Campaign to stop treating soil ‘like dirt’

Soils across the world are being eroded and degraded and combined with climate change it poses a challenge for all of us. In Europe a new campaign has been launched to bring about an initiative to protect soils now and for future generations. In Ireland People4Soil and The Environmental Pillar have joined in the campaign to petition for a soil directive across Europe. To sign the petition go to


People4Soil is concerned with the conservation of one of our most valuable non-renewable ppl 4 soil.pngresources: soil. We rely on soil to provide healthy food, clean water, support wildlife, store carbon, prevent flooding and ultimately to maintain livelihood across the world and here in Ireland. Ireland’s soils have come under increasing pressure from land use changes, intensification of agriculture, erosion and overgrazing, disposal of organic wastes to soils, afforestation, industry and urbanisation. Lost soil from these processes cannot be replaced and so we must protect them.

On RTE Radio the People4Soil spokesperson Klaus Laitenberger pointed out that the health of the soil in Ireland has deteriorated due to slurry spreading and compaction by heavy machinery. Worm populations have reduced since the traditional method of spreading farm yard manure has been abandoned. He said that farm supports in future should favour soil friendly farming.


The primary goal of the campaign is to acquire sufficient signatures for a European Citizen’s Initiative. If the European Citizens’ Initiative surpasses 1 million signatures from seven different member states the European Commission will have to prepare and propose a Soil Directive. This directive would make countries protect soils in the same way that they already protect water, air and nature under previously existing directives.

A Soil Seminar was organised as part of the launch of the People4Soil campaign in Ireland and it took place on World Soil Day, on Tuesday last, 5 December. The venue was the Education Centre of the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin. Among the speakers were gardening author and People4Soil spokesperson Klaus Laitenberger, organic grower Nicky Kyle, Helen Kelly, Michael Ewing of the Environmental Pillar and Matthew Jebb Director of the Botanic Gardens

For more information on the People4Soil campaign see  and

December event can be found here

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