delware environmental institute

Top soil scientists gather to highlight soil's role as "foundation of life"

From antibiotics to food security, the soil underneath our feet has been the source of solutions to some of humanity’s most serious challenges. However, the health of the soil itself is increasingly threatened by a host of problems, ranging from erosion that washes away productive soil to urbanization that paves over it. Building appreciation for soil as the foundation of life and as a critical resource in need of protection was the goal of a recent one-day workshop hosted by the National Academies of Science and co-sponsored by the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) in Washington, D.C.

The meeting was held on Dec. 5, which was proclaimed World Soil Day by the United Nations in honor of the late King Bhumipol Aduldej of Thailand, whose birthday was Dec. 5 and whose name means “protector of the soil.” The king was a strong proponent of soil sustainability throughout his long reign.

Organized by the U.S. National Committee for Soil Sciences, the meeting was attended by 100 decision makers and members of the public and private sectors whose work depends on awareness of the latest soil research. An additional 100 people attended the workshop remotely via webcast.