Kiss the ground – is there hope?

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Activists, scientists, farmers and politicians turn to regenerative agriculture to save the planet’s topsoil.

Getting a vitally important idea across, especially a complicated scientific one, is a difficult undertaking. You must educate, but not patronise. You must be clear about the science, yet still entertain. Most importantly, you must not paralyse your audience into doing nothing, but rather empower them with hope and a good plan they can start implementing immediately.

Admittedly, Kiss the ground is a wee bit Hollywood, in other words, a wee bit twee at times. We can overlook that, however, because the directors get the message across in an astoundingly clear fashion. The science is broken into understandable bite sizes and animated through interesting graphics. The narrative is presented by down-to-earth yet intriguing unknown players, on the one hand, and on the other hand by celebs who have a known track record for advocating green causes. The cause this time around? If we save our soils, we save ourselves. Stop tilling. Stop using pesticides. Biodiversity is the answer. Biodiversity will also make the farmer more money. Everybody wins. We live. Yay.

On top of translating the science, this doccie does entertain. At 125 minutes, it is not too long. Model and actor Ian Somerhalder turns out to be quite the court jester, next to a more austere, yet barefoot Zimbabwean ecologist, Allan Savory. Woody Harrelson’s narration – and mere presence – immediately adds gravitas and a sparkle-in-the-eye kind of humour to the film. The “Greetings from New York” postcard-style title for every city is a nice bonus. A serious message is conveyed with a light touch.

Activist doccies can sometimes doom you into depression, making you feel so guilty and lost that you are too paralysed to do anything. I am not saying there is no role for outstanding films such as Into eternity. After watching it, though, I just wanted to crawl into a hole and go to sleep. After watching Kiss the ground, I haphazardly messaged all my friends, sent the link to our veggie club and investigated lawn alternatives. Generally, I had wanted to save all the bees and the flowers and the rivers, but this time around, I had a clear plan.

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