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The New Extinction on the Block Soil Extinction: The Greatest Crisis Yet

By Ethan Leem

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The word “extinction” brings to mind devastating disasters that will cause a species to no longer exist. From blazing asteroids to volcanoes spewing lava, society has come to commonly associate the idea of an extinction to explosive destruction causing a large-scale disappearance of species.

 

While many might not realize it, humanity is facing a crisis no less severe than the extinctions of Earth’s prehistoric past: soil extinction. In comparison to other extinctions such as the extinction of dinosaurs,  soil extinction may not sound very dangerous or urgent. However, much to humanity’s chagrin, soil extinction—caused by irresponsibility and greed—is capable of ending the human race if left untreated.

To be fair, soil is not a living organism. Hence, it seems irrational for soil to go “extinct.” However, there are billions of microorganisms thriving in the soil. When organic content is removed or isolated from soil, the soil transforms into “lifeless” sand. This process is known as desertification.

 

As a process that has been occurring for over 100 years, desertification is a result of poor and unsustainable agricultural practices. Statistically speaking, an acre of soil in the world turns into an acre of desert with each passing second [1]. At this rate, all life on this planet will be severely endangered. 

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If soil extinction threatens all life on Earth, how has it managed to progress to such a dire state? It is because, soil as a resource, soil has been neglected by society. According to Soils.org, unsustainable agricultural practices have led to a slew of harmful materials, including lead, arsenic, pesticides and gasoline, seeping into soil on a global scale [2].

 

Despite this, soil has never been regarded with the same importance as other resources such as the forest trees and the atmosphere air. While headlines about the burning of the Amazon Rainforest and the suffocating air pollution of New Delhi have dominated the news in recent times, little is heard or mentioned about soil.

If soil extinction continues, an estimated maximum of 60 years is left for basic agricultural practices and general farming, according to if soil extinction continues warns, Scientific American [3]. As grim as humanity’s neglect of soil extinction sounds, the work of activists might spell out a better future for soil extinction than one might assume.

 

For instance, Conscious Planet—Save Soil is leading a global movement to change the narrative around soil. Activists work with the association to influence the entire adult population to urge national leaders to support soil-friendly policies like ensuring a minimum of 3% to 6% organic content in the soil [1].

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Soil extinction is a relatively unfamilar term but should be taken seriously. Sneaking up to humanity, soil extinction has taken people by surprise and has left a frighteningly short window of time to prevent it. If humanity is to thwart the extinction of soil and the end of all life on Earth, collaboration and dedication are needed from everyone.

 

The fight is not over yet as, but society stands on the brink of disaster.., and any Any false step might leave humanity tumbling down to global desertification. So let this generation be the one that acts responsibly and saves humanity from its end.

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