SOILS Goes Global
Connecting through a Walkathon in support of Soil Health
Guelph, Ontario, June 27th, 2022 – The third Sunday in June was a warm, sunny day with clear skies, perfect for the Save Soil Walkathon I attended in Toronto, Ontario. This was just one of 60 Save Soil walkathons across North and South America that took place that day.
Save soil is a global movement to raise awareness about soil degradation and its related issues such as food insecurity, water scarcity, and biodiversity loss. The movement advocates for soil health policies to be implemented globally with the goal of maintaining at least 3-6% organic matter in the soil. The organization emphasizes the inherent interconnectivity between soil and life. The soil itself contains so much life through the billions of microorganisms found in soil, also the earthworms and other larger organisms. Soil provides us life as without soil we would not be able to grow our food.
Being one of the largest and most urbanized cities in Canada, people do not typically associate Toronto with agriculture, but there are so many Torontonians who care about the health of the soil on our planet. The excitement for soil conservation was felt throughout the morning as a few hundred walkathon attendees marched through the streets of the Toronto Lakefront. Curious pedestrians stopped along our route to ask about the walkathon and the Save Soil movement. Cars were honking and cheering us on. There was no shortage of enthusiasm for saving soil that day.
After two years of staying at home and social distancing, it was amazing to see so many people come together live and in-person to fight for a common cause.
Chants like “Save soil” and “Let us make it happen” were shouted by the crowd of soil enthusiasts. This brought on a sense of optimism for the future. With pandemic isolation and news regarding climate change, it is easy to feel discouraged and alone about these issues. But shouting these chants with hundreds of people reminded me that when people come together, we can make things happen. We do not have to tackle these issues alone, everyone doing their own part can make a big impact.
Written by Cory Barstow, Co-op Student at Soils at Guelph
Soils At Guelph was established by a donation made in 2018 to mark World Soil Day. It aims to increase awareness of research initiatives, facilitate collaboration and knowledge exchange among stakeholders, and to educate on the importance of soil health.