The Earth Moved

The Earth Moved

On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms

Book - 2004
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In The Earth Moved , Amy Stewart takes us on a journey through the underground world and introduces us to one of its most amazing denizens. The earthworm may be small, spineless, and blind, but its impact on the ecosystem is profound. It ploughs the soil, fights plant diseases, cleans up pollution, and turns ordinary dirt into fertile land. Who knew?

In her witty, offbeat style, Stewart shows that much depends on the actions of the lowly worm. Charles Darwin devoted his last years to the meticulous study of these creatures, praising their remarkable abilities. With the august scientist as her inspiration, Stewart investigates the worm's subterranean realm, talks to oligochaetologists--the unsung heroes of earthworm science--who have devoted their lives to unearthing the complex life beneath our feet, and observes the thousands of worms in her own garden. From the legendary giant Australian worm that stretches to ten feet in length to the modest nightcrawler that wormed its way into the heart of Darwin's last book to the energetic red wigglers in Stewart's compost bin, The Earth Moved gives worms their due and exposes their hidden and extraordinary universe. This book is for all of us who appreciate Mother Nature's creatures, no matter how humble.

Publisher: Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2004.
ISBN: 9781565123373
Characteristics: xv, 223 pages ;,21 cm.


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Andrew Kyle Bacon
Aug 14, 2018

About three years ago, my wife asked to put a small worm bin on our back porch. "Fine," I said, "but they're your pets, not mine." I was entirely disgusted at the idea of actively living alongside a colony of worms. Why would you want the stench of rotting food nearby all the time? I didn't, I knew that much. The funny thing is, it didn't take long for my obsession with worms to outshine my wife's curiosity with them. Now we have a "worm factory" bin in our kitchen by the from door, a colony of eisenia fetida (red wigglers) ordered from Uncle Jim's Wormfarm in Pennsylvania, and a can of rotting food nearby. There's no smell in the bin because the worms keep it fresh, and there's no smell in the can because the lid has a filter.

The point is, Amy Stewart's book was written for a guy like me. As though I needed any more reason to love worms, her book did the trick and provided tons of information that I wasn't aware of. For instance: the amount of soil worms can process in a year (it's in the tons, by the way), the way different species of worms all work together in various layers of the soil, and the way worms can remove and eliminate dangerous chemicals from the ground. They're really amazing, resilient creatures, and it's no wonder Charles Darwin himself fell in love with them. I'm not sure how well I'd get a long with a super-smart guy like Darwin, but I bet I could've talked worms with him.

Jul 24, 2013

Absolutely outstanding! A real eye opener.

May 31, 2013

The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms --- by Amy Stewart. Right up front: this is not a yucky book. Earthworms aren’t yucky. And in spite of the fact that they hang around in some dirty places, they are meticulous when it comes to cleanliness and to their personal appearance. Okay. So we got that out of the way. One of their earliest students who laid the groundwork for what we know about them was none other than THE Mister Darwin the one of evolution fame. He was impressed by the prodigious amount of work they did day in and day out, burrowing, eating, and digesting (and, oh yes, pooping). He was also impressed by how many such soil denizens were to be found in the fields around his home. So what’s a worm good for besides bait you say? Aerating soil. Creating soil. Ingesting soil-critters, many of which are nasty actors intent on damaging plants. They may even have a future digesting our sewage and cleaning up our toxic spills. Stewart writes a good little book. It’s engaging. It doesn’t talk down to us. It doesn’t preach. She writes with homour and a smile on her face. She knows were-of she writes: she’s been a worm keeper herself for years. If you’ve got an iota of interest or curiosity about what goes on under the surface and in the soil, you’ll find this book to your liking.

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