The end of last year saw the publication of A Soil Deal for Europe, an ambitious plan formulated by the European Union to restore our soil to a state of health by the end of the current decade. This is vital, as around 60-70% of soils in the EU are unhealthy. The plan encompasses eight objectives, one of which caught my eye immediately: ‘Improve soil literacy in society’. However challenging this might be, it strikes me as a solvable problem.
Illiteracy breeds misunderstanding and constitutes a significant impediment when it comes to people’s independence, their search for employment and their health. And soil illiteracy is no different. Although the soil is an important foundation for our existence, we as a society undervalue it. Educational programmes pay scant or no attention to it and there is widespread reluctance in the political sphere to introduce measures that will protect soil and maintain and improve soil condition.
What can we do to eliminate soil illiteracy? Well, there is a significant chance that you will find yourself dealing with an unhealthy soil whilst engaged in construction or architectural projects. See this as an opportunity to build nature-inclusive construction and infrastructure. Drawing on soil expertise as early on as the design phase will enable you in the implementation phase to develop projects that have both economic and ecological value. It is no less important that contracting authorities look beyond the construction or architecture project itself, that we train up new generations of pupils and students alert to the condition of the soil, and that we incorporate this into assignments for work placements and graduation projects.
My aim is to eliminate soil illiteracy by introducing nature-inclusive soil remediation, thereby ensuring clean, productive, resilient soil for future generations.