Keep soil alive, Protect soil biodiversity
Protecting the soil and water for the future generations of this land is most important. Whatever we do for the environment today is neither service nor a great achievement; it is a matter of survival. If we have any love for our children, we have to leave out soil and water in a better condition than they are now.Sadhguru
Soil: The Incredible Intelligence Beneath Our Feet.
What is the one thing we cannot live without, yet we do not value it enough?
It is the soil — which grows our food, serves as the breadwinner for farmers, and provides life to countless species of flora and fauna. About 90% of living organisms live or spent part of their lifecycle in soils, yet we know only 1% of this hidden universe. “We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the ground underfoot”, observes Leonardo da Vinci. Soil organisms are responsible for many processes, on which humans depend, from supporting plant growth to storing carbon. Yet its health is threatened.
Rapid industrialisation, wars, mining, and intensification in agriculture are resulting in soil contamination, and the effects can be seen in many countries, including India. Soil biodiversity is under pressure! Unsustainable soil management affects life below ground. There is a need to take action to protect soil biodiversity by digging in with us!
World Soil Day on 5 December is the United Nations Observance that celebrates healthy soils for a food-secure future. World Soil Day was first marked by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002. The FAO and UN in 2013 endorsed observing world soil day and the observations world over started from 2014. Under the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand and within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, the Food and Agricultural Organisation supported the formal establishment of World Soil Day. 5 December was chosen as it is the birthday of late H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand, who was one of the leading proponents of this initiative.
Government of India has taken the initiative to protect the soil, and Soil health cards were launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015. This has led to the reduction of the use of chemical fertilisers by up to 10%. Soil testing labs were established across the country, which are helping the farmers.
Thanks to the efforts of our agricultural scientists, India moved from food-importing nation to a country with sufficient food to meet its requirements and even export. While the progress is of great satisfaction, excess use of chemical fertilisers, not bothering about sustaining the soil health have started reflecting on the problems associated with it. The movement to “Go Organic” is a welcome development. More and more people with education and sensitivity getting involved in farming and bringing awareness amongst the farming communities is helping to ensure the soil survives. Observing days like this is to acknowledge the contributions of the farming community in ensuring food security and the drive to take care of the health of the soil.
To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselvesMahatma Gandhi
Toons: Anusha and Reema Jaiswal
Logs: Sai Baba