In many instances, soil degradation reflects a widespread lack of appreciation by society of the 'value' of soils in people’s lives or for the well-being of the planet.
This is compounded by the low prioritisation of soils in almost all educational curricula.
In turn, these deficiencies manifest themselves in a lack of investment (both in terms of education and physical measures to protect soil) and a general political reluctance to adopt measures to preserve and enhance soil condition.
EU soil thematic strategies
The importance of these issues are recognised by the EU soil thematic strategies, the recent proposal for a mission on Soil Health and Food and the Global Soil Partnership.
All three call for a greater level of citizen engagement to raise awareness of the importance of soil to all stakeholders in and users of soil.
This involves delivering tailored messages that help people understand how their actions can have an impact on soil health and, based on this knowledge, act in ways that benefit soils.
Showcasing best practices and communities
The EU Soil Observatory (EUSO) supports public engagement actions by showcasing best practices for a range of different communities (land managers, individuals, consumers, researchers, advisors, policymakers, industrialists).
The knowledge base of the Observatory help quantify how soils satisfy societal needs for food, fibre, nature, industries and the people's well-being, while highlighting the disruptive nature of human-induced pressures.
Close links will be developed with the living labs and lighthouse programmes of the Soil Health and Food Mission that aim to develop new and tangible solutions to soil degradation while sharing existing sustainable soil practices.
EUSO partners and resources include (please let us know if you want us to include your initiative):
- European Network Soil Awareness
- Mission on Soil Health and Food
- European Soil Partnership (Pillar 2 - Raising Soil Awareness)
- Global Soil Partnership (Pillar 2) - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
- European Land & Soil Alliance
- European Landowners Organization
- Che terra pesti - Regione Emilia Romagna
- Soil-Net Educational Resources - Cranfield University
- Tropical Soils MOOC - KU Leuven
- The Soil Care Network
- JRC Soil Atlases - ESDAC