Ray: Hello, soil lovers, and welcome to another episode of Secrets of the Soil. I’m your host region, right? And I am so excited for today’s guest. If you’ve not been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen on documentary on Netflix called Kiss the Ground. And so today I’m joined by our American guest, Finian. Welcome to the Secrets of the Soul podcast.
Finian: Thanks so much for having me. It’s great to be here.
Ray: Now you don’t need to convince me because I’m a soil advocate and everyone knows in our soul loving community how excited I get about soil. But I’m curious to know your story about Kiss the Ground, so share with our listeners a little bit about Kiss the Ground.
Finian: Great. Well, I became a soil lover technically more about nine years ago, but a little back history on me as I did grow up in the countryside, gardening in the, you know, in the back. And I was homeschooled. So I spent quite a bit of time in the backyard gardening, doing composting and all that. But I didn’t really have any of the the aha moments of understanding the vast significance of healthy soil on a landscape climate, a biodiversity watershed understanding until about nine years ago. I I, I’ve always been an activist most of my life and very connected to how can I make a difference? How can I make a difference? And to be totally frank, I was feeling more and more apathetic about humanity’s ability to impact anything and do good side. It was more on the how do we curb our bad a little bit more? And then I was really lucky to have a friend named Ryland, who was in New Zealand watching a conference called Can Human Beings Sustain Themselves on Planet Earth? And the first five panelists essentially said no at the rate we’re going. Yeah. And then the last gentleman his name is, Graeme Sait. He spoke and he said, Well, everything they’ve said is true. We’ve really lost sight or disconnected ourselves or not understood at all. This amazing opportunity called humans working with nature to rebuild soil, and this was not only on a carbon sequestration potential as a as a sink for it, but also on a functionality of everything in the world drought, fertility, desertification, you know, human suffering at large as well as planetary health. And so Ryland was really moved by this moment. He had there and he came back very lit up and inspired, and he was able to convince this gentleman, Graeme Sait to stop in Los Angeles on his way to San Francisco and present to a kind of random group of us and relent knowing me as this kind of activist’s friend. We grew up together in upstate New York, and then we were out in L.A. and he he’s like, I think you’re going to really dig this and enrolled me in helping put on this event for Graeme, say. And four hours later, the docs had really been connected. And really what it was was moving from this state of, like I mentioned, slightly major apathy in a way of like, what can we really do in the face of these major catastrophes? And I consider myself pretty knowledgeable. I mean, you know, when I spoke to my general public friends or whoever was out there, I always felt like I was on the know on climate change, on drought and all these things that we were facing. And I was like, Wait a minute, if I didn’t know about this stuff, if I didn’t understand this, probably most people don’t know about this, and that was kind of the the shock moment I had. So we went back to Rayland’s that night and we were all excited about this. This news from Graeme Sait. And we basically said, if this is all true, if all of it is saying about soil health and the ability to rebuild it and this functionality, this is all real. This is the biggest news ever. And we would we would kind of be jerks if we didn’t take our abilities and do whatever we can to help get the word out about this. Because at that time, eight or nine years ago, there was hardly anything about this in the public short for media, easily comprehensive infographics or whatever. It was just very little out there for anyone to to understand it. So that was really the moment for me was like, I know in my soul that this is something that people can grasp the same way I did. They can have the same aha moment of this incredible respect and offer the incredible world under our feet. And if it happened to me, it can happen to enough people in the world that we have. Those who are the type of activators, activists and everything that can get behind this and we can we can radically change humanity’s trajectory. So it was with that whole that kind of confidence in us as humans that we could see this that Ryland and I and a group of others set off to to create kiss the ground and the rest is history.
Ray: And what a beautiful history it is. I can totally relate with that whole aha moment. And soil lovers if you’re there listening and this could be your aha moment because the world underneath our feet is absolutely so fascinating and I can’t stop learning about it, and it feels like you’re very similar to that. Farming secrets was established very similar to the timeframes that you’re speaking of, and I want to. I did notice that because when I got around the soil advocate program, I went and, you know, dug a little bit deeper and said, Who these people in, you know, kiss the ground and what are they all about? And I want to be a soil advocate. This sounded really like cool. And I saw videos from yourself recording in people’s backyards and, you know, hanging out with Allan Savory Institute from like eight, nine, ten years ago. And I say the same thing with farming secrets. Why do you think it’s taken so long for this narrative, for this conversation to, you know, hit hard and hit the soul?
