Soils are our Past, Present and Future
Join the movement to stay #Grounded
Soils underpin our ecosystems, our climate and our human culture. Some of the biggest issues affecting our world and its inhabitants, have soil at their heart.
Healthy soil supports biodiversity: biodiverse soils can host millions of organisms in each teaspoon. Sustaining life in soil is essential to ensure soil health, which supports our ability to grow food and farm effectively. When managed well, soil can store significant amounts of rainfall, preventing flooding and dirty run-off which can affect the health and safety of communities.
It is estimated that there are 1,500 gigatonnes of carbon in the world’s soil*; three times more than in all vegetation and forests. Deforestation, global warming and poor agricultural practices can lead to the release of soil carbon into the atmosphere, and in turn speed up the climate warming process.
Our supporters Lizzie Daly and Riverford Organics recognise the need for effective action and that the protection and restoration of soils must be a global priority. At a policy level, the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) supports the Global Soil Partnership, led by the UN and we will be leading the call for collective change at the World Congress of Soil Science 2022.
On a personal level we all use soil, whether we realise it or not, on a daily basis. Whether it’s the food we eat, playing football on a school playing field, enjoying the local park gardens or gardening for pleasure. Soil degradation has a huge impact on our personal lives and disrupts our understanding of the environment, even in urban areas.
There are three simple actions we can all take at a local level to support the health of our soil.
- Remove patio slabs and crazy paving to help soils absorb water in heavy rainfall. This will slow the flow into drains, and particularly help to prevent flash floods, which will be crucial in cities as climate change leads to increased intense rainfall.
- Plant cover crops instead of leaving soil bare. Cover crops or ‘green manure’ are popular with allotment holders and farmers, and add carbon and nutrients to the soil naturally, reducing the need for artificial fertilisers.
- Don’t use peat-based compost as the intensive mining of peat bogs has a detrimental impact on the climate and local eco-systems. If you have the space, start your own compost heap, rather than buying compost or disposing of your food and garden waste in your green-waste bin.