Listen: Professor Cristine Morgan in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty.
As dust storms often show us, the soil upon which almost all terrestrial life depends can be a fragile and fleeting resource.
Recently in Sydney,120 of the world’s best soil, health and agricultural scientists met at a Global Soil Security conference. They came to discuss the future of Global Soil Security and Planetary Health. The conference was jointly hosted by the University of Sydney’s Sydney Institute for Agriculture and Planetary Health Platform.
The scientists looked at how we can secure our soil for the centuries ahead while still feeding the billions of people on the planet. Professor Cristine Morgan, Professor of soil science, Texas A&M University was our guest on Open House.
If you use the wrong terminology about someone’s profession, prepare to be corrected. I know. I once mentioned building and wood in the same sentence to my carpenter brother.
“You burn wood. You build with timber.” carpenter brother quickly corrected me.
Professor Morgan agreed that the the same basic misunderstanding is something soil scientists encounter pretty often. When I told her about it, she loved carpenter brother’s “Burn timber, build with wood” approach and vowed to take that back to Texas. I offered her “Dirt is what you wash out of clothes, Soil is what keeps everything alive”. Not sure if that is going to the Lone Star State – but I tried.
Seriously, we do need to understand that soil Is not just dirt; it Is our lifeblood. It pretty much works like this; No soil, no food; no food, no life. No kidding.
The scientists at the conference looked at how we can secure our soil for the centuries ahead while still feeding the billions of people on the planet. Professor Alex McBratney, director of the Sydney Institute for Agriculture, said: “Human wellbeing is dependent on soil: it feeds and nurtures us. We have an intrinsic affinity to it. We would be lost without it.”
Professor Anthony Capon, director of the Planetary Health Platform, said: “Soil is the foundation of all life on Earth. To safeguard human health, we must protect our soils from pollution, erosion and degradation.”
During the conference, on United Nations World Soil Day, there was a Sydney Ideas event Soil security: running down a dream – Finding solutions for securing our soils. One of the speakers, Professor Cristine Morgan, Professor of soil science, Texas A&M University was a guest on Open House.
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