firestorm in Central Portugal on October 15th 2017
News from the Humus Project is sent out once a month
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead
The Humus Project was born from the ashes of a firestorm. On the 15th of October 2017 Central Portugal was hit by a massive wildfire. It consumed many woodlands, farms, olive groves and vineyards in our area. Some of us had to evacuate, some were trapped by the flames. Those who were fortunate to survive the terrible night had to figure out what to do next. How can we protect ourselves from such ‘natural disasters’ in the future?
A combination of many factors contributed to the devastating fires in 2017 including drought, monocultures, mismanagement of resources for fire protection and degraded soils. Some orchards, small holdings and gardens miraculously survived the night of October 15th. Of course, the reasons may have been a sudden change of wind. Or they may have had sprinkler systems to protect their land. Or had they simply been very lucky?
We have learned that a healthy soil, rich in humus, can protect itself against wildfire at least to a certain degree. Wildfires move fast, they skip and jump and travel along the path of least resistance. Healthy soil produces strong plants. And healthy plants can resist many kinds of adversity including burning embers falling from the sky.
This means we can make our land more fire proof by improving the soil. Humus can help prevent the extinction of human livelihoods, if humans help prevent the extinction of the humus-sphere. And that means we must do whatever we can to increase the humus layer in the topsoil.
To find out more about where we are read on here.
Photo: João Alves