Farmland with plastic soil cover Yong Wang/ZumaPress

Save our Soils

Intact soils are an invaluable and irreplaceable resource, one that performs myriad functions in achieving the international community’s main development and environmental goals. And now they are in urgent need of protection.

BERLIN – The United Nations has declared 2015 to be the International Year of Soils, and April 19-23 marks this year’s Global Soil Week. Such events, though not exactly glamorous, do not receive nearly the amount of attention they deserve.

Intact soils are an invaluable and irreplaceable resource, one that performs myriad functions in achieving the international community’s main development and environmental goals. And now they are in urgent need of protection.

Healthy soils are crucial to human nutrition and the fight against hunger. We rely on them not only for food production, but also to create new drinking water. They help to regulate Earth’s climate, storing more carbon than all of the world’s forests combined (only the oceans are a larger carbon sink), and are essential to maintaining biodiversity: a handful of fertile soil contains more microorganisms than there are humans on the planet. Two-thirds of Earth’s species live beneath its surface.

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