Finian: I’ve never been asked the question quite like that. But what immediately came to mind as soon as you said it was there just weren’t enough people who got it and were passionate about sharing it? And that’s really when when I started soil advocate training and I think you probably heard me say in Soil advocate training, the reason for this course is the running up against like, how many people have I seen at all these conferences? If this stays in this nation bubble, we’re all screwed, quite honestly. And so my goal with the soil advocate training was to scale the ability for thousands, if not millions of people to take on being messengers and being confident messengers in this solution. So if we look at Al Gore’s climate reality as an example of like getting a bunch of people who can who can continually perpetuate a message, we were far, far, far behind in terms of the revelation of soil. As this huge platform and ability for humanity to kind of solve our crisis, we put ourselves in. So that was really the thought of mine. of like, we can’t have people sitting on the sidelines, going to these conferences, watching the same people speak. We need them as the leaders at new conferences, at different places, at different forums, in different communities than are currently being spoken to. So it was really a numbers game of like we got to make it available, so Kiss The Ground movie, of course, is like wide scale availability. But how do we make this available? And then for those who are excited about it are being like, You know, this is my thing, this could be my thing. Get in now. Like what you’re doing, it’s like, get into the game now. Gabe Brown wasn’t a farmer, you know, I wasn’t a soil advocate, but it’s like if you see that you can actually help shape the future. I say this is like the dot camera right before it started. Like, get in, get find your niche, see how you can be helpful. And by Guide, you’re going to be really freakin helpful. Yeah, so do it. Get it now.
Ray: I love that the dot com bubble. I agree I was too young to take advantage of that, and I’m not too young now, and maybe I wasn’t, you know, maybe that was limited, he believes. But I really love the fact that you say it doesn’t matter what you’re doing because I love the intersection of different industries. I love when soil meets marketing, like what’s happened in my world, when soil meets technology and all the tech that’s coming from that. And when soil meets , you know, spirituality and seen a lot of people creating, I interviewed someone the other day who’s writing music about the microbiome world of the soil. You know, using the soil as inspiration to be a songwriter like this is super exciting, and I know your mission is to awaken people. Do you feel like enough people are now awakened and now it’s about action taking and spreading? There’s more work to be done in that area.
Finian: Well, you’ve been through the course, so you know that we have the theory of change is people’s view and then actions and then outcomes and the downfall of so many movements. Maybe you did this on purpose. The downfall of so many movements is that they think that they think, Oh, enough of us know we’re in a click and some some movements like to be in a click, quite frankly. And that’s been their downfall. But they move into the action in a click and then then they move into their outcomes. And it’s such a small blip on the global scene that it doesn’t mean lasting impact. And they don’t think Coca-Cola and Cheerios have been advertising since they came about, and they’re still going to keep advertising. Coca-Cola has been advertising and ruining the world forever. They’re not turning around their ad spending dollars. Why on earth would we ever at this teeny stage of development of the soil health movement where we consider ourselves permeating enough of culture? We’re never going to be done. So that’s where I always circle the awareness side, which is what shifts people’s view that awareness bubble. All of us perpetually forever need to up our game of sharing this message, connecting with others, making this be the world’s idea going forward.
Ray: Yeah, I love that being in the soil lovers. Click, I think that’s a click that I like to belong into. It’s definitely the cool kids are hanging out, I reckon, these days. And you know that that whole narrative of people attend a workshop or, you know, label themselves, I guess, as a soil advocate and think that that’s enough, you know, but it is, you know, actions speak louder than words. And so I tend to align with that view of that. More needs to happen. And it would never be, you know, it’s like the word regenerative. It never stops. It’s always improving. It’s compounding. That’s the exciting part of this world.
