The speech made by Greta Thunberg at Katowice is still ringing in our ears. We are not just responsible for but guilty of our own inability to halt the planet’s decline. It is incumbent upon every one of us to get involved, and we must act now.
This is why we seek out and create opportunities for dialogue with all potential soil users. It is no longer a matter of “persuading” them of its necessity for human life, but rather of finding a way of saving it for the sake of ourselves and future generations who are now pointing to us as being the people responsible for the failure to act in the face of disaster.
We therefore welcome the concrete attempt to bring around the table the various interest groups who use the soil. On 23 January a Round Table took place at the European Parliament with the title: “We must ally with our soils!” This meeting between representatives of the building trade, farmers, planners, administrators, trade unionists, researchers, representatives of civil society and EU institutions was not an easy one. Not all those who were invited turned up. Unfortunately there is still some fear and reluctance about sitting round the same table and accepting the presence of a wide range of different participants.
There is a need to break the ice, dispel fear, facilitate mutual understanding … and to realize that it is not a matter of protecting one’s own interests but of survival itself. The outcome of the Round Table, in brief, was to identify possible convergences, bring about a willingness to discuss and map out an achievable common path. All though this might seem like a list of good intentions, it is the outcome of an open and at times difficult discussion, which nevertheless ended in agreement.
The participants agreed on the following 4 topics:
- Public awareness, communication, education on soil use and its importance for life and human rights
- Political will: protect the soil, enhance agriculture and food, the need for a common legal framework
iii. Face up to private property
- Appreciation of the economic interests directly or indirectly linked to soils
Now that this first step has been taken, it is the job of all those who attended to continue on the path of cultivating and nurturing an achievable common process that can lead to the creation of European legislation that will be widely acceptable.
The Round Table Report is attached below as a web file, the full printable version is available here .