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Save Soil

The people-powered movement encouraging governments to achieve soil health
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Save Soil

This article first appeared in our COP28 issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published 30 November 2023. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Over the course of two weeks at COP28, the Save Soil movement will be hosting a series of panel discussions and fireside chats at its pavilion in the Blue Zone.

Featuring global experts on soil conservation, these discussions will focus on the vital importance of healthy and living soils when it comes to climate mitigation, and explore soil’s ability to ensure food security, improve biodiversity and abate pollution of various types.

Soil is the solution

Soil is dying; around the world, 52% of agricultural soil is already degraded. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation says we may have only 60 years of agricultural soil left if current rates of degradation continue.

As soil degrades a global food crisis would become inevitable, and soil’s potential to sequester carbon dioxide would be lost. At the same time a colossal amount of stored carbon would be released into the atmosphere.

Save Soil is a global response to this crisis, and carries the message that healthy and living soils are not merely a victim of climate change, but can be a profound solution. The goal is to help governments to establish long-term policies for soil health.

With inputs from eminent soil scientists, Save Soil has created seven soil policy handbooks and catalogued sustainable soil management solutions for all 193 nations, which serve as the basis for policy options for their respective regions (based on their soil type, latitude, climatic zones and other factors).

Demand for strong soil policy

This is, first and foremost, a people’s movement, founded by Sadhguru and supported by the UNFAO, UNCCD, UNEP, IUCN and World Food Programme, among others.

In March 2022, at the age of 65, Sadhguru launched the movement with a 100-day motorcycle journey across 27 countries from London to southern India. The journey became a global media story, and Save Soil has reached over 4 billion people to date.

‘You cannot address climate change and sustainability without addressing the soil – soil is the core of all that is manifest’

SADHGURU

On his journey, Sadhguru met with leaders and citizens in each country to appeal for national policies and action to increase the organic matter in soil to a minimum of 3–6% (based on regional conditions), which is the minimum level for soil to be healthy and thriving.

Sadhguru’s aim was to create public awareness, as he believes it is only with people’s vocal support that nations can effectively implement soil-friendly policies.

In conversation with Sadhguru

Members of the public will also get a chance to see Sadhguru at a number of engagements over the course of COP28, including ‘The Wake Up Experience’ – an event hosted by Impact Nest on World Soil Day (05 December 2023).

World Soil Day is an international observance dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural environment.

‘The Wake Up Experience’, created in partnership with UNHCR, will shed light on solutions to the issue of climate-induced migration.

HOW TO SAVE SOIL

At COP15, Sadhguru outlined a three-pronged strategy to achieve Save Soil’s overarching objective to ensure a minimum 3-6% of organic matter in soil:

1. Make it aspirational for farmers to achieve the minimum threshold of 3-6% organic matter by providing incentives for getting to this threshold.

2. Facilitate carbon credit incentives for farmers. The current processes for farmers to receive carbon credit benefits are far too complex and need significant simplification.

3. Develop a labelling system for food detailing the level of organic matter in the soil it comes from, which directly relates to its nutritional density, and articulate the benefits of such foods.

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