An invitation to celebrate soil 🌾 World Soil Day 2022
How often do you appreciate the ground beneath your feet, when we know our futures depend on helathy soil? Hopefully, every day!
Today is world soil day, the perfect day for an upgrade in your relationship with soils. In this blog post, you’re in for a collection of inspiring ideas why and how to celebrate soil:
From a short intro why soil matters to each and every one of us
getting personal with soil through a socio-cultural perspective, complementing the traditional soil science facts & figures
stories from the field about re:connecting humans with soil
a collection of events & resources from the soil community in Switzerland and internationally,
and a few inputs on how to get involved more with soil yourself.
If you're inspired by this topic, we'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Just drop us an e-mail to enter a dialogue. And now, it's time for soil. Enjoy!
Why soil matters
All life on land begins and ends from the soil. It’s the source of food, medicine and filters our water, and so much more: it provides 17 "ecosystem services" to our everyday well-being. Scientists define soil like the skin of the living world, vital but thin and fragile.
Soil is also alive: it is home to a quarter of all living species on earth. And yet we only know 1% of this invisible universe beneath our feet! Soil organisms nurture plants (and therefore our food), degrade contaminants, and store carbon to the point that soil is the most important nature-based carbon sink on land. So, it helps us mitigate climate change too.
Soils are threatened by human activities: Hungry for facts? Earlier this year, we've compiled an integrative review on Why the world needs soil regeneration, to get all the background on the (currently rather worrying) state of soils worldwide, and what we can do to turn the soil story into a regenerative one.
Isn’t it odd that we don’t appreciate this precious living skin of our home planet every single day? At Terrabiom, we have conversations about soil with people from different walks of life all the time. After >500 conversations we can confidently state one thing: every single human has a personal relationship with the soil. And yet, the fact-based narratives fail to call individuals to action. So for today, we’re getting personal with soil by bringing in its' cultural importance for us.
Soil is culture
What if we re:connected with soil from a personal perspective? Soil the base of life on land. For world soil day 2022, we've decided to shift the facts & figures into the background and take a look at its' socio-cultural functions:
Sustenance. Soil provides us with food, biomass and all forms of nourishment.
Repository. Soil is a source of energy, raw materials, pigments but also poetry.
Interface. Soil is a site of environmental interaction, filtration and transformation.
Home. Soil is a biological hotspot, a gene pool, a habitat for bacteria, fungi and all sorts of organisms.
Heritage. Soil is an embodiment of cultural memory, identity and spirit.
Stabilizer. Soil is a platform that enables the construction of structures, infrastructures and socioeconomic systems.
Curious to dive deeper? Full credits to Alexandra Toland and her co-authors of Field to Palette: Dialogues on Soil and Art in the Anthropocene which inspired this list.
Stories from the field
At Terrabiom, we regenerate lands, communities and ecosystems. Besides getting hands-on out in the fields, an important part of our work focuses on exploring the relationships of humans with soils, which is our most successful way to find leverage points to learn to care for and re:connect with soils again. Here are our three favourite activities focusing on the human factor in 2022:
Consumption, Production, and soil health: A multi-stakeholder dialogue looking for solutions on how we might steward soil health with our everyday actions.
Voices on soil by people from Zürich: an action research project, collecting voices on soil by the people from Zürich, Switzerland over two days.
How can the arts touch people, and be an inspiration for the sciences? An interactive workshop getting scientists out of their minds and into their somatic, emotional and intuitive intelligence
Inspired to get down & dirty with all the soil action today? Here are some great initiatives taking place, in Switzerland and beyond.
SCHWEIZ / Kampagne "Böden bringen Leben in Siedlungen". Für den Tag des Bodens 2022 haben sich Behörden von Bund und Kantonen sowie Organisationen aus Wissenschaft, Naturschutz, Landwirtschaft und Raumplanung erstmals zu einer gemeinsamen Aktion zusammengefunden.
GLOBAL / The official celebration for World Soil Day is held online on 5 December at 12:20 CET from the FAO headquarters in Rome. Join in live: register here
GLOBAL / Find an event close to you on this interactive map by FAO
There is a growing amount of amazing resources around soil published and available for free in the virtual world. Here are some of our favourites:
REVIEW: Why the world needs soil regeneration (Terrabiom, 2022) - 18 pages packed with soil wisdom and further resources
VIDEO: Edward Norton is the soil (1'26'') - our favourite of the amazing Nature is Speaking-playlist (12 videos)
VIDEO: The soil story (3'26'') by Kiss the ground
VIDEO: Soil Solutions to climate problems (4'09'') narrated by Michael Pollan
WEBSITE: The official home of world soil day (FAO)
DOSSIER (Schweiz): Boden im Siedlungsgebiet (Bundesamt für Umwelt BAFU, 2022)
ATLAS (global): The Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas (Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative & European Commission Joint Research Center, 2021)
REPORT (global): Summary of the co-sponsored workshop on biodiversity & climate change (IPBES-IPCC, 2021)
MOVEMENT (global): Regeneration. A determined what-to-do manual for all levels of society, in response to the urgency of the climate crisis
Ready to take on your role as a soil steward? Yes, everyone has a role to play! We are stronger together, and the time to act is now. Here are some ideas, from very simple to more committed:
Become an Earth Buddy: Dedicate your mind, heart and action to soil for 10 minutes today. Check in with yourself: What does soil mean to you? When do you ever express your gratefulness for it sustaining your life in so many ways?
Dig into your soil expertise. To get started, check out our suggested resources above.
Share the soil love. Did the international soil day touch you? Share this e-mail with friends, family and colleagues who may enjoy it too.
Have a conversation about soil with others. It’s a great conversation starter and guaranteed entry point to find common ground quickly – remember: everyone has a personal relationship with soil.
Get creative. Soil is a great inspiration to write, sing, paint, dance, celebrate, and more. If you're courageous, please share your creations with us :)
Get out and get your hands in the soil. Experience a wide range of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits through re:connecting with the precious living skin of our planet.
The easiest way to become a regenerative soil steward is to join a driven group of regenerative soil stewards. You are cordially invited to join us and get involved with Terrabiom, as a supporter, volunteer, partner, and more.
Are you inspired by our work?
Thank you for considering supporting us!
Terrabiom is an impact-driven association based on regenerative principles. Our mission is to regenerate soils, communities and ecosystems. We do this by regenerating places, building leadership & capacities, and co-creating regenerative living labs. Our natural habitat is out in the field, impact work is always applied and rooted in real, tangible projects.
Our activities are mainly being funded through donations, memberships and generous private funders. A large part of our work is carried out by our volunteer TerraTribe.
You, too, can get involved as a supporter, volunteer, partner, and more. We're better together.
In nature's economy, the currency is not money. It is life. Vandana Shiva
Publications like this one are an important part of our mission to re:connect humans with the value of nature, starting from the soil up. By sharing this work with the world, we invite you to take on your role as a regenerative soil steward. Everyone has a contribution to bring, and we'd love to empower you in unlocking yours.
Do you like our work? We offer analytics, market research and consulting around soil health, biodiversity and regeneration tailored to your organisations' needs. Check out your options to join us, work with us, or support us in any way you wish and please reach out to explore how we could set up a win-win collaboration with you or your organization.
Still unsure? Reach out anyways. We love to get creative.