One can be forgiven for thinking the Earth we walk on is just dirt but it is so much more than that; in many ways, it is life itself – This World Soil Day we can all honour the ground we walk on in simple ways.
South Africa (05 December 2023) – The soil beneath our feet plays a vital role in life on Earth, it is teeming with life that does things we cannot imagine, like feeding us, breaking down decaying matter, preventing flooding and so much more. We can all do a little bit to make sure the soil around us thrives.
The United Nations declared the 5th of December as World Soil Day as a way to raise awareness about the importance of soil care. It is more than just dirt and it really matters. Many will think because they are not farmers, it is not something to be concerned about but the reality is, it’s not just farms that are affected when soil is depleted.
“Our planet’s survival depends on the precious link between soil and water. Over 95 percent of our food originates from these two fundamental resources. Soil water, vital for nutrient absorption by plants, binds our ecosystems together. This symbiotic relationship is the foundation of our agricultural systems.
However, in the face of climate change and human activity, our soils are being degraded, putting excessive pressure on our water resources. Erosion disrupts the natural balance, reducing water infiltration and availability for all forms of life.
Sustainable soil management practices, such as minimum tillage, crop rotation, organic matter addition, and cover cropping, improve soil health, reduce erosion and pollution, and enhance water infiltration and storage. These practices also preserve soil biodiversity, improve fertility, and contribute to carbon sequestration, playing a crucial role in the fight against climate change.
World Soil Day 2023 (WSD) and its campaign aim to raise awareness of the importance and relationship between soil and water in achieving sustainable and resilient agrifood systems. WSD is a unique global platform that not only celebrates soils but also empowers and engages citizens around the world to improve soil health.” – The United Nations
So, as an everyday person, how can you celebrate Soil Day and do something good with it? Simple we have a few ideas below:
- Read more about why soil matters.
- Start a compost pile – There are loads of tutorials on YouTube to follow.
- Sign up for a composting service – Ladles of Love hosts a bokashi swap system that sends food waste to community gardens – Read more here.
- Join a composting Facebook group – You can find Composting SA here.
- Research and implement a bokashi system in your own home.
- Buy a bag or two of compost and top up your garden beds.
- Watch the documentary “Kiss the Ground” – It is free for schools and teachers to use or available on Netflix for the rest of us.
That is just some of what can be started in an effort to improve the soil directly around you. Keen to get going? Let us know what you get up to in the comment section.