Friday, September 27, 2013

"Dirt: The Movie": A good middle school science class lesson about conservation

I needed a school-suitable science documentary film for this blog in a hurry, and I’ll get back to why in a moment.  So today, it’s “Dirt: The Movie” (2009),  by Bill Benenson, Gene Rosow, and Elenore Daily, from Common Ground Media and Docurama. 

The basic concept of the film sounds all most too simple.  Dirt is soil, and we’re destroying it.  That was a message of conservation lessons about erosion in grade school in the 1950’s.

I wasn’t aware of the enormous importance of fungi (including what makes mushrooms) in turning fallen and dead plants and animals back into topsoil,  And late in a woman, we’re shown how to make an effective compost pile, or mulch.

The film does decry deforestation and paving of the Earth.  Los Angeles needs to import water from the Rockies because most of its own rain runs off. 

The film has some impressive shots of mountaintop removal for coal.  One scene may be from Kayford Mountain in West Virginia, but another scene I did not recognize, and it really looked like China.

There is also an interesting sequence where prisoners in upstate New York go outside and work in a garden, and their chests expand and hunchback goes away.   For them, it’s a treat.

The website for the film is here
So, let kids on the farm make their mud pies the way we used to in Ohio in the summer.  Exposure to "dirt" is probably good for children, helping them build up the immune systems early in life with gradual exposure to natural bacteria and fungi. 

Picture: Erosion in a suburban yard, lack of sun exposure makes it difficult to keep grass growing, so a little creek starts to develop. 

I had a fiasco this morning with a duplicate film, of “Journey to the Edge of the Universe”, which turned out to be a British retread with a different narrator of an American National Geographic film.  Not illegal, but a bit unethical to make something look like new material when it isn’t.   All the material is on my posting Dec. 8, 2008 about that film.  There was briefly a new entry here today for the UK version, which I deleted and simply added on to the 2008 posting.  

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