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Soil is not recognized as a common good
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Around 430 organisations joined together to ask Europe to give a right to soil with #People4Soil petition, the first 25.000 signatures have been done - 1 million are needed.
These are the facts why soil needs more attention: soil is being consumed at an alarming rate, not withstanding the crisis affecting the building sector in many countries: each year, some 1000 km2 of formerly cultivated areas are erased by new constructions. At the same time, the European commodities market is covering its growing needs for crops and animal food by importing them from third countries, where intensive agriculture extends its pressure over millions of small farmers, pushing them to abandone their fields to migrate towards the suburban areas. "It is a striking contradiction for a continental Union, which arose with the objective of insuring food security for all the citizens and, now, is trying to manage relevant flows of migrants coming from subsaharian Africa, where many fields are cultivated for European companies", explains People4Soil initiative.
Soil in Europe faces many threats and damages - how to help?
Land used for urbanisation is only the tip of the iceberg: over 250.000 sites have chemically contaminated soil, almost half of the agricultural soils are threatened by the depletion of organic matter, tenths of millions hectares are damaged by wind and rain erosion and desertification is advancing in many Mediterranean countries, making their cultivations more and more sensitive to droughts and climate changes.
"Europe has the duty to preserve its most important natural resource soil" -tThis is the call by the promoters of the ECI (European Citizens Initiative) People4soil. The ECI is an official petition to the European Commission, asking this institution to develop a specific legal framework, fixing principles and rules to be complied by each Member State.
Nowadays, there is no legal acknowledgement for the ecological, social and economical services that healthy soils are able to provide to European people, nor legal duties for parties to achieve a common target, e.g. with regard to the remediation of polluted soil, or the safeguard of the soil carbon sinks, or the prevention of soil sealing by settlements and infrastructures. This is precisely what the People4Soil network wants to change.
The first 25.000 signatures have already been gathered on the official website of the petition
"All adult European citizens can sign". The organizers stress: "We have two very challenging targets: gather one million signatures within september 2017 and gain the full acknowledgement of soil as a common heritage to be protected, for the wellbeing of European people!".