Finian: Exactly. Exactly. If you if that’s where the and I just hope people get infected with this of, you know, if you’re dreaming of this, do you want things to happen faster than they do? Of course. But if you’re dreaming of this world and believing that it’s possible, you are seeing years in the future of this stuff happening and what it takes to shift belief in people such that, you know, large quantities of land and agriculture management and ecosystem management is happening at scale in perpetuity. It’s going to take ginormous amounts of belief from people. So if you look at the paradigm right now, most people, when most educated people who are aware of this are thinking about this world of what we’re facing or have read the IPCC report, for example, that I haven’t finished reading their. Their belief is Mad Max. Their belief is the world turning to desert and water scarcity and water wars. That’s what they believe in. But most people don’t believe in is regeneration is utopian cities. Most people don’t believe that. They think that’s way more farfetched than the Mad Max scenario. And that’s a that’s a major problem. So that’s where I feel like action is key. Of course, I’m not saying that at all, but anyone who’s going down the line of action. How are you making this available to thousands of other people in your wake? Or are you closing the doors of them to click out? Don’t do that. Don’t click out this thing because everyone needs to exponentially scale how many more people are making this available to?
Ray: Yap love that, and the ripple effect is just contagious. I like the use the word before about being infectious because it is something that you can’t unlearn. You know, as I discover more about the soil, my mind blows all the time, and I just I don’t understand why this isn’t common. Knowledge like this should be taught at school and you. We’ve been talking about the word regenerative for a little while, and there is a lot of mixed opinions about what this word regenerative means, and I don’t know whether we need to define it. I think there’s a beautiness in that. But I’d like to know what does regenerative mean to you?
Finian: I can really try to simplify it the most. And there’s so much room for unlimited discussions and unlimited evolutions of what regenerative can mean and the circles within nested circles of of what it does mean and technicality and what it means, what you mentioned before compounding it’s it’s so infinite and it’s so, you know, the minutia are so small and so big from everything from the concept of it in your head to what’s actually happening biologically on the ground of life, begetting life or carbon to getting water and water, begetting carbon. The whole thing is just infinitely complex and infinitely regenerative capacities as life is evolved that way. But one thing that’s slightly frustrating for me is that people’s context of other titles for things like organic, like biodynamic or what have you, their descriptions of how something’s being done versus its outcome. Like, it’s really crazy to me when we talk about the word regenerative has a meaning. It’s a very, very powerful meaning. It’s not weird that the word regenerative was chosen to represent regenerative agriculture because that word has so much power. It means different things than the word restore. It means different things than the word sustain. It has such an incredible meaning behind it that its meaning alone. Should be and can be the umbrella guide to what we’re trying to achieve in our agriculture, in our ecosystem management, in our human health management. If something is regenerating more than degenerating, that is a good thing. And if our agriculture can be regenerating versus technically degenerating, very little things are actually sustaining that. That’s kind of impossible because it’s either getting regenerated higher functioning state as its outcome or degenerated lower functioning state as its outcome. So I’m all about the infinite worlds that live inside of it and getting into detail of culturally and mindset. Why’s what this really means for us as humanity? But at the very basic stage, I give this tool to all the advocates I train is like agriculture regeneration. Put those two together. Agriculture that’s causing regeneration. That means while you’re performing your agriculture, producing food, fiber and fuel, you are regenerating an ecosystem, a landscape so that it’s moving to a higher functioning state. So that’s the basic, basic thing that I think everyone should be equipped with. And then when you start debating like is regenerative, the new organic like organic can be regenerative. Yeah, this guy who is conventional can be regenerative. This person over here doesn’t have any labels on the herb. They can do regenerative. Is it helping the ecosystem regenerate?
Ray: Yeah, I love that. And and looking at the outcomes, you know, is today better than yesterday? Is this year better than last year? Is now better than 20 years ago? You know, there is no timeline. It’s just is it step in in the right direction forward. And I think it can, you know, become a little bit overwhelming. And I want to touch on the IPCC report.
Finian: Well, one one really quick thing on that is people are so fascinated with carbon sequestration, right? But if you’re looking at a long term trajectory of regeneration out in California, for example, you can have a field that’s done applications of compost and grazing that has a less reduction, less of a reduction of carbon than the untreated plots. And it’s functioning state meaning when it rains. When we do get good conditions, its ability to regenerate is far superior than that degraded one that is setting up for regeneration, even if the technicalities of carbon sequestration aren’t amounting to that exact moment. So this is part of it too is like, are you prepared for rapid healing or are you sitting on on a dying on the on a table in the doctor’s office with burns all over your body and only in a IV pump that’s keeping you alive would be like, Well, that’s that’s very different than setting up the stage. So you’ll have rapid regeneration when it can happen.
Ray: Yeah. Setting up that environment to embrace that mythology, I think, is, you know, you know, and so many people have experience that where they see plants and things germinate, that they never put seeds, there it’s been dormant for, who knows how long? And all of a sudden, the conditions are right and up comes all these native grasses or plants. And it’s like, that’s how Mother Nature works. It’s not meant to always be understood.
