“Soil is Life!” – World Soil Day on 5 December 2017 at the Italian Cultural Institute, Brussels

World Soil Day saw many standard celebrations throughout the world. By “standard”, we mean expert meetings, official speeches, illustration of best practice, awareness raising videos…

The ‘Soil is Life!’ event which took place in the Italian Cultural Institute in Brussels (see picture on the front page) had a different approach. Soil-related themes and problems (scarcity, sealing, land grabbing, speculation…) were boarded, but also coupled with tangible and concrete solutions. These solutions were presented by a group of young people who take care of soil in new different ways. All event took place in a laidback and cheerful framework, which was structured in a way to underline and make people understand problems, without necessarily being alarmed. The chairman and the actors (professionals and amateur actors) reproduced such themes, managing to keep the attention of the audience, which included some students from the European school. These students collected the answers to a series of questions, given by the audience on slips of paper. The three questions were: “What is the earth beneath your feet? What is the earth you wish to tread on? What is the earth you do not wish to tread on?”. They analysed all the answers and presented the results of the event.

Actors chairman researchers students achieved fully and interactively their performances. The entire audience stayed for the full two hours of the event. The objective of bringing people closer to the complex issue of soil, and to make them understand that soil means “Life!” was fully accomplished. Moreover, the students began a journey of reflexion, which will continue for the next few months handled by their teachers, also present in the theatre.

Three important lessons emerged from this experience:

  • Those who take care of soil must communicate with those who do not but without raising alarm bells.
  • Each soil problem must be presented with a concrete and clear-cut solution.
  • Youngsters should be directly involved in the analysis and search for practical solutions, and not be limited to theoretical technical explanations.

Along these lines the entire SIP Forum should proceed, in order to organize similar World Soil Day celebrations in Italy.

The video of the entire event (21 clips) is available on YouTube.