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Celebrating World Soil Day 2023

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

The 4 The Soil badge over a green background with white text of the word "soil" in different languages. Text below the badge reads "Happy World Soil Day!"
Graphic courtesy of Social Impact Studio

Soil is living and life-giving in more ways than we might think. By caring for the soil, we can build healthier communities, stronger economies, and a more resilient landscape. Let's celebrate World Soil Day!

In 2002, the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) recommended a worldwide day to highlight the importance of soil. The Kingdom of Thailand led the initiative through the Global Soil Partnership framework. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), "[The] Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day in June 2013 and requested its official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, the UN General Assembly responded by designating 5 December 2014 as the first official World Soil Day." Learn more about the history of World Soil Day on FAO's website.

FAO defined this year's theme as "Soil and Water: A Source of Life." Building soil health leads to healthier water ways, and we can help preserve these vital resources for future generations.

Soils vary in color, texture, structure, and chemical, physical, and biological composition across our planet. The United States Department of Agriculture uses Soil Taxonomy to classify 12 major orders of soil. Each order has distinct characteristics and ecological significance, similar to how biologists classify animals and plants. The Soil Science Society of America digs into these categories and maps them out on their web page "Around the World."

Here at 4 The Soil, our conversations with farmers, conservationists, extension agents, and community leaders worldwide show us ways to advocate for soil and recognize its impacts. Listen to their stories and expertise on 4 The Soil: A Conversation anywhere you get your podcasts. Through our website, you can find episodes that explore specific topics and keywords by using the "Search podcast" bar. For instance, if you are interested in how healthy soils impact our water ways, search "water."

Top left: A photo of Dr. David Montgomery and Anne Biklé, Top Right: The logo for "4 The Soil: A Conversation" with a vine around a brown microphone, Bottom right: A photo of two people kneeling outdoors to study soil, Bottom left: "A Healthy, Fertile Celebration of World Soils 2023 Episode 23-25"

Building healthy soils might seem like a massive undertaking. Everyday it faces erosion, compaction, nutrient imbalance, acidification, pollution, and decreased water retention. But we can all help safeguard healthy soils for future generations. Many champions manage soil health locally, but our collective action can become global.

Supporting healthy management looks different for everyone. Whether you're a farmer, a conservation professional, nature lover, or a food lover, you can advocate for and support healthy soils.

Additional Resources

World Soil Day, 5 December || Food and Agriculture Organization, December 2023

The Twelve Soil Orders || Image courtesy of the University of Idaho

Thank you to Social Impact Studios for the World Soil Day graphic that shows "soil" in fifteen languages:

Arabic → تربة

Armenian → պարարտանյութ

Chinese (Simplified) → 泥土

German → die Erde

Haitian Creole → tè

Hindi → धरणी

Indonesian → tanah

Japanese → 土壌

Korean → 농토

Sanskirt → मृदा

Spanish → la tierra

Swahili → udongo

Ukrainian → земельна ділянка

Urdu → مٹی

Vietnamese → đất

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