SOIL, WATER, CARBON – The Foundation of Life Processes

In 2022, we have been excited to share with you the core principles that make Studio Petrichor tick. We are guided by Ten Tenets, tenets which inspire us to move away from outdated ways of thinking and move towards modes of community engagement and transformational paradigms. In our blog this week, we offer up to you Tenet #6: Supporting Systemic Enrichment.

In a living system that is constantly adjusting to its surroundings, a change in one cell, organ, species, or ecosystem can set off a chain reaction that propagates across all the connected parts.” – What Would Nature Do? Ruth DeFries

Supporting Systemic Enrichment represents the belief that every part of the system matters. It entails an approach based on interconnected, schematic, measurable, and scalable processes. The connective tissue of this approach reinvigorates the living systems we are all part of. It seeks to rebalance relationships between environmental elements, plants, animals, and, of course, us!

The interconnectedness of the landscape can be seen all around us. Take, for example, the removal of gray wolves from Yellowstone National Park, Due to the lack of apex predators, deer populations grew unnaturally large, and, as a result, overgrazed the stream-side shrubs in the park. Over time, the watersheds radically changed, deepening into gullies and drastically morphing the form of the landscape. The recent reintroduction of wolves has begun reversing that impact, but will it be enough? Will the form of the landscape evolve forward to a balanced state? We will see…

A graphic representation of soil, carbon, and water as the foundation of life in the landscape

One way we work at Studio Petrichor to facilitate our belief in the interconnectedness of all is through a “whole-systems” approach to design, implementation, and ongoing landcare. In more familiar words, we seek to bring a holistic, relational outlook to all that we do. This is why, in landscape design, we look to the climatic nature of the environment. We look to its seasonal ebbs and flows to guide us in our understanding of practices that can prove supportive. For example, we plant knowing which species will thrive with one another and establish mycorrhizal support for one another. 

“The planet does not need saving; we do!”… Let’s reimagine this idea right now!

Evolution is purposeful. We, all species, are children of this Earth. We are of “crucial planetary importance,” according to author Charles Eisenstein. We are all interconnected, interdependent, interbeings…we inter-are with all elements and life forms on this planet. Tapping into that deeper knowledge has changed everything for us at Studio Petrichor. 

If there is one lesson we can learn from any form of energy in the universe, it is water and its desire to continue. DESIRE? Yes! In Erica Gies’ book Water Always Wins, she repeatedly asks the question “What does water want?” At Studio Petrichor, we would argue that all elements, separate and together as whole, are part of a greater consciousness, and YES, have desires – desires that drive their energetic processes, alone and in relation to each other. One powerful question we like to ask ourselves here at Studio Petrichor is “What is the land dreaming of being?” 

With a focus on a sentient world or sentient systems, we honor that first drop of rain and all that follow on their journey. That drop may have fallen on the roof of your home, been imported from out of state, or even traveled underground for hundreds of years before it saw the surface. Can we imagine what that water has gone through to get to our faucets? Could we invite that drop to absorb into the soil, quench our dry landscape, and support abundance for all?

Slowing water movement and inviting those drops of rain to stay and absorb into our landscapes is a practice that supports abundance, a practice at the heart of Supporting Systemic Enrichment. In short, where there is carbon in the soil, there is water, and where there is water in the soil, there is LIFE! Materials such as pavement, clay, decomposed granite, and lawnmower-compacted turf are at times completely impervious surfaces which speed up runoff. In contrast, healthy soil is optimized with carbon-rich decomposing plant material. Some of these include mulch, compost, plant communities, and yes…you know we’re going to plug hügelkultur here as well ☺. This leads to a richer, more abundant surface for life to flourish. 

Soil, water, and carbon are the foundation support for Biodiversity, which supports Community (along with all life) and completes the feedback loop

At Studio Petrichor, we firmly acknowledge that soil, carbon, and water comprise the foundation of all terrestrial life on this beautiful blue marble. This world is not ours to control and manipulate. Instead, it is a living, sacred place to honor and support. 

It is not just about us, and yet, it is about us. WE (humanity), together, are the catalyst to a multiplicity of possibilities. We can support that single drop of rain, the enrichment of carbon in the soil, and the myriad organisms and plants, including us, that require water. When we choose to believe that WE ARE NATURE, all will move towards balance. In supporting all life and the systems we are a result of, humanity will witness perpetual unfolding moments of surprise and delight. 

Want to collaborate in Supporting Systemic Enrichment? Send an inquiry to info@studio-petrichor.com