Mr. Crabtree Crusades: The Circle Of Life and Humus Soil

England's ecology conscientious cartoon Mr. Crabtee discusses the topic of the circle of life: carnivorous animals, plant-eating animals, and humus soil.
September/October 1975
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There it, and the dung, and dead plants, are broken down by soil bacteria and worms to make humus.

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Man made rot is eating at the heart of nature. We are despoiling the heritage of our sons, our grandsons, and their grandsons. 

And now — direct from England — the world's most conscientious ecology cartoon feature. A little overstated for our American tastes, perhaps, but full of real meat, nonetheless. Ah, if we only had a cartoon series like this on our side of the pond! But, since we don't MOTHER EARTH NEWS presents Mr. Crabtree Crusades! Read this issue's entire comic strip here. 

The food circle rolls on. Carnivorous animals hunt and eat the plant-eating animals, thus, in their turn, receiving the food and energy that started from the sun. But they too must pass it on — the circle must never stop turning. Some they pass on immediately, passing it to the soil as dung. Some is passed on by falling prey to other carnivorous animals. In the end death by other means comes and the body is received into the soil. There it, and the dung, and dead plants, are broken down by soil bacteria and worms to make humus. Humus is the cellular-structured fertility material which gives feeding to the plants which will grow and, in their turn, use sun's energy for another turn of the food circle. Humus is the vital key.

The complicated web of life, plant-eating creatures, hunting animals and hunted animals, all the highly intricate inter-relationships, has more to do than just keeping the food circle turning. Everything that lives has its purpose, however tiny, in the grand scheme, and everything must be balanced against everything else. Such animals as rodents, some of which, like rabbits, keep down plant growth, are kept down by hunting animals because they breed freely. And insects in vast millions are controlled by each other and by other animals and even by insect-eating plants. Human numbers used to be kept down too by germs and food shortage, but increasing control of those is giving us a more deadly disease — over population. We increase in numbers but decline in health.

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