A Threat to the Soil That Connects Us All

July 23, 2015 | By Haley Hansel

top soil crop

When we think about the environment our minds often jumps to images of forests and oceans—the types of lush ecosystems that are picturesque in their display of the biodiversity and growth capable on this planet. What often escapes our consciousness is the foundation of it all, the land—more specifically, the soil.

Why It’s Important

Soil is quite literally at the root of everything. It functions as an incredible source of interconnectedness across the globe.

Topsoil is woven into many aspects of our lives, including:

  • Health
  • The environment
  • Security
  • Climate
  • Water

With the integral role it plays in our personal lives, our local community and our global community, our topsoil—and the way we treat it— serves as a reminder of how our actions impact the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, it’s not being given the attention the planet needs it to receive.

What’s at Stake?

Currently, 40 percent of the soil that is used for agriculture is either degraded or seriously degraded. These levels of depletion can have monumental effects on the environment and the human population, such as:

How Does Depletion Happen?

Contrary to a cursory glance, soil is living. It is home to an inconceivable number of microorganisms that depend on carbon. Unfortunately, many farming methods are stripping vegetation from the soil and therefore are stripping microorganisms and carbon.

The root causes of this depletion are the loss of vegetation through burning, removal for animal feed and over plowing. Misuse of fertilizers and overgrazing are also culprits.

What Needs To Be Done

The bottom-line is that we need to get carbon back into the soil—which means updating farming practices around the globe.

Plowing after each harvest loosens the topsoil and subjects it to being washed or blown away. Methods like this cost the U.S. an estimated $37 billion each year in productivity losses.

One practice that soil experts recommend is no-till farming. This method involves not tilling the land between plantings, leaving crop stubble to reduce erosion and planting new seeds between the stubble rows— all of which helps to promote life within the soil and keep it intact.

Although agricultural practices are by far the leading cause of topsoil loss, there are things that can be done at home. For example, using a rain barrel can capture the water that comes off your roof and keep soil from being carried away. And creating or adding to your garden can also make it more difficult for soil to be displaced.

Become Interconnected With Your Ecosystem

Our indigenous partners in the Amazon rainforest live in harmony with their ecosystem. For thousands of years they have managed to take no more than the Earth is able to give back.

By journeying to the Amazon rainforest you can be given a clear and holistic idea of what it means to live in peace with our planet. By joining the journey’s introductory call, you will be familiarized with the profound, life-changing experience of visiting the sacred headwaters of the Amazon rainforest, learn about the wisdom and ways of our indigenous partners, and get answers to any questions you may have.

Join the Upcoming Intro Call

Photo by: Flickr user Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Health Campaign.

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