Environmental Pillar – Protecting Irish soils via the People4Soil Petition

What is the Environmental Pillar? 

The Environmental Pillar was established as an independent national social partner under the Irish Government in 2009. It is an organisation that is made up of 29 national independent environmentally-focused non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) such as Birdwatch Ireland, Irish Peat Conservation Council (IPPC), Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) and Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). These 29 separate NGO’s work together to represent the views of the Irish Environmental Sector and campaigns for areas of the environment including wildlife conservation, sustainability, energy and waste usage and environment education to name but a few.

People4Soil Petition


The Environmental Pillar is calling for the EU to make a Soil Directive which would enforce all EU member states to protect their soils across Europe. At present, there are several environmental-based directives for elements such as water and air.

This type of Directive could enforce Irish farmers to improve the soil quality of their lands which would greatly benefit the overall environment, as all vegetation and ecosystem services stem from the presence of soil. It is also thought that these farmers would be incentivised to do such and would probably benefit economically from this type of Directive.

This petition is an official European Citizens Initiative which means that if the petition is signed by over one million people from 7 or more different EU member states this will make the European Commission (EC) prepare and propose a Soil Directive.

Sign the Petition Here

Why is this important?

Soil is one of, if not the most important material we have on our planet. Soil creates a foundation on which ecosystem services can occur such as carbon capturing, water storage, water filtration, vegetation growth – which ultimately means food production (crops, fruit, etc.) and of course, aesthetic value such as forestry and nature. Soil creates habitats which are either indirectly or directly home to pretty much every type of wildlife you can think of!

Soil also provides fuels such as peat and is employment relating to these fuels. However, soils aren’t renewable fuels as they are very finite and quite at risk of degradation in almost every area of the planet. Protecting soils is crucial for protecting our livelihoods, our food preferences, our nature and our culture. Soil is probably one of the most under-rated parts of nature and it is incredibly important. This petition is aiming to protect soil, which as a result will protect our futures in Europe.



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