Finian: Sorry to keep jumping in here, but like my friend who worked on the regeneration project in Saudi Arabia, so much of what they were doing was setting up so that when the rains hit, which they always do, instead of them all running off in a day or two, they were able to significantly slow sync and spread water over the course of four years. That matters. So the setup there wasn’t like they got regeneration magically in a moment, but they set up the conditions so that when water happened, it moved to the landscape differently, which set up a domino effect, a perpetual compounding effects of regeneration occurring. So it’s it’s so much in our thinking and belief that regeneration can happen when we start taking these big actions to have it happen.
Ray: Yeah, I love that. And I just want to touch on the word that you said that everything you’re saying is amazing, but you just said something there about slowing the spread and sink of water. Is that is that is that how you quoted it?
Finian: It’s not my quote. OK, I’m spacing on his name right now, but a gentleman who’s OG in this movement from Northern California, what’s his name? That’s his quote. Slow it, sink and spread it around water. It’s it’s it’s really the origin of how regeneration is going to happen on degraded, dehydrated landscape.
Ray: Yeah, we have Peter Andrews here in Australia who studies the Australian landscapes and rehydrating the land using gravity. He is great. Yeah, yeah. And you know, he’s he’s got a thing called slow the flow. But the way you said that, it’s just really, really interesting because, you know, when the when done correctly, we can slow the water down, we can get a deeper, we can have, you know, more hydration. And I think, you know, that’s just a paradigm shift. You know soil lovers that are listening, you know, just stop thinking about that. Like how? Can you slow the water on your property, how can you make it spread further, you know, sinking deeper into your ground like this is all amazing stuff. You don’t then have to wait for the rains, as everyone does in this farming world.
Finian: Yeah, I mean, we had soil advocate. I don’t know if it might have been, you know, they they they sent us a television clip of farmers. They finally seen the irony it rained in a huge rain a couple of years ago in Australia, and they saw that farmers were jumping for joy. And it was this soil advocate first time of being like, Oh my God, our farmers are jumping on bare ground. The water is accumulating at the surface and running off and brown muddy rivers. The farmers are still celebrating the rain, and this advocate for the first time was seeing like it’s going to be a drought again in a month or two. Yeah. And that was their first time because they understood the difference of of the ability of the soil or the ecosystem to absorb, retain the water versus it doesn’t matter how much it rains, it’s how much how, how well the water absorbs and retains it. Yeah.
Ray: And know the nutrition that’s probably lost in the topsoil, in the erosion, you know? So it’s like he’s a positive event of rain, but there’s so many negatives attached to it. If you don’t have the right paradigm in your mindset and seeing, you know, the landscape with
Finian: the effective or ineffective rainfall, and that’s that’s what Allan Savory calls it. That’s the bottom line. The Round the world IPCC report. All this stuff is like, what if it just said effective or ineffective rainfall? That’s all we care about. That could change everything, but instead we’re just freaking out without any any direction to go. If we had effective rainfall across the world and we’re working towards that, we would make leaps and bounds of progress versus having a bunch of paper pushed around.
Ray: Yeah, I love that and we’ve talked about this report a lot and it’s I don’t blame you for not reading it. It’s one thousand three hundred pages long. And just the summary is that, you know, nature. So and this is not one of the reports. So to all those who are reading it, kudos to you. And, you know, I think that’s I want to talk about that because I see headlines coming on, and I worry that some of these headlines could put people into a bit of a panic state or anxiety. You know, they’re talking about now, like climate anxiety. And I just want to play my part in to say, it’s OK. We’ve got this. What’s something that you can share in regards to, you know, okay, this red alert, there’s all these headlines. It’s crisis time, you know, it is. It is. With all seriousness, we need to do something. And like yesterday was, you know, ten years ago was the better time. But let’s just start now what some of the advice that you can share with people don’t need to go into the details of the report. But what are some of the things that can comfort people to know that we’ve got this?
Finian: I think we’ve got this is is an overstatement not to not to play against you here, but I would say the way I’m stating it is, we can do this I like that. We can fix it. And one of the most important things around that we’ve got this, I feel like makes people feel like someone else is going to do it. We desperately need their participation.
