World Wildlife Day – 03 March 2023
Soil as the foundation of ecosystem health

The food we consume and the waste we generate from it have more of an impact on wildlife than we think. While it is easy to connect land development, overconsumption, habitat destruction and global warming to wildlife loss, our food and waste also play a role in ecosystems’ health.

The majority of our food is extracted from natural environments, and when not managed sustainably, we will consume resources at a rate that is faster than what we can replenish them. The same goes for soil. When extensively worked, soil can erode, losing key organic contents and its ability to support plant life and the rest of the ecosystem. This includes the micro and macro species that inhabit these areas. Soil can be said to be the foundation of ecosystem health.

Our food and organic waste can play a detrimental or beneficial role, depending on how it is processed. Food and organic waste in landfill biodegrade to produce leachate, a potential groundwater pollutant, and methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Both these by-products will adversely impact the surrounding ecosystem. When food and organic waste is composted, we can return beneficial nutrients to soil masses, conserving this subsurface landscape for the rest of the ecosystem and wildlife.

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