Baltic Sea Action Group, together with MEP Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE) and MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP), organized a breakfast seminar in the European Parliament on November 27th. The seminar focused on soil’s capacity to mitigate climate change and reduce nutrient loads that cause eutrophication, and healthy soil’s importance in ensuring food security. Nutrient cycling was presented as an important way to improve soil quality and maintain good soil health.
BSAG’s Content Director Laura Höijer introduced the participants to the seminar’s main subject, soil. She illustrated the multiple benefits provided by healthy soil, and the cooperation between different actors. Jari Liski, research professor from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and research coordinator for the Carbon Action pilot project presented arable land’s capacity to sequester atmospheric carbon, and the ongoing research to verify carbon sequestration and storage scientifically. Carbon farmer and Carbon Action steering group member Juuso Joona told about practical work done in the fields.
An important viewpoint in the event was the European Union’s opportunities to advance carbon farming and to expand soil carbon storage through agricultural policies and climate policies. Policy expert Nicola di Virgilio from the European Commission’s agricultural department, and policy expert Josiane Masson from the Commission’s environmental department represented the Commission’s viewpoint, and also provided comments for the other speakers.
The seminar’s hostesses Jäätteenmäki and Pietikäinen also acted as chairpersons of the event. In her opening statement Jäätteenmäki emphasized that the future of humankind depends on our ability to take care of the soil. Pietikäinen highlighted the importance of systemic and holistic thinking to help us ask the right questions. In the seminar’s closing discussion, scientifically proving the soil’s capacity to store carbon was seen as central in order to bring about systemic change. This is why research done by the Carbon Action project, as well as close collaboration with carbon farmers, were seen as holding international significance.
The breakfast seminar was part of BSAG’s Course to save our soils, which informes decision makers about the importance of healthy soil. It is funded by the Finnish government’s key project funds.