Author: Emily Brooks, Dirt! The Blog
Dirt! The Movie is one of the most powerful, influential and important documentaries I have ever seen.
Of all the planets in the known universe, only Earth has a living, breathing “skin” formed over the course of countless millennia. Our entire world is dependent on the health of our dirt, and it is safe to say that we don’t even consider dirt and soil – it’s probably at the very bottom (if even on) our list of things to improve our environment and incorporate green and sustainable business practices into our company’s standard operating procedures.
Dirt regulates the earth’s climate and is the ultimate source for all life on earth. Yet, most of us ignore, abuse, and destroy this dirt – our most precious living natural resource. We’ve lost 1/3 of our topsoil in the last 100 years. Industrial farming created a huge demand for nitrogen fertilizers, and now 25% of our greenhouse gas emissions are coming from a war against the soil. Deadly conflicts are breaking out around the world over our dwindling supply of fertile soil. We are at war with each other over DIRT! The entire Brazilian rainforest is being cut down for the expansion of soil. Floods, drought, climate change, even war . . . all directly related to the way we are treating dirt.
But what if we started to replant? What if we allowed the natural processes of nature to help guide our farming practices? What if we removed blacktop in our parking lots to prevent contaminated rain run-off into our streams and rivers? What if we greened as many of our urban areas as possible? What if we got DIRTY?
10 Ways to Get Your Business Dirty
1. Watch the film Dirt! The Movie and Join the Dirt Movement.
2. Screen the film for your entire workforce. Let your staff and employees learn about the importance of our most valuable resource. Start a discussion, dialog with each other!
3. Create a Get Dirty Taskforce. Getting dirty should be put at the top of our environmental and sustainability agendas. Getting dirty can also save you money. Getting dirty is also one of those journeys in which a hundred small and insignificant and cost effective steps can make a million-fold positive difference. Let your staff have fun getting dirty. Do it together, one small project at a time.
4. Let the weeds grow! What happened to us that we like some plants and not others? Any plant life growing in the dirt is hugely beneficial to the life of the soil surrounding your business. Let them grow!
5. Let nature dictate your landscaping. Green grass that is fertilized and sprayed with chemicals to keep the weeds down is lovely to look at, but those practices are devastating to your dirt – not to mention just one more cost factor in your budget. Why not let the indigenous plants in your area return to your work site? Natural plants can be tended without fertilizer or chemicals and are in many cases far more beautiful than grass.
6. Manage pavement and black toped areas. Do you really need all of it?
7. Do a water run-off study. Asphalt and blacktop and pavement cause huge water run-off problems. Rain and other precipitation SHOULD be absorbed by the soil, and then cleaned by the soil microbes to regenerate the next cycle of life. Paving over this giant sponge means that all rain will flow outward and into our water supply carrying with it debris and pollutants from the surface and the toxins from the pavement itself. If you need your pavement, do a water study to determine where the water is flowing and at what rate. Add berms of soil and other minor modifications to manage your water run-off.
8. Manage your investments. What’s the most important investment and asset a business has? Their employees. You probably have rules and regulations to manage your employee’s behavior. You might invest in a Workplace Wellness to help manage their exercise and stress levels. Getting your business dirty is another way to safeguard and steward your investments and assets by providing a clean, green, beautiful environment where all of your employees can have fun getting dirty too. All environmental altruism aside, we will reach a point where businesses will compete for quality staff and employee retention based on the environmental and sustainability policies, practices, and physical environment of each organization.
9. Financially reward others who are dirty. Where do you buy your paper supplies? Your employee health coverage? Your office cleaning services? If you choose to reward other companies with your dollars for their stewardship of our environment, you will be rewarded in return. Add Getting Dirty and supporting the goods and services of other Dirty Businesses to your arsenal of sales opportunities.
10. Don’t PLAN to get dirty. Don’t strategize to the hilt. Don’t committee/agenda/meeting your Get Dirty agenda into stagnation and let it get lost in bureaucracy. Getting Dirty is the most beneficial thing you can do for our environment. Contrary to all other green initiatives, getting dirty is also the most cost effective and has the greatest cost savings potential of any of your environmental policy agendas.