In pictures: Soils and Climate Change on World Soil Day

Posted by Angela Glienicke — 3 December 2015 at 3:53pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Steve Morgan/Greenpeace
Andrei Yesengi - an indigenous Nenet man - in front of a thermokarst lake, which was drained due to the melting of the permafrost and erosion caused by climate change

As world leaders meet at the COP21 climate talks in Paris, World Soil Day is celebrated around the world on 4th December. World Soil Day aims to connect people with soils and raise awareness on their critical importance in our lives.

Soil is essential for life. It’s the basis for food, fuel and fibre production, as well as providing services vital for human well-being, like helping to remove pollutants from water. We should be protecting soils, instead the world’s soil is being degraded by the impacts of climate change and polluted by dirty fuels like coal.

These powerful photos explore how soil is being degraded across the planet, as well as the relationship between people and soil.IB Image

A whole village in Mustang, Nepal, has to resettle as a consequence of climate change. The local farmers couldn't irrigate their fields and struggled to feed their families as water in the area is very scarce.

© Manuel Bauer / Greenpeace 2011

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An arid landscape in Mustang, Nepal, which doesn't see much rain. 

© Manuel Bauer / Greenpeace 2011

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Dry field near Sam Dzong village in Nepal.

© Manuel Bauer / Greenpeace 2011

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The village Chuksang among irrigated green fields, on Kali Gandanki mountain. 

© Manuel Bauer / Greenpeace 2008

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A farmer shows soil polluted by coal ash. Ash chokes the sky above a coal ash dam owned by a power plant in Shuimotou village, Shanxi. Many fields have developed puddles of alkaline water, making it impossible to grow crops.

© Zhao Gang / Greenpeace 2010

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After filling each ash disposal site, the Yuanbaoshan Power Plant, in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, covers the ash pile with soil and then plants crops on top. It is meant to control the dust against wind dispersal, but instead the crops just create another way for poisonous heavy metals to enter the food chain.

© Zhao Gang / Greenpeace 2010

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Hundreds of trees along this stream have died due to the illegally dumped concentrated industrial wastewater by Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Project (producing liquid fuel from coal).

© Qiu Bo / Greenpeace 2013

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A Greenpeace activist extinguishes a fire. In spring time local people start burning dry grass, hoping to improve soil quality. But grass burning could lead to forest fires and damage buildings and farms. The Russian government has finally banned the burning of dry grass.

© Igor Podgorny / Greenpeace 2015

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Tundra is an area where tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The soil in tundra is very vulnerable, but despite this Gazprom plans to expand the gas pipeline system in this area.

© Liza  Udilova / Greenpeace 2015

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Greenpeace Canada activists collect water and soil samples from a tailings pond of the tar sands mining site near Fort McMurray.

© Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace 2009

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Oil-filled soil is removed from the ground at Shell's Albian Sands mining project in Northern Alberta.

© John Woods / Greenpeace 2009

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Thawed permafrost soil. The whole region is under heavy threat from climate change as temperatures increase and Russia’s ancient permafrost melts.

© Kajsa Sjolander / Greenpeace 2009

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Greenpeace radiation experts collect a sample of soil from Tatsuko Ogawara's vegetable farm. Tatsuko grows different kinds of vegetables and sells them at a local shop. It is expected that part of Tamura City, Fukushima Prefecture in the 20km evacuation zone will be the first community where the government lifts its evacuation order as decontamination by the government is finished.

© Noriko Hayashi / Greenpeace 2013

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Women in the Yunnan Province, China work here with rice crops in the terraces. These areas form a tiered appearance and are cultivated as a method of soil conservation to prevent irrigation water from running down the slopes and eroding the soil.

© Li Zikang / Greenpeace 2005

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