WORLD SOIL DAY
Each year on December 5th, World Soil Day (WSD) highlights the importance of healthy soil. It’s also a day to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.
One of the biggest concerns for the environment is soil degradation. Degradation is when soil health declines due to improper use or poor management. Most Americans are familiar with what happened during the Great Depression. Dust storms were a frequent occurrence. Soil erosion caused these massive dust storms. Through the years, farmers in this country learned their lesson. They began to practice better soil management. Unfortunately, however, there are still concerns about soil health. Throughout the world, the soil is eroding at a rapid rate. Every 5 seconds, the equivalent of one soccer field of soil erodes. If soil erosion continues, the earth will no longer be fertile. In turn, global food supplies and food safety will be threatened.
When soil is lost, it takes years to replace. It takes up to 1,000 years to produce just 2 to 3 cm of soil. It’s believed that up to 90% of the world’s land will be degraded by 2050. The situation is dire, which means there is no time to waste when it comes to saving our soil.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldSoilDay
Each year the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) encourages youth and adults around the world to participate in a challenge to care for the soil. A recent challenge involved signing a pledge card, planting a seed, taking a photo, and sharing it on social media. The best photos are shared on FAO social channels. Also, on this day, the King Bhumibol World Soil Day Award (WSDA) is given to the individual or organization that has come up with the best soil day activity or campaign. The Glinka World Soil Prize is another award given out each year. This one goes to an individual who is dedicated to solving the world’s soil degradation problem.
Here are some ways you can participate:
- Learn about the importance of soil health and how it affects our future
- Watch videos and documentaries about soil, including DIRT! The Movie, Living Soil, Symphony of the Soil, and Soil Erosion: A Historical Perspective
- Commit to caring for the soil in your community by composting, planting cover crops, and building terraces to prevent soil erosion.
- Share this day on social media with #WorldSoilDay
WORLD SOIL DAY HISTORY
In 2002, the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) recommended an international day to celebrate soil. Under the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand, the FAO supported the establishment of WSD. In 2013 the FAO Conference formally endorsed WSD. In December 2013, the UN General Assembly officially designated December 5th as World Soil Day, commemorating the birthday of the late H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was the King of Thailand and one of the leading proponents of this initiative.
Recent themes for World Soil Day include:
- 2019: Stop soil erosion. Save our future.
- 2018: Be the solution to soil pollution.
- 2017: Caring for the planet starts from the ground.
- 2016: Soils & Pulses: Symbiosis for Life.
- 2015: Healthy soils for a healthy life.