119 principle you hope that something structured will be cre ated and will endure as a source of active creative living For every 1 000 parenting manuals nowa days there s maybe one guide on soil Indeed Previously you would have seen the farmer walk ing behind his plough gazing reverentially downward observing the flow of soil and how it was falling behind his plough Farmers knew every inch of their land The draught animals in front horses or cows in southern Ger many The farmer felt as he guided the plough where is the soil stony where does it sink in deeper where is it dark and how does it fall Now sitting several feet above the ground on a tractor we don t have this same feel for the soil any more Having said that I do know organic farm ers who carry a spade on every tractor and also use it to test the soil condition before working the soil in any way Presumably this distance from the soil means we have also lost some of our appreciation Yes and with dramatic consequences every day we are losing soil for agricultural and horticultural produc tion and we do not mind To give you just one exam ple immediately after the war we still had around half a hectare or some 5 000 square metres available per person living on the earth for food production We ex pect to have only a third of this available in 2025 And this is not simply because the hu man population has grown Sure there are more people that s absolutely right so there is less land for each individual But we can also point to real soil loss This soil loss is taking very different forms in the various continents We are experiencing dramatic soil loss in Africa as a result of salinisation desertification and erosion In South America the main issue is erosion and that s the case in North and Central America as well In Europe at the mo ment soil is mainly being concreted over and covered by roads car parks supermarkets commercial zones etc What do we have to do to counter this We have to reduce the current level of land consump tion of around 80 hectares in Germany towards zero and look after the soil better Quota restrictions on land con sumption must be introduced in the regions along with a land consumption trading system Then higher land consumption in urban Hamburg could be offset through land quotas of other regions such as the Westerwald The quota from the rural area would go to the city where there is a higher urban building density Concentrating residential construction within the city would avoid the consumption of land that could be used for agriculture or horticulture By transferring land consumption and with enhanced regional cooperation there would then be no pointless commercial zones in the Westerwald The money generated from handing over the quota could be used in some other way to benefit the community Could such a policy be implemented This has been difficult to date Nobody has been talking about soil even politicians The 2015 Year of Soils really raised awareness of these risks Generally speaking peo ple are now more aware of the soil You can think what you like about urban gardening but it does demonstrate that to a large extent people want to reconnect with the soil cultivate the land and produce their own food The longing to engage with the soil is also somewhat virtually reflected in the high circulation figures of some specialist magazine formats as well These awaken mental images in the readers who can picture themselves tending to a garden At best they get genuine tips on how to approach this practically There are subtle ways new and old of coming back to the soil to nature and to gardening Humus is the finer formation in the soil Nature

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