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World Soil Day, celebrated on December 5th, is just around the corner. We invite you to be inspired by this year’s theme, ‘Caring for the planet starts from the ground.’ Let’s celebrate soils!

You may wonder why soil is so important and why it should be celebrated. The UN officially declared December 5, 2014 as the first annual World Soil Day with the aim to raise awareness about the critical importance of soil in our lives.

To secure food for our future, we need to guarantee healthy and productive soils – the healthier the soil, the more nutrients a plant can soak up. Let’s remember that soils are the foundation of vegetation which provides us with healthy food, animal feed, fuel, fibre, household goods and other essentials. To ensure that everyone around the world can have access to these essentials, it is important to be respectful to the environment wherever you travel. Soil, a non-renewable resource, is also important for providing an adequate water supply and maintaining its quality since the water absorption properties of soil play a role in reducing pollution from chemicals in pesticides and other compounds. You can find more reasons why healthy soil is vital to human life on earth here.

Start with educating yourself and others about the need and benefits of protecting and learn about the different types of soil and their nature. Why not spread the word on the importance of maintaining healthy soils using one of FAO’s infographics to support your message.

There are many ways to celebrate soil. FAO shares some ideas that can help you create some buzz around the World Soil Day:

  • Set up a meeting with local farmers in a field for an interesting discussion
  • Get people moving and active by organising a 5k run or (half-) marathon
  • Plan an exhibition or cultural performance that celebrates local agricutlure
  • Launch a poem or song-writing contest
  • Invite a guest-lecturer or speaker (be inspired by PATA’s example of teaching staff how to produce their very own healthy soil through composting)
  • Organise a field trip to plant trees that reduce soil erosion
  • Share a slice of a tasty World Soil Day (mud!) cake with your colleagues
  • Choose from FAO’s video material and display it at your World Soil Day event

You can also check for local events near you, browsing FAO’s worldwide events map.

No matter of the kind of activity you chose in the end, share your views and celebration photos on social media platforms using the hashtag #WorldSoilDay. Let’s care for our planet and celebrate this year’s World Soil Day together!

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This study investigated the importance of aquatic ecosystems to tourism and recreation and assessed the potential and current impacts of this resource use on the sustainability of aquatic ecosystems in Australia. Through literature searches and the development of surveys we aimed to integrate current ‘on-the-ground’ activities with what is known of the impacts of tourism and recreation on aquatic ecosystems worldwide. We propose a suite of research and development priorities and opportunities arising from this that will enhance our understanding of ecosystem responses to tourism and recreation and facilitate the sustainable management of Australia’s in demand aquatic resources.

by Wade L. Hadwen, Angela H. Arthington, Paul I. Boon, Muriel Lepesteur and Arthur McComb

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Rivers, Streams, Lakes and Estuaries: Hot Spots for cool Recreation and Tourism in Australia

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The research objective of the present project was to determine the relative impacts of disposal of human wastes on vegetation and soils in Tasmanian vegetation types that occur in areas used for wild country camping, with particular emphasis on the impact of digging, the impact of nutrient accessions, the persistence of  paper products, such as tissues, and the disturbance of burials by native animals.

by Jamie Kirkpatrick and Kerry Bridle

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