In March 2022, Sadhguru, founder of Isha Foundation, launched a global movement to save the world’s soils from infertility. The over-farming of agricultural lands has turned many fertile areas around the globe into infertile sands. He said that the time for talking, preaching, and campaigning is over. We need to take real action. Soil infertility is a threat looming large on the planet since infertile soils cannot absorb CO2. Soils are one of the world’s biggest carbon sinks. Soil infertility is accelerating climate change with its inability to draw down carbon dioxide.
Sadhguru’s Save Soil Movement seeks to actively raise awareness and garner support among citizens globally. It aims to push governments across the world to develop policies to recover soil fertility and stop further land degradation. The movement includes reports on soil-friendly guidelines for 192 countries. The program has prepared documents for each country, considering their soil type, traditional agricultural practices, climatic conditions, geographic location, and economic parameters.
Sadhguru’s Save Soil Movement started on 21st March in London. It consists of a 30,000 km lone motorcycle journey over 100 days. He has already travelled through the countries of Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Romania, France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic.
Sadhguru is urging governments to ensure that agricultural soils contain a minimum of 3 to 6% organic content. Without this organic matter, soils will degrade. Farmers cannot grow crops on infertile soils. Soil infertility and land degradation will threaten our global food security. Sadhguru reported that his movement has received a spectacular response on the ground.
You can contribute to saving soil in your own little way at home. Not everyone needs to travel 30,000 km to raise awareness about protecting our Earth. Here are some ways you can contribute to Sadhguru’s soil movement and make the world’s soils a little more fertile:
1. Grow Your Own
If you have your own backyard, grow your own vegetables. Growing your own food is the most environmentally-friendly practice. When you grow your own food, you reduce the pressure on agricultural lands to produce more crops. Also, you reduce your carbon footprint because you avoid emissions that vehicles release when they transport food from farms to your local supermarket. You don’t have to have your own backyard to grow vegetables. You can even grow them on your windowsill.
Grow a variety of plants and vegetables. Growing different plants recycles nutrients back into the soil. Never leave your soil bare. Bare soil loses fertility faster. Leaving your soil barren means rain can wash away nutrients. Make sure you keep the mud-covered all year round.
Organic matter in soils keeps nutrients and water in the ground and does not let it wash off. Organic matter originates from animals and plants. It makes the soil healthy. An easy way to boost the organic content of soils is to compost your food waste. Adding compost to soils introduces a ton of new nutrients and microorganisms into it. Composting is an excellent way of giving back to Earth, providing it with what you took from it.
You might think that dead leaves and twigs on your garden floor are a sight for sore eyes. But these substances add to the organic content of the soil. Additionally, they provide a home to countless insects and garden-dwelling creatures. They also do not let water in the soil evaporate.
3. Support Soil-friendly Farming
The food we choose to eat makes a big difference to the Earth’s soils. Opting to eat organic foods means you support organic farming and the farmers that earn a livelihood from it. You vote for a healthier planet just by demanding healthy food.
4. Raise Public Awareness
When citizens participate in movements, such as Sadhuguru’s Save Soil Movement, in large numbers, political parties notice it. Ecological issues will then become election issues. This will ensure that governments adopt soil-friendly policies. It will also ensure that they set aside budgets to tackle environmental problems like land degradation.
What Can Governments Do To Support the Save Soil Movement?
Governments must pay farmers to build better soils. They must propose discounts on premiums of crop insurance for farmers who increase the carbon in their soils. This will incentivize farmers to adopt soil-friendly practices.
Increasing and encouraging research into agricultural research is another way for governments to support the Save Soil Movement.
Sadhguru is the founder of the Isha Foundation. The Isha Foundation is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In recent years, IUCN developed a new engagement in agriculture and land health. It provided goals for governments worldwide to implement and adopt a shared vision for protecting and restoring biodiversity on farms and agricultural areas. These areas also include the ecosystems on which agriculture depends. The report demonstrated how protecting soil and biodiversity would result in a healthy society. It also showed how conserving soils could help the world overcome major challenges. All of our world’s current problems like food scarcity, climate change, air pollution, soil degradation, etc., are interlinked. Saving one aspect of the chain will automatically save the next.
Governments can use these international reports to support movements like Save Soil and ensure that their country’s farmers adopt sustainable and soil-friendly farming methods.
Examples Where Soil Depletion Made a Country Poor
Let’s look at Burundi as an example here. Burundi is a country in East Africa. Burundi has a magnificent landscape. But this impressive and majestic landscape is today threatened by one of its greatest challenges – food insecurity. Around 85% of households in Burundi suffer from food insecurity daily.
Small-scale, rain-fed subsistence agriculture is the primary source of food and income for most of Burundi’s population. Agriculture also drives the country’s economy. However, Burundi has lost most of its fertile land. Due to land degradation, the country now faces issues like a decline in agricultural production, food shortage, loss of agriculture-dependent biodiversity, and chronic malnutrition.
Every year, Burundi loses 38 million tons of soil. The overgrazing of livestock and heavily cultivating the land for agriculture have caused the country to lose most of its soil. Half of the country’s households live off the agricultural sector, which accounts for 90% of Burundi’s foreign revenue. With climate change looming over the planet, the citizens of Burundi have become most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming.
Burundi is just one example. More countries like Burundi across the world suffer from a declined economy and food shortages because of land and soil degradation. These countries are reasons why movements like Sadhguru’s Save Soil Movement are crucial for human health and our planet’s health.
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