Why Innovating for Soil Regeneration?
Published on: 27.04.2022
It takes up to 1,000 years to generate three centimeters of topsoil. As the global population continues to grow, the need for more food is increasing too. Yet, farming land is a limited resource and the world is continually losing its farmable land at an alarming rate. Why is this an urgent matter? Because, without soil, the Earth would turn into a lifeless rock.
The main causes of soil degradation are related to human activity as well as to long-term climate change impacts, which are also an indirect consequence of human activity.
Namely, unsustainable development related to agriculture practices, urbanization, overgrazing, industrial pollution and contamination, erosion, desertification, and salinization, are to blame for the loss of soil fertility and biodiversity.
Consequently, the time needed to generate fertile topsoil depends on factors such as climate and human activity. At the same time, those factors also determine if the soil becomes more fertile, remains the same, or loses its qualities.
Many strong declarations claiming that the world has around 60 years of farming made the headlines over the last decade. Still, even though they might have been somehow exaggerated, the problem of soil degradation is a major concern all around the world. All reports and statists confirm that soil like other resources is not in good health. Thus soil adds to the list of our many important resources that need to be saved.
How to save our soil?
One might start with the hashtag #saveoursoil and follow up with an innovative solution. The latter in combination with alternative agriculture methods, education for sustainable development (ESD), and entrepreneurship skills can help with solutions to soil degradation.
Some alternative agriculture methods include organic farming, crop rotation, integrated pest management, etc. Such methods help not only with soil quality, but also promote the protection of the environment and natural resources, energy conservation, increased productivity, and improved food quality and safety. They also create feasible socio-economic infrastructure for farms and farmers in rural communities.
On the other hand, innovative and alternative ways of growing crops and producing food would help to lessen the burden on the soil. Indoor farms using vertical technology are a common solution implemented in many countries, especially in Asia. However, companies are improving this business model by cutting some costs. Container farming is one of them. Farmers are using shipping containers for vertical farming. Crops grow while being delivered to the customer or retailer.
On the other hand, the ocean too can be an alternative. Seaweed has been used as a healthy food for centuries. Due to its reputation as a superfood and environmentally friendly crop, the practice of seaweed cultivation is gaining attention in Asia too, as countries are trying to meet future needs for alternate natural resources for food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, fuel, and animal feed, etc.
Farming and sustainable fashion
The fashion industry drains up water resources. It takes 2,600 liters of water to make a cotton shirt and 7,500 liters of water to make a pair of jeans. Cotton farming dried up the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan over 50 years. It caused desertification of the area, toxic levels of sodium chloride, pesticides, and other carcinogens that are part of every level of the food chain.
Textile dyeing is one of the top largest polluters of water, globally.
Sustainable fashion innovations would help reduce crop farming for the textile industry and cut all its consequences.
Be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem
The way how we have been farming is not natural. Have you ever seen a forest with only one type of tree? If done in the way of nature one field would have hundreds of different crops. Instead, we plant entire hectares of land with only one type of crop species also known as Monoculture farming.
Nature keeps its harmony through diversity. Like in nature everyone should have a say and participation in keeping a stable equilibrium. Diversity of actions and ideas can contribute too.
If you’re already working on a sustainable idea or a project that contributes to the SDGs and circular economy, submit your entry to the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition 2022. This edition of CEC endorses the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. There are nine years left to restore the planet. Start now!