You might be asking how it has come to pass that an Indian Guru Leads a Global Movement to Save Soil? Well, on this Earth Day Weekend, 2022, I’ll answer your great question (or you can watch the quick video above).
Long Time Humanitarian and Environmentalist
Since 1998, Sadhguru, through Isha Foundation, has worked towards creating a conscious approach to our lives and the environment. His environmental work started out locally in Tamil Nadu, India as Project Greenhands. At that time, a team of UN experts predicted that by 2025, nearly 60 per cent of Tamil Nadu would become a desert. Sadhguru could not believe that land that had been continuously farmed and managed for 12,000 years would be at risk but went out to see for himself. He saw completely dried rivers, loss of trees and beginning desertification of soil in this large South Indian state where Isha Foundation is headquartered. The state is primarily agrarian so with severely degraded soils, he could see a crisis looming well before the UN’s predictions. With an all volunteer crew Project Greenhands planted 35 million trees, engaged 70,000 farmers, and went on to achieve and hold the Guinness World Record for trees planted in a single day. Sadhguru was only getting started.
A few years later, he launched the Rally For Rivers campaign to revitalize 13 rivers across South India. This campaign received the support of 162 million people, making it the largest environmental movement in the world. Rally for Rivers evolved into the ongoing Cauvery Calling which is geared to be the world’s largest farmer-driven eco-restoration project. There are 125,000 farmers engaged. And, so far, 62 million trees have been planted along the Cauvery river basin to restore the river. And, because those trees are specifically all fruit bearing trees, they not only help retain water in the basin, they also increase the annual income of the farmers for this tree-based agriculture they now engage in. The ultimate ambition is to enable 5.2 million farmers to plant 2.42 billion trees in the Cauvery River Basin in a span of 12 years. These are great accomplishments. But Sadhguru is fearless when it comes to expansion. He’s now focused on the state of soil globally.
The Save Soil Movement
Working with the World Economic Forum, The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN’s Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Sadhguru is in the midst of a 100 day Journey for Soil as part of the Save Soil movement he launched with Conscious Planet. On March 21, in London, Sadhguru started this journey as a lone motorcyclist striving to ride across 27 countries and 30,000 kilometres to raise awareness and inspire humanity to raise their voices to governments around the world. Over two years in the making, this monumental effort is designed to reach between three to four billion people. That’s 60 per cent of the global electorate and it’s the critical mass needed to convince governments to introduce long term policies to raise organic matter in soil to between three to six per cent. There’s a number of reasons for this specific amount.
When soil organic matter is between three to six per cent there is enough microbial life for plants to receive all the nutrients they need to grow well, carbon is sequestered, water is retained, and climate change is abated. Soil has become degraded over time because of intensive agriculture especially the use of ploughs and the practice of leaving tilled land bare after harvest, use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and increased urbanization and encroachment on agricultural lands. Bare, tilled soils release large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere while also allowing precious topsoil to blow away in the wind. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides change the pH of soil and kill the microbial life that is needed for plants to absorb nutrients. They also leach into soil and ground water and end up in rivers, lakes and oceans creating massive dead zones. Urbanization without conservation is eating up formerly fertile soils. This can all be changed within a decade if our voices make governments act now.
In a new release during his stop in Bonn, Germany, Sadhguru said, “Most governments are still treating soil as an inert substance that you can manage by adding or subtracting chemicals. We first need the consciousness that we are dealing with life and not material. Soil is not a resource, it is the source of our life.”
Progress on the Journey
Since March 21, Sadhguru has traveled from England to the Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey. Even before the official route began, he visited the Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados, and Guyana and they all signed Memorandums of Understanding to support the policies laid out in the Save Soil Global Policy Draft and Solutions Handbook. These documents were carefully created in consultation with top scientists considering the latitude, climate, economic conditions, and traditional agricultural practices of each region.
Meanwhile, while singing the “Le le le le le le” Save Soil anthem, supporters of all ages enthusiastically greet Sadhguru at each stop on the journey. With undying energy, he meets with business leaders, humanitarians, environmental experts, politicians, journalists, athletes, influencers, artists, singers and actors multiple times daily. He will continue to Georgia, Jordan, Israel, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Oman before finishing with a tour of five states in India in June.
It’s devotion to all life that’s driving this 65 year old. Sadhguru says the movement is a tremendous opportunity for humanity to be brought together by a unifying common denominator. He will not rest until soil regeneration is enshrined in the policies of every government on the planet. And, progress is being made.
Along with organizations previously mentioned, the 54 Commonwealth Nations, the European Union, European Agriculture Commission, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Environment Programme – Faith for Earth, the World Food Programme, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Europe India Business Council, France’s 4 per 1000 Initiative, Suriname, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Italy, and the Vatican City have all expressed their support for Save Soil.
How Can You Get Involved?
- Join the movement.
- Become an Earth Buddy here.
- Spend 10 minutes a day talking to friends and family about soil.
- Use or create social media accounts to amplify the @ConsciousPlanet messages.
- Write to government officials.
- And, follow and support Sadhguru on this arduous but joyous 100 day journey.
Change is possible. Let’s make it happen!