The Treasure Beneath our Feet


Soil, the dynamic upper layer of Earth’s crust, is seriously affected by human activity, with its quality in serious decline. Rapid population growth and accelerated urbanization are creating competition for limited land resources, including arable soil and open spaces. Throughout the world – particularly in Israel — choice, fertile natural soils are being rapidly degraded due to intensive use and insufficient planning for the future.


This problem is not limited to open lands, but also affects our urban centers: This year’s winter rainstorms have caused flooding, soil destruction, erosion and water run-off — causing significant damage in hard-hit cities such as Ashkelon, Kfar Saba, Ra’anana and Herzliya.


To raise awareness and encourage conservation, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization declared this the International Year of Soils. Taking part in december 2015-2this drive, the Council for a Beautiful Israel together with the Division of Soil and Drainage Conservation of Israel's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development recently held the “Sustainable Soil Preservation” conference, featuring lectures on the value of soil and its key role in food security; promoting policy and action for sustainability and soil protection; the reciprocal relationship between humankind and the environment in cities and open spaces; and, soil quality preservation for various uses and populations.


Among the numerous conference attendees at the renovated Beautiful Israel Center in HaYarkon Park were professionals in the field, environmental activists and CBI volunteers, seeking to deepen their understanding of the problem and develop appropriate responses. They were driven by the knowledge that if we fail to act now, we will all pay the price in the not-so-distant future.