World Soil Day: a Reason to Celebrate

On December fifth,we have fun World Soil Day, and this 12 months we’ve another reason to accomplish that: the EU soil strategy. A doc by the European Commission may not sound like a sport changer, but it surely has the potential to be one. With a mixture of latest voluntary and legally binding measures, the technique units out concrete measures for safeguarding, restoring and sustainably utilizing soils.

But let’s rewind. Scientists outline soil just like the pores and skin of the residing world, important however skinny and fragile, simply broken by intensive farming, forest destruction, and air pollution. This skinny pores and skin hosts a quarter of the world’s organic biodiversity, nourishing humanity and above floor biodiversity. This skinny pores and skin takes 1000’s of years to kind.

It is beneath our ft, and it’s actually the muse of our life. Soil hosts a universe of microorganisms that present the vitamins for all our meals. Soil filters water match for consumption. Soil shops as a lot carbon as all crops above floor and is crucial in tackling the local weather emergency. 300 scientists compiled a 2020 UN report describing the worsening state of soils as a minimum of as necessary because the local weather disaster and destruction of the pure world above floor.

Halting and reversing present tendencies of soil degradation may generate up to €1.2 trillion per 12 months of financial advantages globally.

If that was not sufficient to persuade us to all take motion, it suffices to take a look at the prices of land and soil degradation. In the EU, around 60 to 70% of soils are not healthy and this prices €50 billion per 12 months. About 1 billion tons of soil are washed away by erosion within the EU yearly, inflicting an estimated lack of agricultural manufacturing of €1.25 billion per 12 months. Overall, 54% of the fee represents a lack of ecosystem companies akin to carbon sequestration, hydrological management, nutrient biking and internet hosting soil biodiversity. The different half of the fee typically comes on the expense of personal events and landowners due to a discount in provisioning companies akin to biomass and uncooked supplies.


The EU soil technique clarifies that the price of taking motion is way smaller than the price of inaction. Halting and reversing present tendencies of soil degradation could generate up to €1.2 trillion per year of financial advantages globally.

So far, the EU has had laws to shield water and air, but it surely has no harmonised strategy to soils. An try to so up to now failed amongst opposition by nationwide governments. The EU soil technique relaunches the work on soil, and contains a proposal for a complementary devoted authorized framework for soil well being – the Soil Health Law.

🪱 We welcome the @EU_Commission‘s proposal for an #EUSoil Strategy, which will be crucial for the transition to sustainable #FoodSystems!
BIG ➕ POINT: it mentions #agroecology & envisions cooperation with the farming community.@TimmermansEU @EU_ENV @VSinkevicius @jwojc

— Slow Food Europe (@SlowFoodEurope) November 17, 2021


The EU soil strategy is a welcome step towards safeguarding the foundation of our life. But there is something more: in a much clearer way than in other documents of the EU Green Deal, the soil strategy starts outlining sustainable practices in soil management, drawing a more precise line between what is sustainable and what is not. It talks about sustainable soil management, a set of practices that are part of broader agroecological principles, recalling that these principles are at the heart of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies, two cornerstones of the EU Green Deal. It connects the soil strategy to the current revision of the EU directive on the use of pesticides, a revision that should help achieve the objective of reducing by 50% the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 2030. It connects it to the Common Agricultural Policy, which accounts for a third of the overall EU budget and must be aligned to the ambitions of the Green Deal.

On December 5th we can celebrate, but the task of saving soils is far from over. Obstacles to an EU directive are still in place. The same lobbies that sunk a legislative proposal more than 10 years ago hold their ground and some governments joined their ranks. At the same time, ten member states have stated their support for a European soil directive, recognising that the health of soil cannot be solved only by action at national level, being a global issue.

So, let us celebrate this thin skin of the living world and join efforts to save it, for everyone’s sake.

If you’re curious to know extra about soil, have a take a look at our place paper !

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