Agriculture has become so industrial, that modern society has almost forgotten that plants grow naturally.
Farming, in Jackson’s view, is humanity’s original sin. This fall from grace occurred around 10,000 years ago, when people first started gathering and planting the seeds of annual grasses, such as wild wheat and barley. “That was probably the first moment when we began to erode the ecological capital of the soil,” he says. “It’s when humans first started withdrawing the earth’s nonrenewable resources.” As he sees it, fossil-fuel dependency, environmental pollution, overpopulation and global warming are all extensions of the path humans took when they first started tilling the soil. “It wasn’t intentional. It didn’t require a chamber of commerce or the devil to make us do it—we just did it.”
This 2005 lecture at Colorado College provokes thoughts.