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Soil Care Network Newsletter
June 2021
by Thirze Hermans, in collaboration with Anna Krzywoszynska, Emma Lietz Bilecky, and Michiel van de Pavert

Soil Research

  • This great paper from Spain looks at how farmers and scientists can collaborate around soil indicators to enhance the uptake of soil-friendly farming practices 

  • Are you interested in engaging people with soils? This paper proposes interesting ways for engaging schoolchildren with soil ecology through soil quality assessment while this research from Turkey shows the importance of using mythological, religious, and cultural metaphors in soil education 

  • If we think of humans as part of a soil community, what obligations does this entail? This fascinating paper thinks through the relationship between artistic and craft practice (particularly glass) and soil pollution through a discussion of artistic interventions

  • Who are ‘soil stakeholders’? This interesting stakeholder mapping in the Netherlands provides an overview of which actors to involve in decision-making on sustainable soil management

  • Should we use public subsidies to pay for actions or outcomes in soil conservation? This paper adds to the debate by discussing soil functions vs soil health and the actions/outcomes dispute

  • Given that all life arises from and is dependent upon the soil/earth, what possibilities might exist for new ‘ensoiled’ forms of thinking and practice? This article will explore how a theology influenced by the soil might offer fresh perspectives for re-engaging with the need to create a sustainable future for all life on the planet

  • How to build a dialogue with soils which would make us sensitive to their agency and needs? How about writing them a letter? This article uses such letter-fiction, and thinks through the relevance of animism to relating to soils 

  • In this interesting dialogue, a group of scholars discuss what it may mean to decolonise geology - learning how to look differently, see differently by positioning indigenous peoples at the centre of research

Soil in Reports and Books

  • After the release of the report on the Economics of Biodiversity: Dasgupta Review the government mentioned that it is considering a soil health action plan acknowledging soil’s importance in environment, economy and society. This should support the pledge for sustainable soil management by 2030 in the 25 Year Environment Plan

  • The England Peat Action Plan has now been published and can be found here




Out of the box Soil 

  • ​What about shredding used cotton clothes and putting it back into the soil? A trial in Australia is now starting to test exactly this

  • Making beer? You can now use beer byproduct, mix it with manure and you have an excellent pesticide!

  • The critical role soil can play in forensic investigations has again been highlighted by the involvement of the James Hutton Institute's soil forensics team in a high-profile case, this time the inquiry by Police Scotland

Soil events

  • ​A wonderful conference ‘Sols, sous-sols dans la transition socio-ecologique’ (Soils and the underground in promises of socio-ecological transitions) was held this month, exploring the many ways in which soils are becoming a serious object of investigation for social sciences and humanities. You can see the programme (and hopefully soon see some of the recorded presentations) here

  • In case you have not seen the film ‘Grounded’ yet, you can find it here on the British Soil Society website. It has been shortlisted for the 2021 Short Film Prize of the International Environmental Film Festival. This includes some actions at a local level to support the soil health whilst improving our own health

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