Soil is essential for life on Earth. It provides us with food, water, air, and even energy. But is soil a renewable resource? And does it matter?
Soil is the top layer of rock or earth that covers the planet. It contains organic material such as plants and animals, minerals, and other elements.
The soil also holds water and nutrients that sustain plant growth.
“Soil is a renewable resource,” says Dr. James C. Scott, author of Seeing Like a State. “It is constantly being renewed.”
Dr. Scott explained why soil is important for our future and shared some surprising facts about soil.
He goes into detail on the importance of soil in our lives, beyond just providing sustenance for our bodies.
This post will answer the question as to whether the soil is a renewable source or not.
Is Soil Renewable?
Certain natural resources, including sunlight, wind, and geothermal energy, are readily renewable, but others are less so.
‘A material which organically rejuvenates itself and seems to be accessible for such use without human intervention,’ for example, may be a definition of renewable sources.
Soil isn’t a renewable resource according to this definition.
Soil is divided into two categories: renewable and non-renewable, but if it’s technically a nonrenewable resource, how does it fit into both of these contradictory divisions?
Well, it’s all a matter of time.
Dirt revives itself over hundreds of years when natural climate cycles mix with regenerated plants to create new soil.
However, because the rejuvenation cycle takes more time than just a human lifetime, soil might be called non-renewable.
Is There Any Chance It Could Be Renewable In Our Lifetime?
Although it’s considered a long-scale process overall, soil is renewable intermittently over a short period of time.
It is our rapid consumption of natural resources like soil that causes the problem.
The sun and the wind are renewable resources that can be used to generate energy.
Soil isn’t renewable because there is a limit to how much that can be replaced every year.
We need to change our lifestyles to reduce how much we use natural resources like land or water. We need to start recycling more and using less.
This will help us conserve our resources, help slow down climate change, and save money.
The amount of time it takes for fertile soil to form depends on the amount of rainfall. In the United States, it usually takes about 1,000 years for fertile soil to form.
This means that it takes longer than 1,000 years for the land to be suitable for farming.
Why Is Soil Regarded As Not Renewable?
Earth’s soil is not renewable by any human made process. That means it can’t be manufactured in large amounts.
Understanding of this process is provided by nature, but it can’t be replicated by humans.
The ecosystem is designed in such a way that every system interacts with each other.
The formation of soil occurs when water acts upon naturally occurring rocks within the earth’s crust.
The water seeps into the tiny cracks and crevices of the porous rocks.
As the humidity decreases below freezing, water expands and fractures the rock into ever smaller particles.
Soil can be renewed over time if it is not used up completely. Vegetation rot can mix with the new soil, but the mixture is made more complex when it is moist.
Worms and other insects help to break down the old soil. Plants spread roots into the new soil to get nutrients.
Is It Possible To Make Soil Renewable?
If the human race is to survive in the long run, this is really an issue that must be addressed.
Soil can be renewable if soil management is prioritized rather than considered as a “good to have.”
By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion people, necessitating a 60% increase in agricultural output worldwide.
This figure is close to 100 percent in Africa, where the majority of the people rely just on soil for shelter and food.
It appears to be an insurmountable undertaking, given that we lose about 36 billion tonnes of soil per year, much of it is destroyed by humans.
Rather than cultivating soil as a valuable natural resource, humanity continues to damage it, with no consideration for the long-term repercussions.
Changes in weather cycles are also degrading and shifting topsoil, frequently in inaccessible or difficult-to-farm places.
What Is Causing Soil Erosion?
Soil erosion is caused by natural factors such as rain and wind. Chemical pollution causes other types of soil erosion.
Deforestation leads to desertification. Poor agricultural practices and overstocking are more big issues.
The good news is that proper agricultural practices such as crop rotation help prevent soil erosion.
Crop rotation is necessary to prevent nutrient depletion in the soil.
Is It Possible To Replace Soil?
Natural replacement of soil occurs all around the world, although it takes thousands of years.
This is significantly lower than the potential during which erosion is losing the key topsoil layers required for plant growth.
Many scientists throughout the world are investigating the prospect of providing extra soil with synthetic soil in large enough numbers to meet our rising population’s demand for plant-based nourishment.
Is It Possible To Create This Artificial Soil?
Researching how to create artificial soil is an ongoing research project. The soil needs to be made up of different kinds of dirt mixed together.
There is a lot of work involved. Soil is created by combining sand, clay, and other materials. The process takes billions of years to complete.
What Happens When Soil Is Exposed To Human Actions
Human activity disturbs ecological balance by taking away valuable topsoil.
Agribusiness tries to correct this problem with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and other unnatural methods. These efforts only make things worse in the long run.
Pollution is everywhere because we humans are too lazy to clean up our messes. We dump toxic waste into rivers, lakes and oceans.
Our factories release chemicals into the air, and our pigs eat contaminated feed.
Soil is not a finite resource, but it regenerates over incredibly long periods of time, so it should be treated as if it is.
We need to protect the soil because it provides us with everything we need to survive. Soil is a critical element. It is a bio-regulator. It is a food.
It is a shelter. It is a building block of life. It is the place that plants grow, taking in CO2 and giving out O2. It is the place we live.
We were not meant to live without it. But modern man has polluted our soils to such an extent that we struggle to survive on a dying earth.
In its absence, the human race would cease to exist as a species. Only insects could survive. We are all part of the earth biome, and soil preservation is essential to this biome.