Where life meets rocks
The top 20cm of soil is all that stands between us and extinction
Posted on 30.12.2020
Author Katarina Kostić
The skin of the Earth
Soil is truly magical.
It helps plants tie up their roots, holds water and nutrients to sustain life. Without it our planet would be as barren as Mars.
Soil is not simply dirt.
It is a combination of living and dead organisms, nutrients, rock and other minerals.
Soil is an ecosystem.
Every layer of healthy soil is inhabited with organisms specialised to live there, and just there. In fact, most of the land’s biodiversity lives in the soil, not above ground.
Soil is a natural antidepressant.
Due to unique microbes in fertile soil, just touching it can actually make you happier and healthier. Something that gardeners and farmers have known about for millennia.
Soil is our life-support system.
The soil should be understood as the skin of the Earth. This precious thin layer is sometimes only a few centimetres thick and rarely thicker than a couple of metres, but it is critical for what happens on the surface of our planet.
Healthy soil = Healthy food = Healthy you
The equation is this: if the soil where our food is grown is depleted of some mineral, we won't get it through our food. No Mg in soil means no Mg in our beets. No Mg in our bodies. As a consequence, we buy Mg supplements that are not nearly as effective as natural sources, such as homegrown leaf vegetables.
Soil is a natures' best Climate change solution.
We don’t create carbon. We just move it from place to place - from soil to atmosphere. If we take back the excess carbon we put into the atmosphere and reuse it to grow more stuff - we could not just slow Climate change but actually reverse it.
Currently we have 415 PPM of CO2 in the atmosphere. ICCP advised we need to stay below 350 to maintain our planet liveable. However, new data suggests regenerative agricultural methods and protecting and restoring forest soils, peatlands and wetlands can lead to sequestering more than 100% of current CO2 emissions in just three years. We could literally return the atmosphere to pre-Industrial conditions in as little as twenty years.
* Just imagine how exuberant and marvellous our world is going to be (once again).
Amelung, W., Bossio, D., de Vries, W. et al. Towards a global-scale soil climate mitigation strategy. Nat Commun 11, 5427 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467...
“We humans are just our planet mates. We cannot put an end to nature, we can just pose a threat to ourselves. Symbiotic planet, Lynn Margulis”
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