Forces of Change

The Skin of the Earth

Over most of the Earth’s land lies a thin layer of soil—a complex and variable mixture of minerals, air, water, decaying remains of life, and countless living organisms.

The Earth’s “skin” is not one soil, but many soils—each with its own story. Tens of thousands of different soils cover the continents.

Soils are alive.

They are born, they age, they breathe.

Soils are constantly created and lost. Soils are everywhere in our everyday lives. Living soils sustain life on Earth.

Girl with a handful of soil
Photo courtesy Somos/Veer/Getty Images