If you look outside during the middle of spring ibloom or on that perfect day of summer, you probably see green grass, flowers in a plethora of colors and types, trees standing tall and strong and you say to yourself, What a beautiful time of year. What a wonderful world.
Do you ever wonder who or what has made vegetation possible? Do you honestly think the soil is full of never-ending nutrients, or that topsoil stays nutritionally filling forever, never losing its vitality? Did you ever wonder, I mean really take a deep down look, and examine what creature brings us life? I hate to disappoint you, but it is that tiny, slimy, "gross to most" creature: the earthworm. Yes, the Lumbricus Terrestris makes life live, and without it, natural vegetation is impossible.
This small, seemingly insignificant creature turns soil over as it moves, which it does quite frequently and swiftly. It has been found that earthworms turn up a new layer of topsoil every five years. This makes growth possible because plants wouldn't grow without the nourishment they receive from the soil.
Miracles don't cease here! On, no. The earthworm eats animal debris and unwanted fallen leaves and deposits that fall into the ground in the form of casts. These casts are actually fertilizer. That's correct, free and never-ending supplies of fertilizer which are 100% biodegradable and harmless to other forms of life. What more could the world ask for?
Well, maybe they will ask for free sewage removal. They've already got it. Earthworms love to eat garbage and some people actually keep earthworms in their kitchen and feed them their garbage. Then, when they change the soil, they can put the old soil in their garden or potted plants and presto: fertilizer - and an automatic, energy-free disposal.
What other creature can do this? No other, that is the whole problem. It has been said that the number of earthworms found in the ground is Mother Earth's way of informing us how well she is doing. Well, the earthworm count is down, and as we know, the earth has seen better days.
You may wonder, "What can I do?" Well, I'm no rocket scientist and believe me there aren't too many out there concerned with the earthworm. Everything affects these little guys. A slight change in pH either way can cancel earthworm mating. This directly affects their population. Gasoline and road salt run-off are potential killers. Pesticides are known to wipe out entire populations! Who knows how increased UV rays and acid rain affect them?
Here is a perfectly good reason to start thinking about the earth, if you haven't already, and to start controlling all environmental pollution. This is a whole other department those environmentalists haven't thrown in your faces, and should. So please, follow their plan for minimizing pollution and maybe, just maybe, our friend, the earthworm, will be under there forever, to keep us alive.
Do yourself and everyone else a favor:
Save the Earth:
Save the Worms!!!n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.