Soil is a living ecosystem, which is essential for human and environmental health. A healthy living soil sustains biodiversity, protects and nourishes crops and contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation. But soil is under threat today. We lose an estimated 24 billion tons of fertile soil each year due to erosion, while many of the soil functions that are delivered for free to provide productive, fertile and nutritious food systems are destroyed because we systematically sterilise our soils with agro-chemicals, and then farmers pay again to replace those lost functions. Without protecting the soil, bringing it back to life and building topsoil , it will be impossible to feed people, keep global warming below 2°C, transition to a toxic-free future, halt the loss of biodiversity and adapt to the challenges of climate change and extreme weather events.
2015 is the UN Year of soil. This year has been the occasion to put the issue of soil back on the political agenda. Many events worldwide have raised concerns about the importance of soil.
Now is time to bring the issue back on the European political agenda: Why Soils matter? What can we do at EU level to assure a healthy living soil, basis of our food systems and essential to prevent climate change?
This session will discuss the links between soils, food security and climate, and how this interconnectivity is dealt with at a European level. It will involves high level speakers from the academic world and share practical approaches from field actors, working on the ground to preserve healthy living soils. The event will bring a European perspective to major ongoing global debates, such as the discussion around sustainable food policies and agroecology and the upcoming Climate Summit (COP21).
Welcome words and moderator by Michael Hamell, Adjunct Professor of Agriculture at University College Dublin
Introduction by MEP Maria Heubuch - followed by short movie screening
Keynote speaker, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Alternative Nobel Prize winner, Author of 'Soil not Oil 'and 'The living Soil'
Introduction by MEP Martin Hausling
Academics and field actors' view:
Response from the European Commission:
Debate with the audience
Introduction by MEP Molly Scott Cato
Story telling by Barbara Geiger alias Fräulein Brehm
Shared Presentation of the projects ‘Soil Culture at Create - a Recipe for Soil Guardianship’ and ‘People4Soil’
Introduction by MEP Bart Staes
Response from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Debate with the audience
Joszi Smeets, Director Youth Food Movement: Give youth a say on soil
Concluding statements and next steps: Michael Hamell