Green flash 54: International Year of Soils 2015

soilsWhy  is soil so important?

The United Nations has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. Soils are the foundation of our human existence, but they are under great threat. At the current rate of degradation, agriculture may not be possible 60 years from now. Every minute, 30 football fields of fertile soil are lost worldwide. We need healthy, living soils for present and future generations.

Try and buy more organic food
Eat organic food. Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.

Why not have meat-free days?
Meat production can only be sustainable on a small scale, in farms with closed nutrient cycles. Intensive cattle-raising leads to large-scale imports of soya and corn, which in turn lead to industrial farming, soil degradation and loss of natural habitats in South America.

Garden organically
In your own garden, use only natural inputs. Don’t use chemical pesticides or fertilizers.

Expand your composting
Your kitchen and garden waste can become a source of soil fertility, instead of being dumped in a landfill and taken out of our food chain forever. Keep the circle of life and nutrients going round! There are lots of different types of bin you can use or even make your own. The HOTBIN is an innovative (and relatively expensive) hot compost bin that super heats your food and garden waste to 60°c. Get rich mature compost in just 90 days, 32 times faster than a cold compost bin, it’s easy to use, fast and there’s no tumbling or rotating required.

Raise awareness with your children and grandchildren
Soil for kids is a US website but has plenty of games and activities for children.

Promote urban gardening
We live in a city and cities make up 50% to 70% of the earth’s population. Urban gardeners want to reconnect with their food sources, nature’s cycles and the environment. Here are a couple of useful websites to inspire you:

Keep your soil healthy as a defence against climate changeSoils still contain more carbon than the atmosphere and all the world’s forests combined. Soil is one of our key defences against climate change because of this. The healthier the soil, the more carbon it holds.

Living soil is key to biodiversity, responsible water management, carbon sequestration, the regulation of our climate, resilience, pest & disease resistance of crops and healthy food. Living soil may also be an inspiration for a new circular and transparent economy that includes People and Planet in its definition of Profit. Celebrating Soil = Celebrating Life!

The DRARA Environment Action Group aims to support practical ways of reducing energy use and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles.   For suggestions for further Green Flashes or further information about the Environment Action Group, please contact: Anna on

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