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24. 04. 2017
This 22nd April is an International Day of Action to collect signatures for the European Citizens' Initiative ‘People4Soil’
The letter, submitted on the occasion of Earth Day, refers to the United Nations objective to “halt land degradation globally by 2030” and is addressed to the European Commission (EC). The European Commission is asked to do its part, as European policies markedly influence the soils of the rest of the world. The call was launched by the organisers of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘People4Soil,’ on behalf of the 500 organisations that are promoting the ECI petition in Europe (www.people4soil.eu). They ask EC President Claude Juncker to halt land degradation and develop a dedicated legally-binding framework covering the main soil threats.
In Europe, there are 170 million hectares of agricultural soils, equivalent to approximately 39% of EU territory. Although considerable, this area is insufficient to supply food and raw materials to the European market, which claims twice the actual cultivated area. Although Europe accounts for 7% of world population, it exploits 20% of the 1.6 billion hectares of global agricultural land. High-protein food, food waste and non-food products are among the reasons for the high footprint on the lands of non-EU countries, where food security relies on smaller cultivated surfaces per capita, thus contributing to malnutrition, poverty and migration. This is the case in South America, where millions of hectares of intensive farming replaced forests and local agriculture in order to produce feed for our cattle. The same applies in sub-Saharan Africa, where European and Asian companies are grabbing land to the detriment of rural communities, generating great migratory flows.
If Europe has such a strong need for cultivated land, why should we not protect our own soils? Every day 500 hectares of soil are sealed or degraded, and in many cases the degradation corresponds to a definitive loss of this precious resource. Soil is the most precious and scarce natural resource of Europe, yet we do not protect it! Over the past 50 years, the surface covered by settlements and infrastructures in Europe has doubled to 20 million hectares; equivalent to twice the area of Hungary. There are other soil threats: 3 million contaminated sites, 10 million hectares seriously damaged by erosion and 14 million hectares at risk of desertification. If we really want the European Community to stop soil degradation, we have to start from a common framework: European legislation to protect soils is urgently needed!
An active policy to protect the soil is also a policy for security and economic development: healthy soils that are rich in organic materials improve agricultural production and increase its resilience to climate change. At the same time, ceasing to build on greenfield land is the only way to direct the real estate investments where they are needed: the regeneration of cities. It is a long-term development policy that protects European resources and heritage and is the cornerstone of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. For this reason, on World Earth Day, the 500 organisations endorsing the open letter to Mr. Juncker call upon EU citizens to sign the European Citizens' Initiative at: www.people4soil.eu
02. 04. 2017
07. 11. 2016
For more details on the competition, please see the attached flyer and visit our website: http://commbebiz.eu/cbb-2017-photo-competition. The closing date is December 5th, 2016.
15. 8. 2016
20. 7. 2016
27. 5. 2016
The ESSC is a member of this network
3. 5. 2016
We hereby invite you to participate and determine soil decomposition using the TBI method (Keuskamp et al 2013).
22. 3. 2016
I would appreciate your comments on my website 'Economic costs of soil erosion':
former lecturer in Geomorphology,
University of Amsterdam,
9. 12. 2015
A snail, a worm and a group of young people are some of the characters who star in ‘Living in the Soil,’ a comic produced in the context of ‘The International Year of Soils’ that aims to raise awareness about the most significant environmental and social issues related to soil and its need for protection. Through some 60 sketches, the authors report various aspects of the characteristics, functions and implications related to the use of this non-renewable resource. It reflects both the view of humans and the living organisms that inhabit soil. The comic, which is conceived as an educational resource, is aimed at children, the general public and students at all educational levels.
The web-links are:
Introduction (in Spanish): http://www.suelos2015.es/materiales/comic/vivir-en-suelo
Comic in Spanish:
Comic in English:
Authors: Mª Pilar Jiménez Aleixandre, Estudio Tangaraño, María Teresa Barral Silva and Francisco Díaz-Fierros V. (2015). Co-ordination: Montserrat Díaz-Raviña
Montserrat Díaz Raviña
Instituto de Investigaciones Agrobiológicas de Galicia del CSIC (IIAG-CSIC)
Departamento de Bioquímica del Suelo
15780 Santiago de Compostela
José Luis Rubio
Centro de Investigaciones sobre Desertificación- CIDE
(CSIC, Universitat de Valencia, Generalitat Valenciana)
Carretera Moncada-Naquera Km 4,5
24. 11. 2015
Over six-months (1 May-31 October 2015), Milan became a global showcase, where over 140 countries exhibited the best of their technology in assuring healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its environmental equilibrium.
‘Expo Milano 2015’ provided a platform for the exchange of ideas and shared solutions on the theme of sustainable development. The cultural legacy of ‘Expo Milano 2015’ was the 'Charter of Milan.’ This is a participatory and shared document that calls on every citizen, association, company and institution to assume their responsibility in ensuring that the current and future generations can enjoy the right to food and to live in a sustainable environment.
The European Society for Soil Conservation (ESSC) fully supports the Charter of Milan. The Charter was signed by ESSC President Professor Carmelo Dazzi (University of Palermo, Italy) on behalf of the ESSC.
The ‘Charter of Milan’ is available at:
Thought for the month
“I am happy in my mud” (response of Chuang Tzu (Taoist philosopher of the 4th Century BC), as he declined the invitation by the Emperor of China to become the Prime Minister
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