Earth Day 2012 - Protecting the Soil Critical for Earth's Health
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Looking for a good way to ensure the earth’s health for future generations as part of Earth Day 2012? Look no further than the soil all around you, said Gary Pierzynski, K-State Research and Extension interim dean of the College of Agriculture and professor of agronomy.
“The soil on which we live, grow food, build and more is one of the most important factors in determining the health of the planet we live on. If the soil is degraded, it becomes difficult to sustain the health of the earth in ways that many people may not realize,” said Pierzynski, who also serves as the 2012 president of the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA).
Food security, water quality, sustainable energy production, climate stability – all of these important factors that contribute to a healthy earth and stable society depend directly on a having a healthy soil resource, Pierzynski said.
“Our future is tied to how well we manage the precious soil resources available to us. We must continue to work hard to keep soil from eroding. We need to build up the soil’s organic matter, encourage a diverse ecosystem within the soil, and avoid dumping harmful materials onto the soil just because it is convenient,” the K-State soil scientist said.
“Agricultural scientists are finding ways to produce even more quantities of nutritious food, while also increasing the production of crops that will provide energy and pharmaceuticals. If we do not pay close attention to soil quality as these advancements occur, the earth’s ecosystem will ultimately suffer,” he added.
Soil health faces increasing human-linked threats from contamination, unplanned urban development, desertification, salinization, mismanagement and erosion, according to the SSSA. Protecting and promoting soil health will ensure food and energy security, assist in climate change adaptation and mitigation and conserve and improve water quality.
“What better way to celebrate Earth Day 2012 than to treat the soil with care every day where you live, and appreciate its contribution to our way of life and the health of the earth?” Pierzynski concludes.
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.
Story by: Steve Watsonswatson@ksu.eduK-State Research & Extension News
Gary Pierzynski is at 785-532-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org