“To forget how to tend the soils is to forget ourselves.” ~Mahatma Gandi
Like our struggling Oceans our Soil is also struggling to keep up with human folly and growth. Like our Oceans we cannot survive on this planet without healthy soil. It is time to take a serious look at this situation and do all we can do to ensure it’s health.. which amounts to our very survival. Mother nature will survive, dented and bruised but she will. Will we?
Soil provides ecosystem services critical for life: soil acts as a water filter and a growing medium; provides habitat for billions of organisms, contributing to biodiversity; and supplies most of the antibiotics used to fight diseases. Humans use soil as a holding facility for solid waste, filter for wastewater, and foundation for our cities and towns. Finally, soil is the basis of our world’s agroecosystems which provide us with feed, fiber, food and fuel.
Soil disturbance changes the physical, chemical and biological conditions of a soil in which organisms live. Examples of the range of disturbances that occur naturally, accidentally or via land management practices show that soil organisms are exposed to a variety of environmental circumstances including:
Natural Disturbances: drought, fire, flood, large animal diggings (by so-called ‘ecosystem engineers’), plant community development and succession, natural tree-fall (e.g. associated with storms or fires), water erosion and wind erosion.
Disturbances related to land management practices: compost application, prescribed burning, cultivation, fertilizer application, gypsum application, incorporation of organic matter, inoculation with microorganisms, lime application, pesticide application (to soil or plants), revegetation, rotation of crops and pastures, tree harvesting, tree planting and vehicle use.
Industrial or urban disturbances: acid rain, construction, disposal of household waste in soil, disposal of toxic substances in soil, excavation, increased CO2 in the atmosphere, mining, sewage release into the environment, spillage of toxic substances and vehicle use.
You can’t have a animal agriculture talk without the topic of the destruction of the planet due to methane gas. Because we only advocate for pasture based farming and holistic land management grazing practices we believe we are contributing to healthy soil and this healthy soil in turn helps take care of our methane issues. ETS lifeline: soils capable of absorbing cattle methane.
Let’s Talk about Soil is an animated film that tells the reality of soil resources around the world, covering the issues of degradation, urbanization, land grabbing and over exploitation; the film offers options to make the way we manage our soils more sustainable.
For more information visit globalsoilweek.org
“Great main stream article on soils and climate. We need more of them. The question is how do we educate our leaders, farmers and ranchers quickly to see this viable soil based solution ? And many of our wise leaders such as Gabe Brown and Ray Archuleta feel that focusing on helping farmers/ranchers is key and that attempting to change policy in DC is a losing game.
From the article :
The last great hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change may lie in a substance so commonplace that we typically ignore it or else walk all over it: the soil beneath our feet.
Now scientists are documenting how sequestering carbon in soil can produce a double dividend: It reduces climate change by extracting carbon from the atmosphere, and it restores the health of degraded soil and increases agricultural yields. Many scientists and farmers believe the emerging understanding of soil’s role in climate stability and agricultural productivity will prompt a paradigm shift in agriculture, triggering the abandonment of conventional practices like tillage, crop residue removal, mono-cropping, excessive grazing and blanket use of chemical fertilizer and pesticide. Even cattle, usually considered climate change culprits because they belch at least 25 gallons of methane a day, are being studied as a potential part of the climate change solution because of their role in naturally fertilizing soil and cycling nutrients.”