Save the World From Apocalyptic Starvation

Target: José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Goal: Demand the U.N. dramatically increase its worldwide effort of maintaining and restoring the health of all agricultural soils.

It has been called a greater threat to humanity than even climate change, but worldwide soil degradation — including soil erosion and bio-chemical deterioration — goes largely unreported. As of 2015, it has been reported that the world may have only 60 years of farming left before the majority of agricultural soils around the world are depleted to the point that large-scale food production becomes impossible.

This quite obviously threatens the continued existence of civilization itself.

The fact of the matter is that it takes around a thousand years to naturally regenerate three centimeters of topsoil, a process far slower than the current speed of soil depletion, which saps vital nutrients from and physically erodes agricultural land. And, as of 2015, roughly a third of the world’s soil had already been degraded, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. The FAO also noted, according to Scientific American, that with continued destruction “the global amount of arable and productive land per person in 2050 will be only a quarter of the level in 1960.”

The fertility and future productive capacity of soils can, and must, be restored through the inclusion of polyculture and multi-cropping, no-till farming, halting deforestation and mining near agricultural sites, proper grazing and manuring practices, and other sustainable practices. These are just some of the many ways that agriculture can be protected now and into the future.

If human civilization is to flourish on Earth beyond the 21st century, we must implement techniques for maintaining the health of agricultural soils across generations and decades. Sign below to demand these changes to protect our collective future.


Dear Director-General da Silva,

Rapid and global-scale soil degradation today threatens the very existence of human civilization. It was estimated by your organization itself, in 2015, that the world had only about 60 years of large-scale farming left. This problem is existential and all-encompassing, and must be met with an immediate and dramatic response.

The causes of rapid, worldwide soil degradation are varied, but mainly consist of unsustainable and chemically-intensive fertilization techniques, as well as improper tillage, and to a lesser extent, deforestation, over-grazing, poor manuring and the misuse of fertilizers, and global warming. Water and wind erosion, compounded by improper tillage and the removal or exploitation of endemic vegetation, also removes fertile layers of soil, as does salinization, water-logging, nearby mining, and the destruction of micro-biomes consisting of fungi and bacteria endemic to healthy soils — itself compounded by over-intensive fertilization and the stripping of nutrients. Mono-cropping — the practice of growing the same crop year after year on the same land — is also a cause of major concern.

Thankfully, we know of workable solutions to this problem. These include, but are not limited to, polyculture and multi-cropping, no-till farming, properly managed and mindful use and removal of endemic vegetation, halting deforestation and mining near agricultural sites, proper grazing and manuring practices, well-managed irrigation techniques, and the use of organic fertilizers.

Please urge the United Nations and your subsidiary body, the Food and Agriculture Organization, to meet this threat head-on with an immediate and comprehensive response, calling on all nations to tackle this problem as soon and effectively as is absolutely possible.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Katharina Helming

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  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    please help

  2. One of the main causes of soil degradation worldwide is the meat and dairy industry. Please watch Cowspiracy.
    The UN has stated that there needs to be a shift away from meat and dairy consumption – and toward veganism – for the future of this world and it’s inhabitants. That’s absolutely true and needs to be acted upon.

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