Ray: Been a big problem in this space is everyone’s like, Oh, someone’s got this, you
Finian: know, so someone’s obviously got to fix this. But when when we talk about regeneration, why it’s so crucial the word and a concept is regeneration isn’t usually a essential phenomenon unless something has been degraded or broken down. It’s obviously always happening in any living system continuously, just to be clear. But when regeneration is most important is when something is rebounding from harm. And so when we look at the IPCC report and we’re not getting the message that something’s broken and it can be fixed versus, we’re saying there’s just too much carbon in the atmosphere. We’re all screwed. We’re on runaway carbon climate change. We go back to effective or ineffective rainfall. So when you have broken soil, you know this better than everyone. Anyone, anyone out there can take a plate of flour from their kitchen and two pieces of bread from their kitchen and demonstrate the difference of broken soil and healthy, aggregated functioning, not broken soil. And that’s what we’re talking about worldwide here when we say this is the state of affairs that we’re dealing with right now. What isn’t talked about enough is that, you know, seventy five percent of the world’s land is deemed degraded, broken, not working. So again, we go back to effective rainfall when it rains and we’re then dealing with a flood because the soil didn’t infiltrate water. Now this has come some averages from Texas here, a half an inch of water infiltration for a half an inch rainfalls. It takes over an hour on average for ranches in Texas to absorb a half an inch of water. In regenerative transition we’re seeing in two years or so, many of those ranches are able to absorb a half an inch of water in under 30 seconds. An hour or under 30 seconds, you expand that’s per acre. You expand that to five thousand acres. All of the sudden, mitigating a watersheds flooding potential is huge. That’s where when we say something’s broken, we can regenerate it, so it functions again. We’re not saying that we’re going to fix climate change. All of the sudden, but in terms of the risk mitigation, which is right now the most pressing factor when we get heavy rains, when we get extended droughts, when it’s much hotter. Are we setting up to handle that in the best of our ability? Number one? Number two, what the hell did pardon my language? What the heck did we use to rebuild the functioning soil? Carbon that’s currently causing a greenhouse effect in our atmosphere. That’s the glue that built the metaphorical cup back together, the functioning soil, the aggregated soil, so it works again that glue, that carbon based glue came from carbon in the atmosphere. Inevitably, that’s where it has to come from. So literally the problem is the solution. And that’s where we’re saying we desperately need to start moving up this comprehension of resilience and risk mitigation because it is the kind of practical regional state, federal, you know, country by country dealing with these intense problems. You know, I love Al Gore. He’s an incredible human being. But sometimes climate change equals flooding in Syria. We like, well, no. When they nationalized land in Syria 60 years ago and had rapid rates of degradation because farmers have never farmed for started farming land, it’s extremely brittle and an already brittle environment made it so that landscapes turned to desert within 20 years and then a mass amount of people move to the cities. Now that flooding that’s happening in Syria is because thousands and millions of acres aren’t absorbing any water and you’re getting heavier floods. So the mitigation capacity for this is extremely important for local peoples everywhere. And the stuff we need to build it back so it’s functioning is literally the problem everyone’s talking about, which is too much carbon. So it’s I could go on on this forever, but it’s really critical that we’re saying when we look at the IPCC report reframing that of like soils broken, it’s not functioning. We can fix it. The glue we need to fix it, to put it back together is the carbon in the atmosphere that’s causing a problem. Yeah, that can be your message to people who are panicking about the IPCC report.
Ray: Yeah, I love the distinction that you’ve made on that because I think people, when they see what’s happening in the media is they they say carbon is the problem, and it’s not. It’s just where it is, you know, and if we demonize carbon and think putting carbon in the soil is also bad, that’s a 100 percent the wrong conversation. And so it’s just where it is that it needs to be fixed and it needs to be under our feet, you know, so that way we can implement so and so many, many links on our you don’t need to be converted to this. But you know the soil lovers who are listening, you know that realisation that when nature heals itself in one area, it becomes the solution to the next problem, into the next problem. And it’s a nice domino effect, as you said before, as well. You know, more nutrition, food, less flooding, more macro water cycles so you’ve got more moisture in local communities, builds up communities. The community spirit lifts again, like it just never ends, you know? And I get super excited about that biodiversity collapse.
