How soil can save us from climate change

15 Jun 2022

The transformative power of soil

From food to water and emissions, soil holds a transformative power – a single tablespoon of this organic material can hold more microbes than all people on Earth.

The question of whether soil can save us might sound a bit hyperbolic, however, it holds an estimated 2,500 gigatons of carbon, which is more than all carbon in the atmosphere and in plants combined.  Scientists believe it could sequester billions more tons of carbon annually with the adoption of more sustainable agricultural and land-use practices.

In this GLF Live, we’ll hear from one of the foremost soil scientists and 2020 World Food Prize recipient, Rattan Lal on why soil has gone so long overlooked and how we can start to urgently tap into all the benefits it has for the environment and people.

About Rattan Lal

Dr. Rattan Lal was part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

He was Japan’s first distinguished researcher for his contribution to biology, production, and ecology, awarded by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and named by Thomson Reuters as one of the world’s most influential scientific minds.

For Lal, the health of the soil affects the health of the plants. When people consume plant products grown on degraded soils, they may lack micronutrients, proteins, and vitamins, making the food qualitatively poor.

On the other hand, the soil also affects the quality of the water that passes through it, and impacts the quality of the air, due to erosion, dust storms, and the emission of greenhouse gases and other volatile compounds. Therefore, the health of the soil, animals, people, and environment are interconnected, so if the health of the soil deteriorates, that of the environment and of people also deteriorates.

Learn about soil inoculation and its role in accelerating carbon sequestration in forests 🌳