Human entanglement with soil

Wednesday 8 December 2021
12:00pm - 12:40pm
Online event
Lectures and seminars
General public

The Global Food and Environment Institute are delighted to invite you to join our December 2021 webinar ‘Human Entanglement with Soil’.

Earth’s critical zone is the planetary zone of human habitation. This thin surface layer of the planet extends from the top of underground bedrock to the top of the vegetation canopy. The critical zone provides most of the life-sustaining resources to people.

Soil is at the heart of the critical zone, acting as a critical boundary connecting the planetary flows of energy and mass between the rocky terrestrial Earth and the atmosphere. Soil provides essential resources upon which humans critically rely. Soil is also under critical pressure due to ever-intensifying land use by humans, driven by the increasing resource demands of a growing population and wealth. 

This talk, in celebration of World Soil Day, describes the entanglement of people and soil and the role of this entanglement in the climate crisis and the great extinction. It examines how human use of natural resources relies so directly on what happens to soil, and why human use of soil is so often counterproductive to human ambitions.

New approaches from the humanities and social sciences are giving fresh energy in collaboration with natural sciences, to understand this entanglement, and to find pathways away from damaging environmental outcomes. Collaborative action is beginning to combine the local stories of households and communities and the critical zone that sustains their lives.

This approach recognises that the future trajectory of soil and people is a deeply shared one that depends on location, where a favourable outcome will depend critically on citizens engaging knowingly in their entanglement with soil, as co-habitants of the critical zone.


The event will start with welcome and introductions from the Chair, followed by a 20-minute webinar presented by Professor Steven Banwart and 10 minutes for Q&A.

During this talk, Professor Banwart will highlight the findings from his research in this area.

Professor Banwart holds the University of Leeds Leadership Chair in Integrated Soil / Agriculture / Water research and is Director of the Global Food and Environment Institute.

He champions integrating research on soil and water resources into the study of Earth’s Critical Zone, the surface layer of the planet from bedrock to atmospheric boundary layer that provides most life-sustaining resources.


Registration is free and can be completed on Eventbrite.

Please contact with any queries.