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Living soils, a call to action

Date posted: 17th Jul '17

The Soil Association and the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience have released a new manual setting out why we should be safeguarding our soils.

Soil is essential for life on earth. It is the earth's living skin we all rely on, but take for granted. One quarter of all known species live within the soil. Just one teaspoon can hold more organisms that there are people on the planet. Soils hold more carbon than our atmosphere and vegetation combined. As Lady Eve Balfour, founder of the Soil Association said: "the health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible."

Healthy soils provide food, feed, fuel and even fibre for clothes. Healthy soils store and regulate water flow and mitigate climate change. 95% of our food comes from soil.

But soils are also fragile., Declining soil health spells trouble for everyone. When extreme weather hits, the scale of floods and droughts are made worse by unhealthy soils. Bare or damaged soils are more at risk of soil erosion. Soil washed away can clog up rivers and lakes, increasing the flood risk for people living downstream. Unhealthy soiils also store less carbon, contributing to global warming. And of course, when soil degradation is severe, food production is drastically reduced.

To read the full manual please click here.


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