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Our world is built on an invisible one we are barely beginning to understand. In The Hidden Half of Nature, geologist David R. Montgomery and biologist Anne Biklé argue that Earth's smallest creatures—microbes—could revolutionize how we grow food, what we eat, and how we practice medicine.The Hidden Half of Nature shares a geologist's and a biologist's efforts to turn their barren Seattle lot into a flourishing garden and Biklé's own struggle with cancer. Taking readers deep into the science and history of agriculture and immunology, Montgomery and Biklé show that beneficial microbes can provide powerful solutions to the problems plaguing modern agriculture, such as excess chemicals and infertile crops, as well as our own bodies, weakened by antibiotics and high-fat, low-fiber diets. A spellbinding story, The Hidden Half of Nature reveals how we can restore fertility to the land and defeat chronic diseases.
Prepare to set aside what you think you know about yourself and microbes. The Hidden Half of Nature reveals why good health--for people and for plants--depends on Earth's smallest creatures. Restoring life to their barren yard and recovering from a health crisis, David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé discover astounding parallels between the botanical world and our own bodies. From garden to gut, they show why cultivating beneficial microbiomes holds the key to transforming agriculture and medicine.
A riveting exploration of how microbes are transforming the way we see nature and ourselves—and could revolutionize agriculture and medicine. Prepare to set aside what you think you know about yourself and microbes. Good health—for people and for plants—depends on Earth’s smallest creatures. The Hidden Half of Nature tells the story of our tangled relationship with microbes and their potential to revolutionize agriculture and medicine, from garden to gut. When David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé decide to restore life into their barren yard by creating a garden, dead dirt threatens their dream. As a cure, they feed their soil a steady diet of organic matter. The results impress them. In short order, the much-maligned microbes transform their bleak yard into a flourishing Eden. Beneath their feet, beneficial microbes and plant roots continuously exchange a vast array of essential compounds. The authors soon learn that this miniaturized commerce is central to botanical life’s master strategy for defense and health. They are abruptly plunged further into investigating microbes when Biklé is diagnosed with cancer. Here, they discover an unsettling truth. An armada of bacteria (our microbiome) sails the seas of our gut, enabling our immune system to sort microbial friends from foes. But when our gut microbiome goes awry, our health can go with it. The authors also discover startling insights into the similarities between plant roots and the human gut. We are not what we eat. We are all—for better or worse—the product of what our microbes eat. This leads to a radical reconceptualization of our relationship to the natural world: by cultivating beneficial microbes, we can rebuild soil fertility and help turn back the modern plague of chronic diseases. The Hidden Half of Nature reveals how to transform agriculture and medicine—by merging the mind of an ecologist with the care of a gardener and the skill of a doctor.
Ranging from ancient times to modern-day environmental threats, a natural and cultural history of soil explains how an elimination of protective vegetation and an exposure to wind and rain causes severe erosion of cultivated soils, how the use and abuse of soil has shaped human history, and the how the rise of organic and no-till farming holds hope for the future.
An inspiring vision for restoring the soil that feeds us all and turns agriculture into a solution for environmental crises.
Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices—and, especially, modern industrial agriculture—have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world’s soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet. In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"—a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon—and potentially reverse global warming. As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, Ohlson has long had an appreciation for the soil. A chance conversation with a local chef led her to the crossroads of science, farming, food, and environmentalism and the discovery of the only significant way to remove carbon dioxide from the air—an ecological approach that tends not only to plants and animals but also to the vast population of underground microorganisms that fix carbon in the soil. Ohlson introduces the visionaries—scientists, farmers, ranchers, and landscapers—who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.
Using rocks as proof, a geologist examines the great flood stories found in many cultures and religions and travels across countries and landscapes to discover a place where theology and science converge. 13,000 first printing.

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