The nitty gritty of good soil

By JAN WIESE-FALES

Dirt is what is what accumulates under your fingernails when you’re not looking. Soil is the intricate mixture of inorganic matter, water, air and organic materials consisting of the decomposed remains of animals and plants beneath our feet. There are more living creatures in a shovelful of rich soil than there are people with fingernails on the planet.

Just as we can’t live without water, air and the sun, we can’t live without soil. But worldwide, expanding cities, deforestation, unsustainable land use and management practices, pollution and climate change have resulted in degradation of one-third of the earth’s soil resources.

In 2002, the International Union of Soil Sciences made a resolution proposing the celebration of the “importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to human well-being.” This event, to be called World Soil Day would be held on Dec. 5.

Fully 11 years later at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Conference in June 2013, the gathering unanimously endorsed the proposal, and in December the 68th U.N. General Assembly made a declaration in support of the proposal as well as one to make 2015 the International Year of Soils.

The first World Soil Day was held last month with the main event occurring in Rome, Italy, with multiple satellite events occurring in countries around the globe, though it must be noted that none took place in this country.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva launched the 2015 Year of Soils initiative at the inaugural World Soil Day event.

Read more here: http://www.columbiatribune.com/arts_life/pulse/the-nitty-gritty-of-good-soil/article_a7427186-7527-5bbd-a46a-a0f126e77003.html

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