"When you rebuild soil, [you are] increasing the carbon content in that soil," said John Piotti, Chief Executive Officer of American Farmland Trust. Piotti joined us on 4 The Soil: A Conversation for Episode 22-2 to talk about how better soil increases productivity.
"And where does that carbon come from? Well, it comes from the atmosphere. It's brought down through the wonders of photosynthesis, and then stored in the soil," said Piotti.
Building soil health breeds numerous benefits. One co-benefit is sequestering carbon, which strengthens our world's climate resilience and improves nutrient cycling in the soil.
"If you don't take care of the soil here, the soil won't take care of you," said Robert Spiers Jr., a seventh generation Virginian farmer of Spiers Farms, LLC.
Virginia farmers face major fertilizer shortages this year. While soil health takes time to build, the long term impacts can lead to many benefits, including less fertilizer inputs as nutrient cycling improves and soil biology is enhanced.
April 22, 1970 marked the first Earth Day in the United States. The decades prior saw clouds of black smoke, toxic waste flowing in our waterways, and land degradation. The Environmental Protection Agency did not exist yet, but a storm of events brought the earth to the nation's attention.
Rachel Carson published her New York Times Bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. She raised public concern for the environment and its interconnection with human health.
In January 1969, one of the largest oil spills in the U.S. covered Santa Barbara, California.
Five months later, oil-covered debris on the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire.
Seeing these urgent issues, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin took action. He proposed teach-ins on college campuses because he witnessed students' power and energy in the anti-war movement.
Senator Nelson convinced Congressman Pete McCloskey of California to serve as his co-chair, and their bipartisan efforts made an impact. They picked Wednesday, April 22 to encourage student participation on a weekday after spring break and before final exams.
After the first Earth Day, President Richard M. Nixon and Congress committed to improving the environment through legislation that governed the protection of the air, water, wildlife, and the wilderness. As a result, three landmark laws passed: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. This year, over 190 countries will work with EarthDay.org to celebrate and protect our planet. Awareness campaigns and educational resources make a difference!
Caring for the Earth includes caring for the soil. We can make an impact by using the four core principles of soil health management where we live, play, and work.
Celebrate Earth Week with 4 The Soil! Join us for a photo contest, upcoming events, updates on our Facebook Page, and a pledge to care "4 The Soil."
Erosion washes away topsoil on farms, shrinks coast lines, dissolves islands in the Chesapeake Bay, and harms our backyards.
"After our house construction, the bare earth area behind the house was not protected from erosion. Runoff from the driveway had created runnels and channels through the area," said Lance Koth, a Civil Engineer and consultant for over thirty years.
Koth dealt with erosion control in development projects around Virginia, and he found similar issues in his backyard. He wanted to build a space for his family to enjoy, and part of the solution meant caring for the soil.
When we are "4 The Soil," we gain many co-benefits, including erosion control.
By Virginia Soil Health Coalition, Mary Sketch
Earth Week is right around the corner and 4 The Soil is celebrating all week! Check out the full lineup of activities including a farm field day, special podcast episode, and photo contest.
About the Blog
Join the movement! 4 The Soil is a campaign by the Virginia Soil Health Coalition to raise awareness of soil as an agricultural and natural resource. By caring for the soil, we can build healthier communities, stronger economies, and a more resilient landscape.