutua Mehinaku, Kuikuro tribe
Yeah … that’s what my mother always told me, by the way. She never liked having the choice between intoxicating herself with nitrates or GMO and exposing herself to possible parasite infections from fresh excrements put all over certain West European fields.
And yes, she had so much fun when I’ve got the third mebendazole-resistant human pinworm infection after eating “organically grown” dutch veggies. Thank you so much for linking the memory of continuous tickling in my backdoor to those angelic choruses, BBC.
Anyway … the ancient knowledge is still here!
So, tell me: what knowledge did YOU inherit from your mother, that can help our global community to evolve while helping Earth to get in the best shape of her life?!