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Featured Resource: Soil, Soul, Spirituality, and Stewardship

Soil, soul, spirituality, and stewardship – Dr. Rattan Lal, Professor, Soil Science, The Ohio State University


Soil is a living ecosystem and we continue to learn about the full extent of its impacts on people, society, and the world. We know soil performs many functions to sustain plants, animals, and humans; however, sometimes we may forget that the health of plants, animals, humans, environments, and planetary processes such as climate resilience are interlinked. In a recent article published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Dr. Rattan Lal of The Ohio State University offered his viewpoint that people’s social, cultural, and spiritual values must be considered in soil health and ecosystem restoration. Dr. Lal shares his view that the environmental crisis is also a spiritual crisis, therefore, technical assistance, educational awareness, and research must integrate an understanding of people’s spiritual and religious grounding and mores, particularly in relation to the care of land, soil, water, air, and all natural resources.


Dr. Lal’s recent commentary and viewpoint is a reminder that restoring and regenerating ecosystem health is complex -- not linear -- and that a fully integrated approach must consider people and the multitude of their values.


Lal, R. (2024). Soil, soul, spirituality, and stewardship. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation79(1), 10A-14A.

Dr. Rattan Lal pioneered agricultural methods over five decades to enrich soil and enhance crop yields.(Photo: Ken Chamberlain, The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES))

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