We have often referred to soil researchers as “Cassandras” whose warnings, like those of the Trojan princess, are ignored. We have also pointed out that researchers are to some extent to blame for not communicating effectively with different audiences. This gap could potentially be filled by a recent report from a significant number of European researchers. The report was produced by EASAC – the European Academies Science Advisory Council. It was officially presented on 26 September in the splendid setting of the Palace of the Academies in the Royal Palaces complex in Brussel. The title of the report is “Opportunities for soil sustainability in Europe”.
The report is the work of a multidisciplinary group of European experts. It deals with the implications for the soil of recent scientific research and gives a snapshot of the current situation. Its aim is to identify possible solutions to be integrated into political choices and decisions in order to assure soil sustainability in Europe.
This is an exhaustive report that deals with a range of topics: from the importance and role of the soil to its function in ecosystems; from interconnections with various policies to the ever-increasing risks, and the complexity that needs to be understood through new scientific approaches.
It shows how soil biodiversity is a fundamental component for ensuring fertility and leading to new forms of agriculture in keeping with modern methods of farming and forestry that do not damage the environment.
It integrates the soil as an essential parameter for the health of both plants and people, and stresses its crucial role in solving the challenges created by climate change.
All of this leads to the identification of practical ways of integrating soil-related matters into specific European policies.
The report was drawn up, discussed and approved solely by specialists in the field.
Although it is necessary, it is yet another snapshot of the situation to be added to the existing pile of such reports which are always produced by “Cassandras” who are ignored.
It could be regarded as the basis for starting a conversation with other interested parties and thus be “revisited” by builders, trade unionists, farmers’ associations, planners and administrators …
We invite our readers to read the Report and send us their comments, critiques and insights.