World soil day is held the same day every year to demonstrate the value of soil in human life especially for our food and ecosystems, and events are held at the UN FAO offices and through community based events. The day was first considered by the International Union of Soil Sciences in 2002, but was not officially endorsed by FAO until 2013.
As it is obvious, highest surface of the earth is covered by soil but it is an unknown material for many people, many don’t even know if their garden is clay, loam or sandy soil or a mixture, but the knowledge of soil type, structure, management and condition is what can make the difference between good plant growth and a thriving ecosystem and a wasteland.
Soil includes of organic and inorganic matter, air and water, and the mixture depends on the way the soil is managed or neglected, which in turn impacts on how plants grow. The human race is dependent on soil for food, and soil erosion and poison leads to famine, soil also holds huge amount of carbon, which is lost through erosion, which leads to climate change.
Interesting facts about soil
- One of the solution to prevent world hunger and tackling climate change is soil conservation
- Our soil stores 3 times more carbon than our atmosphere
- 65 percent of arable land is damaged in Africa which contain 38 percent of global land
- Small farmers provide most of the food in the world which are on small plot of land
Healthy food and soil
95% of our foods come from soil. Healthy soils are the basis of the food system. It also crucial for agriculture and nearly all food-producing plants grow. Healthy soils produce healthy crops that in turn nourish people and animals. Indeed, soil quality is directly related to food quality and quantity.
The importance of healthy soil in our life
We all depend on soil, so the more we know about it, the better human life would be. Here we are going to explain that how it is important to our life.
1. Soil is significant for animal species, both above and below ground. It’s necessary to wildlife and the soil itself is pouring with an endless number of micro-organisms and insects as well as familiar organisms such as earthworms that maintain soil quality, provide nutrients, break down toxic elements and interact with water and air to help maintain a healthy natural environment.
2. Plant growth is related to the soil, it helps to the conservation of plants landscape. It also supports the forests, wetlands, prairies and grasslands that spawn the planet's amazing vegetative biodiversity. Those plants—some of which we are still discovering—provide food, fuel, animal feed, medicine and raw materials for clothing, household goods and other essentials. Plants in turn help prevent soil erosion.
3. Soil and sufficient water supply, it keeps rainwater distribution and play a key role in the water cycle and supply. Soil can impact on rivers, lakes and streams, changing their attributes like shape, size, capacity and direction.
4. Future of earth depends on it, as we mentioned before, climate change is directly influenced by soils. Soil organic matter is one of our main pools of carbon, it is acting either as a source or sink carbon. Soil includes the fossil fuels that drive climate change when extracted but when left underground give us the chance to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change and reach our eventual goal of a zero-emissions world.
Soils supply the essential nutrients, water, oxygen and root support that our food-producing plants need to grow and flourish. They also serve as a buffer to protect delicate plant roots from drastic fluctuations in temperature.
Soil pollution is a major threat
Nowadays pollution is one of the major aspect of our environment and soil is a part of it. Soil pollution is a hidden danger that threaten us. Global soils are already degrading and we risk losing more due to this hidden danger. Soil pollution is affecting everyone and yet it is sometimes invisible.
With a growing population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, soil pollution is a worldwide problem which degrades our soils, poisons the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe.
Soil could be effective to filtering contaminants and removing the negative effects of pollutants. But this capacity is limited. Most of the pollutants come from human activities, such as unsustainable farming methods, industrial activities and mining, untreated urban waste and other non-environmental friendly practices. As technology evolves, scientists are able to identify previously undetected pollutants, but at the same time these technological improvements lead to new contaminants being released into the environment. In the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, the
Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3, 12, and 15 have targets which commend direct consideration of soil resources, especially soil pollution and degradation in relation to food security.
3 Useful ways to reduce soil pollution
Reuse and recycle
Produce less waste and help to prevent soil pollution. Instead of throwing away plastic or paper regularly, Purchase glass and other reusable containers. Recycle paper and plastic through your local waste management company to reduce the amount of waste that is sent to a landfill. The National Science Digital Library (NSDL) reports that reusing and recycling products will help conserve natural resources and save more land from contamination.
Pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer
Pesticides are basically materials used for killing pests and unwanted insects meanwhile Herbicides are chemicals which are applied for killing unwanted plants. Fertilizers provide substances to plants in order to help their growth and may comprise heavy metals which can pose harm to animals. Food and Fertilizer Technology Centre states that the pollutants contaminate the soil and enter the food chain, which ultimately effects all humans and other life forms. It is, thus, recommended that organic pesticides and fertilizers should be employed.
Planting trees could be a solution
Make planting a routine work. In order to ensure high protection of soil resources, try to plant trees in open fields and motivate others to do the same. Keep a healthy garden at home, near industrial areas and public spaces to keep the soil healthy and intact. Since soil erosion is the biggest enemy of soil, plants will help in reducing its impact and ensure greater strength to the foundation of soil.
Soil is one of the most significant parts of the ecosystem, contributing to our food, water and energy and playing an important part in reducing the impact of climate change.
So it’s up to us to keep it save for having a better future in all aspects of our life.
Religions and soil
Without doubt all social issues have been influenced by Religion. Environmental issues like other social topics, have been influenced by religion. Saving soil and prevent polluting it, also is considered by religions worldwide. Here, we want to bring some religious texts that order believers to respect the soil as a sign of God’s creation.
The Jewish law, including biblical, Talmudic and rabbinic law is called “Halvah”. The genius of halvah has been its ability to apply the knowledge of ancient principles to ever-new situations. No need to restate that this Jewish law is a best sign of saving environment because of including religious content. A good example for this claim is that every damage such as littering in public places is also included in the prohibition against causing damage -if not according to the letter of halvah, then according to its spirit.
The Talmud also teaches followers that wasting or destroying anything on earth is wrong and soil pollution is the worst. Pollution is an insult to the world God created.
So, controlling pollution is a very important and ancient priority in Jewish law. It’s found that detailed regulations to regulate nuisances were put into place close to two thousand years ago. According to the Jewish, they believe that air, water, soil and noise all come under pollution.
Christians, like Judaism, believe that God created the world, so respect of the world is a way to respect God. Humans are also God's stewards of the Earth and for this reality, saving soil and preventing to pollute it is a sign of faith. We have some verses in Christianity's holy text proving our words, the Bible:
"You shall not pollute the land in which you live…you shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the lord dwell in the midst of the people." (Numbers 35:33-34)
Real believers of Christian refrain any damages to soil and nature because of these verses and fair minded persons accept this truth as an effect of religion.
Islam, like Christianity, stems from the Abrahamic tradition of spirituality because of their same historic origins. The Islamic view of the role of air, land, and soil in the environment and how conservation of these vital elements is fundamental to the preservation and continuation of life. This is due to belief that the earth is a sign of creation of God. God has created the earth a source of sustenance and livelihood for us and other alive creatures. He has made the soil fertile to grow the vegetation upon which we and all animal life depend as He has shown us in the holy Quran:
“And a sign for them is the lifeless earth: We bring it to life and bring forth from it grain of which they eat. And we have made therein gardens of palms and vines.” (Quran 36:33-35)
Another thing about soil that is very important in Islam is that it is the original material of human being according to some verses in All Abrahamic religions through them the creation of Adam has been described. In other words, the earth is often addressed as a “mother” in Abrahamic religions. A famous verse about the story of creation of Adam is:
“And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am going to create a human (Adam) from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud. So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him.” (Quran 38:71-72)
However, if we would truly give thanks to the Creator, we are required to maintain the productivity of the soil, and not expose it to erosion by wind and flood; in building, farming, grazing, forestry, and mining. In addition, we are required to follow practices which do not bring about its degradation but preserve and enhance its fertility. For to cause the degradation of this gift of God, upon which so many forms of life depend, is to deny His tremendous favors.