Make up ground - toil for climate

Healthy soils not only produce healthy food. They provide habitats for numerous species - and are a major key to saving the climate. Pioneers, researchers and agriculturalists have recognized this potential and are making up for lost soil.

One of them is Austrian farmer Josef Nagl. An accident that nearly cost him his life got him thinking: does he want to leave his children depleted dead fields that only produce rich growth with industrial fertilizers and pesticides? Radically, he transformed his family farm. Plowing and chemicals, both of which destroy soil life, are now taboo. Instead, he works with a diverse crop rotation, constant greening of the field and, above all, a different attitude toward natural cycles.

Josef Nagl has joined the "Ökoregion Kaindorf": a growing movement of farmers who respect soil as a living organism and cultivate in such a way that humus in the soil does not disappear, but is constantly created anew. "After all, how are we humans going to stay healthy if it's not the soil we live on?" asks Josef Nagl. For the farmers in the ecoregion, the conversion is also a financial gain: they are rewarded with a premium for building up humus and thus storing CO2.

On the ground where Erika Kothe stands, agriculture has been unthinkable for centuries. In GDR times, uranium was mined here. What remains is a lunar landscape, highly contaminated with acids and heavy metals. How can such soil be healed? "With roots, bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi," says microbiologist Erika Kothe from the University of Jena, who is conducting research here together with geologist Thorsten Schäfer. They grow fast-growing plants and inoculate the soil with bacterial cultures and fungi. These ensure that the heavy metals bind and are rendered harmless. The technique could be used worldwide to renaturalize vast post-mining landscapes. "And what biomass grows in the process is free of pollutants," explains Erika Kothe, "so this soil can be improved and used at the same time."

The more industrial estate, the better: this was also the opinion of Mayor Robert Bosch from Mainleus in Upper Franconia for many years. But two landscape architects made him rethink and realize that our soil is an extremely precious and finite resource. In the "Alte Spinnerei," an industrial site, asphalt and concrete are therefore being broken up again, soil unsealed and renaturalized. "We simply have to use our land differently instead of continuing to eat up land," says Robert Bosch.

  • Wolfram Huke
  • Pia Schädel
  • Wofram Huke
  • Pia Schädel
  • Andrea Haas-Blenske
  • Pia Schädel
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Boden gut machen - Richtig ackern fürs Klima
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    30 minutes 3 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 27, 2022
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  • Green Screen Naturfilmfestival

    September 11, 2022
  • Naturvision
    July 21, 2022
    Nominiert Jugendjury
  • Agrofilm
    October 7, 2022
    Award of the Rector of the Technical University of Zvolen
  • Ökofilmtour
  • Salus Medienpreis
    October 20, 2022
  • Best of NaturVision Filmtagen
    St. Gallen
    February 18, 2023
Director - Wolfram Huke, Pia Schädel