I can’t breathe – World Soil Day

by Christine Sine
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To tell you the truth, I was not aware that World Soil Day existed until I began looking through the UN observances list. Today, we celebrate the 6th year since the official start of World Soil Day, which the UN designated to “keep soil alive, protect biodiversity”. I learned some really startling facts about soil such as, “It can take up to 1,000 years to produce just 2-3cm of soil.” Check out their website to learn more through the interactive map, posters, activities, and videos that explain these efforts and how you can be part of the change we need for preserving soil around the world.

A special thank you for Catherine Lawton for sharing her poem for us as we celebrate World Soil Day today.

I can’t breathe.

Dirt needs oxygen,

soil must respire to


The concrete knee,

the asphalt grip

(foundations forgotten)


no passage for air

to roots, organisms.

From elemental deeps I


send forth shoots

of ancient seeds—

forced through cracks—

a green gasp.


Can you picture fertile soil or think about the last time you picked up rich soil, not dirt, in your hands and could almost feel the life within it? It smells and feels different than just dirt. As we continue to build, we neglect the health of the soil with has detrimental effects on the food that we grow. Our food quality not only decreases, but the amount of food that can be grown decreases.

As followers of Jesus, how can we reflect today about our impact on the earth’s soil? For me, this issue, like so many that I have become aware of this year, feels like too much to add to the list of already overwhelming devastation. But if I ask God what I am specifically being called to do with the level of awareness I have, I am confident that God will answer me and guide me. I need to be willing to stop what I am doing, be interrupted by God’s divine presence, and seek to hear from the Almighty One. This issue is on God’s heart because creation care matters, and soil is another area that needs attention as we desire to grow in caring for the earth.

Ask God what that means for you today. What are you already doing? What will you do?
You might also like to read Soil reveals the complexity of God.


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1 comment

Cathy Tanner December 5, 2020 - 9:45 am

Interestingly I just started ferment my vegetable scraps using the Bokaski cycle process after learning all the benefits to my soil and creating my own organic fertilizer for the garden, houseplants, and lawn.

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