Every five seconds, roughly one soccer field of soil is eroded. This alarming fact reaffirms the need to raise awareness of this growing problem on World Soil Day, December 5, as the Earth’s population expands. Going organic can help end soil erosion and jumpstart much-needed soil restoration around the world.
What’s Happening To Our Soils?
Wind, rain, and industrial farming techniques are accelerating soil erosion. According to FAO Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo
“Erosion, triggered by intensive agriculture, tillage, mono-cropping, overgrazing, urban sprawl, deforestation, and mining all contribute to accelerating soil erosion, which can result in crop yield losses of up to 50 percent.”
Why Does This Matter?
Soils are a non-renewable resource on which 95% of our food supply depends. Healthy soils are vital for biodiversity and food security. They also play a fundamental role in mitigate climate change.
Taking a glance at Europe, we see that we are losing an area the size of Berlin – a large metropolis – at 1 meter (3.28 feet) depth, of soil every year. This is costing farmers €1.2 billion. Significant areas of EU farmland are also facing salinization and desertification, with 32-36% of European subsoils highly susceptible to compaction.
Land and soil degradation have major implications for climate change, and undermine efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
How Can Organic Agriculture Help?
We can help restore our soils by transitioning to organic agriculture, ending their chemical-induced depletion, and strengthening their potential as carbon-consuming sinks.
Organic farming puts carbon back into soils by keeping them covered with plants, increasing crop diversity, carefully planned grazing, and composting.
What’s more, if we increase the quantity of carbon stored in soil by just 0.4% a year, we can halt the annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, which is a major contributor to climate change!