With the winding up of the European Soil Group (ESG) we are moving closer to the end also of this monthly Newsletter. It has been a useful communication tool that over the years has attained a certain visibility and a faithful readership. The statistics are interesting: on average, every month, between 300 and 400 people visit the ESG’s website, with about double that number of views (with the highest number of visits occurring mainly around the time of publication). In addition, more than two thirds of the visitors are not Italian. Our most regular readers are from the US, followed by Germany, Belgium, as well as Singapore, Canada, etc. These figures illustrate the positive impact of the Newsletter both in Italy and internationally.
So why stop then?
In 2015, when we started out, publications on the soil in Italy and throughout the EU were few in number and almost all specialist in nature. There were hardly any that dealt with the European dimension of the soil / land / landscape. Today there’s a plethora of publications and websites talking about these matters, almost all of them giving the same information about European data, decisions, and policies. In practice, hardly a week goes by without a debate, discussion, or document showing what is happening on the soil at the European level. Perhaps a kind of press roundup would be more useful than our Newsletter.
There’s another reason why we are stopping, though: this Newsletter came into being to make a “non-expert” audience aware of the importance of the soil. We do not think we have succeeded in this: our articles are seen as interesting, but suited to an audience that is already aware of the issues and takes comfort, in a certain sense, from reading them. Our biggest disappointment is that we have not succeeded in attracting, or at least provoking the curiosity of younger people, who use other ways of communicating that are based on media that are more suited to stimulating action than to analysis or reading.
In other words, we have realised that our approach is obsolete.
This is why we would rather stop here, taking the expressions of understanding, approval and appreciation of our work as an invitation to change.
All those involved in producing the Newsletter will continue working to protect the soil.
By taking a step back we hope to allow younger people to take direct responsibility for protecting the soil, in their own way and through their own methods.
Of course we will always be ready to give them our support if we are asked.