The Problem

Soil: The Final 60 Years

The planet is in crisis. If current rates of soil degradation continue, all of the world’s top soil will be gone in 60 years. This would be the end of farming as we know it.

For millennia life on earth has been sustained by a thin layer of fertile soil on the earth’s crust. These top 36-39 inches of soil is a highly sophisticated living ecosystem and among humanity’s most precious non-renewable geo-resources. It supports agriculture. which accounts for 95% of our food. It houses the rich biodiversity of the plant kingdom which does the work of converting carbon dioxide into life-sustaining oxygen. It absorbs, filters and regulates the flows of freshwater bodies. And it plays a vital role in climate change mitigation and adaptation by storing carbon (carbon sequestration) and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

But healthy soil is disappearing fast. Agriculture, deforestation and other factors have degraded and eroded topsoil at alarming rates. Globally about 25% of land is degraded. The equivalent of one soccer pitch of soil is eroded every five seconds. This erosion far outstrips the natural regeneration rate of about 1 inch every 1000 years.

Much of what remains is degraded, with dramatic declines in agricultural productivity of the soil. If this continues, the UN estimates that we could lose all cultivable soil in next 60 years. With a population expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, we could face a crisis of untold proportions.

The planet is in crisis. If current rates of soil degradation continue, all of the world’s top soil will be gone in 60 years. This would be the end of farming as we know it.

“The trees are our lungs, the rivers our circulation, the air our breath, and the earth our body.”

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– Deepak Chopra

“The World Economic Forum Provides its full support to the Conscious Planet initiative. Every citizen of the world is asked to take part in this living soil initiative. Let us make it happen.”

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– Klaus Schwab

“What your organization is doing is really very relevant and of immense help. I appreciate your work and your true effort. I will do as much as I can to contribute.”

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– His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

What Science Says

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The Economic Times

Agriculture, India2011

Farmers say traditional vegetable crops do not grow in their fields any longer. Across the country, farmers say yields drop if they don't …

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WWF

Agriculture2021

Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years

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IUCN

Economics2021

Potential impacts by 2040 under a regenerative agriculture scenario: 70 billion dollars Gross Value Added across sub-Saharan Africa

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