Sadhguru: Soil is the habitat upon which zillions of lives thrive. This thirty-six to thirty-nine inches of soil is the basis of eighty-seven percent of life on this planet. Everything grows because of that thriving life. Once there is no richness in soil, then we have forsaken the planet in many ways.
The United Nations agencies, with enough scientific data, are saying that the planet has agricultural soil only for another eighty to hundred crops. That means we would run out of soil in forty-five to sixty years. If that happens, there will be a serious food crisis on the planet – it is inevitable.
When food crisis comes, whoever has the biggest guns will take the food. And the chaos and the suffering that we will create for populations around the world is unimaginable. Don’t think only the poor will die; they will kill the rich and the rich will also die. This is not to paint a dark picture but soil extinction is being predicted by top scientists in the world. The desertification of our soil is happening at such a rapid pace because every time you grow something, the organic content is being taken by the crops, but nothing is being put back into the soil. In a tropical forest, the organic content in the soil, from plant litter and animal waste, would be somewhere around seventy percent or more. In agricultural soils, the minimum organic content should be three to six percent. But right now, in nearly forty percent of the world’s agricultural lands, the organic content is below 0.5%.
So, what are we going to do? There are only two ways to put back organic content into the soil – green litter from vegetation, and animal waste. Bringing back animals into the farm is out of question because people have gotten used to the comfort of the machine. So, the best option we have is to bring back vegetation. What sort of vegetation, how much percentage, in which country – these things can be worked out at the local level. But as a global policy, a minimum three percent organic content in the agricultural soil should be made a must.
The solutions are not rocket science; it is just a question of application. Are we willing to do it in time, so that we minimize the suffering for every creature on this planet? That is the question. If we start now, in fifteen to twenty-five years, there will be a significant turnaround. But let’s say we wait for another twenty-five to fifty years, and then try to turn it around, they say it may take up to 200 years to turn around. And that period is going to be disastrous for human beings as a species. That’s why there is an urgency about what we need to do.
As a part of this, we are unfolding a movement called Conscious Planet to Save Soil. We are always thinking that the industry or the government should do it. But we are forgetting that we are democratic nations. There are 5.2 billion people living in countries with the ability to vote and elect their nation’s leadership. We are looking at how to get at least three billion people on board so that ecological issues become the issues that elect governments.
Right now, political parties give economic sops to please people. But ecology and environment have not been a part of that narrative, simply because large percentages of electorates have not made it clear that this is what they want.Right now, it looks like ecology is the playground of the rich and elite. This must change. Individual human beings should become conscious about the danger that we are facing.Ecological issues must become election issues and political parties must give significance to ecological issues in their manifestos. Governments must be elected for their concern for ecological issues. Only when ecology becomes an election issue, will it become government policy, and only then will there be large budgets allocated so that solutions manifest.
Soil is not our property, it is our legacy. To give it to the next generation at least in the condition that previous generations have given it to us is a fundamental responsibility that we have as a generation of people. All of you should stand up for the Save Soil movement. This is not about me, this is not about you. This is a generational responsibility that we must fulfill. Let us make it happen!
Ranked amongst the fifty most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author. Sadhguru has been conferred the ‘Padma Vibhushan’, India’s highest annual civilian award, by the Government of India in 2017, for exceptional and distinguished service.