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Soil: the Superhero in Need of Saving

(Image Source: Long Island Compost) What Is Organic Soil?

“Save the Pandas!”, “Save the Turtles”, or “Save the Trees!”. You’ve probably heard advocacy for countless different organisms or habitats throughout the world. But a quiet but pertinent voice is begging to be heard—it’s the soil beneath our very feet. Due to countless factors such as compaction, pollution, or loss of biomass, the availability of quality soil is rapidly (“Soil Threats”). Why should we care, you ask? It’s because soil is indispensable for agricultural production, water cycle sustenance, and biodiversity.  

The Story of Soil

Without soil, most of the animals or plants in the world would never have sprung into existence. Soil is what kickstarted life on earth. 4.54 billion years ago, the earth was an endless combination of rocks, moss, and lichen. After the moss and lichen weathered the rocks, smaller rocks accumulated. These sediments accumulated over millions of years as the moss and lichen consistently weathered the rocks. Through this excruciatingly slow process, soil was born. Here’s a shocking fact: it takes 500 to 1000 years for a single inch of topsoil to form! This means that the renewal of polluted soil won’t be able to occur quickly enough to deter its rapid destruction (Cho).

First, what is soil made out of? Soil is more than just a brown mushy substance beneath your feet. It’s a rich mixture composed of 45% minerals, and 5% organic matter, also referred to as humus, 25% water, and 25% (“Soil Management”). Because of its high water content, dry climates often destroy soil health. This results in soil being blown away, also known as erosion. Another threat is compaction, which is the complete opposite of erosion. Compaction is when vehicles drive over the soil at high pressure moving away the air from the soil.

Ways that You Can Help Save Soil

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of the soil struggles, it’s time to take action to protect this wonder. Here are two simple ways you can contribute:

1. Buy products from sustainable farms 

Polycultural farms cycle their fields according to the season, which allows the soil in the farms to naturally replenish and repair itself. By looking for vegetables, grains, rice, or fruits grown in polyculture farms, you can help reverse the rise of monocultural farming, which focuses on growing only one type of plant (Bailleau). Buying from farms with no pesticide or toxic chemical usage can also be a step to minimize soil pollution from farming practices. Moreover, only buying the amount of food that you need is an important step in preventing needless food waste.

(“Yale Experts Explain Compost”)   Yale Experts Explain Compost

2. Compost your food waste

If you ever have leftovers, pause before you throw them in the trash bin! Instead, look for composting bins or facilities near you. Your compost is full of nutrients that are like treasures to the soil health, allowing the soil system to flourish. Especially if you have a garden, collect your compostable food waste to enhance its productivity. 

By implementing these small changes in your lifestyle or advocating for such change in your local community, we can work towards a brighter future for soil. After all, life wouldn’t be possible without this hidden hero. 


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