Finian: I mean, we have the biggest rate of biodiversity loss, but where we see regenerative agriculture happening around the world, biodiversity is coming back rapidly, especially in rangelands, you know, across Africa, across the United States, Australia, New Zealand, where we’re having regenerative impact. Like, I don’t know if you know the Audubon Society over here, but like they’re all about birds, bird populations, but a big moment for them shifting from their paradigm of conservation was wow. Our most rapid increase is a bird. Populations are on these regenerative farms that are moving from overgrazing, or the grass is an inch tall to regenerative grazing systems where the grass is supposed to grow itself back and the rotations those systems where prairie birds are coming back in droves because that’s the conditions they were evolved to live in, they weren’t evolved to live in thousands of acres of two inch grass. So these are things that are just profound in terms of the repercussions of infiltration of water, restoration of lands, watershed function, biodiversity increases, etc. So yeah, you’re totally right. It’s amazing.
Ray: Yeah, I love that as well. I just want to make the distinction know, like, you know this conservation areas that are researching and funding to bring back species and then yet they appear naturally on a regenerative farm It’s like, Oh,
Finian: what are we doing that does the most ironic ones is there’s this place outside of Los Angeles. They they did regenerative grazing for a while. Then the state of California saw native species that they hadn’t seen in years come back to those that regenerated landscape and then took the land back and put it in conservation. The irony is hilarious, but that’s where we’re dealing with a need for many more people not to be like, Oh hey, you, you’re doing the wrong thing, but to bring people’s minds over to regeneration, from the sustainable mindset, from the conservation mindset we need to bring them over to. Generation, because it’s obviously a much more fun world to be in, and it’s more of the practical way of making solutions at scale.
Ray: So much fun, I can say. detail to that I have. I have. I want to talk a little bit about the documentary because I think, you know, for me, being a soil advocate and a soul lover, it was really hard to talk to all my friends about it. And so I really want to thank you for creating a piece of content that is absolutely magical to watch that I can just point people to. And I always say to them, just say, you know, we love the soil and we want to kiss the ground, you know, and try and plant that seed so they remember it when they go back home. And I’ve had so many people thank me for referring, and I want to thank that back to you for creating it and the space of that, that movie. And and so I can
Finian: quick shout to the filmmakers, Joshua & Rebecca from Big Picture, and we were a big part of that. We were a partner in creating it, but they were the main architects behind it. I was just, you know, connecting, Oh, you got to have Ray, you got to do like I was. I was always trying to pull the the the movement into it behind them. But they did. They did that movie, and we’re just so grateful
Ray: you’re have the carbon. You were gluing everyone together. And I think, you know, that’s the years and years of compounding, of learning and being in the right room to meet all these people and have that holistic view on the space. The movie’s been out for a little while now. I guess the society and the regenerative movement has has moved forward. I love the movie and I’m not saying it needs any changing. But if you could add, edit, delete, change any part of the movie, you see something extra in it. What would it be that you could kind of add to the narrative today in 2021?
Finian: I mean, definitely like just a reference back to me or this movie took seven years to make. So we started making this movie less than two years into starting our. Big push into this movement, so Kiss the ground had just been born, and then we started into this movie. So some of the people who are in the rooms when you went to the conferences, when you started Googling, when you started learning about this stuff. Part of the faces and the lack of certain perspectives that you see in this movie are because of where we started. And again, it’s like, there’s some shame in that, a little bit of like, you know? But at the same time, it’s like we were trying to figure out how we can help this movement from what we saw in the limited perspective and the view that we were looking into it from. And so, you know, having said that, as we progress, we were trying to make sure this was a more comprehensive and representative film. But low and behold, cutting room floor things, not connecting things, not matching many executive producers, et cetera. The film that came out definitely didn’t have enough of a representation of the story. So at this point, we’re just like, this is a part of the regenerative agriculture perspective of regenerative agriculture movement, isn’t it? This isn’t the whole perspective. There are so many voices that are just not in here are included, and we’re doing a lot of work now and our coming media that’s coming up to make sure that when we talk about regeneration, there’s a lot more media and focus on, especially indigenous cultures who have really been at the root of a lot of these concepts, and especially the mindset when you talk about this mindset shift that occurs when people move in to move from the mechanical mind into a more nature understanding a reconnection, a stewardship mentality that has been in existence in many indigenous cultures around the world and still is very much at the root of their culture and to not have included that in in the feature length enough. Well, it’s definitely a hard thing for us in that we’re trying to do our best to create media that does make sure those stories are told and make sure that those voices are left after them.
