Ireland’s Soils Need Your Help
Soil is one of the most valuable and precious natural resources on the planet. We depend on soil for healthy food, clean water, storing carbon, preventing floods, and ultimately supporting all life. Without healthy soils, there is no future. Life on earth as we know it would cease to exist.
Yet, despite its incredible importance, our soils are not protected. Over the last half century, Ireland’s soils have come under increasing threat from pesticides, afforestation, land use changes, over-farming, erosion and overgrazing, industry and urbanisation.
While there are EU laws in place to protect our air, our water and our natural habitats, unbelievably, there are no such laws to protect our soil. People4Soil wants to change this.
What We are Calling For
We are calling on the European Commission to pass a Soil Directive which would safeguard Irish and European soils. We are doing this using a European Citizen’s Initiative petition – the official way for ordinary Europeans to call on the European Commission to act on the things citizens care about.
Crucially, Ireland needs 8,000 signatures (1 million in total from 7 different EU States) in order for the petition to be passed. If we are care about safeguarding our future and that of our childrens’, we need every single one of us to sign.
Sign the petition
Soil is an extraordinary substance made up of minerals, rock particles, organic matter, air, water and living organisms. It is this combination of matter which supports life.
Soil is a non-renewable resource. It takes 1,000 years for just 1cm of topsoil to form, yet we are losing the equivalent of 30 football pitches of fertile soil every single minute.
One third of the world’s arable land has been destroyed since 1960. In Europe, an area the size of Berlin is lost in soil every year.
Soil is alive! One hectare of healthy soil contains contains 15 tonnes of living organisms – that is the equivalent to 20 cows! A single tablespoon of soil contains more living organisms than the entire human population on earth.
Soil & Food
Over 95% of our food comes either directly or indirectly from our soil. Unless we prevent the continued degradation of Ireland’s soils, our ability to produce healthy, good quality food now and in the future will be seriously jeapardised.
Sustainable soil management, it has been found, could increase food production by 58%.
Soil & Flooding
Well managed soils reduce the impact of drought and flooding. Healthy soil can store as much as 3,750 tonnes of water per hectare—that’s the equivalent of one and a half Olympic swimming pools.
Unhealthy, compacted soil cannot absorb water. This leads to both drought and flooding.
With compacted soils, instant run-off from rain increases from 2% to 60%, with devastating consequences for homes, farmland and livelihoods.
“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.”
– Franklin D Roosevelt
Who we are
“People 4 Soil” is a free and open network of European NGOs, research institutes, farmers associations and environmental groups. We are very worried about the increasing degradation of soils both in the EU and at global level. Here are some of the organisations who make up the coalition in Ireland.