Let Her Eat Says Mother Earth
How Soil Is Deteriorating
Year after year, the deteriorating environmental conditions are posing a greater threat to human wellbeing and future. And governments across the world are admitting an increasing need to work towards environmental restoration. Many technologies and methods are being developed to artificially improve the ecosystem or to enable human to survive even in hazardous conditions. And while a great attention is being given to specific environmental aspects that influence human healthy directly, the importance of environmental ecosystem as a single entity is usually underestimated. To overcome this deficit, Anshul Kapoor – an IIT Delhi graduate and author of ‘sustainability satire’ novel Fosters of Fall – has developed an environmental restoration project aimed at naturally restoring urban ecosystems and their biodiversity.
Soil – Mother of All Life So Let Her Eat
Revealing the core of this project, Anshul describes that soil may be called the mother of all life; we depend on her for food, air, water and much more. It is also the mother of ecosystems. But in India cities, this mother is getting weak and sick. She also needs food and water to remain healthy, just like all of us. It is time that we, as her responsible children, nurture her and bring her back to her natural, life-giving state.
Named LetHerEat, the project has been developed primarily for urban areas due to their high population density, resulting ecological burden and imperceptibility of degrading soil health. It is estimated that 60% of India’s population will live in cities by 2050. As more and more people move from farms to industries, and from open fields to densely populated cities; the urban environment and its effect on human life is becoming increasingly important. Breaking the mould of traditional environmental restoration measures that focus on improving the symptoms of degrading environment (like polluted air and water), LetHerEat focusses on improving the very foundation of the urban ecosystem – the urban soil – which can consequently influence and improve other environmental factors in the long run.
Unfortunately soil, which is the foundation of any ecosystem, is mostly studied for agricultural purposes and its role in urban areas is usually underestimated. Locked and forgotten beneath concrete structures, the urban soil degrades and loses it capability to perform its functions effectively. Research has shown that soil in urban areas is usually depleted as its nutrient cycle is disturbed by human influence. This further degrades the terrestrial ecosystems, disturbs ecosystem services like air purification and ground water retention, impacts human immunity and health, and can even disturb climate patterns. Soil degradation also reduces the ecosystem’s capability to absorb and decompose pollutants. Excessive ecological disruption can lead to a complete seizure of life supporting processes. Such a disruption may cause the densely populated cities to become unfit for human survival. As urbanization intensifies, the hazards resulting from poor urban soil will also intensify and can threaten the future of many urban areas and their residents.
Presenting another benefit over traditional environmental restoration systems, Anshul said that in addition to improving ecosystem and human health in the long term, Project LetHerEat also offers other benefits like employment opportunities, local economic development and improved food security in urban areas. Thus bypassing the usual dilemma of choosing between environmental health and economic health.
To highlight the importance of urban soil and drive India towards a sustainable future, a detailed project report has been submitted to Prime Minister’s office and to Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The complete appeal to Prime Minister may be accessed at https://www.anshulkapoor.in/lethereat.
Anshul has started a petition on https://www.change.org/projectLetHerEat and is currently seeking public support to escalate his project to the right decision-makers.