Riding his way from London to the tip of Southern India, on a motorcycle and with a strong message, Sadhguru demystifies the known and the unknown by transcending the barriers of the material and spiritual world. Ayaat Attar covers the Global Visionary and founder of the ‘Conscious Planet’ movement, as he speaks his heart at the Dubai World Trade Centre
Humans are fascinating beings.
At the peak of conscious evolution, a human often lives in oblivion of his mortality. He forgets that from the soil he has come, and to soil he shall return.
The 20th of May marked the 61st day of Sadhguru’s renowned 100-day, 30,000-kilometer lone motorcycle journey across 27 countries to raise awareness and work towards soil health restoration, despite storms, snow, rugged mountains, harsh rains, and sandstorms. Hosted by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the spiritual leader brought to light to the citizens and residents of the UAE, the ticking time bomb that humanity is oblivious to – the soil crisis.
Soil - Bed of death and cradle of life
“In 2060, a handful of world-renowned scientists were able to arrange a meeting with God Almighty. They respectfully asked him to retire as they could now do everything he boasted of bestowing. With the snap of a finger, they created babies and other wonders of the world. But when God asked them to create soil, the researchers were left stumped.” Sadhguru narrated this story in humor to an enamored crowd of over ten thousand at the Dubai World Trade Center, bringing to their realization that as a life-giver, soil is irreplaceable and cannot be recreated. It can only be restored.
The largest carbon sink in the world, the offerings of soil to the world are truly wondrous. Referred to as ‘topsoil’ by geologists, the first eight to fifteen inches of the earth forms the largest organic ecosystem in the world. Scientists have discovered that a handful of topsoil houses more than eight billion microorganisms, which belong to about 60 different species. However, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UNFAO), 27,000 species are going extinct every year. Each year soil worth one football field is getting lost forever, and if the trend continues, we are looking at 2050 with 90% of soil loss.
Lack of organic content turns soil into sand, leading to food crisis, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, climate change, loss of livelihood, conflict, civil wars, and migration. The class of people most affected by these disasters are the women and children, but no one will be spared its wrath. And Sadhguru is on a mission to spread awareness and advocate the importance of bringing 3-6% organic content into soil globally and establishing supporting policies to make this happen.
Why Save Soil?
Sadhguru’s Save Soil is a global movement that started to address the soil crisis by bringing people from all over the world together to advocate for soil health. It also supports leaders across nations in implementing national policies and activities to increase the organic content in cultivable soil. The purpose of the 100-day journey is not only to ignite constructive conversation but also to get policies actioned across the globe for soil health.
Of course, the sage does not advise against the use of chemical fertilizers to nourish the soil and grow crops. “If fertilizers are banned, we will have only 25% of food generation for a population of 8 billion, which will bring with itself disastrous results,” he says. However, the yogi emphasizes the importance of not turning the battle towards living soil into a moral issue, where we stand up in arms against fertilizers and pesticides. With only 45 years of agricultural soil left, we are standing before a staggering population of 9.3 billion in 2050, but with 45% less food generation.
In response to the soil crisis, Save Soil is a forward-looking implementable strategy that aims to be the voice of soil at the cusp of extinction. Sadhguru has braved the harshest weather on his 100-day journey from London to India and plans to continue amassing support and spreading awareness about the current status of the topsoil, which is the life-giver of 80% of the world’s lifeforms. As per the statistics, with only 80 to 100 harvests left before us, we have a tough choice to make – to be the generation that stood at the cusp of an oncoming famine and changed things around, or slept through it till it met the impending doom.
“Sleeping is no crime, but sleeping through a calamity is disastrous. And disaster is worse than crime,” warns the spiritual leader.
After the pledge
So far 74 countries have voiced their support and ten have signed MoUs to together create a support system that aids the restoration of soil globally.
Handbooks have been created, presenting the different soil policies that can be implemented based on the type of soil. The handbook outlines options but doesn’t necessarily say these are the absolutes as there could be many other ways to increase organic content. 193 policy handbooks have been made so far.
The booklets have been prepared by a team of researchers involved with Agri research in close partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO). Compiled over the span of the last three years, the unique handbooks have been made taking into consideration their latitudinal and longitudinal positions, soil type, economic conditions, and agricultural traditions in consultation with significant scientists in the world which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has already approved of with great enthusiasm. The handbook also walks one through the soil health policies that one must follow to ensure that the soil under implementation holds 3 to 6 percent of organic content.
The Isha foundation envisions that even if a country’s economy is a government’s priority electorally, the ecological concern should hold a strong second position on all agendas across political spectrums. The foundation is reaching out not just to the ruling parties but also to the two largest opposition parties of every country across the world.
“Has any population ever asked for safeguarding the future of their children? Instead, we ask for short-term solutions that might not guarantee us a bright future. Right now, two billion people have raised their voice for soil, and we must keep the momentum going,” adds the mystic.
Emirates for change
With prominent figures from across the globe like world leaders, artists, and intellectuals, including Jane Goodall, Dalai Lama, and Tony Robbins, to name a few, Save Soil is slowly becoming a global phenomena all in a matter of 100 days. However, Padma Vibhushan awardee Sadhguru insists that we still have a long way to go together.
“If global action needs to happen, this is the way it moves. First, all of us move in one direction, then emotions move in the same direction, then slowly policies and actions will happen,” he urges. To aid the same, he implores each and every one of us to be a part of the Save Soil campaign by raising our voices for soil over social media, so the issue of soil becomes a part of every governing body’s manifesto.
With only 60% of soil left, Sadhguru brings to our attention that in pursuit of happiness, we have begun to eat into the reserves of resources meant for the unborn children of our future generations. Science proves that the difference between the DNA of a human is at a mere deviation of 1.25% from that of a chimpanzee. But the mental capabilities of humans are what make us conscious beings.
As a guru highly revered for his tools and practices for inner wellbeing and way of living, Sadhguru powers on, telling us stories that reach the hearts and minds of people regardless of age and culture, hoping to amass four billion voices that will together Save Soil for the sustenance of the present but as hope for the future.
From inspiration to action!
The only nation to have made the transformational journey from a desert to the commercial hub of the planet, the UAE has joined hands with the yogi and his vision to Save Soil in its region.
UAE acknowledges that informed soil policy decisions need to be made with research, technology, and innovation at the pinnacle of all efforts. There is strong advocacy in the region that education and training systems that support the cause must exist, along with orientation programs for the general public.
On 20th May, at the Conscious Planet Summit, the leadership of UAE announced that for peace to take precedence, the chances of war and crisis must be curbed, for they cause environmental damage of unimaginable proportions. This event was also a celebration of strong relations between India and the UAE.
During the event, UAE’s Minister of Tolerance, Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan announced that the nation fully endorses the Save Soil movement. He further added that it is our responsibility as humans bound together to look beyond our baggage of identity and work towards fighting climate change in unanimity, regardless of race, nationality, gender, and religion.
As the host of the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) to the UNFCCC from 6-17 November 2023, the United Arab Emirates will be one of the strongest advocates on the global movement in an initiative to save soil.