Join the Save Soil movement today!
“The only magical material that turns death into life.”
There is no doubt that the ground is the greatest connector of all life on this planet Earth. It is not only the fundamental source of all living beings but also our final destination. We all know very well what soil is even though according to the statistics of the current situation, it will not be long before it completely disappears from the face of the earth, which will eventually lead us all to a question futuristic of what is not ground?
Most people think the ground is made of dirt, but that’s not true. It doesn’t look like dirt. Dirt is made up of minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium that are found in rocks and have been broken down.
So what exactly is soil made of?
Simply put, soil = dirt + water + air + organic matter. It is the living layer between the air and the rock.
However, it is an extremely complicated substance in reality. Its composition is approximately 45% minerals and broken rocks (dirt), 25% water, 25% air and up to 5% organic matter (decaying plant matter and living things like fungi, bacteria, worms and other insects).
It has 5 or 6 layers: organic (decaying plant matter), topsoil (roots of plants and living creatures), subsoil, parent material (base soil layer), and bedrock (the soil of the world). The activity is in the topsoil. It is the most vital layer of soil, where plants thrive and where worms and other creatures feed on organic matter. However, topsoil is erodible and can be lost when soils eventually deteriorate. Leading us eventually to a food crisis and in the worst case, possibly even extinction.
The topsoil, along with the subsoil and parent material, is part of the rhizosphere, this is where plants interact with each other! How intriguing isn’t it? What makes you think you and I are the only ones capable of having conversations like these?
The soil is alive!
The soil is a biological system and even if it seems inert, it is nevertheless alive. It is not a monolithic entity and a lot depends on the climate and where you are. The amount of sand, silt, and clay in soils is used to classify soils. Soil color, texture and productivity vary. About 70,000 floor variants are found in the United States alone!
A tablespoon of soil contains more living organisms than there are people on planet Earth, let that sink in. Incredible, isn’t it? This is definitely one of the most interesting facts about soil.
That’s in terms of individual creatures, but the ground has an incredible amount of biodiversity. Soils are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world!
Here are some fascinating facts about soil creatures from the USDA and other sources:
- 1 teaspoon of soil contains 100 to 100 billion bacteria
- 1 g of soil contains 75,000 species of bacteria, 25,000 species of fungi, 1,000 species of protozoa and several hundred species of nematodes.
- One acre of soil contains up to 20,000 kg of total living matter.
- An acre of cultivated land has 1,400,000 earthworms.
Why is soil so essential to us?
Soil is the foundation of all life, despite its low position in the food chain. It provides plants with food, air, water and a “home” for their roots. Ultimately, humans and other creatures depend on plants for their own health.
Agriculture is the only “essential” activity that relies on soils for 95% of food production.
It is the planet’s natural water filter. Surface water trickles down through the soil layers, washing away chemicals, dust and other impurities. Thus, the water is clean when it reaches deep aquifers.
The natural filtering of water through the soil is also profitable. The Catskill watershed provides approximately $1 billion to $1.5 billion in clean water to New York City through natural soil filtering processes; a water filtration facility would cost between $6 billion and $8 billion, plus $300 million per year for management and maintenance. That’s a huge saving!
Soil helps mitigate climate change!
Did you know that well-managed soils can sequester carbon from the atmosphere and store it?
Scientists predict that degraded and agricultural soils can recover 50-66% of the total COS lost. The reclaimed soil is expected to offset 5-15% of global fossil fuel emissions each year.
Including no-till agriculture, cover crops, silvograzing, nutrient cycling and other regenerative farming practices can absorb carbon from the atmosphere and into the soil. Thus, contributing immensely to mitigating climate change. These strategies also result in healthier and more productive soils, which improves farmers’ bottom lines while addressing food security challenges.
A mere 2% increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100% of all greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere. – Dr. Rattan Lal
What is the current soil situation today?
Unfortunately, 1/3 of the current soils are degraded. Conventional farming techniques still damage soil ecosystems virtually everywhere.
UNFAO estimates that a third of all soils are moderately to extremely degraded. Chemical pollution and nutrient depletion damage soil ecosystems, causing salinization, acidity, erosion and/or compaction, which limits soil productivity. IDS claims soil is washed away 10 to 40 times faster than it is restored. This is truly concerning and perhaps solving these soil problems must become humanity’s top priority. According to the Soil Health Institute, by 2060 we will be asking our soils to produce as much food as we have eaten in the past 500 years.
One of the most important factors here is realizing that soil can die! Organic soils, like all living systems, are in a delicate balance. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are overused in traditional agriculture, upsetting the soil balance and creating unhealthy soils. Degraded soils are less productive, need more fertilizer and are susceptible to erosion, destroying the fertile layer of topsoil.
This happened during the Dust Bowl in the United States in the 1930s. During extreme droughts, powerful winds blew up to 75% of the topsoil, leaving only dry soil. It is very important that we do not let such events happen again.
It is crucial to understand that soil is a non-renewable resource, which makes it even more valuable. It is created by a geological process that gradually transforms bedrock into a living matrix. The whole physical, biological and chemical process can take tens of thousands of years. Unfortunately, erosion can remove a full inch of valuable topsoil in a year.
Our solution to the soil crisis!
Minimize ground disturbance no matter what. To keep key ecosystems intact, participate in land conservation and adopt no-till farming methods. Cover the dirt as much as you can. Rotate farmland and grow a variety of crops all year round. Plant variety improves soil biodiversity, while cover crops keep the soil covered. Farmers can easily increase soil organic matter in three years. Regenerative agriculture has several advantages. With persistent work, most farmers can increase soil organic matter content in 3 to 10 years.
It is very important for us as a human race to come together and contribute in our own way to spreading awareness and knowledge regarding this phenomenon. For the sake of our current and future generations, we must immediately participate in the “Save Soil” movement. If you are reading this, we ask that you make this knowledge viral and empower every person, because not only our present, but also our future depends on it.
Let’s all come together and create a world where civil war does not break out in the years to come. We’ve turned a blind eye to nature for centuries now, but today, thanks to technology, we have a lot of power to reverse the damage to some degree if we act wisely. We need to come together and manifest the power of our collective consciousness, let’s make it happen!