Q&A with Sadhguru: Why Soil Health is so Important

As our planet grapples with a mounting soil crisis, Sadhguru, a respected yogi and visionary, has initiated the Save Soil movement to address this urgent concern. Earthed’s co-founders, Christabel and Ruby engaged with Sadhguru to answer a few key questions, exploring the critical aspects of soil health.

Sadhguru, Save Soil and Earthed recognise the intrinsic value of the ground beneath our feet and work collectively for a sustainable future. Explore the conversations below…

Q: Why did you create the campaign to “save soil”? Why is it important that we all get involved?

Sadhguru: If you look at the way life happens on this planet, the microbial life in the soil is the foundation for all other life. The basis of all life is in the first 12-15 inches of soil. But today, around the world, soil degradation is happening at a rapid pace.
Half of the world’s topsoil has been lost. In normal agricultural soil, the minimum organic matter should be between 3-6%, but in large parts of the world, it is well below 1%. Right now, United Nations statistics say that we may have agricultural soil only for another 80-100 crops. This means in just 45-60 years, there could be severe food shortages, and getting rich soil will become the basis of wars on this planet.
When it comes to biodiversity and soil, national boundaries mean nothing. It has to be addressed globally. If we have any commitment to life on this planet, if we have any commitment to future generations, this is a must-do for every nation. So, the first and foremost thing is to enshrine soil and ecological regeneration as a part of every nation’s policy.
This is what the Conscious Planet – Save Soil movement is trying to do. It is aiming to bring about a global policy that there must be a minimum of 3-6% organic matter in agricultural land, based on regional conditions.

Q: What is the relationship between our spiritual practice and the practice of caring for the Earth?

Sadhguru: Unfortunately, we live in times when human consciousness is so compartmentalized that we have forgotten that there is actually no such thing as “environment.” If an individual is willing, he can experience the entire world as himself. It is only because he has not exercised this choice that there is a divide between humanity and the environment.
Ecology and human consciousness cannot be separated. Spirituality is not about looking up or down, it is about looking inward. The first fundamental fact you find on looking inward is that you are very much a part of everything around you. The word “Yoga” means union. Union means the boundaries of the individual self dissolve, and you experience existence as yourself. Once this is a living experience, then no one has to tell you to save the planet. To care for what is around you as you care for yourself is only natural.

Q: What is your advice to people who want to inspire their friends and family to work to regenerate soil too?

Sadhguru: In a democracy, the most important thing is the people’s voice. So, I want you to use your voice. The Save Soil movement is your movement. Bring awareness in the nation and in the rest of the world that the soil upon which we stand and walk is the basis of our life, that the life which is happening in the first twelve to fifteen inches of topsoil is actually the basis of our existence.
Say something about soil, at least for five to ten minutes a day. Use social media – Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, or whatever else you have. Put a sticker on your car that says “Save Soil.” If you send a WhatsApp message, close it with “Save Soil.” If you speak to someone, say “Save Soil.” Write a letter to the Prime Minister, President or your local representatives urging them to take action.
Try to reach as many people as you can. Because when the people speak up, governments will make the necessary policy changes.

A diagram of a tree, split in half with healthy soil and impacted growth on the left, and unhealthy soil and the impact on tree growth on the right hand side.

Image: Courtesy of Coulson Brothers Arboriculture, demonstrating the impact of healthy and unhealthy soil on tree health.

Q: How can the movement for nature regeneration scale to the point it’s having global and transformative impact?

Sadhguru: Soil and environmental damage has happened not because there is an evil force sitting somewhere wanting to damage this planet. It has all happened in pursuit of human happiness and wellbeing. Every one of us, knowingly or unknowingly, are partners in this destruction. The only way out is for every one of us to be partners in the solution. It is from this basis that the Save Soil movement was launched. The movement is not an agitation or a protest, nor is it against anyone. It does not involve economic losses to companies, industries or nations. This is why the response to the movement has been phenomenal.

Since March 2022, we have reached over 4 billion people, making Save Soil the world’s largest people’s movement.

We have active partnerships with many UN agencies. I addressed 193 nations at the UNCCD COP15, where we suggested an incentive-based approach for soil revitalization. The European Union has signed a manifesto with us, and we are confident that it will naturally bring forth change across all the EU countries.

But the most important thing is that we have shifted the narrative around soil. During the COP26 in Glasgow, the word “soil” did not come up anywhere. But now, after the 100-day campaign and our continued efforts with various governments, soil has become mainstream.

At COP28, the UAE proposed the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, which aims to shift the focus of climate action towards soil and agriculture. This is what the Save Soil movement has been striving for. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, also launched the Green Credit Initiative, marking a significant opening of possibilities for farmers to access carbon credit funds. This initiative will also fulfill one of the goals of the Save Soil movement.

The call for decisive action is pressing. If we just listen to the life on the planet, the message is loud and clear: we must turn around from the ecological disaster we are headed towards. Let us put aside our differences of race, religion and nationality and work together for the sake of all life on the planet. Let us make it happen.

We are deeply grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with Sadhguru and the Save Soil team on this interview. If you’d like to become a soil steward, and take action to regenerate and replenish soil, Nicole Master’s 45-minute video course is a great place to start.