UNLESS… Earth-friendly Chroniclers: Challenge 8~ Soil

It’s April and time to think about soil… 2015 International Year of Soils

Did you know that the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Soils?

The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils (IYS) (A/RES/68/232).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has been nominated to implement the IYS 2015, within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership and in collaboration with Governments and the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

The IYS 2015 aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions.

The specific objectives of the IYS 2015 are to:

  • Raise full awareness among civil society and decision makers about the profound importance of soil for human life;
  • Educate the public about the crucial role soil plays in food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, essential ecosystem services, poverty alleviation and sustainable development;
  • Support effective policies and actions for the sustainable management and protection of soil resources;
  • Promote investment in sustainable soil management activities to develop and maintain healthy soils for different land users and population groups;
  • Strengthen initiatives in connection with the SDG process (Sustainable Development Goals) and Post-2015 agenda;
  • Advocate for rapid capacity enhancement for soil information collection and monitoring at all levels (global, regional and national).

(Cut from source, 04/19/15:http://www.fao.org/soils-2015/about/en/ ) 

This lead me to reflection… How much to I really know about soils? I realized that my connection with soil started as a child. Your’s probably did too… playing in the dirt, making mud pies, planting a first garden, watching insects crawl in and out of holes in the ground. But, I find that my true understanding about the composition and science of soil really only scratches the surface. My knowledge as a naturalist and gardener has more than ample room for expansion in learning more about one of Earth’s most precious non-renewable resources: SOIL. I’m looking forward to this series of UNLESS… posts to find out more. Please join in the process- let’s see what we can find out together…

UNLESS… Challenge 8: Let’s Talk Soil

“Let’s Talk Soil”

Please watch the following video; then share your reactions/ thoughts in the comments section. I think it will be interesting to start this series about Soil from the perspectives of an idea exchange.

No need to make a separate post on your blog site this week. I’d like to make this as simple as possible; especially since I am posting the challenge late. 😉

Food for thought: Looking at the UN objectives … where do you find your level of understanding, involvement, concern, etc. when it comes to soil importance?


13 thoughts on “UNLESS… Earth-friendly Chroniclers: Challenge 8~ Soil

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  1. Glad you are back, Jane. This is a great way to start this month’s topic. I think most of us do not give much thought to soil, and this introductory video is a wonderful way to frame this month’s challenge. The last one about water became overwhelming for me, so I do appreciate this format of an initial exchange of thoughts / ideas.

    Though you said we did not need to post anything yet, I came across a short documentary film called “Forest Man” through my Twitter feed that was so inspirational, I just had to post it on my website. It may be a good inspiration as well for others who think that it is not possible for 1 person to make a difference (one of the basis for you starting this WordPress challenge, right?).

    The film is about a man — starting 1 tree at a time — who created a forest in Northeast India that is now home to wildlife, including over 100 elephants. It is larger than New York City’s Central Park. He was discovered by a nature / wildlife photographer. Here is the link: http://lolako.com/forest-man-a-film-about-how-one-person-can-make-a-difference/

    This month’s challenge will be so interesting, especially that I live in a part of the U.S. (Monterey County) that grows more produce value than anywhere else in the country – over 1 billion dollars annually. I also have something I wanted to post about soil related to rice fields in the Philippines.

  2. This is a beautiful story, Lola Jane. I admire how Jadav Payeng noticed a problem and became the solution. His perseverance and vision shows a doable plan to re-forest much the same as Rajendra Singh found a way to use traditional methods for building earthen dams to bring water to a drought-stricken area of India.

    I strongly urge readers to take the time to sip a cup of tea or coffee and to view this video. It is very inspiring.

    I have one fear… As Jadav points out… the only danger to his forest is the human animal. I wonder if his forest is afforded any kind of added protection now that his project has been in the news.

  3. Jane, good point about the human element, and the darker side of having this huge forest home for endangered animals…

    I read in the Earth Island Journal article “Lone Green Warrior”:

    “…In another incident in 2012, gunshots were heard one night. When Payeng went to investigate along with several villagers and forest officials, he found a dead rhino with a missing horn. Following that event, forest officials have begun to regularly visit the forest, and the local villagers also keep a vigilant eye out for poachers and timber smugglers.”

    I suppose it was just a matter of time before poachers found the place…and always, illegal logging is a problem, as it is in my home country.

    The saddest part is that when we destroy the home of our wildlife, we are also destroying our own habitat, and endangering our very own future.

  4. In a perfect world, it would seem that Payeng should have received some guarantees and help with implementing policies and structures to protect his forest and animal preserve before the world-wide public airing of his story. Perhaps documentary producers need to take this into consideration, and include clauses in the production contracts that guarantee a percentage of the proceeds from the profits made by films go toward funding security measures.

  5. I think the documentary came out a year after the report of the rhino, but I do understand what you are saying. I believe the poachers would have eventually found his forest, and it is — as always — a more complex problem.

    What drives these poachers? Poverty, Greed? What about the people who buy the rhino horn and subsequent products? How do we get to them, to educate, to turn around a belief system that are making some species of our wildlife disappear, and also inflict cruelty to our wildlife.

    The shark fin bans in certain states in the U.S. (like here in California) is a good example of helping to stop an industry and thereby saving some shark species from extinction…but that is just 1 place, and consumers of shark fins (e.g., shark fin soups popular in banquets in Asia) have to be educated too about the consequence of their actions / appetites.

    The same with Philippine Eagles, we can educate / fine / etc., but if the bottom line is incredible poverty, then how can we stop someone from taking what they think is the correct action to feed their family (via poaching / allowing illegal logging that destroy wildlife home, etc.). I think it is the responsibility of all human beings to address poverty / overpopulation / to educate citizens etc., because I believe is the root cause of many of what drives these horrible actions.

  6. Agreed, the complexities are many. Poverty plays an enormous role in so many of the environmental and ecological problems we face now and more profoundly into the future.

    Education has a key role, and a very daunting one. But if education is viewed as a force with many faces i.e.family, community, school, church, Internet, friends, government… then there is most surly a way. So long as change is accepted as a vital and integral part of the process.

  7. Your photo-essay about iceberg lettuce, the fertile soils it grows, it’s history, and your experiences with lettuce captivated my attention. Gorgeous photography and splendid story, Lola Jane.
    Everyone who like salad should click to read this post! 🙂

  8. I hope folks will listen to the NPR news clip when visiting your post,Lola Jane. It’s astonishing how much fresh product never even it makes it to the market. Really? Trashed by the farm-manufacturer after 3 days… with still more than a week of freshness?
    What a shameful situation.

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