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How often do you think about our soils?


December 5 marks international soil day, and sets out to pay tribute to the precious soil of our planet. It might not make headlines, nor cross our minds on a day to day basis, but soil is a key element in our global wellbeing, it nourishes the food we grow and is a symbol of healthy ecosystems.

Yet today, every 5 seconds, the equivalent of one football field of soil is eroded, according to the United Nations. In response to this alarming fact, this year’s World Soil Day theme and prime focus is ‘Stop soil erosion, save our future’. The health and sustainability of our soil will directly impact the health and sustainability of global populations, and its importance is even more relevant and crucial today, as our society’s numbers rise and rise.

Welcome back to FairPlanet’s weekly roundup. It is here that we bring out content together through the lands of current affairs, international days and unique events. We want to show that everything is interlinked, and our content is no exception.

So Read. Debate: Engage.

The good

Approximately 10 per cent of the world's carbon emissions are stored in soil

Not only is soil the absolute essence of our produce, it’s very existence is a crucial aspect of our ecosystem, and as climate change is becoming a major concern and reality, soil’s natural qualities also help us in tackling some of the effects of our changing climate.

For starters, soil absorbs carbon emissions. So naturally it’s destruction also means less and less carbon is being absorbed from the atmosphere. Another inherent element of soil is that it absorbs water. In a single acre, soil stores an average of over 9,000 tonnes of water. That means that abundance of soil also help reduce floods, something we are no experiencing more frequently the world over.

As the awareness of soil sustainability increases, so have the measures taken by farms around the world. In fact, a third of the world’s farms have to date adopted more environmentally friendly practices that centre around the protection and preservation of soil.

Yet despite these efforts, saving our soil needs to be a priority, especially when we talk about climate change and sustainability. One third is a good start, but we cannot stop until it’s three thirds.

The bad

Over 200 million people’s health is affected by pollution

The incessant pollution of our planet has many, many effects. Some hit our headlines on a regular basis, such as the destruction of infrastructure and the communities that inhabit it. Others make our news media as unimaginable damage to natural life, such as the Amazon fires and growing deserts. However, what seems to be making less noise is the health impact pollution has on millions of people across the world.

Operating since its founding in 1999, the not-for-profit organisation Pure Earth works to both solve and aid the health-related issues caused to middle-income communities around the world, collaborating with local figures and community leaders as well as governments and international organisations.

Operating internationally, without leaving any area of the globe unheard, Pure Earth maps and identifies toxic hot-spots, and produces reports about the types of pollutants present at the site, the scope of the problem, whether the pollution is ‘active’ or remaining from previous activity, the local geographical and political factors involved, and the type of effect it has on the local community.

Find out more about Pure Earth and what you can do to support the organisation.


Pure Earth tackles pollution worldwide, one community at a time

by Yair Oded

Pure Earth work with low and middle-income communities around the world to clean up polluting toxins from their environment. Join them today!
More on the topic from FairPlanet

The pioneering Push-Pull method and its appeal over agrochemicals

by Stefan Diener

While debates about pesticides and their effects persist, the Push-Pull method is making the case for agroecological, sustainable farming in Eastern Africa.

One Acre Fund ends hunger by uplifting rural farmers

by Yair Oded

One Acre Fund provides small scale farmers in Africa with techniques and trainings in order to develop self-sustaining agricultural businesses.
Man hands holding a green young plant

Caring for the planet starts from the ground

by Shira Jeczmien

Inside a tablespoon of healthy soil there are more organisms than there are people on earth. Caring for the planet really does start from the ground.
Country focus

Eight's most densely populated country on Earth, with over 180 million people living in an area of only 147,570 square kilometres, Bangladesh is situated in South Asia. Sharing its borders with India and Myanmar, Bangladesh has been a democratic country since 1990, following 15 years of military rule.

The history of Bangladesh as a country is not long. Formerly known as East Pakistan, Bangladesh came into formation in 1971 when those two parts of Pakistan split and sparked a bloody with India as well.

With over 200 newspapers published in the country, the media in Bangladesh is diverse and publically owned.

Bangladesh has been coming to further tragical attention after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka in 2013 killing at least 1,132 garment factory workers and injured more than 2,500. Unions called it a “mass industrial homicide”.

These disasters, among the worst industrial accidents on record, awoke the world to the poor labour conditions faced by workers in the ready-made garment sector in Bangladesh.

Due to its low lying geography, Bangladesh is prone to flooding and cyclones and is set to be affected severely during climate shifting weather and storms.