As Lady Eve Balfour, founder of the Soil Association, believed - "the health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible."
It sustains us, captures carbon, provides a home for billions of organisms and can help defend us against flooding and drought, but too often we're taught to think of it as dirt! As a result, many of the world's soils are now in crisis - degraded and eroding, often as a result of intensive farming practices.
The good news is that, by changing the way we farm and eat, we can help protect our soils, for generations to come.
Soil is a combination of minerals, organic matter, air, water and living organisms. We need it to sustain life.
But our soils are degrading at an alarming rate. We have taken soil for granted and now one-third of the world’s arable soils are degraded. The situation becomes even more urgent when we consider that it can take a thousand years for just one centimetre of topsoil to form.
Did you know that there's 10 billion tonnes of carbon stored in UK soils?
Healthy well managed soils capture carbon dioxide and store it as soil organic carbon.
This makes them an essential resource in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change.
95% of the food that we eat comes from soil. Without lots of healthy soil it would be impossible for farmers to produce food for us.
However, around the world, we are losing soil between 10 and 40 times faster than it’s formed. One UN official stated that we may have fewer than 60 harvests left.
Essentially, feeding the world starts, and ends, with healthy soil.
Healthy soils store and absorb water, with the help of soil organisms, organic matter and good soil management. This makes them a vital resource for protecting against flooding and droughts.
Did you know - a single hectare of soil has the potential to store and filter enough water for 1000 people for 1 year?
1. Working with farmers
We're out in the field with farmers, trialling new farming methods that can help improve their soils.
2. Lobbying the government
We make sure the Government treats soil as a fundamental environmental resource and prioritises and safeguards UK soils.
3. Raising public awareness
We work hard to demonstrate the importance of soils, and how protecting them helps resolve our climate, nature and health crises.
4. Encouraging farmers
By encouraging farmers to transition towards agroecology, we can take a positive step towards saving our soil.
We cannot meet net-zero targets whilst ignoring soil health.
UK soils are eroding and depleting with soil biodiversity being damaged.
This crisis can be turned into a solution.
We must support farmers to transition to agroecology, farming with nature to regenerate soils.
Soils can become drought and flood resilient sponges, huge carbon sinks, and healthy farm ecosystems that need far less fertilisers and pesticides.
Find out more in our "Saving Our Soils: Healthy soils for our climate, nature and health" report.
One important way that you can learn more about soil is by looking after your own at home, whether on a windowsill, on an allotment, or in the garden.
Your support as a member is of vital importance if we are to save our soils - together with your help, we can continue working with farmers, policymakers, and citizens to save our soil.
The variety of life in our soils is amazing. Just one teaspoon of soil may harbour up to 10 billion different microorganisms! This variety of life is essential to life on Earth, and each plays an important role in our ecosystem.
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