SoilTalks

A series of online debates on hot soil topics in collaboration with the Soil Care Network.

SoilTalks 03 ~ 8 June 2021

Bringing Soils to Life: Getting the public excited about soils

It is the constant bugbear of soil scientists and campaigners that soil health is either misunderstood or overlooked as an environmental issue when compared with headline-grabbing topics - climate change, air quality, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution – despite its importance in its own right, and its links with these other environmental issues. 

There are good reasons for this. Soil can seem dull, static, and so easy to take for granted. It is neither visually arresting, emotive or charismatic. Attempts to lend a sense of urgency to its decline e.g. headlines like “there are only 60 harvests left” do not stand up to scientific scrutiny.

So how can we create a buzz around soil? How can we capture the public imagination and motivate policy? How can we unleash people’s creativity around soil conservation and protection? In this session, we bring in expert environmental communicators to ask what soil-folk can learn from other environmental campaigns about the tactics, messages, data and channels that can help us bring soils to life.  

The event will be chaired by Matthew Orman of the Sustainable Soils Alliance and uksoils with Anna Krzywoszynska of the Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield, Soil Care Network and uksoils as moderator. 

This event was recorded; see video below.

The speakers

Josh Toussaint-Strauss

Josh is a journalist and producer for the Guardian, where he’s worked for 11 years. He make all sorts of content, but at the moment he is primarily producing videos designed to appeal to a YouTube audience. Together with his team, they try and bring Guardian stories to viewers who may not be familiar with their newspaper, and combine the unique audience engagement and tone that YouTube provides, with their trust and authority in traditional journalism. In 2019 he published this video on why its time to stop treating soil like dirt.

Louisa Ziane

Louisa co-founded Toast Ale in 2015. She is the Chief Operating Officer, managing the company's commitment to people, planet and profit, and ensuring the brand is true to its purpose: to end food waste over a cheeky pint. She is a certified management accountant with a background in sustainability consulting and marketing. She's passionate about social enterprise, the circular economy and the growing B Corp movement.

Hannah Kapff

Hannah is the founder and managing director of Curious PR and was a broadcast journalist for Sky, Granada the BBC and CNBC Europe after gaining her degree in Environmental Science when only three UK universities offered this course. She believes that breaking down silos between disciplines - and nurturing a richer information flow between experts will ultimately let people live healthier, happier lives - as described in this article she wrote for PR Week. 

The community hub for all things soil

uksoils is a consortium of scientific, campaigning and awareness raising organisations, all with a specialist knowledge of soil health, founded by UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Sustainable Soils Alliance, Earthwatch and University of Sheffield.