Attention ! Save our soil or else....

Posted By HealthyBuddha on Wednesday 11th May 2022

Surely you would have all seen the ongoing " Save Soil " campaign. Do you all know what the issue actually is & the gravity of the problem ? 

Here is our attempt to explain the same, in a way we can all understand. 

Indeed, we find OUR SOIL in a condition where it is DYING!

Time to look at the hard hitting facts..

United Nation says, if we continue to go the way we're going - by the year 2050, 90% of earth's soils could be degraded.

- In 20 years, 40% less food is expected to be produced for 9.3 billion people.

- Poor soil leads to poor nutritional value. Today's fruits and vegetables already contain 90% fewer nutrients than it did 20 years back.

- 2 billion people suffer from nutritional deficiencies leading to multitude of diseases.

What's the importance of healthy soil ?

Soil is the mix of organic matter, minerals, organisms, some gases, liquids - an ecosystem supporting all life on the planet.

A single handful of soil is home to more living organisms in a handful of soil than there are people on earth. Let that sink in for a moment.

In fact, there are more living organisms within the soil itself than above its surface.

Next time, you go outside, pick up a handful of soil and think about this fact.

Soil organisms play such an integral role in keeping soil healthy ..some important functions include :

• Help cycle nutrients - They decompose organic matter (from plant & animals remains) in the soil, returning nutrients to the soil so that plants can use & also regulate pests/diseases.

• Life in the soil also helps in carbon storage - which can help climate change. Earthworms breakdown fallen plant and animal into useable form for microbes who store carbon as they go on with life.

• Soil organisms borrow, craft and maintain structure of soil allowing flow of water, air and nutrients underground. A healthy soil can be a sponge up water during floods and retain them in droughts.

What has happened ?

The main issue is that of depletion of organic matter in the soil. Without any organic matter, soil turns to just sand & the area around it, dessertified. 

Soil organic content affects a myriad of things like - quality of food harvested, amount of yeild, biodiversity of a whole lot of organisms who call soil their home..& even climate change.

Wide use of pesticides pose a grave threat to organisms needed for healthy soil, biodiversity, and the fight against climate change.

In a 2021 peer-reviewed study Pesticides and Soil Invertebrates: A Hazard Assessment - 71% of cases studied, pesticides kill or harm soil invertebrates like earthworms, ants, beetles and ground-nesting bees.

What's the solution ?

The solution mentioned in the current #savesoil movement is to increase organic matter of soil while enriching it through plant litter & animal waste...& Organic farming has always been focusing on just that!

Organic farmers use natural manure and compost & completely eliminate use of harmful chemicals/ pesticides on their soil. 

As a result, soil organic matter is maintained high.

When maintaining a fertile, living soil is priority - underground heros like microbes & earthworms thrive at our organic farms.

Organic farming offers us all hope for the future !

Here are some tips for how we could help as individuals :

- Don't leave patches of soil around you, in your garden or apartment empty. Grow a combination of plants helping recycle nutrients and restoring its health.

- Segregate, compost your wet waste/plant&animal material. Organic material originates from plant and animals remains - adding compost to soil boosts its organic matter. 

- While selecting plants, choose some helpful soil saving plants to include in your / common spaces - like nitrogen fixing, ones with deeps roots etc. 

- Opt to support agroecological farming, like organic in your local area ..means voting for a method focusing on nourishing plants by building soil fertility naturally.

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