We can live only from living soil

Dr. Dr. h.c. Verena Winiwarter , Scientists4Future

Image author: Verena Winiwarter

Soils are complex ecosystems and not just the dirt beneath our feet. They teem with life, from earthworms to fungi and bacteria. As an environmental historian, I have studied the interaction between soils and humans, how in the European past the soil was cared for, impersonated as “Mother Earth” by Greek and Roman thinkers, fed with nutrients from cowdung to dust to rotting fishes, and revered as a live-giving womb of plants. We need to re-integrate this wisdom as a foundation of sustainable development. Soils take around 10,000 years to form from barren rock with the help of algae, lichen, and various other life-forms. They are essentially non-renewable and we need them for survival.

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