World Soil Day is held annually on December 5. How often do we appreciate the ground beneath our feet when we know our futures depend on healthy soil? Isn’t it odd that we don’t talk about it enough? Vastly underrated yet incredibly vital — the world would have no food security without soil. Thankfully, there’s a day dedicated to the importance of healthy, sustainable soil management and keeping it that way. We’re here to give you the dirt on why we should pay more attention and how soil is one of the most magical things on earth!
History of World Soil Day
All life begins and ends from the soil. It’s the source of food, medicine and filters our water, among others. Most of us take soil for granted and assume it will always be around. But that’s far from the truth. It takes more than 1,000 years to grow 0,4 inches of soil.
In 2002, the International Union of Soil Sciences recommended creating an international day to celebrate and generate awareness around soil. It was a movement led by the kingdom of Thailand under the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. His vision and passion for this most precious natural resource led, shaped, and guided the movement.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United States supported the formal establishment of World Soil Day. The idea was to create a platform to raise global awareness of the importance of healthy soil. In 2013, the FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day and requested its official adoption at the 68th U.N. General Assembly. In 2014, the U.N. General Assembly designated December 5 as the first official World Soil Day. The day also happens to be the official birthday of the late King of Thailand, who officially sanctioned the event. It honors his memory and respects his incredible work to make the day a reality.
Since then, World Soil Day has been vital to advocate for sustainable soil management resources. All around the world, people use the day to inform and inspire. And there’s a different theme to focus on each year. It reminds us to appreciate this incredible natural resource — the source of our food, the anchor of ecosystems, and that’s merely scratching the surface.
World Soil Day timeline
The U.N. General Assembly designates December 5 as the first official World Soil Day.
World Soil Day becomes an official tribute to Thailand’s visionary monarch.
Over 100 countries and 560 events celebrate World Soil Day.
The FAO’s campaign theme for the year is - “Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity.”
World Soil Day FAQs
Which year is celebrated as the International Year of Soil?
The 68th U.N. General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils.
Why should we save soil?
Healthy soil is the world’s lifeline, ensures a steady food supply, preserves clean water, increases biodiversity, and helps mitigate climate change.
What is the theme for World Soil Day 2021?
The FAO’s theme for World Soil Day 2021 is, “Halt soil salinization, Boost soil productivity.”
How to Observe World Soil Day
Celebrate World Soil Day at home, school, or in the community. Start small experiments with composting to witness the amazing properties of soil first-hand.
The day began as a way to generate awareness on how people inadvertently damage the planet. Most of it stems from ignorance, and the best way to counter that is to educate ourselves and those around us.
Visit a community garden
Grow a lasting relationship with soil by being around it regularly. Visit a community garden with loved ones. Plant seeds (literal and otherwise) and watch them grow.
5 Facts About Earth Day That Will Blow Your Mind
Inspired by Vietnam war protesters
The power of public opinion around the Vietnam War inspired Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, to start Earth Day along similar lines in 1970.
President Nixon created the EPA
The birth of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was a direct consequence of the Earth Day movement.
The movement depended on college students
The date purposely fell between Spring Break and finals so energetic college students could mobilize the way they did during the Vietnam War protests.
20 million participants
Twenty million Americans attended rallies, protests, concerts, fundraisers, and nature walks to observe the first Earth Day.
The world’s largest secular observance
Since it went global in 1990, one billion people have participated each year.
Why World Soil Day is Important
Getting our hands dirty
Working with the soil is always therapeutic. A perfect opportunity to garden all day, every day!
Bringing like-minded people together
World Soil Day connects people who are passionate about conservation. It’s a fantastic way to discover businesses, non-profits, and people doing stellar work.
It keeps us connected to the earth. Staying rooted makes us slow down and pay attention to things that matter.
World Soil Day dates