Global Soil Proverbs. Cultural Language of the Soil
Ed.: Jae E. Yang; M. B. Kirkham; Rattan Lal; Sigbert Huber. Published in the CATENA series GeoEcology essays in December 2018; 275 pages, 165 figures, 10 tables, 17×24cm, 720 g, US-ISBN: 1-59326-271-X, ISBN 978-3-510-65431-4. The book can be ordered from the IUSS Secretariat () at the price of EUR 34.90 (plus shipping costs); reduced price for IUSS members: EUR 30.00 (plus shipping costs).
Proverbs are truths that link one generation to another. They have been passed down through millennia to provide advice about how to live life. Every country has a vast archive of proverbs that have been handed down orally from generation to generation. The very name “proverb” indicates that they originated “before” (Latin, pro) the written “word” (Latin, verbum). Ever since our ancestors settled down and started to farm the soil, proverbs have been used to communicate knowledge. Many proverbs about soils are available globally, but no effort has been made within the soil science community to compile and integrate them into a comprehensive book.
Therefore, the International Union of Soil Sciences has published this book on soil proverbs worldwide. The objective of the book is to compile such soil proverbs and, through them, share insights about philosophy, culture, and life in each country, as they relate to soils. The book features 32 chapters from 29 different countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania.
The authors of the individual chapters provide soil proverbs in both English and their native language. Chapters are illustrated with pictures related to the respective proverbs. Some themes are common, such as the need to sustain the soil to sustain humanity, while other themes are particular to a country due to its geography and climate, such as “The peas may be sown when the first swallows come” (Russia) or “If you want to store wheat, plow lowland areas” (Tunisia).
The book addresses both soil scientists and the general public. Readers will see the diversity of proverbs from the different countries, but each one is written in its own beautiful language, and that humankind is united by its dependence on soils, the veritable foundation of their existence.
IUSS recommends using paypal for payments