World soil day

Since 2012, the 5th of December is dedicated to one of the most important, yet sometimes overlooked, natural resources on Earth - soil. World Soil Day is a United Nations campaign which aims to bring soils closer to people by raising awareness on their importance.

Although most of it is covered by water, we still call our planet Earth - a word which is also a synonym for soil. This game of words merely shows how important soils are to us, even if we are not aware of it. Soils are the second largest carbon reservoir on Earth. They host a quarter of Earth's biodiversity. They reduce flood risk and help clean the water we drink. They provide the foundation for our infrastructure. Last but not least, over 95 percent of food comes from soil. Yet, we have already managed to degrade 33 percent of world soils.

Each year, campaign organisers address a different topic related to soil. The theme of this year's world soil day is Soil and pulses, a symbiosis for life. Pulses are legume plants, such as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and split peas, harvested for dry seeds. Apart from having high nutritional values, they also make agriculture more sustainable. With the help of bacteria, pulses can transform nitrogen from the air into a form useful to plants and thus decreasing dependency on chemical fertilisers.

You can celebrate world soil day by joining or organising an event or by spreading the cause with promotional materials. If you are an EU citizen, you can also sign a petition that strives for a EU soil legislation. The latter was initiated by People 4 Soil, a coalition of more than 400 European organisations, which YEE is also a part of. YEE has joined People 4 Soil because we recognise the importance of soils and the need for such a legislation. Members of YEE Secretariat and Executive Board have already signed the petition - so why not follow our steps?