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Of all the things on your mind right now, I suspect dirt isn’t one of them. 

I get it. We’re all busy; many of us especially so this time of year. 

But it’s really important. In fact, it’s so important that the United Nations designated the entire year the International Year of Soils. And tomorrow is World Soil Day.

Why all this fuss for the gritty stuff your dogs or your kids probably track in? Because every single one of us – all 7.3 billion people inhabiting the Earth – depend on it to stay alive each day. It’s the source of most of our food, as well as feed for livestock and fiber for our clothing; it filters and stores water; it sequesters more carbon than any other material; it holds vegetation in place and is home to hundreds of billions of organisms.

As helpful as soil is to keeping humans alive, we humans haven’t taken very good care of this precious, non-renewable resource. Watch this video to learn more:

So what can you do about it? 

First, take care of the soil around you. Plant ground cover and trees, if you have a yard (or look for opportunities to volunteer during community tree-planting days, for example) Compost your food scraps to feed your soil, if possible. Support organizations that promote soil-benefitting practices.

Preserving and repairing the soil is part of the training we provide to the smallholder farmers with whom we work. Because of where they live, and the poverty they experience, they are far more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, making environmentally friendly agriculture and livestock management a necessity. Practical, applicable solutions to soil erosion and degradation problems are key to helping communities improve their livelihoods and protect their local environments for future generations.

You can help Heifer International spread soil-building farming practices faster and farther by giving today.

For the long-term viability of humanity, we must begin moving topics like soil to the front of our minds. Our future health and survival depends on it.

Author

Pierre Ferrari

Pierre Ferrari is president and CEO of Heifer International. Pierre is very passionate about empowering the families and communities with whom Heifer works: “It took me decades, but I have come to know that the only way to happiness and joy is to be of service to others.” Pierre’s other joys are his wife, Kim, his two sons and two stepdaughters. In his free time he enjoys golf, squash, reading and travel.