Guest post by Kasiita Gerald
“Humanity faces many threats, but none is greater than climate change. In damaging our climate, we are becoming the architects of our own destruction,” Prince Charles, U.K. As we struggle to meet our needs and greed, we have ended up doing many activities that not only harm the environment but also ourselves. Many plant and animal species have gone extinct due to human activity. Human activities that are harming the climate include deforestation, using fossil fuel, industrial waste pollution, destroying wetlands, soil degradation and many more. All these things damage the climate and ecosystem very badly. Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. It is caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases such as Carbon dioxide, Nitrous oxide and Methane in the atmosphere. Climate change is considered the greatest global threat to sustainable development.
However, soils, when managed sustainably, can play an important role in mitigating climate change by enhancing carbon sequestration in soil, as well as reducing net emissions. Carbon sequestration occurs when Carbon from the atmosphere is absorbed and stored in the soil. This is an important function because the more Carbon that is stored in the soil, the less carbon dioxide there will be in the atmosphere contributing to climate change. Soil represents the largest carbon pool in the Earth’s terrestrial system, accounting for nearly five times that of the atmospheric carbon pool.
The potential of soil to play this role exists through proper agronomic practices and sustainable land management to reverse carbon loss to the atmosphere. Practices such as the use of manure, soil amendments such as biochar, cover crops, crop rotation, diversity, pasture improvement, reforestation, and wetland restoration have the potential to sequester Carbon and reverse the Carbon enrichment of the atmosphere. Therefore, we need to save the soils to fight climate change.
As a young mentee of the Environment and Climate Change mentorship program organized by Enviro Wild Initiative and Climate Change Lawyers and the founder of Vibrant Generation Uganda a youth-led NGO that empowers young people to be brave and resilient through building their capacity in eco-friendly farming practices for food security and income generation, I urge fellow young people to be environmental stewards. We need to know that resources in the environment are ours to own and protect. At Vibrant Generation Uganda, we are working under the theme, “Vibrant Empowered Resilient Youth Working Sustainably in Harmony with Nature,” where we have permaculture clubs and now running “A healthy soil! Quality Life! Campaign in order to engage different stakeholders, especially the youth, to take lead in championing healthy soils.
Kasiita Gerald was Cohort 1 mentee of Environment and Climate Action mentorship programme organised and coordinated by Enviro Wild Initiative and Climate Change Lawyers Cafe.