In some good news from across the pond, the European Commission has recently proposed the continent’s first-ever soil law, which should undo a large amount of the damage done to the land by years of intensive farming, The Guardian reported.
The proposal, put forward in Brussels this July, is a plan to revive degraded soils. Besides the immense impact this could have on the climate going forward, the new law would greatly impact food sustainability as well. The proposed actions could ensure sustainable food production for an ever-growing population well into the future.
Agriculture is a major source of air pollution, much of that having to do with soil management, like erosion and the level of chemicals from fertilizers.
Research has shown that even minor improvements to agricultural soil around the world could store enough carbon to keep the planet from heating beyond 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, which, many scientists agree, would be disastrous.
According to the proposal, members of the European Union would monitor the health of soils, fertilizer use, and erosion, though no targets have been set for what level of improvements are expected.
However, the new law would not have legally binding targets for farmers and landowners. Instead, they will have financial incentives to improve the health of their soil.
The aim of the proposed law is for Europe to again have healthy soils by 2050, per The Guardian. As of now, more than 60% of the EU’s soils are considered unhealthy, according to the EU Soil Observatory of the European Commission.
“If our soils continue to degrade, the biggest risk is to our food security and farmers. Basically, their business model is wiped out,” EU environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius told the Guardian. “I can hardly imagine how we could do agriculture without fertile soils. The worst effects of droughts and flood can be avoided with healthier soils.”
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