World Soil Day - December 5th
written by Jakeline Laureano
I wonder if people fully understand that as human beings we need the soil to survive.
I believe we should be using a quarter of the planet and making sure that the other three quarters are being well cared for.
We're currently facing a loss of what matches 1 soccer field of eroded soil - which means that we’re losing the most fertile layer of the soil - every 5 seconds (Reference: Key messages | Global Symposium on Soil Erosion | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (fao.org)). That's due to several circumstances, such as natural events (winds and rains), not to mention human actions (tillage and housing). Earth is a big planet. It still has a lot of empty spaces, and it seems to me that when people see all that room, they simply want to occupy it, ignoring the fact that we’re now using more than we should.
So much is said about water (which is also important to ensure our survival) that people end up neglecting what we’re standing on: soil.
There’s been an increase in the human population. The more people there are, the more we need to till the land and the more spoiled the soil becomes. The math doesn’t add up. Either we come up with a plan to limit human population (in Brazil, it’s called family plan) and start to care about the soil and make plans regarding how to use it properly, or in less time than we have imagined, we're gonna run out of what keeps us alive: food.
If one simply thinks about what’s required to grow food, then the food crisis won’t ever even start. I also believe that all humankind ought to become ‘conscious eaters.’ After all, food relies on having good soil quality; if we don’t overeat or waste food, then we won’t have to till the soil as much. If the soil degrades too much, then even though we have the top soil scientists and technicians, we won’t be able to grow sufficient food to feed us all.
We should learn from the indigenous people. Once they notice they’ve taken all that’s necessary to grow food from a specific area of the soil (without damaging it permanently), they let that soil be and move to another section, until the previous one is good enough to grow food again. That’s how you do it: taking only what’s necessary, nursing it and giving it time to reestablish so it can prosper again.