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The Soil Will Save Us

How Scientists, Farmers, and Ranchers Are Tending the Soil to Reverse Global Warming
Written by: Kristin Ohlson
Narrated by: Dina Pearlman
Length: 7 hrs and 35 mins
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2013 Kristin Ohlson (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • See Reverse
  • 2016-07-17

Underground Carbon

Where does The Soil Will Save Us rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Definitely in the top half. This book isn't overly technical, but it tells enough stories to help reveal a new understanding of soil. Coming out of an era where conservation means "hands off" or "controlled burns", this book outlines an idea that shouldn't have been so elusive for us... natural systems build healthy (carbon rich) soil.

What did you like best about this story?

The story gave me enough of an idea of how to build a natural system in my yard, that I built a small garden, and started cultivating natural grass. We'll see how it goes, but the book definitely inspired me to try it.

Which character – as performed by Dina Pearlman – was your favorite?

She plays herself well, as narrator.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The soil that won the climate war.

Any additional comments?

The book touches on climate change, and the politics on each side of the issue, but really this story is about soil.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael Dowd
  • Freeland, WA USA
  • 2014-09-20

Superb science, storytelling, and narration voice

What made the experience of listening to The Soil Will Save Us the most enjoyable?

Some authors include time-wasting details in order to sound like they are telling a story. The author here includes only those details that help the understanding. Also, I have never heard a better reader-voice. Wow!

What did you like best about this story?

Direct, highly relevant, and superbly well read.

Which character – as performed by Dina Pearlman – was your favorite?

The narrator herself.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

Any additional comments?

Again, I have never heard a better narrator voice.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-02-21

Meh

The content is interesting. The narrator with the authors words is very annoying. Mispronunciation of common words and side diatribes distract from the information. Relieved when I finished the book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Charles Phillips
  • 2018-10-17

Rambling, mile wide, inch deep treatment of a subject

Perhaps titling the book more accurately would have helped. To me it was summaries of people like Gabe Brown’s writings, silly descriptions of the many conferences and farms she attended, historical and political references. My expectations were for an in depth, useful, pragmatic treatment of the subject of the soil. I found little to inspire the application of useful information (there was little supplied) to my own cultivation of the soil on my land.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew
  • 2018-11-29

Patience required.

The book gets more interesting, and the content more substantial, the further in you get.

I listened at about 1.5x.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • thomas
  • 2015-05-21

If you have a problem with is amazing book it's not the book

This book functions as an elegant and exceptionally persuasive argument for completely rethinking our relationship with the earth and how we grow what we need to exist. Bravo!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hope N.
  • 2016-02-12

comprehensive and optimistic

Enjoyed the scientific review and feeling optimistic about climate change, narrarator was dry and cannot pronounce place names or some science terms correctly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steven
  • 2015-06-14

A book vital to the human species

The more people read this book and act on it, the less disastrous the 21st century will be for us all.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Chamberlain
  • 2019-07-03

Misinformation on much of this book

She talks about notill as being most healthy, then she goes on a long rant about organic and how that is healthier. She cites the Rodale institute’s work on how organic yields and profits are highest. The Rodale institutes notill organic trial uses a plow every other year. It says that it increased OM in the organic sites above the conventional plots, but they added tons of organic matter to the organic plots and not the conventional plots.
She uses professors from a university to teach and explain a subject, then later talks at how they are bought by big industry and cannot produce non biased information. She states that SDSU joined with Monsanto and Westbred to sue farmers for patent infringement - Not true. She states that nitrogen applications cause mycorrhizae fungi populations to be reduced. I cannot find research myself that has proven that, and reached out to others that haven’t heard that yet either. High P soil tests can reduce the effect of the synergy between root and mycorrhizae fungi. Not commercial N applications.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Wild Onion
  • 2014-11-16

Easy to Digest Science

If you could sum up The Soil Will Save Us in three words, what would they be?

This author writes about carbon sequestration and climate change in a a logical and easy to understand way. The scientific explanations provided are both accurate and surprisingly (for a non-science writer) thorough. The Soill Will Save Us should be required reading for high school students and freshman science majors. It's also great for those starting to learn about climate change too. And for the more advanced, this book is a great instructional tool for students, as well as vindication to know that the message is tricking out to non-scientists. Ohlson does a great job presenting complex ideas - making it easy to digest for us all.

What did you like best about this story?

Structure

6 of 8 people found this review helpful