world soil day
World Soil Day is held annually on December 5. How often do we appreciate the ground beneath our feet when we know our futures depend on healthy soil? Isn’t it odd that we don’t talk about it enough? Vastly underrated yet incredibly vital — the world would have no food security without soil. Thankfully, there’s a day dedicated to the importance of healthy, sustainable soil management and keeping it that way. We’re here to give you the dirt on why we should pay more attention and how soil is one of the most magical things on earth!
Soils: where food begins
Did you know that there are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than people on Earth? Soil is a world made up of organisms, minerals, and organic components that provides food for humans and animals through plant growth.
Like us, soils need a balanced and varied supply of nutrients in appropriate amounts to be healthy. Agricultural systems lose nutrients with each harvest, and if soils are not managed sustainably, fertility is progressively lost, and soils will produce nutrient-deficient plants.
Soil nutrient loss is a major soil degradation process threatening nutrition. It is recognized as being among the most critical problems at a global level for food security and sustainability all around the globe.
Over the last 70 years, the level of vitamins and nutrients in food has drastically decreased, and it is estimated that 2 billion people worldwide suffer from lack of micronutrients, known as hidden hunger because it is difficult to detect.
Soil degradation induces some soils to be nutrient depleted losing their capacity to support crops, while others have such a high nutrient concentration that represent a toxic environment to plants and animals, pollutes the environment and cause climate change.
World Soil Day 2022 (#WorldSoilDay) and its campaign “Soils: Where food begins” aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the growing challenges in soil management, increasing soil awareness and encouraging societies to improve soil health.
All life begins and ends from the soil. It’s the source of food, medicine and filters our water, among others. Most of us take soil for granted and assume it will always be around. But that’s far from the truth. It takes more than 1,000 years to grow 0,4 inches of soil.
In 2002, the International Union of Soil Sciences recommended creating an international day to celebrate and generate awareness around soil. It was a movement led by the kingdom of Thailand under the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. His vision and passion for this most precious natural resource led, shaped, and guided the movement.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United States supported the formal establishment of World Soil Day. The idea was to create a platform to raise global awareness of the importance of healthy soil. In 2013, the FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day and requested its official adoption at the 68th U.N. General Assembly. In 2014, the U.N. General Assembly designated December 5 as the first official World Soil Day. The day also happens to be the official birthday of the late King of Thailand, who officially sanctioned the event. It honors his memory and respects his incredible work to make the day a reality.
Since then, World Soil Day has been vital to advocate for sustainable soil management resources. All around the world, people use the day to inform and inspire. And there’s a different theme to focus on each year. It reminds us to appreciate this incredible natural resource — the source of our food, the anchor of ecosystems, and that’s merely scratching the surface.