Soil, the earth’s living, breathing fragile skin

Jun 1, 2022 | News, Press Release

Held annually since 1974, World Environment Day is celebrated by millions of people across the globe. This year’s campaign, #OnlyOneEarth, highlights the need to reset the balance with nature through transformative changes in how we eat, farm, live, work and move around.

Soil, the earth’s living, breathing skin holds the key to our planet’s past and future. “It represents the difference between survival and extinction for most land-based life” (Doran, 2002) and guides us, on how to live sustainably in harmony with nature. We know so little about our soil, yet we too casually abuse, waste and lose it.

According to Professor Bridget Emmett of the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology: “Soil is one of the most underrated and little understood wonders on our fragile planet.”

Isn’t it fair to say, that in our ignorance soil looks inert, and we sadly too often treat it like dirt? Nature won’t wait on us, it’s time we reTHINK soil!

Soil, just like skin, is critical life support and the bedrock of a complex ecosystem that lives, breathes, digests and exhales. It is the base for the web of life and provides more than 95% of our food, filters our water, regulates the earth’s temperature, impacts the climate and acts as the carbon storage powerhouse.

Much thinner than our skin, proportionally 10,000 times, and a lot more fragile, there is so much more, that we need to learn from our soils. The things we safeguard and protect today, save us tomorrow.

Vibrant skin, earth and human, requires commitment and a simple, effective and targeted care routine: Cleanse. Repair. Hydrate. Protect.

Together we must change course, push for action and mobilise a global movement to halt and reverse the damage humanity has caused to the natural world and our earth’s skin. There is #OnlyOneEarth and definitely #NoPlanetB.


The British Society of Soil Science, who we are and what we do

Founded in 1947, the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) is an international membership organisation and charity dedicated to bring people together, share evidence-based data on soil, create knowledge and improve education to help address global challenges and environmental and societal needs.

We invest in a future for everyone and are the go-to organisation for the media, policymakers, government, stakeholders and educators on all soil science related issues.

This year, we are honoured to host The World Congress of Soil Science 2022 (WCSS 22) in Glasgow (31 July – 5 August 2022). A key event supported by members of the Royal family and attended by over 3,000 soil scientists from around the globe, all coming together to share knowledge, cross boundaries and change society to sustainably live in harmony with nature. The Congress press conference will take place on Sunday 31 July from 5:15 – 6:00pm and to attend, please email

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