Compared to other phenomena related to climate change, soil degradation is still decidedly underestimated by public opinion and local and national administrators. The ground is considered only as a support or to park the car or to carry out business activities related to real estate capital or large infrastructures. There is a great inability to realize its value and the irreversibility of its consumption: the soil, once lost, is lost forever.
Soil has a lot to do with climate due to its many ecosystem services. There are relationships between climate-altering CO2 emissions, starting from the fact that plants metabolize CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in the wood and organic matter of the most superficial layers of the soil, the most precious and fertile one. If we cement a surface of soil, we remove the possibility for plants to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and even return that already contained in the organic substance of the soil. So the damage is double. Then there is a relationship with water: by sealing a soil, we prevent infiltration into the aquifer. So on the one hand we have less water for drinking water uses and on the other hand we increase the risk of floods, already made more frequent due to the intense rains caused by climate change. The more waterproofed soils obviously dispose of the water less.
Then there is the question of urban comfort: sealed soils increase heat islands in the summer during the great African heat waves. When we have green areas, however, there is a reduction in the temperature offered by the evapotranspiration of the foliage. By removing green surfaces, we therefore increase the discomfort in terms of summer thermal comfort. Then there is obviously the whole issue linked to biodiversity: when we remove soil, we eliminate all the microscopic life capital contained in it. And this can only impoverish the environment.
From 26 to 29, FAO organizes the Global Symposium on Soils for Nutrition. An event that will bring together for 4 days - albeit virtually - scientists, soil professionals, NGOs, representatives of international organizations, local communities, industry, agriculture and civil society.
Objective: to review the state of the art on the role of soil fertility in providing sufficient, high quality, safe and nutritious food for plants, animals and people. And identify the foundations for solutions capable of guaranteeing a more nutritious and healthy food system, capable of protecting the environment and minimizing the controversial use of fertilizers.
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