Saturday, May 15, 2010

It takes tens of thousands of years to make 15 centimeters of topsoil

The global population is rising exponentially. Soil is becoming poorer throughout most of the world, and access to clean water more scarce. According to the UN, by the mid-2020s, two-thirds of the world’s population may struggle to find enough water to meet their needs.

SHOOT: What can we do? Control that exponential population growth. Have smaller families. Consume less. Eat less.

The world is losing soil 10 to 20 times faster than it is replenishing it. At the same time, population is growing exponentially – 9.3 billion by 2050, according to UN projections.

Areas of the world – particularly northern China, sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of Australia are already losing large tracts of arable land. Soil management is about more than heaping on chemical fertilizers. A 2008 New York Times article, Scientists focus on making better soil to help with food concerns, that examined the complex nature of simple dirt found that:

Soil does not arise quickly. In nature it starts with a layer of glacial grit,or windblown sand, or cooled lava, or alluvial silt, or some other crumbled mineral matter. A few pioneer plants put down shallow roots, and living things begin to make their homes in and on the surface, enriching it with their excrement, and enriching it further when they die and rot.
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