International Year of Soils - What's the Big Deal?


The 68th UN General Assembly declared #2015 the International Year of Soils  “because of the profound importance of soil for human life in terms of food security, climate change, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.”


Did you know?  - There are more organisms in one tablespoon of healthy soil than there are people on the planet! 

Soil is the source of nutrients, water and minerals to plants and trees and is home to billions of insects, small animals, bacteria and many other micro-organisms. Humans literally cannot live without healthy soil to produce food. The earth’s population is projected to top nine billion by 2050 - yet the amount of fertile soil on the earth is diminishing by 50 000 square kilometres per year (i.e. nearly 2.5 times the size of Gauteng Province – every year).              


“The quality of our food very much depends on the quality of our soil,” says Ronald Vargas, Soils and Land Management Officer at FAO. “Studies show that about a third of the planet’s soils are facing moderate to severe degradation.”


Soil is non-renewable – it takes hundreds to thousands of years to form that one tablespoon of soil, but that same amount can be lost in a single year through erosion and pollution. (


So what does this have to do with me? What difference can we make?

Perhaps it’s more a question of what can you stop doing…

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the average woman applies 500 chemicals a day to her body. Yes, you read correctly – a whopping 500 chemicals! Some of which have been linked to cancer.


Every day we apply lotions, potions and powders to our bodies without thinking about the possible cost to ourselves, our water systems or the very soil which produces our food. It is not just what gets washed down the drain when we shower, but what is used and released into the environment during the manufacturing process. This is obviously over and above the chemical concoctions in our household cleaning products.


Ultimately what we use in our bathrooms and kitchens, ends up in our water, our soil…and our food.


Try these natural 100% natural face care and home cleaning recipes. They’re good for you and you’ll be doing your bit for soil – oh and they work!


Soothing Face Cream            


  • 10 drops  rose (if you're really indulging yourself!) or rose geranium essential oil


Directions for making:

Melt the shea butter and beeswax, add the liquid oils, stir in the rosewater and allow to cool to lukewarm. Mix vigorously.


Directions for using:

Use as your daily moisturiser. This recipe is also recommended for soothing mild skin abrasions.


Directions for storing:

Will stay fresh in a fridge for about a week.


Aloe and Cucumber Face Mask          

This face mask also acts as an excellent body scrub. It hydrates and sooths oily skin, removing dead cells, oil and excess sebum. 


  • 2 T oatmeal

  • 1 T mashed cucumber

  • 1 T  aloe oil


Directions for making:

In a mixing bowl, add the oatmeal, mashed cucumber and aloe juice. Mix well to form a smooth paste.


Directions for using:

Gently scrub the face in circular motions and then lie down for 15-20 minutes. Afterwards rinse off with warm water.


Directions for storing:

Store unused mask in the refrigerator for up to a week.


For more Natural Face Care Recipes, see our  free ebook.


Try replacing your all-purpose chemical cleaner with this simple home-made and planet–friendly recipe:

Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Septic Household Cleaner and Disinfectant  

  • 500 ml  hydrogen peroxide (3%)

  • 500 ml water

  • 10 drops o f lemon oil (lemon is an antibacterial, deodorizer and disinfectant)

  • 10 drops of  tea tree oil (tea tree is an antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal)

  • 5 drops or of  lavender (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and for scent purposes)


Directions for use: Shake before using. This cleaner is safe on any surface (including granite) and even cleans mirrors. Will keep for up to 2 months if stored in a cool, dark cupboard.


For more natural cleaning recipes download our  free ebook.

Next time you take a walk, spare a thought for the soil beneath your feet and tread lightly.