Scientific American recently ran an interesting article about the possibility that other planets out there may be “better” than Earth for supporting life. That may be true, but our planet has plenty that should make us proud earthlings. Top among these points of pride is Earth’s fantastic soils, teeming with life and supporting an abundance of terrestrial creatures (including ourselves). This isn’t a competition between Earth and other yet-to-be-discovered planets, but let me just ask:
Do other planets have dung beetles? (As an astronomical sidenote, did you know dung beetles navigate by using the Milky Way?)
Do other planets have blueberry pancakes?
Without soil, there would be no blueberry pancakes.
Or really anything. Soil is the foundation of life on this planet.
It’s a year to be soil proselytizers
If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you don’t need to be convinced, which is why I’ve done such a poor job of really explaining how important soil is. You and I may celebrate soil on a regular basis, but many people (a) don’t know how important soils are (b) don’t know how our actions impact soils and their ability to support life. This is why the UN General Assembly has declared that 2015 is the International Year of Soils. It’s time to increase knowledge of, appreciation for, and understanding of soils among all earthlings.
To celebrate this momentous year, the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) has launched a sticker and photo campaign that I encourage you all to join. They will send you a free sticker so you can express your love of soil and in return they ask that you post your photo on their world map of soil lovers. I haven’t gotten my sticker yet, but check out some of the photos folks have sent in from around the world:
Get your sticker. Take a photo. Post it on whatever it is people post things on these days (in addition to the SSSA world map). Tell the world how important soil is to you, and, more importantly, how important it is to them!
Outreach for the International Year of Soils is crucial for the year’s success. Included in the goals outlined by FAO are:
- Raise full awareness among civil society and decision makers about the profound importance of soil for human life;
- Educate the public about the crucial role soil plays in food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, essential ecosystem services, poverty alleviation and sustainable development;
- Support effective policies and actions for the sustainable management and protection of soil resources;
- Promote investment in sustainable soil management activities to develop and maintain healthy soils for different land users and population groups.