2015 – International Year of Soils – reuniting Homo and Humus.

This year, 2015, has been declared to be the International Year of Soils.

Soil – one of the most precious gifts in the universe.

Turning our heads around from the spin of the all the consuming culture to appreciate this is no easy task.

Soil is life.

And we have a key lesson to learn from what has happened here in ‘Australia’.


Accounts of the condition of this country’s soils at time of European colonisation provide evidence of a very different ecosystem to that of today.

Bill Gammage’s book ‘The Biggest Estate on Earth’ is necessary reading.

Soft soils, trees and clear rivers where now, after 227 years of European dominion, we have hard pavements, open paddocks and muddy rivers.

And we can compare the condition of this country’s soils, under the influence of introduced European practices, with the condition of First Peoples lives. Both have suffered greatly. This is no coincidence.

‘Australia’ as commonly conceived – big cattle runs, mountains of iron ore etc -is a European fantasy. Life here is very different to that as represented by post-Roman notions of order.


According to one scholar of proto-Indo-European, our words for ‘humus’ and ‘homo’ (as in homo ludens and homo sapiens etc) stem from the same proto-Indo-European source.

This suggests an earlier concept of ‘Earth-Being’. When we work our way back through the neolithic transformations we find a very different mode of Being to that depicted in self-serving myths. Life stands in a relation of good faith to an eternal life design, flowing from a self-regulating cosmos (not from humanity),

The homo-humus split occurs in European Ways during Roman times, and seems to be part of a cluster of concepts which include notions of dominion and exclusive rights. This split results in part of life becoming ‘unearthed’

Bad-faith (towards others) in inherent to these concepts. Exclusive notions of ownership – aligned with and sanctioned by the modern state – is bad-faith institutionalised.

This country’s First Peoples lived by Ways which appear to have remained true to the ‘Earth-Being’ mode. Care for country and thus care for our eternal soul informs their Ways.


By opening our minds to life’s lessons – and putting aside the incessant monologues of modern master narratives – we can gain some insights into which direction we need to move – to stay in step with the dancing balancing act of cosmic life.

Life here is about respectful relating, not about dominion and ownership. Life requires us to be well-formed and play our part in a well-tempered cosmos.

To restore full well-being to life here will require far more than a new Prime Minister or a new political party in government in Camberra.

The ground is already shifting under the feet of those who seek to dominate life. Despite the clear evidence to the contrary, they seek to make us believe they can ‘govern’. That is a delusion we cannot afford to humour. We have important work to do.

We (Westernised peoples) need a new cosmology – one which is truly earthed and can acknowledge the value of both the health of our soils and of those whose lives best represent country itself – First Peoples.

This new cosmology will emerge from the efforts of many fully committed people, moving both with a new spirit of the times (Zeitgeist) and in a spirit of cultural partnership with good-faith Ways of First Peoples.