In 2002 the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) declared 5 December as World Soil Day. Soil may not be glamorous, but it is a key component of our natural system, and a critical contributor to food, water and energy security through its role in mitigating biodiversity loss and climate change.
Soil is vital to grow our food, to keep our livestock alive, and to keep our forests growing, which in turn keeps our environment healthy. On a human time scale, soils is a non-renewable resource, so sound soil management is extremely important. Sadly, despite this, soil is not high on most environmental decision making agendas – it is not a topic that makes for striking news headlines or wins elections.
Another factor pushing soil further down the agenda is increased urbanisation – with an ever growing percentage of the world population living in cities, soil is becoming less and less of a reality to most people.
World Soil Day aims to address this situation, by trying to raise the profile of soil and make people aware of the role it plays in a range of ecosystems.
Secure soil is the basis of a secure environment. In the words of American novelist and conservationist Wendell Berry, “The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”