December 5th is World Soil Day, a good day to celebrate the power of COMPOST to enhance soil fertility, structure, water-holding capacity, and carbon sequestration. Healthy soils contain 5% organic matter and compost is the best way to add organic matter to depleted soils.
In 2002, the International Union of Soil Sciences declared December 5th as World Soil Day “to celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to human wellbeing.” In 2013, the full United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a similar resolution.
On this World Soil Day, we highlight the vast benefits of locally based composting to improve soil, draw down carbon from the atmosphere, and increase resilience in the face of climate change.
“The dust storms and floods of the last few years have underscored the importance to control soil erosion. I need not emphasize the seriousness of the problem and the desirability of our taking effective action, as a Nation and in the several States, to conserve the soil as our basic asset. The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to all State Governors on a Uniform Soil Conservation Law, Feb. 26, 1937
With almost 30% of U.S. cropland eroding above soil tolerance levels – meaning the long-term ability of the soil to sustain plant growth is in jeopardy – these words ring as true today as they did in 1937. FDR was responding to the devastation wreaked by the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. Today, drought conditions in California and other parts of the western United States have spurred devastating fires. In the East, extreme wet weather and flooding have reigned. Enhancing the ability of soil to retain water, slow stormwater run-off, and resist erosion is vital to life on this planet as we know it.
Fortunately we have one fairly simple solution: amending soil with compost.
Compost-amended soil enhances soil properties, stems soil erosion, and protects against soil desertification. In addition, compost converts wasted food and resources into a valuable asset.
In honor of World Soil Day, we share ILSR’s popular compost infographic on the connection of compost to healthy soil: Infographic: Compost Impacts More Than You Think.
Below is the United Nation’s infographic on the importance of soil and how converting food waste into compost nurtures soil.