Protecting soil worldwide
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Earth day is an event in April every year that is celebrated in more than 150 countries to encourage people to think about the consequences of consumption and to behave responsibly and sustainably. In a press release, BÖLW – the German Association of Organic Food Producers and Traders – underlines the importance of the People4Soil campaign and its objectives.
Earth Day 2017 saw citizens and organisations all over Europe getting involved in the People4Soil campaign. People4Soil is a free and open network of over 500 European NGOs, research institutes, farmers associations and environmental protection groups. It wants to see Europe declaring soil a common good and regards sustainable cultivation therefore as a primary obligation. The objective of People4Soil is to get laws introduced specifically to protect soil. It argues that soil protection does not stop at national borders and all EU member states should be covered by uniform legislation.
There are no mandatory and uniform regulations regarding a soil protection strategy in the EU and current regulations are insufficient to guarantee an appropriate level of soil protection across Europe. They are appealing to the President of the EU Commission Juncker to become a determined advocate of soil protection.
The BÖLW standpoint
BÖLW supports People4Soil and its demands. The chair of BÖLW, Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, appealed for wide support for the campaign and explained why the initiative is so important. He said the planet's soils are a wafer-thin skin that makes life on Earth possible. Healthy soil is a prerequisite for healthy food. The aim of organic farming is maintaining and enhancing the fertility of soil with natural inputs and farming practices. Organic farming rejects absolutely the use of all chemical inputs.
He pointed out that organic land management improves the structure of soils in such a way that they become a repository for carbon. This means that CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and organic farming can, therefore, mitigate climate change. Theoretically, raising the annual level of carbon sequestration in agricultural land across the world would compensate the annual emissions of gases that are changing the climate. For him, it is madness not to take advantage of this opportunity that creates only plus points: carbon sequestration and water-retaining, resilient and more fertile soil.