Two millenniums ago, a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70 percent of the city and leaving half its population homeless. Rome’s emperor at the time, Nero ‘fiddled while Rome burned’.
Today the world is on fire and we, the modern day Neros, are busy fiddling. We are too caught up in frivolity to see the existential challenges staring us in the face. For example, climate change is for real and it’s coming around faster than you think, as proven by the catastrophic events all over the world. But it has become a cliche before it has even been understood.
While we are busy merrymaking, another silent global crisis is creeping up on us. It is called soil degradation. In the past 40 years alone, 30 percent of the planet’s arable land has become unproductive due to erosion. At current estimates, nearly all of the remaining 11 billion acres of cropland and grazing land suffer from some degree of erosion.
“We are overlooking soil as the foundation of all life on Earth,” says Andres Arnalds, assistant director of the Icelandic Soil Conservation Service.Essentially, all life depends upon the soil. Some one has rightly put it, “Despite all our achievements we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”