Soil is the most abundant source of biodiversity on the planet, and 95% of our food depends upon it. We use soil in building, medicine, food and art. The health of the soil in a given environment is keenly reflected in the health of the environment and the organisms within it. Good soil holds water, regulates temperature, prevents erosion and holds life. It is not a hard task to see how ALL of life depends upon soil to exist. Yet the challenge we face is in getting people, governments and corporations to have better practices when it comes to building, protecting and maintaining healthy soil. Another challenge lies in making Soil Science fun and approachable for children, teachers, parents and your every day person who might say “why should I care about soils?”
Non-organic farming, widespread use of pesticides, destruction of habitat and a slew of clumsy human interactions with soil are putting our most valuable resources at risk. In one generation of chemical-based farming, a topsoil that was thousands of years old and healthy may perish. What do we do to inspire better ways of dealing with our soils? First of all we must develop passion to see beyond the dirt and to see into the myriad of lifeforms that coalesce in the darkness beneath our feet to make the surface of the world so live-able. World Soil Day was last held on December 5th 2020 and hosted a childrens book contest which was based around "Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity". These short 16 page children’s books are aimed at the ages of 6-11. They are colorful, entertaining and bring the world of Soils to life. If you want to bring Soils to life for your Children aged 6-11, I recommend you take a look at them, as they are full of interesting facts, and passionate soil science.
We live in a world where children's entertainment is based on the obscure and obscene for the most part. Nature-based resources on the other hand, highlight and showcase the magic of Mother Nature, which is now more important than ever, as we need to protect our environments from technological and chemical destruction. It is important that adults who know about soil can distill it down and make it fun for children, because they are the ones who are going to have to grow up to protect our resources in the future.
Our previous generations from the 50’s onwards have done a terrible job of keeping the soil alive and protecting biodiversity - not because of mal-intent from the working individual, but from the corporate influence and technocratic enforcement of large scale agriculture and empirical expansion. Now we must repair this damage through educating ourselves, to act in protection once more for the soil and to inspire our young to do the same in their future. Soils is something that we are passionate about at Life Rocks, which is why we have developed soil-themed resources for the home and classroom. We did not enter into the Soil Book competition for World Soils Day because we are focused on Early Learning, but we have developed our own book on the topic for the under 6 age-bracket which will be here soon! In the meantime, don’t hold your breath - start those conversations with your child about soil. Here are some fun facts to get you started: - Did you know that ¼ of all life on planet earth lives in the soil?
- Did you know that in 1 teaspoon of healthy garden soil is one billion bacteria, several yards of fungal filaments, several thousand protozoa, and scores of nematodes?
- The largest and deepest burrowing creature that builds its home in the soil is the Nile crocodile which burrows 12 meters deep.
- Goannas from Australia are the next deepest burrowers at 3.6 meters deep, and make their homes in a spiral shape.
- Good soil is a mixture of life forms, decomposing plants, animals and fungi, gases, clay sand and silt.
- When the Earth was formed , originally there were no soils. It took billions of years to make all the Soil on Earth.
- Worms have moved more soil around than humans have.
- Worms can live up to 15 years old!
The facts are endless, because the richness of life in the soil is unlimited. Through applying a curiosity we can take our relationship with the soil to the next level and even the dirt beneath our feet will begin to shine before our eyes and those of our children.
Join our mail list to be the first to know when our soil book hits the shelves. In the meantime you can download our free soil colour-ins here for your children, or look at our videos on youtube about composting and planting.