Dirt! The Movie (2009) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A look at man's relationship with Dirt. Dirt and humans couldn't be closer. We started our journey together as stardust, swirled by cosmic forces into our galaxy, solar system, and planet. We are made of the same stuff. Four billion years of evolution created dirt as the living source of all life on Earth including humans. Dirt has given us food, shelter, fuel, medicine, ceramics, flowers, cosmetics and color --everything needed for our survival. For most of the last ten thousand years we humans understood our intimate bond with dirt and the rest of nature. We took care of the soils that took care of us. But, over time, we lost that connection. Our species became greedy and careless. We still depend on dirt, but now we abuse and ignore it. We are destroying our last natural resource with our agriculture, our mining, and our paving over the planet for cities. We turned dirt into something "dirty." In doing so, we transform the skin of the earth into a hellish and dangerous landscape for all life on earth. A millennial shift in consciousness about the environment offers a beacon of hope - and practical solutions. Around the globe, pioneers are coming together to save earth's last natural resource. Tiny villages rise up to battle giant corporations slaughtering their land. Scientists discover connections with soil that can balance global warming. Generation X brands organic farming as trendy and children begin to eat from edible school yards. Inmates find inner peace and job skills in a prison horticulture program. Medical researchers explore dirt's capacity to provide solutions to such devastating health crises as AIDS. Major religions are rediscovering the reverence for the natural world that unites them all. Uses animation, vignettes, personal accounts and story telling.

  • "Floods, drought, climate change, even war are all directly related to the way we are treating dirt." DIRT! The Movie-directed and produced by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow-takes you inside the wonders of the soil. It tells the story of Earth's most valuable and under appreciated source of fertility-from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation. The opening scenes of the film dive into the wonderment of the soil. Made from the same elements as the stars, plants and animals, and us, "dirt is very much alive." Though, in modern industrial pursuits and clamor for both profit and natural resources, our human connection to and respect for soil has been disrupted. "Drought, climate change, even war are all directly related to the way we are treating dirt." DIRT! The Movie-narrated by Jaime Lee Curtis-brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impact that the soil has. It shares the stories of experts from all over the world who study and are able to harness the beauty and power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with soil. DIRT! The Movie is simply a movie about dirt. The real change lies in our notion of what dirt is. The movie teaches us: "When humans arrived 2 million years ago, everything changed for dirt. And from that moment on, the fate of dirt and humans has been intimately linked." But more than the film and the lessons that it teaches, DIRT! The Movie is a call to action. "The only remedy for disconnecting people from the natural world is connecting them to it again." What we've destroyed, we can heal.

  • Dirt, which is unique to Earth of any of the known planets and which acts as the planet's "skin", is made up of the same elements as humans, and is a living, breathing, complex and essential building block for human survival. The relationship between dirt, which covers approximately the top five centimeters of the Earth's surface, and humans is presented. Left to its own devices, the planet is able to regenerate dirt if all the necessary elements are available, such as a diversity in organic matter, microorganisms and water. The planet's forests are a prime example, forest floors which have generally the richest dirt on the planet. But humans have largely altered the natural landscape to affect negatively the planet's ability to maintain the existing dirt and regenerate it as a healthy entity. It is based on what humans generally consider more valuable uses of the land, whether it be for development i.e. covering the dirt with impermeable materials such as asphalt and concrete, resource extraction or something else. Even in the industrial age, mono-cultural farming practices of annual crops, i.e. miles upon miles of only one crop of an annual plant being grown, are depleting the health of dirt, with the answer being often to cut down more forests to create more farmland. As such, humans need to place a higher value on ecological sustainability, most specifically in dirt health, or else risk the species at our own hands.

  • The only remedy for disconnecting people from the natural world is connecting them to it again.


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