Ray: Yeah. Well, seven years of our work into a very short feature film is a very challenging. I can relate. And I think there’s this thing like when you know so much or you’ve learned so much, it’s very hard, not hard, but it’s you. It’s, you know, the whole ignorance is bliss. Like, sometimes it’s hard. I struggle sometimes to tell the story from a more simple point because it’s like I know so much. I think I look, I walk onto a farm and I’m like, You can do this. You can do that. We go to there’s all these opportunities that have fathers gone. Hang on. Like, what do you say? Do to get rid of my track? That’s a lot of say, you know? And so I think having a movie that depicts that and even bringing in more of the consumer story in like there is choice and you can be, you know, an educated consumer to go in and buy and be smart about where you’re moving your dollars. The film did a great job in that balance of the, you know, the AG space and not, you know, being overwhelming to it being an AG story, but also being a prosumer choice kind of movement. So yeah, I think it’s really exciting and I see more and more documentaries coming onto Netflix and other streaming services. And I think that’s exciting like it. It’s a trend, and it’s way early in that pace, and it’s only going to kind of compound and get more widespread. So in this was the foundation of it. So really, really fun to do that. I want to ask our signature question because we want to give the soil a voice. So you ready to be our voice of the soil?
Finian: Yeah, yeah.
Ray: All right. Let’s do this. So if you were our soils on planet Earth, what would you tell us humans?
Finian: Hmm. Oh, it’s a doozy. I mean, it’s just like the word I don’t it doesn’t feel natural to say it, but it’s just like this. Come on. Like, how? How have you not heard this message? I’m trying desperately to get across to you. Like, you know, how can I make it more obvious? Like, You broke me and I need your help. Like the the thing that I would say if I was the soil is like. Look, you know, this is reminding me of a short media piece we were making called Mother Nature and Man have a therapy session and we haven’t filmed it yet, but it’s a whole script we have. It’s a comedy. It’s very funny. Sounds fun. But but she’s essentially saying it’s like. Look your you were you hurt me. It has been you who has done this destruction, but like it literally has to be you who helps. And I’m almost at the end like I am. The tipping point is here. It’s now we have a very short window to begin repairs and you have to be the species that does a repair. There’s literally you’ve done so much damage that there isn’t another species you can’t even rewild. You can’t even just let it be anymore because in 80 percent or more of the Earth’s surface that has been degraded, it’s too brittle for me to do the repair on my own. Like, I actually need you to step in and procure land management and be a steward here. Otherwise, it’s it’s going up in smoke. And then, you know, I’ll be around next time. But this lifetime is coming to an end unless you rejuvenate and regenerate me. So she’ll come back, she’ll be fine. But in the long run, but this this incarnation of her life is about to go over. And so we’re at that point where we’re the where we’re going to have to be the the what, the midwife or whatever to help those this moment to make sure that we step in to help because we’re there. And so she’s begging us that we. You know, hey, you have to be the species that does this because you’ve caused this damage and it’s there’s not a there’s not an animal out there, there’s not a giraffe that’s going to drastically change this region and make it work again because they don’t have the tools. They weren’t designed to do that. They didn’t evolve to you. Can you have hands, you have tools, you have ingenuity and have love and use at all?
Ray: Absolutely beautiful. I think that he’s definitely a great voice of the soil. You know, we have heard it. We’ve ah And now we need to hear it. You know, like you said, you know, like, you may hear my pain. I love that analogy of a therapy session between Mother Nature and a man. And you know, whether we use Mother Nature as the soil as well, like, that’s the same. It’s all one piece. I think we are very right and I say this all the time like this. You know, we’re saving the world, but the world will save itself. We need to save the world with us on it. You know, if we want a civilization that works with Mother Nature and we want to thrive as well, then that’s what we need to solve. Because the planet will heal itself, the soil will bounce back. We’ll take a long time without us, you know, helping it along and encouraging it and being there as its midwife and nurture it. But I think, you know, we definitely have to play a big, big part in it and a great time to be doing that. So I’m very grateful for your time. How can everyone hang out more with you and kiss the ground and know you create a lot of content? What’s what’s the places they can hang out with with yourself and kiss the ground?
