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World Soil Day 2017

1 Dec 2017

World Soil Day 2017

Tuesday 5 December is World Soil day with this year’s theme “Caring for the planet starts from the ground”.

Along with the water we drink and the air we breathe, soil is one of our most important natural resources.

We need to protect soil by keeping it healthy and using it wisely. 

Facts about soil 

95% of our food comes from soil.
Soil is teeming with life – soils host a quarter of our planets biodiversity. 
There are more organisms in one teaspoon of healthy soil than there are people on earth. 
Soil is made up of 45% minerals, 25 % water, 25% air and 5% organic matter. 
It can take up to 1000 years to produce just 2 – 3cm of soil. 
Kids under 1 eat about 60 milligrams of soil a day.

Our soils are important as they deliver key ecosystem services and functions that enable life on earth: 

Soils serve as media for growth of all kinds of plants. 
Soils modify the atmosphere by emitting and absorbing gases (carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor) and dust. 
Soils provide habitat for animals that live in the soil (such as wetas) to organisms (such as bacteria and fungi), that account for most of the living things on Earth. 
Soils absorb, hold, release, alter, and purify most of the water in terrestrial systems. 
Soils process recycled nutrients, including carbon, so that living things can use them over and over again.
Soils serve as engineering media for construction of foundations, roads and buildings. 
Soils act as a living filter to clean water before it moves into an aquifer.  

Threats to our soils

There is a worldwide increase in degradation of soil resource.  This is due to:

  • Deforestation and soil erosion
  • Population growth and urban expansion
  • Pollution and waste disposal
  • Climate change
  • Unsustainable soil management practices

What can I do to look after my soil?

Compost – about 37% of Gisborne's waste going to landfill is green waste that could be composted. Not only does composting help minimise what gets thrown out with the rubbish, it's great for the garden, reducing the need for watering and helps you grow organically.

Attend a free compost workshop - together with Tairawhiti Environment Centre, we hold free one hour workshops and you get to take home a free compost bin (1 per household). The workshops are held at 386 Palmerston Road. Bring the family along  too.  The next workshop is Saturday 9 December 11am – 12 noon.  To book a spot go to Tairawhiti Environment Centre facebook page.

Soil organisms in a teaspoon