2015 has been nominated as the International year of Soils. The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils (IYS). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has been nominated to implement the IYS 2015, within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership and in collaboration with Governments and the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
EDS agrees that we are not paying enough attention to the world’s soils, a “nearly forgotten resource” and our “silent ally,” 33% of which are in a state of degradation (1.). We can’t breathe, eat, drink, or be healthy without sustainably managing soils. So in recognising 2015 as the International Year of Soils, the United Nations (UN) is focusing global attention on the increasing pressures on soils and their ripple effect on other global challenges.
EDL has long understood that a holistic management approach to soils requires understanding that human health depends on nondegraded soils not only for food but for clean air and water. Air pollutants derived from disturbed soils include volatile organic compounds, greenhouse gases, dust, and biota. These are transported by wind for hundreds to thousands of miles. The impact of such mobility by potential pathogens such as parasitic worms on plants, animals, and humans is becoming clearer. EDL’s fertiliser, derived from the efficient recovery of minerals and nutrients biologically trapped in the bones of animals and combined with essential nutrients and if required organisms, helps to add back uncontaminated elements that enhance soil health and reduce risk of contamination of mineral loss.
Because soils are also one of the largest stores of carbon that is in direct exchange with the atmosphere, soil degradation negatively affects society via climate change feedbacks. The water we drink depends on maintaining soils that store, filter, and cleanse water. Although the soil–clean air–clean water–human health linkage has led to air and water regulations, they do not address the cause of the impacts: the mismanagement of soil.
EDL have pioneered a unique nutrient recovery and repacking system that enhances the mineral availability for plants, reduced the reliance of ground mineral extraction and encourages a reduced use of fertiliser to obtain optimum food security and plant growth.
The 2015 International Year of Soils is an occasion to celebrate and raise awareness of Earth’s soil and its functions for humanity. As we pave fertile soils for cities, expand agriculture into marginal lands such as Polar Regions and deserts, and address climate change impacts of droughts and floods, we should consider the benefits that managing soils provides for multiple global environmental issues.
As U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.”