Finian: Of course, the soil advocate training. There’s another cohort starting in September end of September. A cohort means that you can take the evergreen course, but every week you have time to be with other students as well as myself live to get through further and to get coaching and to work on getting over some of your hurdles that are in the way of being an empowered advocate. And so I would say the cohorts are the most magical place to experience the advocate training. You can do it on your own whenever, of course, but that’s a really fun experience. It takes two months, essentially with a group of people from around the world, and it’s it’s it’s a joy. So that’s coming up in September. Also just, you know, become a member of Kiss the Ground so you can get updates. There’s so much going on right now, so much on the policy front. I’m working just a little too hard right now on what’s happening federal policy wise, but there’s a lot of things to look out for of what can be borrowed, copied and pasted from all over the world. I encourage people to do that. There’s far too many institutions and businesses and governments that don’t copy and paste, and you can be the copy and paste or that was some my original policy work. Original advocacy work was like, Hey, just see what San Francisco did. Hey, why don’t we just go out and do it in L.A.? Like, you can do that and be that person and connector and really serve very quickly and effectively serve governments or businesses or people taking this on in a bigger way. So, yeah, I would do that to stay focused on what’s going on. Join the movement. You know, you’re a soil lover out there, people. So you’re you’re in already. So this is your movement and it’s time to shine and help and contribute. And we all have our different skills and we can all grow in our different skills and ability to help. Yeah.
Ray: And I love that ethos of, like, you know, copy and paste and owned by the Commons. You know, when I was in one of the live cohorts as well and before you went evergreen and I loved it because I was joining, you know, people from all around the world in a Zoom call and this was before COVID, you know, Zoom wasn’t even common back then and and it was super fun. And I remember going through it and just your permission to say, grab this slide and use it in a presentation like go spread the word like, don’t reinvent the wheel, you know? And I think civilization has done that way too many times. You know, I look at the world and I think, how do we not get the best rail system from there and copy and paste it here? And how do we look at the best road system from there and copy and paste it here? And yet everyone’s trying to innovate and put ego in the way to do it our way, and it’s like, Oh, it’s so exhausting.
Finian: One of the things that’s so cool about this movement is like the generosity and the spirit of the leadership, the people who set the precedent for for all of us. I think this movement, just like it, makes my heart sing when I’m just like, these people are so genuine and so generous and so willing to to contribute. Like, there’s no other choice but to stand in that same vein and be like, if I’m making anything because it’s all based on things that other people did. I’m borrowing from them. So if I’m hoarding my thing, that’s crazy. You know, obviously we all have to, like, put food on the table and we have businesses and things like that. But if you’re if you’re somehow getting in the way of like ownership of things, it’s kind of ridiculous because it’s all built on and borrowed. And again, that was part of the indigenous mess. As I mentioned earlier, it’s like so much of this stuff originates as people who learned from from generations of cultures and then and then brought it into a. More dominant culture, and then it’s like, it’s still it’s still borrowing.
Ray: Yeah, I definitely have to say I learned my lesson coming from the marketing world. Everything’s like timed and registered and trademarked and IP. And you know, that was the world I knew, and I threw a team on something once and everyone was angry. I was like, Oh my God, I get it. You know, it’s not about profiting an IP and protecting it. It was more about creating the, you know, that there was a new and new method or whatever it was. But I was like, This is the lesson that I just learned today you know, it’s like it’s in the Commons. It’s created Typekit. Swipe it, you know, I didn’t care. Like, this message is so important that if we’re going to get into a courtroom to argue about who owned it first, that’s the problem, you know, and who’s got time for that from my world anyway? You know, it’s been amazing hanging out with you. I know this. soil lovers are going to get so much from this conversation, and I truly from the bottom, my heart. I want to thank you for all the work that you’ve doing. You’ve set up a great landscape and I know it comes from, you know, the works of others of that. But we all, you know, I was very blessed to have come into the advocate program. I loved the fact that it’s hybrid now that you can still do evergreen and get the cohort experience. I think that’s a great happy medium because it’s the people in the room. That is what makes it really magical in that community doesn’t matter about borders. Mother Nature has no borders, and we don’t need to do that in 2021, either. We connected all over the world with technology. So thank you.
Finian: Thank you. Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
Ray: And lego , soil lovers, you know, don’t get outside today, sit inside. Throw on Netflix and get your mind dirty by watching Kiss the ground, but always stay curious and keep digging deeper into our wonderful world of soils. I’m Rege Ray.