The Earth is constantly engaged in the water cycle. Water is on the move all the time and it is more important now than ever to begin to understand its role and how it functions at its greatest potential. When the water cycle is high functioning it is capable of supporting an ever increasing biodiversity and biomass accumulation. When the cycle is disrupted it has the power to decrease and eventually reduce biodiversity to a point of devastating consequences for all life. We live in a time of species mass extinctions in part due to human impact on the environment that is decreasing the efficiency of our planet’s water cycle.
A ‘watershed’ is the geographical foundation of how water moves into and across the landscape as it takes its journey from a droplet in the sky back to the ocean. By paying close attention to how water relates to geography, we can begin to see where the problems exist. The biggest issues that need to be addressed lie within our agricultural and land management practices which have devolved and created less water infiltration and increased levels of runoff.
Agriculture has evolved in a way that has forgotten the ecosystem function. As soon as we started plowing fields and pulverizing soil we began to change the way water interacts with the earth’s surface. This disruption has increasingly created more and more problems as the practice has gained momentum through large scale agribusiness. Across the world our deepest and most fertile soils–once tended by diverse roving herds of animals–have been beaten into lifeless expanses of ecological genocide. Losing these ecosystems threatens all life on the planet, and we need to work as a global force to change the trajectory of the future these practices have paved.
The answer lies in developing regenerative production systems that increase water infiltration and storage in the soil which will promote more biological activity. More biological activity in the soil results in increased levels of carbon sequestration. Biodiversity is the ultimate goal that will heal the water cycle and create more resources for all life. In order to begin to move our systems in this direction, we must begin to seek diversity and poly culture in our agricultural pursuits. Perennial root systems must be integrated into production zones as a means to encourage deeper water infiltration and, therefore, more potential for nutrient and mineral recycling to occur.
Regenerative practices are all about working with natural cycles and ecological systems as a means to enhance our planets water cycling. We must get better at how we choose to manage our precious natural resources in order to we have a system capable of regeneration for the future. By being conscious of our watersheds and how they function, we are able to begin the much needed process of developing new land-care systems that honor natural cycles on the planet and eventually restore their natural ability to create abundance and health.